Tag: Patriot

A Good Patriot Is Nothing More than a Good Killer

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

A man stands tall, clothed in a faded T-shirt bearing an American flag. With each beer he downs, the less he realizes that his garb violates U.S. flag code. Because he loves the beacon of independence and freedom that is the United States of America, the good patriot vehemently supports the troops and parrots the national anthem.

All of a sudden, a record scratches, and the screen freezes. You may be wondering how he got here. More importantly, you may want to know the implications of this terrible position. Ultimately, as a good patriot, it is the job of that man to die or even kill for his country at the whim of its leaders. Patriotism, both in the abstract and applied to the United States, leaves much to be desired.

Patriotism and the Good Patriot

Patriotism, on the surface, is a love for one’s country. Upon first consideration, this may appear to be an admirable quality, or even one to strive for. However, further inspection reveals that unyielding love has no place on the national stage.

In defense of patriotism, several key arguments exist. First, many, such as Leonard Niemand in his essay, “Defending the American Patriot”, claim that the United States offers preferable condition to any other place in the world. Thus, we owe some sort of reverence and gratitude due to our favorable birthright. Arguably, this is true. Yet, there is nothing that this suggests that there is any gratitude necessary.

The Best Option Available

As a parallel matter, consider the following hypothetical. Two friends walk down an alleyway, and all of a sudden, a third man approaches with a gun. One of the two victims tries to flee, and he shoots him down. But, the other man willingly gives him $1000, so the killer simply walks away from the situation, now $1000 richer. By the logic of the good patriot, the living victim should bow towards the murderer, singing great praise and kissing his boots. After all, out of every possible outcome, he got the one with the most freedom! Clearly, this logic does not hold true, as when a man kills a friend and steals from a survivor, praise is simply not an acceptable reaction. Why not? Essentially, because the lesser of evils is still evil. An option being the best available does not mean it is right or just.

Does this principle work any differently with the idea of patriotism? Not in any meaningful sense, anyway. The United States government, with every law it passes, threatens to kill those who disobey. They often imprison the survivors and steal from even those not guilty of any fines on a daily basis via taxation. Time and time again, bombs fly overseas and strike innocent children while even the most dovish politicians merely fiddle slightly with the military budget. The United States is not a beacon of freedom, and should not be treated as such. Though it may oppress less than North Korea or Russia, it is not without deep, inherent flaws.

Unfortunately, every country acts in most, if not all, of the same coercive ways. Given this frightful reality, it is entirely unrealistic to propose that anybody should show love for their own brand of murder.

A Lack of Choice

It is also worth noting the simple fact that in the history of humanity, not a single individual has ever chosen where they were born. So, what reason is there to feel pride in a particular region? States, ultimately, are nothing more than lines in the dirt that the government uses to control the people. They are nothing more than an abstract set of norms that groups coincidentally share. This brings me to, without a doubt, the most dangerous element of patriotism: the willingness to kill and die for such an abstract idea.

The Familial Discrepancy

When a man loves his wife, and she loves him, they are creating meaning. Many, including Niemand, claim that there is a parallel between familial love and patriotism. But in their situation, they are not creating any inherent competition or negativity towards others. The personal sphere is not inherently a violent one. Hence, it is safe to say one can love their spouse without having any dislike for anyone else in the world. The same, though, is not true for a country. The good patriot, in this sense, becomes a good killer, as the good patriot loves and supports his country over all others. The underlying issue is that the political sphere is inherently violent.

When one country receives favorable treatment, another receives unfavorable treatment. This is nearly always true in times of peace, and inherent in times of war. When a country goes to war, the good patriot is willing to go fight the good fight, or at the very least, show strong support the troops back at home. Why should the individual give up his life for an abstraction that mistreats them? And worse, why should the individual kill others who are only guilty of wearing the wrong color on the battlefield? Beneath the guise of national superiority, each human being is equal. Thus, every death on the battlefield is no better than a murder, and the good patriot that supports the country when it acts is no better than a good killer.

Treatment of Oppressors

In every other realm of life, when a victim treats his or her oppressor well, we aptly deem this as a dangerous mental hurdle to get over. Why, then, do we ignore this in the realm of the country and patriotism? The state asks much and gives much, but what does it not give? Choice and free will. There is no legitimate reason to feel an obligation or emotion, as a free adult, to an organization that robs the fundamental right to self-ownership.


