~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On patriotism

Ace writes (neatly and succinctly):

That's a point that isn't made enough -- patriotism isn't just flag-waving or love of country. It's essentially a self-defense social compact -- you look out for me, I'll look out for you, together we'll look out for each other. Some people reject that social compact, believing it's more moral for them to evaluate situations on a case-by-case basis before committing themselves to a spirit of joint defense -- they'll make certain they believe in the morality of a specific instance of self-defense before upholding their end of the compact.

Which means it's not a compact at all.

I just wish that people who thought like that would sign a legal document with the state specifically repudiating that compact -- so that Coast Guardsmen and mountain rescue teams could check to see if their names are on the list of the Not Quite Willing To Commit To The Defense Of Their Fellow Americans before bothering to put their lives in danger to save them.

You really shouldn't be allowed to be free-riders on the social compact that binds most of us if you're actually still dickering over terms.

I don't disagree with this definition of patriotism. I'm a big fan of the social compact model of patriotism. In my ideal world, no man would have any rights but those he could successfully defend, or what he could negotiate with his fellow countryman. But I know this puts me well to the Right of most Americans, it puts me out of the Mainstream, and I've tried to make my peace with the case-by-casers.

In the end, I choose to be bound by a larger humanitarian compact that prevents me from abandoning drowning swimmers or lost hikers.

This, I hope, bridges the (rather large) gap between me and the Left, and explains my defense of Christianity in general, though I'm not particularly religious. The story of the Good Samaritan goes a long way towards summing up my ideas about "patriotic service." Wishing for punitive repercussions over our social compact smacks too much of "punitive liberalism," something I'm on record as opposing.

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