Sunday, September 11, 2016

 

In Honor of Patriot Day

In 2001, Congress designated September 11th as "Patriot Day". In honor of the day here are some thoughts from one American statesman on patriotism, war, and civil liberties:

The true patriot … rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. … Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty ... we must not forget that the true patriot is the one who protests in spite of the consequences …

We are continually being reminded that 9/11 has changed everything.

Unfortunately, the policy that needed most to be changed, that is, our policy of foreign interventionism, has only been expanded …

The record since September 11th is dismal. Respect for liberty has rapidly deteriorated. Many of the new laws passed after 9/11 had, in fact, been proposed long before that attack. The political atmosphere after that attack simply made it more possible to pass such legislation. The fear generated by 9/11 became an opportunity for those seeking to promote the power of the state domestically, just as it served to falsely justify the long-planned invasion of Iraq …

Though opposition to totally unnecessary war should be the only moral position, the rhetoric is twisted to claim that patriots who oppose the war are not supporting the troops. The cliché 'Support the Troops' is incessantly used as a substitute for the unacceptable notion of supporting the policy, no matter how flawed it may be.

Unsound policy can never help the troops. Keeping the troops out of harm's way and out of wars unrelated to our national security is the only real way of protecting the troops. With this understanding, just who can claim the title of 'patriot'?

Before the war in the Middle East spreads and becomes a world conflict for which we will be held responsible, or the liberties of all Americans become so suppressed we can no longer resist, much has to be done. Time is short, but our course of action should be clear. Resistance to illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of our rights is required. Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes.

But let it not be said that we did nothing …

Source: US Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas). "Patriotism." Congressional Record 153:84 (May 22, 2007; 110th US Congress) pp. H5609-H5612.

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