Patriotic Anarchists Unite!

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There's a debate raging elsewhere in the blogosphere about whether there's a difference between nationalism and patriotism. It seems clear to me that there is, for reasons that should be obvious if you attach each word to a region that isn't a nation-state. If you describe someone as a "Missouri patriot," you're saying she has a strong affection for the place she lives in. If you call her a "Missouri nationalist," you're implying she's some sort of secessionist, perhaps with a stash of arms hidden just west of St. Joe. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the majority of Missouri patriots are not Missouri nationalists.

It is just as possible, though not as overwhelmingly common, to be an American patriot without being an American nationalist. Granted, this might uncover dueling definitions of America. True patriotism is defined by the boundaries of your affection, not the boundaries of a real or potential political unit: Your country can extend just 20 miles from your home or all the way to Ottawa, depending on your roots, mood, and experiences. Nationalism can transcend borders as well, but it does so in a much bloodier manner.

NEXT: Less Research Is Needed!

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  1. Patriotic Anarchists Unite!

    OK! Anybody there?

    Being an anarcho-libertarian is a lonely business.

  2. I’ll cop to be an atheist and an anarchist who sometimes gets the chills when someone sings God Bless America really well.

  3. Someone has been ripping off of Orwell…

  4. Someone has been ripping off of Orwell…

    I hate to admit it, but I’ve never actually read that essay. It’s quoted somewhere in one of the opening links of the post, though.

  5. Nationalists and patriots? I spit on both of them for not being ballsy enough to come out as chauvinists and jingoists.

  6. I’ll cop to be an atheist and an anarchist who sometimes gets the chills when someone sings God Bless America really well.

    I’ll cop to being an agnostic minarchist who got a little thrill of pride when I watched the burgers liberate the croissants from the Nazi sausages and pretzels in that food fight video.

  7. Your country can extend just 20 miles from your home or all the way to Ottawa

    For this Canadian, my patriotism kind of skips over Ottawa. (You’re welcome to Ottawa, if you Americans want it.)

  8. “For this Canadian, my patriotism kind of skips over Ottawa. (You’re welcome to Ottawa, if you Americans want it.)”

    No thanks. I would however take anything West of Alberta. Let the Quebec and the West go its own way and leave Toronto and Ottawa stew in their own socialism.

  9. The problem with stuff is that the criminals show up and ruin everything. Height Ashbury is a good example. According to what I have heard in interviews with Ken Kessy and Jerry Garcia, Heigh Ashbury was a really amazing place in the mid-60s. It really was a free spirited place and a lot of what it is cracked up to be. By 1967, however, it had gotten completely out of control and was populated largely by criminals, deadbeats, runaway teenagers and tourist buses there to see the hippies. For all of the “summer of love” crap, according to the people who had been there in the mid 1960s, 1967 Heigh Ashbury was a pretty negative place. I suspect that any area of real freedom you set up in this country will be quickly overrun by criminals and deadbeats once word gets out.

  10. Sounds like bullshit sophistry to me. Patriotism is “good” nationalism. Sometimes nationalism has been progressive and even inclusive (the slogan of 19th century Polish nationalists (patriots?)was “For our freedom and yours.)Usually nationalists (they often call themselves patriots) have some axe to grind with some enemy. Whether the Nazis were German nationalists or patriots depends on your perspective I imagine Ron Paul would call them patriots.

  11. gets the chills when someone sings God Bless America really well.

    Many years ago (1995, I believe), in the course of the pre-race rigamarole at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, the local talent brought in to sing the Star Spangled Banner flamed out about halfway through; the crowd came to the rescue and finished it off for her. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention, out there on the grid.

    Those were simpler times.

  12. The aforementioned Orwell piece:

    Notes on Nationalism

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

    Comment I found summarizing some of it –

    Orwell defined patriotism as “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people.”

    According to Orwell, nationalism is the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or an idea, and “placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

    Quote from his paper =

    “”All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral color when committed by ‘our’ side.? The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.””