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Statist Rhetoric: “If You Don’t Like It, Why Don’t You Leave?”

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Libertarians often advocate a wide range of policies, from limiting intervention overseas to the abolition of certain government programs. In many cases, opponents simply reply, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave?” If you haven’t triggered enough cognitive dissonance in a statist to blurt out that line, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Statists often resort to this appeal when a real argument does not exist. This phrase is the statist’s last line of defense when they have exhausted all else.

The Statist Logical Fallacy

This “argument” is in fact not an argument at all. it is neither moral nor utilitarian. It, in fact, is one of the worst things to say in a debate. Essentially, this line says that nobody should resist oppression. It implies that people should not try to overturn unjust laws, and instead should simply run away from the mob majority. A free society does not allow the mob majority to have such control in the first place, and this rhetoric brings us further away from a free society.

The fact of morality is that aggression is immoral. It simply does not matter what majority decided it was okay. It likewise does not matter what group has a monopoly of power in that area. No imaginary borders, no majority, no social contract, can make what is immoral, moral. Libertarians just want to live their lives free of coercion. Statists, on the other hand, seek to control. They are the ones who dictate to others how to live, who take part of the fruits of others’ labor and spend it how they please. Yet, they have the audacity to say that if someone doesn’t like it, they must leave. With the power-hungry iron fist of the state, they seek to rule the lives of fellow men. So, how are libertarians in the wrong for wanting to live and let live?

Refutations to Self-Exile

If confronted with such an absurd response by a likely nationalist, flag waving, Trump praising statist, who probably quotes the founding fathers when it suits them, point out that by their own principle the founders should have just left the colonies. Apparently, the founders were just crybabies for demanding freedom and fighting for it. They should have just left. it appears logical consistency is of little importance to the statist.

If confronted by a collectivist, when pointing out the evils of the state extorting half of your income, point out a quite similar situation that occurred in our history. By their own principle, abolitionists were just crybabies who should have left America if they didn’t like the enslavement of Africans. After all, the majority had said it was okay to own slaves. By this logic, the abolitionists were wrong even for advocating the end of slavery. Next, watch them backpedal.

This principle can be applied to any example of tyranny throughout history. If the Jews in Nazi Germany didn’t like what was going on, why didn’t they just leave? If those living in the Soviet Union didn’t want to starve, I guess they should have just left. Neither the state nor anybody else has the right to rule over others’ lives.

A Contradiction of Logic and Morality

Thus, it appears that the argument is a clear contradiction of logic and morality. Rather than simply walking away, fight for positive change in society. Disagreeing with an aspect of such a society does not mean that the society as a whole is not worth living in.

Tom Woods excellently states the fact that without a doubt, the moral burden in this case lies only on the state.

“Why should I leave? Why is the moral burden on me when in fact you’re the one with a gun to my head. Your the one who wishes to expropriate me then use the proceeds to fund drone strikes. It would seem to me that a healthy moral reckoning would have it that you would have to demonstrate your right to do that before I would have to demonstrate my right to sit here unmolested” – Tom E. Woods.


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Nationalism Hurts Young Men Today. Here’s How

By Kirk Classic | United States

There comes a time in every man’s life where he must come to define himself and make his way in the world, or risk being left behind and embittered. Often times I meet young men with little ambition, save for wealth, which is often concluded as the best alternative to defining the self. I then ask, “Do you want to be a man?” When the young man inevitably answers yes, I ask “What is a man?” Shrugs, a loss of eye contact, maybe even an awkward smile answer me. The one thing that never does is an answer.

How can boys hope to be something so ill-defined? Perhaps more concerning is the question of why it has a lost meaning? Unfortunately for so many young men today, their masculinity, interests and race is being attacked, making their struggle towards self-actualization an even steeper climb that it ought to be. It is during these times of startling uncertainly that the allure of nationalism looms the brightest.

In geography, a nation is a group with common descent, history, culture, or language in a territory. The word can overlap with a state, which is a group with common government and sovereignty, but it does not have to. Nationalism is when individuals drawn to the group identity of a common people seek to accrue power and advocate for said people, on the premise of superiority.

