Dear Tennessee Star,
Memorial Day picnics and Independence Day fireworks are behind us. Veterans Day looms. Summer is a season where we celebrate our heritage and reflect on the human cost of American freedom. But no thanks to unscrupulous politicians, a citizenry anesthetized with amusements, and perilous memes like “Diversity Is Our Strength,” Americans seem confused on the difference between patriotism and its mischievous twin, nationalism. Elbowing to the forefront and shrieking ever louder is the red-headed stepchild, Insurrection.The nationalist admires America for being “the most powerful nation on earth,” where national pride is contingent on military might and economic supremacy. Patriots love their country for its historical virtues, not for its prowess in drone-bombing Yemen or manipulation of global markets. Patriots are willing, within reason, to tolerate China in the South China Sea and Russia in Syria, respecting the fact that rival civilizations have intrinsic spheres of influence. Patriots observe Syria’s location on the map (i.e. in Russia’s backyard,) ponder the region’s ancient Sunni-Shiite animosities, and wonder how an Arab civil war is relevant to American security. Nationalists figure Syria is just one in a series of sovereign nations where we can waltz in, unprovoked, regardless of historic animosities, and piledrive the square peg of “democracy” in the round hole of Islamism. Insurrectionists, meanwhile, conspire to enfeeble America by “resettling” aliens whose core values are completely antithetical to our Constitutional Republic.
Patriotism is akin to love for one’s family. You love your family because they’re yours, not because they’re better than every other family on the planet. Contrast this with Nationalism, which dismisses our imperfections while sneering at ancient civilizations. Nationalists seek to divide the world into neat and tidy alliances “to make the world safe for democracy.” Consequently, nationalism is permanently militant. Patriotism is inherently peaceful until forced to fight, at which point it’s ferocious. Insurrectionists continually screech about America’s inherent wickedness. They apparently detest America, particularly the “deplorables” who cling to guns and Judeo-Christian values; they seek to dilute red-blooded American patriotism with an amoral utopia of multicultural trangendered bliss.
Patriotism is thoughtful and adaptable; the patriot may loyally defend his country even when he thinks the effort is wrong or exasperating (think Vietnam-era servicemembers forward to today.) Nationalism is recklessly rigid, insisting that the conflict-of-the-month is crucial because he’s the smartest guy in the room (think Vietnam-era politicians forward to today.) Nationalists play checkers, stumbling into the trap of pursuing American empire. The trap is set by chess-playing Insurrectionists, who recognize that empire is the surest means to financially and spiritually bankrupt America. But at least Nationalists want to win American wars; Insurrectionists want them dragged out into perpetual stalemate.
Afghanistan is now America’s longest-ever conflict. Many patriots support complete withdrawal, not because we’re pinko peaceniks, but because we believe it’s utterly impossible to magically transform Islamist tribal barbarians into an enlightened, cohesive nation-state. The nationalist, without any end-game strategy, wants to surge more troops in an attempt to save face and salvage “national dignity.” Patriots wonder what’s so dignified about spilling American blood on behalf of utterly worthless causes. Insurrectionists smirk.
Why do we listen to think-tank globalists and televised “experts” but never hear from the combat-booted veteran who’s seen his buddies with maimed limbs and sucking chest wounds? Why do we prefer to honor vets with political speeches, parades and a crappy VA? The typical front-line veterans have no nationalist zeal because they’ve seen something firsthand: the American military has the fortitude to strategize, achieve objectives, and decisively WIN … American government, tragically, does not. War is great business for the military-industrial- surveillance complex, not so good for our sons and daughters dodging IEDs and mujahideen in God-forsaken hellholes.
Patriotism, Nationalism, and Insurrection – these are the three prevailing worldviews vying for public support. Nationalists have gained dominance in one of our political parties and “conservative” media. Insurrectionists have successfully hijacked the other party along with mainstream media. I can’t imagine a happy ending unless patriots regain a foothold in both political parties, elevating noble statesmen over egocentric blowhards. I’m not optimistic.