In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, this morning on her radio show, Diane Rehm hosted a segment on patriotism in America and asked her guests to give their personal meaning of the term. Author and journalist Haynes Johnson stated, “I don’t like people who beat their chests and say they’re more patriotic than their fellow Americans.” But conservative columnist Tony Blankley disagreed, saying one person can be “more patriotic” than another and even suggested that environmentalists are not patriotic:
BLANKLEY: I would take it [to] another area where I think patriotism is slipping…people who have views on the environment may feel that they’re more loyal to the environmental principle than they do to American advancement. We see this very specifically on the question of the Kyoto treaty.
HAYNES JOHNSON: I don’t like people who beat their chests and say they’re more patriotic than their fellow Americans.
REHM: And Tony Blankley, what about you?
BLANKLEY: I’d like to put forward a proposition for this discussion. I’ve thought about this over time. I think patriotism is a form of love – love of country. And like other loves, they can be more intense, they can be faithful, they can be intermittent, they can be weak.
By the way which means that the opposite of patriotism isn’t necessarily treason; it may simply mean indifference or divided sentiments. And I think in that way, there can be a person who is more patriotic and it doesn’t mean the person who is less patriotic is a traitor.
One evidence — and I think Obama and Wes Clark got tangled in it this week. One evidence, not the exclusive one of one’s love of country is one’s willingness to put one’s life on the line. Its not the sole test, there are other ways of doing it but a person who volunteers to do that we presume has a deep love, just as you would defend your wife or children because you love them against all dangers or risks. […]
BLANKLEY: I agree with Haynes, I would take it [to] another area where I think patriotism is slipping is that people, some Americans, are developing loyalties to things — not — other than the country’s. Take the international businessman a major corporate leader of a multi-national corporation. The people who work there. They tend to think of their interests in the company across borders not like their grandfather similarly situation or their grandmother’s thinking of them as an American corporation.
Similarly, people who have views on the environment may feel that they’re more loyalty to the environmental principle than they do to American advancement. We see this very specifically on the question of the Kyoto treaty where people who believe in environmentalism to that degree say we should give up our economic expansion while other parts of the world don’t have to for the general good interests of the world.