All too often, quite unfortunately, young men fall in love with the comfort of taking pride in their own heritage. Many times, the group is a supplement for the unremarkable achievements or lack of resolution of the individual who wishes to be unjustifiably fulfilled by a people long gone. How can you feel pride for the achievements of men you have never met, are loosely related to, and have no personal investment in? If you’ve ever called into question the paradoxical nature of race based reparations, this follows closely to that flawed mentality.

The nationalist, more or less, perceives the world like so. ‘The greatest architect known to man was a part of my tribe. He was the greatest architect because he was intelligent. Now, the architect’s achievements are an attribute. Therefore, as a descendant, I share these attributes. Thus, I feel pride.’

Pride is “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” More simply put, pride is a feeling of satisfaction regarding an object of investment. Just as others feel a surrogate shame for the actions of people long dead, the nationalist feels pride for those whom he had no investment in.

Joseph Sobran noted in his 2001 column “Patriotism or Nationalism?” that, “In the same way, many Americans admire America for being strong, not for being American. For them, America has to be “the greatest country on earth” in order to be worthy of their devotion. If it were only the 2nd-greatest, or the 19th-greatest, or, heaven forbid, “a 3rd-rate power,” it would be virtually worthless.”

He then continues to state, “This is nationalism, not patriotism. Patriotism is like family love. You love your family just for being your family, not for being “the greatest family on earth” (whatever that might mean) or for being “better” than other families. You don’t feel threatened when other people love their families the same way. On the contrary, you respect their love, and you take comfort in knowing they respect yours. You don’t feel your family is enhanced by feuding with other families.”

As George Orwell astutely observed, “[there is a] habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly – and this is much more important – I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”

Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist and linguist, argues that by closing a dialogue and shunning dissenting thought, people will be more heavily drawn to opinions out of the ordinary that they seldom hear being represented truthfully. This creates an effect where the most alluring ideas are the most radical, because the radicals are hardest to silence.

If nationalism is created by the allure of a group identity, then it stands to reason that they do their part in destroying our individualist culture. There is danger in the path forward. The world works in equilibrium. Individuality and group identity are paramount forces. A lack of proper balance of the two can spell disaster.

Intellectual honesty is a war on two fronts. On one hand one must do battle with oneself. On the other hand, one must do battle with everything outside. It is a maddening process that has left greater men addled beyond belief. But, in the face of inevitable pockets of untruth, what is the alternative? Death in a society is sign of life, and though we know society will fall, in each of us is the fire that says “not today.” And as that fire roars and claims our flesh as fuel, let that fuel be so rich that it keeps warm those who will succeed us for generations.


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Patriotism and the State are not your God

By Austin Anderholt | United States

In American politics, the right loves to poke fun at the left. What seems to be their favorite way to do this is poke fun at how liberals base all of their politics on “feelings”. The right loves to call the left “triggered snowflakes” and other assorted names.

This rhetoric stems from the fact that the American right sees itself as the messiah of hard facts and logic, uncaring of your “feelings”. This is extremely ironic, seeing as the American right is the most emotional, childish piece of American politics.

Right wingers love to bow down to their government, calling it “patriotism”. They chant slogans like “Blue Lives Matter” and “Support our troops.” When thibking about it rationally, it becomes extremely silly to imagine that people cherish so dearly the very police that infringe on their basic rights. It seems so crazy that people would let the government steal more of their paycheck to fund the killings of more innocent children through wars. It becomes even sillier to imagine that people think that action is “supporting our troops”. However, the right doesn’t look at the government through a lens of logic and reasoning. The right looks at the government through a lense of emotion, more specifically, fear.

If you take a look at how Americans view patriotism, you get a sense that the government is some sort of Orwellian god. For example, the government teaches American schoolchildren as young as five to put their hands on their heart and pledge themselves to the state every morning. We also look at our flag as something that can never touch the ground. Americans get offended when someone desecrates it. It’s an idol.

When you ask Americans why they voluntarily pledge themselves to the state, or worship a government that hurts them through stealing their money and infringing their rights, they give very vague answers.

“Because people died for America!”

Oh really. People died for the swastika and the hammer and sickle. Just because people that I’ve never met decided to risk their life for their opinion doesn’t mean I should worship said opinion.

“America means freedom!”

Really? The government that infringes on my rights, steals from my money, and indoctrinates the masses into hailing it represents freedom?

