Conservative to the Core

Since when is nationalism a bad thing?

By Tom Seymour | Sep 08, 2017

My Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary describes nationalism as “…loyalty and devotion to a nation; a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

In other words, a nationalistic person is a proud American.

And until recently, being a proud American was considered a good thing. Now, in the wink of an eye, nationalism and patriotism have fallen from favor. This new movement, intent upon destroying traditional American culture, pride, ethos and standards, ranks as far more dangerous than any external threat we can imagine. United we stand and divided we fall and we are now seriously divided.

Despite what those who would tear us apart think, America remains the best and most favored country in the history of the world. Nowhere are citizens treated better. America is a country that helps its poor and downtrodden. America is a country where anti-government speech is permitted.

Show me a third-world country or a communist or socialist dictatorship where the populace shares nationalistic feelings. There is no such place, of course, which explains why everyone wants to come to America, why some even resort to illegal entry, just to escape other places where their lives are nothing but a living hell.

A friend from Scotland who moved to Maine in the 1930s summed the situation up perfectly. He said, “Scotland is a wonderful place, but America is the best.”

Benefits outlined

We Americans live under a system of checks and balances, as put forth in the United States Constitution. This system keeps us safe and keeps our constitutionally derived liberties intact.

The founders, those who formed our nation, who wrote its laws and set our democratic republic on its feet, are being vilified because they lived at a time when slavery was the law of the land. But eventually, the freedom they proclaimed through the Constitution was granted to every person despite race, religion or nationality of origin.

Thus the framers of the Constitution, though many of them were slave owners, put in place that which ultimately would end slavery. In other words, our founders saw the mountain, but didn’t get to touch it. But now, we all live on that mountain and our place there is thanks to the framers.

The benefits of being an American are unlike those available to citizens of any other country. Here, anyone with ambition and dedication can make a comfortable living in his or her chosen profession. And those who are truly unable to help themselves are helped by the government. And yes, there is waste and fraud. But better that 10 shysters get away with cheating than one worthy individual be denied help.

Let’s consider some of our basic freedoms. We Americans can simply pick up and go, go to any place in the United States without first securing government permission. That is a big deal indeed. Freedom of movement, of travel, allows for complete individual expression.

For instance, if things where we live are not to our liking, we can leave. Don’t like it where you live? Then find a more suitable location and relocate. And as an American citizen, it’s possible for someone from one state to move to another and after establishing residency, take part in local government. This is something that people living under despots in other countries would do anything to enjoy. And many of us take it for granted because that’s the way it always was.

And then we have freedom of speech. Here again, America permits its people to voice their thoughts and opinions. Try doing that in, say, North Korea, China or Russia and see what happens.

That same freedom of speech allows us to protest that of which we disapprove. And as we have seen all too frequently lately, protests can get out of hand. But no matter what happens, the freedom to protest remains unchanged. In America, we may disagree with what some person or some group says, but we defend to the fullest their right to say it.

America permits freedom of religion and the Constitution declares that the government will not establish a state-run religion. Ask a Christian or Jew living in Iran or some other one-religion country what freedom of religion means. Those people have no freedom of religion. People who follow Judaism or Christianity are made to convert to the state-run religion under the point of a sword. And those who refuse, who continue to uphold their faith, are killed in the most horrible and sickening manner.

What about the right to keep and bear arms? While some states have set up their own, restrictive gun laws, the federal right to own firearms remains untouched. This gives Americans the right to protect themselves, their family and their property by force, if force is warranted. And that right will continue as long as the Constitution remains in effect.

So with these rights and protections, along with the other benefits of being an American citizen, it’s easy to see why so many of us remain proudly nationalistic. Let the forces of darkness do as they will. They will never prevail.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.

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