January 10, 2017

Today Sarah Hoyt wrote on her blog:

The twentieth century international socialists diagnosed “nationalism” as the cause of Nazi atrocities because they couldn’t face that SOCIALISM was the actual problem  (it can kill you fast, it can kill you slow, it can kill you hard or it can kill you softly, but in the end socialism, like its communist cousin, will kill you. It’s just it’s slow in most places, and people don’t notice.)  So patriotism was treated as a bad thing.

The left is always calling the right Nazis, but Fascism and Communism are both socialist; the only difference is one is nationalist and the other internationalist. They’re only opposites if your spectrum only includes flavors of socialism. The traditional American values that are now labelled “conservative” don’t fit on either side; they oppose all flavors of socialism.

Today we seem to have an internationalist class—made up of highly credentialed academics, bureaucrats, and others—that denigrates patriotism and esteems members of this class in other countries over fellow citizens that don’t belong to this class. This is very similar to the conditions in the Middle Ages, when the nobles saw themselves as having more in common with nobles of other countries than with the serfs that toiled in their own lands. When nationalism first started to develop it had a democratizing influence.

While patriotism can be used to promote evil ends, it is not evil in itself. Patriotism is necessary; if you’re not patriotic, you lack an important connection to your community. It’s similar to what John said about loving God:

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

(1 John 4:20)

It’s easy to say you love something or someone on the other side of the world, but can you really mean it if you don’t love the people in your own neighborhood? If you don’t love in particular, you don’t really love in general or in abstract.

Patriotism does not necessarily mean chauvinism. You can love your own country and still appreciate other nations. But you have to appreciate the community that you live in first, or it isn’t real love.