From these vague responses on such a big issue, we can conclude that something else is the reason that Americans are so overly patriotic and worship the state so much:

Group pressure and fear.

Every dictator knew that in order to make a individuals submit, you must make the group submit. This is why Hitler’s rallies were so powerful. When everyone else is hailing Hitler in unison, it’s human nature to feel like you’re making the incorrect choice by not hailing Hitler.

This is why the pledge works so well. Everyone stands up and recites that they pledge themselves to the state in unison. You feel like an outcast if you’re not also there pledging the state. Soon it becomes a competition. We all want to prove to everyone that we love our state more than the next guy. This is why everyone just says “I love America! God bless America!” So much. Do they have any idea of why they’re saying that? No! It just seems so romantic to love something unconditionally no matter what, especially when state education has glorified it.

This is why we love our military so much. The thought of saying “Sure people in the military have been killed, but people have died for many reasons, and I don’t have to agree with their cause just because they died for it.” Sounds scary. Humans want to be a part of a group. They don’t want to be labeled a “traitor” to the all righteous state that everyone is apart of.

This is what makes the American right so emotional. The state is their god. They are afraid to think or speak against it. They are afraid of not being apart of the masses, and they are afraid that they will be an outcast if they don’t hail Hitler like everyone else does. Remember, be a rebel. Don’t jump off a cliff just because everyone else is yelling at you to do it. The state is not your god.

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Is Patriotism a Gateway Drug to Slavery? – Jonny Watt

By Jonny Watt | UNITED STATES

Is patriotism the mere act of loving one’s country, or is this movement detrimental to the wellbeing of society?

This blindly followed movement is extremely contradictory with liberty and self-ownership, and on a praxeological basis, we can deduce that this ideology should have no support amongst freedom-lovers.

That said, patriots will argue that, while it has its faults, America is the greatest country to exist, and without the state, this wouldn’t be possible. While I tend to agree that America is better than most, I see a direct flaw in saying that the state is responsible for this. Rather than America being great because of the intervention of the state, America is great despite it. In fact, just about all of America’s flaws exist due to the government, and saying that it could be much worse, and thus continuing to praise America and the state is both illogical and hurtful for society.

The more leeway we, as citizens, give to our government, the more in control they are, and the more likely a shift to a more coercive and tyrannical government will occur. In fact, this is one area in which a private run (monarchical) government is superior to that of the public run (democratic) government. The very visible and extreme dichotomy between the general populace and ruling class nobles, as seen in democracy, left the former with more discontent and distrust for their government, as they felt completely separated from said government.

Due to this, monarchs had to be mindful of everything they did, as any decision deemed too coercive by the general public could be followed by either a revolution or perhaps simply a less productive society, which would hurt the king and his fellow nobles. While citizens of a democratic government tend to be more trusting of their government, as they feel a sense of involvement, American Patriots take it to the extreme and continue to let the government commit terrible, coercive, right-infringing acts.

With Patriots continuing to stay quiet, how long could it be before an age of total enslavement by the state is upon us?

Conscription, taxes, and jury duty indicate that we’re already in a state of partial enslavement. While patriots tend to be opposed to taxes, they, generally speaking, see no problem in supporting the government when it comes to conscription and jury duty, both of which border onto involuntary servitude.

If the definition of traditional slavery is the state of being the legal property of another, and thus being forced to obey them, then how can anyone justify conscription or jury duty, the legal act of the state forcing you to give them your labor? A patriot would respond that, as we are under state law, and given what the state does for us, we should be willing to give up some of our labor and fruits of our labor in order to “pay back the state.”

The problem with this argument is it completely misses the point, as this exact same argument could be applied to any other instance of slavery (including traditional slavery in America prior to 1865.) Of course, some patriotic Americans will argue that the state is what grants us our rights, and as such, we should thank them for this. While the government cannot give us rights, in rare cases, the state does protect certain God-given, inalienable rights, however, we should not thank an institution prone to infringing on our rights, just because it hasn’t yet infringed on them all.

Living with and preaching this mindset would only lead to further infringement and an overall reduction in wellbeing and freedom.  

The only solution, then, is to be as critical and judgmental of the state as possible, rather than being patriotic and supporting our country at every turn. America was founded by straying away from an overreaching and overly coercive government, and thus, to support the states attempted enslavement of its populace by following the blind path of patriotism is about as un-American as it gets.