  13. Even though we use nation to refer to this country, when you use nationalist I think it still derives from the old meaning of nation as in differentiating between certain peoples. As Jesse pointed out they can transcend borders like kurdish nationalist, black nationalist, white nationalist or trying to united the germanic people.

    Patriotism is also troubling because it is defined by the governmental boundries established, so it is very difficult for it not to turn into government worship. I like vancouver just as much as Seattle, am I not patriotic?

  14. I think “nationalism” necessarily has a racial overtone. For that reason I don’t see how the US strictly speaking can be nationalist. The fact is that the US such as it is is nothing but a spot on the map. Despite efforts to the contrary, anyone who lives here can become an America. Being an American is the product of where you live. “Nationalism” in every other context I can think of is a product of who you are. I could move to Korea or Germany but I really couldn’t ever become a Korean or German nationalist because I am not a Korean or German. But, anyone can move to the US and claim to be an American not just politically but culturally.

  15. I would however take anything West of Alberta

    A history teacher once told us that sometime in the 19th Century the US could have had all of the Yukon, BC, and NW Territories for Maine.

    I have no idea if that is urban myth or not, but it was true at one time people didn’t see the value of vast swaths of primeval forested land.

  16. I’m a patriot to the extent that America personifies the idea of freedom, which is actually pretty well relative to other countries.

    Also, I think our mountains are majesticer than other countries’, and our plains are more fruity.

  17. Old patriotic movies don’t do it for me. An actor recently died, one I wasn’t really familiar with, and PBS showed a clip of him playing a part beside John Wayne in the Alamo.

    The two were guffawing together, and exhibiting 1940’s era notions of manliness. Pretty much all displays of masculinity in cinema were goofy until Robert De Niro came along with his roll in Taxi Driver (his Vito was a superb example too).

    Speaking of the Great One, the one movie that really gets my patriotic blood red hot is The Deer Hunter. By the end of that movie, you feel as fucked over in the National sense as the soldiers in that movie.

  18. fifty-four forty or fight!

  19. Huh. As an open boarders enthusiast, I’ve been preaching the end of nationalism for some time. I’ve also been preaching the end of citizenship as well. Patriotism? If there were a serious threat to my way of life, I’d fight for it.

  20. I like vancouver just as much as Seattle, am I not patriotic?

    Sure — you’re a patriotic northwesterner.

  21. Huh. As an open boarders enthusiast, I’ve been preaching the end of nationalism for some time. I’ve also been preaching the end of citizenship as well. Patriotism? If there were a serious threat to my way of life, I’d fight for it.

    How people feel about their Nation/State/Continent or even Race/Gender is their business. When they want me to write a check to support them, or any other form of deprivation though edict then it becomes my business.

  22. “How people feel about their Nation/State/Continent or even Race/Gender is their business. When they want me to write a check to support them, or any other form of deprivation though edict then it becomes my business.”

    That is okay, just leave and don’t take any of the benefits from living here. For all its faults the US is still a better place to live than most of the rest of the world by any measure. It is only that way because for the last 230 years people have felt differently than you and actually been willing to pay a price in blood and money to make it that way. You in contrast get to wake up every day and suck off that tit and do nothing for it other than be lucky enough to be born here.

  23. Just what we need. More labels.

  24. Sure — you’re a patriotic northwesterner.

    Patriotism seems to have more of a state component to it. Everything under the sovereignty of the US is american patriotism and same for the Canada.

  25. That is okay, just leave and don’t take any of the benefits from living here. For all its faults the US is still a better place to live than most of the rest of the world by any measure. It is only that way because for the last 230 years people have felt differently than you and actually been willing to pay a price in blood and money to make it that way. You in contrast get to wake up every day and suck off that tit and do nothing for it other than be lucky enough to be born here.

    Did you get misty eyed with every rising wave of sanctimony in your body as you wrote this drivel?

  26. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

  27. Patriotic dyslexics untie!

  28. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    Which, of course, doesn’t mean that every patriot is a scoundrel. Really, patriotism can only serve as a place for scoundrels to take refuge if the vast majority of patriots aren’t scoundrels.

