Author Topic: National Pride  (Read 244 times)

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Offline EC

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National Pride
« on: January 16, 2014, 02:51:39 PM »
As any more than casual readers here have noticed, we like teasing each other here. Sports teams, states, nations - we will wind each other up. Unless someone is having a bad day, nothing gets read into it. It's just good natured ribbing between friends, with no malice intended or understood. A little fun among the more serious topics of the day. No one can stay serious 24/7, no matter how the news tries to bring you down. It's one of the more admirable aspects of being a conservative. The ability to laugh, not just at others, but at yourself.

Yet, it is a foolish thing in some ways. After all, it is a rather large planet. Why should an accident of birth place be a source of pride? Sports teams make sense. You choose to support them. Nations, on the other hand ....

If you look at the total world population, the people who choose to emigrate to another country are a statistical rounding error. Not even noticeable. The last nation to have a huge immigrant population is, surprise, the USA. The most nationality conscious nation? The USA, hands down.

It's no bad thing.

To put into context here, the year Columbus "discovered" America (yes you get the scare quotes) was the same year our family home was finished. When your family has been living in the same place longer than a nation has existed, you tend to take a slightly longer view of things. And it is bad. The last time we got seriously stirred up? Well over a thousand years ago. That is a long time to establish a national identity.

So what is it about America? What makes it different? I would posit three things.

1/ It is possibly the first truly egalitarian society. Most Americans are friendly folks. Worryingly friendly to us Old World types, but that's our problem. You go into a crowded diner, sit where you can, and people will talk to you. Might be some homeless guy coming in to warm up. Might be some CEO grabbing a bite. You can never tell, but the one thing they all have in common, the willingness to talk. My God, do they talk. Share personal details that - over here - you only reveal to your partner.

2/ The founders were educated, smart and working from scratch. Well.not completely from scratch. They had all of human history to look at and pick the best bits from. Have you ever really looked at the Constitution and the Amendments? Pulled from at least 7 different nations and mushed together under the toughest law system ever devised - English Common Law. Yet it works, like peanut butter and chocolate.

3/ Luck, as far as timing goes. 1776. Big year for you guys. You said "screw this" and declared independence. Good for you. Here in the UK it was barely a blip on the radar - we were having another one of our interminable wars with France. Honestly, we have fought so often that we both get comped drinks. Do you really think that some rag tag band of militia could deal with the British Empire if we were paying full attention? Why fuss about a colony that doesn't even pay taxes, when our old foe is rattling it's muskets?
OK, that stung. The Boston Tea party was all about tax! Well, duh. We'd just paid for the French Indian war. The most fervent of the founders? A tea smuggler. Name is Hancock, you may recognize it. The second most fervent? A certain Mr Franklin, who rarely if ever bothered to pass on diplomatic notes. You guys got lucky.

So - why admire the USA? A country built by chance and luck?

It's something new. Something different. A glorious experiment worth fighting for and preserving.

Just don't ask me to diss my own home in praise of yours. My home was there when your country didn't exist.
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Offline Relic

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Re: National Pride
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 03:06:36 PM »
So - why admire the USA? A country built by chance and luck?

It's something new. Something different. A glorious experiment worth fighting for and preserving.

Just don't ask me to diss my own home in praise of yours. My home was there when your country didn't exist.

People take pride in things familiar. I like the Ohio countryside and weather, and that's not logical. We take pride in our families, and that's a chance of birth. We take pride in our cities versus neighboring cities, but unite versus other states. It's just human nature.

I've lost that pride for this country. I am a veteran, and I loved this country growing up. The progressive movement has made gains I'd never have thought possible. I have family members who I don't much talk to anymore because they've adopted the MSNBC brand of progressivism as their guiding light.

I know you like America, and you'll be just as anguished as most of us, watching America bow off of the world stage to become a ineffectual welfare state.

To me, this country is now simply a chunk of land, populated by some very undesirable characters. Sure, there are good people here, but the numbers keep tilting toward the undesirables, more and more each day. That accident of birth keeps me here.

Offline EC

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Re: National Pride
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 03:14:49 PM »
I've lost that pride for this country. I am a veteran, and I loved this country growing up. The progressive movement has made gains I'd never have thought possible. I have family members who I don't much talk to anymore because they've adopted the MSNBC brand of progressivism as their guiding light.

I know you like America, and you'll be just as anguished as most of us, watching America bow off of the world stage to become a ineffectual welfare state.

To me, this country is now simply a chunk of land, populated by some very undesirable characters. Sure, there are good people here, but the numbers keep tilting toward the undesirables, more and more each day. That accident of birth keeps me here.

Of course I like America. It ain't geography. America is you. All of you here. It isn't a place. It's a state of mind.

Sure - to my ears you  guys can be brash and loud - but so what? Doesn't stop me being proud of you, any more than your younger brother being a pain stops you being proud of him and cheering him on.
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Offline AbaraXas

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Re: National Pride
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 03:22:09 PM »
Just to expound on some of those things.

1. I believe more than being an egalitarian society, unlike most of the world at the time, we weren't a caste based society. We had a unique society where your destiny wasn't tied to your birth status. That homeless man could become the CEO. The man who was born to nothing could become a statesman. With that said, it made a difference in how we looked at each other (for the most part, you still had cultural norms of the time, but it was very different than what one found in the world but had roots in the 3rd English Civil War where all classes fought together against the royalists (see 3)).

2. Many were also Freemasons which gave them a greater personal duty and outlook. In the Fraternity, they were equal brothers with men of all classes and it impacted how they viewed the world (see #1).

3. Maybe barely a blip is what they wanted, but in reality, it was the culmination of some very important events, the signing of the Magna Carta (reducing royalist power and creating a parliamentary rule) and the Scottish Civil War (you probably call it the Third English Civil War or the Irish Confederate Wars depending on what part of the UK you are from) which fought between the parliamentarians (English) and royalists (Scots and Irish). What became of our nation and our Constitution directly had roots philosophically and legally in the Magna Carta and inspiration from defeating Charles 1st and the pushing out the Stuarts.  Ironically, the exact same arguments and reasoning used against Charles 1st by the English were later used against both the Royalists and Parliament by the Colonies in the American Revolution. This wasn't part of some blip in the history of the British Empire, this was part of the tidal wave of change that had been going on for over 100 years.

4. The Boston Tea Party wasn't actually about an increase in taxes but regulations passed without their input. They were railing against the Tea Act, which the British government enacted in the spring of 1773. Rather than inflicting new levies, however, the legislation actually reduced the total tax on tea sold in America by the East India Company and would have allowed colonists to purchase tea at half the price paid by British consumers. The Tea Act, though, did leave in place the hated three-pence-per-pound duty enacted by the Townshend Acts in 1767, and it irked colonists as another instance of taxation legislation being passed by Parliament without their input and consent. The principle of self-governance, not the burden of higher taxes, motivated political opposition to the Tea Act. In other words, it was about the rights of individuals, not just about a buck.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 03:24:32 PM by AbaraXas »


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