Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives





The True Patriot loves his country but distrusts his government.

Where does "Patriotism" go wrong?
      Corrupt politicians claim to be our Savior. They claim to bring the benefits of "salvation" to a nation: health, welfare, security -- these are the ways the Hebrew word for "salvation" is often translated in the Bible -- and this is what corrupt politicians promise to give you if you vote for them. Believing their promises is "idolatry," according to America's Founding Fathers.
      When you put the laws of your nation ahead of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," you are guilty of idolatry, or hyper-patriotism. Patriotic Germans who put Hitler above "Thou shalt not kill" were idolaters. Scientists who create weapons of mass destruction for any government are guilty of idolatry.
      Are you putting your government ahead of God?
      "Patriotism" can become a dangerous cult.
Cato Institute Forum on Patriotism

Is patriotism good for anyone other than flag manufacturers? If so, good for whom, and why? Do we have special obligations to some people simply in virtue of common membership in a nation state? If so, how is this different from special obligations to some in virtue of a common race, or a common religion? Does the unquestioned utility of shared nation-level institutions require a special sentiment, patriotism, to hold it all together? Would our institutions be more effective if we were more patriotic? Patriotism is surely useful for creating the solidarity needed to defend against an external enemy. But aren’t our potential enemies patriotic, too? If we need patriotism for defense against patriotism on the offense, wouldn’t we all be better off with multilateral disarmament?

To tackle these questions and more, we’ve assembled a lineup of world-class political theorists, starting with lead essayist George Kateb, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Emeritus at Princeton University and author of Patriotism and Other Mistakes. Commenting on Kateb’s essay, we’ll have the American Enterprise Institute’s Walter Berns, author of Making Patriots; William Galston of the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland, author of The Practice of Liberal Pluralism; and Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics, author of The Liberal Archipelago: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom.

True Patriots are not those who remain silent in the face of government abuses and departures from the Constitution. They are active and vocal in their attempts to bind down their rulers with the Constitution.

But "the Constitution" can be anything. Even the Constitution must be "under God."