  29. Labels can be such slippery things when people get involved. Too bad we need them sometimes.

  30. British Columbia will be ours, as soon as Qu?bec succeeds in seceding.

    Free Missoura!

  31. TWC

    I don’t know about “…the US could have had all of the Yukon, BC, and NW Territories for Maine” but in the 1870s it was touch and go whether British Columbia would join Canada or the US. Opinion in the then British colony was pretty strongly in favor of the latter (most of its residents were Americans, after all). And the British government at that point didn’t much care either way.

    It wasn’t until the Canadian government promised to build a transcontinental railway that the BCers came around.

    My grandfather said that when he was growing up in Bar Harbor in the 1890s/19oughts (he was born in 1893) they felt closer cultural ties to Nova Scotia than to to anywhere in the USA.

    When I was at school in Canada in the sixties my history teacher said that when he was a kid in Nova Scotia in the 20s there was still a sizable chunk of the population that ranted about what a sellout Confederation was and how they should’ve “joined the States” when they had a chance.

    Back in 1964 or so Macleans magazine did a survey on attitudes towards joining the US. At that time something like 29% were in favor. The highest in the Maritimes (with something like 39%) and Alberta (33%+/-).

    Of course, I doubt it’s anywhere near that today, but I suspect it’s higher that most people think.

  32. Jesse,

    St Joe is on the state line – any weapons stashed west of there would be in Kansas, something completely out of the question for a Missouri Nationalist. See: Quantrill.

  33. Of course, the true Patriots are Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Boeing:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/31/AR2008033102789.html?hpid=topnews

    Rent Seekers of the World Unite (That includes you John)!

  34. British Columbia will be ours, as soon as Qu?bec succeeds in seceding.

    Free Missoura!

    I never liked Missoura! But then this kid, Tyler Hansbrough came along. Now, I say God bless, Missoura!

  35. A patriot is like a man who thinks his wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. A nationalist is like a man who feels insulted if you think your wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.

  36. If you describe someone as a “Missouri patriotess,” you’re saying she has a strong affection for the place she lives in. If you call her a “Missouri nationaliste,” you’re implying she’s some sort of secessioniste/ess

  37. Dude, just west of St. Joe is Kansas. Nothin’ but dayum free-staters over that way.

  38. perhaps with a stash of arms hidden just west of St. Joe. I’m going to go out on a limb

    Get you own damn arm to go out on!

  39. According to FEMA, most of you sound like terrorist.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XC1fk_EO3c

    and according to the CIA, most of you look like terrorist

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN3032631620080330?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBO7xBpJtoc

    yep, blue eyed blond haired Al Quada is now a talking point from the governemnt. How does that make you feel?

  40. Steve: You wouldn’t want to store the arms where the Missouri authorities could get to them, do you?

  41. Hmmmm. A patriot is like a man who fights for the honor of his wife.

    A nationalist is like the man who rents his wife out as a harlot on Saturdays and dresses her up as a matron on Sundays.

  42. Patriotic Dyslexics Untie!

  43. I think that properly, “patriotism” and “nationalism” should mean the same thing — “love of one’s nation.” However, the meaning of “nation” has become confused with that of “the State.” And in practice I think “nationalism” has become misidentified to mean “love of one’s State.” Then again, so is “patriotism.”

    If that is confusing, then I need to once again reprint something I last posted on H&R about a year ago, but it originates in the future:

    ——————————————

    To understand this period of world history, it is necessary for the student to become familiar with certain terms, some of which are now obsolete:

    Country – A particular geographic region, as variously defined by a common climate, terrain features, or artificial or natural boundaries.

    Nation – An extended group of people who feel an affinity with each other on the basis of common culture, common descent or other shared trait they hold as important. Similar to “tribe,” but usually applied to a larger group. A nation may be largely confined to a particular country (Texians) or it may be widely scattered (Jews).

    State – A criminal syndicate that claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force for creating and enforcing rules within a certain geographic region. (Local states may be allied in a pattern of fealty with a larger, over-arching regional state.)

