Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Obama, McCain, and Patriotism

"Love or devotion to one's country" is the definition of patriotism.

Patriotism has become an issue in this campaign. "I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine." said Senator Obama. McCain too, seemed to distance himself from efforts to question Obama's patriotism.

While they are not questioning each others patriotism, we better question it. It is the responsibility of each and every voter to ask if the people who seek to lead the United States of America really love the United States of America. To say that the question is automatically off the table is inauthentic, intellectually lazy, and very unwise in a time when global interests are increasingly bending our government to their will regardless of the will of the people.

Now as a young man, John McCain was shot down in combat and spent two years as a prisoner of our nation's enemies. Obama says that this alone makes McCain's patriotism beyond question. But does it really mean that? Benedict Arnold had far more impressive experience than John McCain had. Arnold had the military experience, what he did not have, was patriotism.

Young McCain was from a military family. There are many reasons to join the military besides patriotism. Like most of us, McCain has progressed into a different version of himself than he was in his twenties. Many of us know people who had great ardor for their country, their spouse, their religion, when young, but whose have lost their affection for those things over the course of a lifetime. In short, McCain's experiences then, while commendable, cannot insure us that he is a patriot now.

Since patriotism is love of country, the best measure of a patriot is a measure of their love to the things that define their own nation and its interests. In the United States that means adherence to a constitutional republican form of government with a series of checks and balances. It balances freedom with law. It is a product of western civilization.

With their commitment to opening the floodgates of immigration (with grossly inadequate checks to make sure the aliens know and trust the things which define the United States); with NAFTA and other trans-national treaties; with support for a federal welfare state; restrictions on free political speech in the name of "campaign finance reform"; and disdain for the Constitution's limits on the Federal government, neither McCain nor Obama could be considered to be patriots. They don't seem to love the things that make the USA distinct, nor do they concern themselves with preserving her as a sovereign nation.

One of the biggest issues in the upcoming election is one that will seldom be spoken of, because both major party candidates and the corporations which own the media all agree on it. The issue is whether the United States will continue to be a free and sovereign nation in which our own constitution is the supreme law of the land or whether we will continue with "trade agreements" and "economic integration"; with "public-private partnerships" between global corporations whose interests are not strictly tied to the well-being of the USA; or "immigration reform" which will take a population which is already far less literate on the intricacies of self-government than prior ones and dilute its capacity even more.

If we take the later course, we will lose this country and drift towards an EU style union with other countries. Our constitution will be subordinated to some international court or board's decisions.

I question the patriotism of both candidates because both espouse policies which will benefit global corporations but endanger the very existence of this country as a sovereign constitutional Republic. Until their policies change, I cannot in good conscience legitimize either of them with my vote.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

I don't think you should question the patriotism of these men but the judgement. I certainly think its possible to love this country but make unwise policy decisions.
I have no problem with policies that benefit corporations. American companies pay , I believe, the second most in taxes of any other companies in the world.
This election is between Obama & McCain.
Obama will fight terrorism with the police and McCain with Military.
Obama will put liberal judges on the Supreme Court and McCain conservative judges.
Obama will raise taxes and McCain will keep them at the current level or lower.
Obama wants government run healthcare for even illegals--can we afford that?
Obama is not pro second amendment and McCain is.
This election is to important to sit out and let Obama win.

6:55 PM, July 01, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Rick,

I am not convinced that they love the country. Not the country that I grew up in, not the one the Founders began. I am not convinced that either of them loves that country. They are both globalists all the way.

I have no problem with policies that benefits all business enterprises with a generally friendly commercial climate. What I object to is the government picking "partners" and forming alliances with some favored businesses at the expense of others. Companies are spending more on lobbying and less on advertising because they no longer have to convince you to buy their product of your own free will, they just use their congressman to pass a law forcing you to buy what they are selling.

On Iraq, I want to leave it to the Iraqis, McCain is willing for us to occupy it for 100 years. I am closer to Obama than McCain on that one.

On the courts, McCain will put fascists on the court who will not repeal Roe, and Obama will put socialists. I disagree with both.

On taxes, the problem is SPENDING, taxes are only a symptom. Is borrowing and spending any more moral than taxing and spending?

