Patriotism and Citizenship


We hear a lot about patriotism, individual freedom, self-reliance, fiscal conservatism, limited government, and states’ rights.

No one can deny that these are worthy values. But they are not absolute; and those who act as if they were, are serving their country poorly.

Limited government, yes; but government also needs to be responsive to the needs of (all) the people.

States’ rights are privileged in the US Constitution, but as James Madison said in Federalist Papers #10, it falls to the federal government to “reign in the excesses of the states.”

Self-reliance must be balanced by social justice. “Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.” ~ Saint Augustine

Fiscal conservatism needs to be tempered with an appreciation for government investment. Think roads, bridges, education, basic research, national parks, agricultural services, the postal service, the Centers for Disease Control.

Individual freedom is fine, but how can a nation function if no one takes responsibility for the whole of society? Is that not what government is for?

Finally patriotism: love of, pride in our country. It’s a feeling, it makes us feel good. But more important is CITIZENSHIP. We don’t hear much about that anymore. As opposed to patriotism, citizenship is ACTION for our country. It is something not tinged by ideologies; it is working together, compromising, respecting those of different views. I’d like to see more of that. Are you a good citizen?