Skip to comments.Libertarianism and the Proper Meaning of Patriotism
Posted on 07/05/2014 8:30:40 AM PDT by Kaslin
Since were enjoying a long holiday weekend to celebrate the 4th of July, lets take a moment to ponder patriotism.
Ive always been inspired (in more ways than one) by this t-shirt. My patriotism is for American principles, not the federal government.
Indeed, Im very proud that a Clinton Administration official once accused me of being unpatriotic for helping foreign jurisdiction oppose some bad policies from Washington.
But Im a libertarian, and were different than most people (some would even say needlessly ornery).
So what about the average American? How do regular people define patriotism?
Well, we have a new poll that asks people whether they think various behaviors are patriotic. Lets ponder some of the answers.
The latest Fox News national poll finds 83 percent of voters consider serving on a jury an act of patriotism.
I dont agree. I would say jury duty is at most a civic obligation. Though even that doesnt capture my thoughts since my gut instinct is that we would be best served by having professional jurors.
Though I am willing to say that individual jurors can demonstrate patriotism by engaging in nullification and refusing to convict people of breaking unjust laws.
But thats a separate issue. Lets look at more of the findings from the poll.
other actions rank even higher: 94 percent say flying an American flag shows patriotism, 93 percent say voting in elections counts, and 90 percent consider joining the military an act of patriotism.
Ill agree on the flag and joining the military, but voting hardly seems patriotic particularly if youre looking for handouts and voting for candidates who have nothing but disdain for Americas founding principles (as illustrated by this Glenn McCoy cartoon).
And dont forget that voting is inherently illogical.
Lets look at other results.
About eight voters in 10 believe staying informed on the news (79 percent) and paying taxes (78 percent) are ways to show national loyalty. there is agreement across party lines on the patriotic merits of paying taxes: 80 percent of Democrats, Republicans and Tea Partiers say paying taxes shows patriotism.
I disagree. I have no objection to staying informed, but is it really patriotic to watch the news instead of a game show? What about the people who are so disgusted by Washington that theyve tuned out? I suspect theyre very patriotic.
I also dont think paying taxes is patriotic. Heck, our Founding Fathers rebelled against paying taxes.
This doesnt mean we necessarily should evade taxes. Context is very important. If you live in a jurisdiction with tolerable taxation and reasonably honest and effective government (Singapore or Switzerland are reasonable examples), then I think tax evasion is wrong.
But if you live in an oppressive totalitarian nation (think Venezuela) or a nation with confiscatory taxation (such as France), then paying taxes is a sign of stupidity rather than patriotism.
Lets look at one final set of results.
the most significant differences are on the act of owning a gun. Some 79 percent of Tea Party activists consider owning a gun an act of patriotism, as do 69 percent of Republicans. Democrats (35 percent) and independents (40 percent) are much less likely to feel that way. Men (60 percent) say being a gun owner shows patriotism, while over half of women feel it does not (56 percent).
Needless to say, Im very sympathetic to gun ownership. Though I think someone can be a strong patriot (in the proper sense) without owning a gun.
Now lets review some new data from the Pew Research Center, as reported by Byron York of the Washington Examiner. Pew found that ideology affects patriotism.
They divided the electorate into seven groups and found that six of the groups were at least somewhat patriotic.
Pew asked all whether they often feel proud to be American. The conservatives are most proud 81 percent of the business conservatives and 72 percent of the steadfast conservatives say they often feel U.S. pride. Theres a dropoff after that, but still, majorities of other groups express pride. Fifty-nine percent of the faith and family left say they often feel pride; 56 percent of both the next generation left and young outsiders feel pride; and 51 percent of the hard-pressed skeptics, despite their skepticism, still often feel proud to be Americans.
So who isnt patriotic?
Only among the solid liberals does the number fall below a majority, with just 40 percent saying they often feel proud. Why do they feel the way they do? They are the most loyal Democrats of all groups and unflagging supporters of Barack Obama. Solid liberals are more urban than other groups, more likely to use public transportation, more likely to recycle. Theyre the most likely to say they want to live close to museums and theaters, and the least likely to hunt or fish. Today they give the president a job approval rating of 84 percent 40 points higher than the public at large. They identify with the Democratic Party more than any of the conservative groups identify with the GOP. Solid liberals are more likely to say that compassion and helping others are their core values.
And based on some previous research, you can safely assume that you wont find these solid liberals at any July 4th parades.
Lets close with a very good video released last year by Reason TV.
Up in My Grill: 4th of July Rap (featuring Remy)
And here are a couple of cartoons with a 4th-of-July theme, staring with this gem from Glenn McCoy.
Reminds me of this Sandra Fluke cartoon.
And heres one from Henry Payne.
And you think that is libertarian?
As our current system is organized, Hillary’s comment comes into play: “What difference does it make?” On voting, there’s almost never a real choice: the cards have already been unfairly dealt and the rules of the game (the Constitution) are as interpreted by the dealer, who also makes our bets for us. As for jury trial, 98 (or is it 99) percent of cases are now determined by plea agreements between a justice department SWAT team and a purported criminal. Where do juries even have a role?
A really, REALLY, stupid idea.
The role of the citizen juror is as the common man standing in judgment of another common man.
If bargains are made before the case gets to trial, I would assume that the man being charged makes the ultimate decision on whether to accept the deal or face his fellow men.
On the deck being stacked against the defendant, there is jury nullification, the jury can disregard the judge and the law makers. They will tell you that you can't, but you can. If the case is bunk, you can vote not guilty.
Jurors are professionals. They’re typically paid $10/day and travel expenses. They usually throw in a greasy hamburger for lunch too.
It’s your opinion to which you have a right, just as much as Daniel J. Mitchell has to his. *shrug*
I’d agree with him, but then we’d both be wrong.
Professional jurors? Since when is that a libertarian idea? I guess that’s another obscure subset of libertarians along with libertarians for gun bans and libertarians for making possession of pot a capital offense.
Or those libertarians who think pot should be “free” and who want to repeal age of consent laws.