McCain will keep spending and use inflation as a hidden tax just like the current one.. I disagree with both.

McCain supported the biggest expansion in government health care since FDR with the prescription drug boon doggle. McCain would simply make all the illegals legal, so what is the difference?

The 2nd amendment is one for McCain. He is almost OK on that one. Obama is not.

This country is too important to continue playing this "lesser of two sellouts" game.

8:30 PM, July 01, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

Some of your statements are unbelievable.

You said:
“Companies are spending more on lobbying and less on advertising because they no longer have to convince you to buy their product of your own free will, they just use their congressman to pass a law forcing you to buy what they are selling.”

What products are you forced to buy Mark? Nobody has come to me, twisted my arm, and told me I had to buy anything.

You said:
“On Iraq, I want to leave it to the Iraqis, McCain is willing for us to occupy it for 100 years.”

What McCain said is he is willing to stay as long as it takes to get the job done. You can disagree on whether we should have ever went into Iraq but we are there and we need to finish the job not surrender and run home with our tails between our legs. The choice between Obama and McCain are huge on this issue. We can go back to the Clinton ways of fighting terrorism by using police, who look at terror as a crime and therefore take action after the event has happened, or do we fight terrorism like Bush has with our military and understand that we are at war and must preempt any acts of terror. That’s a clear choice Mark and you are saying you are closer to Obama?

On the courts, I expect McCain will put the same quality people on the court as Bush has done, Alito & Roberts. We are one Supreme Court judge away from having a conservative court.

Either Obama or McCain will be the next President. I will not be voting third party, I will do what I can to help McCain win.

7:31 AM, July 02, 2008  
Blogger F. Prefect said...

Terrorism is piracy, and should be countered with pirate hunters and privateers if the pirates take refuge inside foreign states. We are *not* at war in a conventional sense of the term, in a sense of a war that can be won.

I do not look forward to a Minority Report type of preemptive justice.

If McCain puts the same quality people in the courts as Bush, then we can look forward to more people like Alberto Gonzales, who had to resign.

1:51 PM, July 02, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

F. Perfect,

We aren't fighting a conventional war but fighting a war none the less. This war is still against people who want to harm us regardless if its a country.

The judges, Roberts & Alito, that Bush appointed to the Supreme Court were great choices. Alberto wasn't a good choice but even Reagan made some bad appointments.
Vote for Obama and see if he puts another Janet Reno in that position.

2:43 PM, July 02, 2008  
Blogger F. Prefect said...

If the war isn't conventional, then why use conventional armies? What is wrong with using police?

Alberto got in trouble for doing what he was told to do by the White House. Bush didn't want an impartial nonpartisan in that role, or any role really.

11:25 PM, July 02, 2008  
Blogger Grand Intellect said...

Patriotism is not necessarily a good thing just like Treason is not necessarily a bad thing.

Take Johann Georg Elser, he tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler, an act obviously considered treason. He now has a concert hall named after him.
If he had been a loyal "patriot" of Germany, he would not have been remembered, let alone be given multiple monuments.

In short: Patriotism is not always good.

12:52 AM, July 03, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

F. Prefect

The problem with using police to combat terrorism is it doesn't protect the American people. Police are used to solve crimes after the fact. Military is used to preempt any terror attack. The U.S. had 12 terror attacks during the Clinton administration and it was either ignored or handled by the police in the 1993 WTC bombings. This is what led to 9/11.

4:43 AM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger F. Prefect said...

If the police have a good reason to not preempt a terrorist attack, it should apply to the military as well, why doesn't it?

2:08 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

To some extent "traitor" is a label power winners put on power losers, but it can have non-relative meanings as well.

When one understands that the God-given purpose of government is to protect the God-given rights of its citizens then Ron Paul's definition of Patriotism makes sense: "I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and out of self interest -- for himself, his family, and the future of his country -- to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. "

Patriotism in Paul's sense, is almost always a good thing. Obama and McCain have proposed and supported the unjust expansion of government power and control over the lives of citizens, therefore, neither meets the Paulian definition of "patriot" either.

For more on this issue, including how those who seek to expand power and control over their fellow citizens often beat the war drums, see.....

http://christianconstitutionalsociety.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=50

4:50 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

to Rick,

What products are you forced to buy Mark? Nobody has come to me, twisted my arm, and told me I had to buy anything.