    Patriotism – Love of one’s nation, usually combined with affection for the country which that nation inhabits.

    Modern readers often have great difficulty in understanding the Warring States period (1789-2019) because writers of that time often used the terms “country,” “nation” and “state” interchangeably — sometimes in a deliberate attempt to confuse and deceive, but more often simply out of an unquestioned habit of mind. During that period, most of the world was ruled by states, each of which indeed claimed to rule a particular nation inhabiting a particular country. For example, during that period the “French nation,” the “country of France” and the territory and people ruled by “the French state” were essentially one and the same.

    Because of this close identification, many patriotic people also closely identified with the state that ruled them — absurd as this may seem to us today. At the same time, those who dissented from their ruling state were often accused of “lacking patriotism.”

    — from Western Culture: The Roots of Modern Civilization; Volume 8: Wither the State
    English edition
    Uploaded 2112 Adam Smith University Press
    http://ssww.asu.ay/pubs/westernculture/8_state
    Urbital of Alta Ayngrad
    Anglo-Yankish Anarcho-Commonwealth
    Cislunar Orbital Zone

  44. yep, blue eyed blond haired Al Quada is now a talking point from the governemnt. How does that make you feel?

    It’s about time. This brown eyed, brown haired, patriotic American never did trust those assholes.

  45. For all its faults the US is still a better place to live than most of the rest of the world by any measure. It is only that way because for the last 230 years people have felt differently than you and actually been willing to pay a price in blood and money to make it that way.

    Partially true. Many of our soldiers have fought for our freedom, and we should be grateful for that.

    Partially not true. The sad truth is that many of our soldiers have fought to steal territory from others or oppress native populations or for no good reason at all. Even for that, we should show gratitude to the ordinary soldier who had his heart in the right place, thinking he was on the side of right.

    Partially not true, for another reason. A lot of what makes the U.S. such a great place had to do with people engaging in trade, hard work, and fun.

  46. Many years ago (1995, I believe), in the course of the pre-race rigamarole at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, the local talent brought in to sing the Star Spangled Banner flamed out about halfway through; the crowd came to the rescue and finished it off for her. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention, out there on the grid.

    I was at a high school wrestling match where the scratchy taped version of the SSB crapped out bad, this was the winter of 2001 if I recall correctly. The opposing team’s heavyweight wrestler stepped in and amazed everyone with singing the SSB in a clear baritone. I believe he kicked ass on the mat, too, but it was probably the most memorable rendition I’ll have, in a good way. The worst was a Wash Redskins cheerleader who forgot the words halfway through, can you imagine 50K people watching you screw that up?

  47. “I could move to Korea or Germany but I really couldn’t ever become a Korean or German nationalist because I am not a Korean or German”

    I disagree. I think one can be British (ancestry) and also be an Irish Nationalist. Or maybe Spanish and also a Basque Nationalist. You might deem such an individual’s perspective insincere, I don’t.

    In Hawaii are many who believe: (1) Hawaii is the greatest, most beautiful place in the world; (2) people born in Hawaii are superior to people born in other places; and (3) Hawaii should break from the US and re-assert the Kingdom.

    Many of these folks were born in California. I would call them Hawaii nationalists. They do have guns hidden, BTW.

    Same holds for Texas.

    And what of a militant Black Nationalist who undergoes DNA testing & discovers she is Native America and not of African ancestry (unless you go back as far as the great migration, rendering us all African)? Assume the test results do not change her political views one iota, is she, by definition, no longer a Black Nationalist?

    It aint necessarily so.

  48. Patriotism is hats, Nationalism is guns.

  49. I’m a patriot, Lonewacko is a nationalist.

    End of discussion.

  50. SxCx:

    Patriotism is hats, Nationalism is guns.

    Love the definition (teh funny!), but its not quite there yet. Patriots often wear hats and carry guns at the same time. Just sayin’.

  51. I’m a patriot, Lonewacko is a nationalist.

    You may be a patriot, GILMORE. But Lonewacko is an ignorant asshole.

  52. Alright then: Nationalism guns up, Patriotism guns down.

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