Have they told you that you had to pay taxes? And what do those taxes buy? The government is directly buying over 10% of the goods and services in this economy, and directing how much of the rest is spent. Incandescent light bulbs will be gone in two years. Why? Because the patent is expired on them and GE can't make any margin selling them. But they can make high margins on newer ones whose patent is still operative. So they lobby the government to outlaw the old kind.

Try buying a new toilet with the same flush capacity as the old one. They are even directing you as to how big your toilet tank can be!

Try buying a care without airbags or any one of a dozen other features that they mandate. The shrinks are lobbying to mandate "mental health" be required on health insurance.

Try finding a new fridge that runs on freon. The list goes on and on.

This is not a recent phenomenon, it is just escalating. 20 years ago a friend worked for a company who sold xray machines. They had a new way of putting them together that made better xrays. They then lobbied the government to pass a law saying no xray could be made unless it had the quality level consistent with the level that only their machines at that time could produce.

There is just too much government telling too many of us what to do. We have grown so used to it that we no longer see it, but it is killing our economy.

5:00 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

ou can disagree on whether we should have ever went into Iraq but we are there and we need to finish the job not surrender and run home with our tails between our legs. The choice between Obama and McCain are huge on this issue. We can go back to the Clinton ways of fighting terrorism by using police, who look at terror as a crime and therefore take action after the event has happened, or do we fight terrorism like Bush has with our military and understand that we are at war and must preempt any acts of terror. That’s a clear choice Mark and you are saying you are closer to Obama?

Iraq is a tremendous diversion of treasure and blood that could be better spent elsewhere. It has made us weaker not stronger. When you start a "premptive war" you better be sure you have the right perp- and we didn't.

What is the job? What job is there that we can accomplish with the barrel of a gun? Can we force them at gunpoint to respect members of other groups and be virtuous citizens? That is not really a military mission? Are we there to force them to conform to our expectations of what they should be? Sure, that is a military mission, but is that one we should be doing? Is that the American way?

We can't "surrender" because there is nobody to surrender to. We already defeated the government of Iraq and deposed them. All that is left is "nation building" which is none of our business and not something that the Constitution of the United States authorizes our political class to do with American blood and treasure.

We gave them a Republic, now it is up to them to keep it. I don't see how that is surrender, or running with our tails between our legs. If anyone should be ashamed if Iraq fails it should be the Iraqis themselves.

The longer we stay the less we will be seen as liberators and the more we will be seen as occupiers- because that will be the truth.

As Grand Intellect and others pointed out, there is a third way to handle terrorism between only using police and indefinite occupation of all countries we suspect might harbor terrorists (half the world). That is the way to go because it is a more efficient use of military resources.

As far as Roberts and Alito go, I don't see any evidence they are conservatives in the sense that they want to limit government power to the confines of the Constitution. They had a perfect chance to overturn Roe and they took a pass on it. They have consistently taken a large view of state police powers. They lean more fascist than conservative.

5:14 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Grand Intellect said...

Is this the definition?

"Love or devotion to one's country"

or is it this?

I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power. The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and out of self interest -- for himself, his family, and the future of his country -- to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.' "

It's one or the other.

7:05 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The two are not mutually exclusive for people who believe in an absolute moral order, as I do.

The first definition is Webster's, which I used for the article. The second definition, used by Paul, amplifies on what it means to "love" your country. Does it mean blind support of the government? Does it mean your country can do no wrong?

Paul says "no". To love your country is to act to keep it on the right path, that is, to support the government in its efforts to maintain the natural rights of its citizens but to oppose it when it becomes destructive of those ends.

7:32 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

ps- reading the article in the URL I gave will shed a lot of light on it, Paul is brilliant in that piece.

http://christianconstitutionalsociety.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=50

7:34 PM, July 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain to spend 4th of July in Mexico City with Jeb Bush. He is a patriot all right....of the North American Union.

http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=230268

8:21 PM, July 03, 2008  
Blogger Grand Intellect said...

I could say...

Emma Goldman once said that
'Patriotism ... is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit"

...but that would not change the definition of the word!

12:43 AM, July 04, 2008  

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