Patriotic dissent.

You hear the words “Dissent Is the Highest Form of Patriotism” thrown around a lot and I have some problems with this.  Some people attribute this to Thomas Jefferson but that is not true. I don’t know who the first person to say it was but some sources claim it was Howard Zinn so the phrase is rather new to the public discourse.  Either way it doesn’t really matter who said it though since it’s kind of silly when you think about it.  Dissent is not the highest form of Patriotism, dying to protect you country and it’s people is the highest form of patriotism.  Dissent, while necessary in an open and just society sometimes is really just a vapid asshole running his mouth and acting like he is brave for doing so.  It’s not brave in a society where the basic tenants of law guarantee someone the right to speak openly and freely.   Try running your mouth in North Korea that’s brave!

I am not talking down on the idea of dissent, it is necessary and in fact quite proper in many situations, but it does depend on the context.  I do it all the time.  That’s half of what this whole blog is about, the other half being making fun of things I find silly.

It is patriotic to dissent from the government when you feel they make a mistake and when they deviate from the constitution, granted your understanding of the constitution might be different from theirs but that is why we have the freedoms to openly debate these things.  It’s also perfectly acceptable to try to get things in the constitution changed when you feel that they are inappropriate and need to be fixed.  Yes it is perfectly  legitimate to try to change the government but the question is how you want to change it.  If you want to tear down the whole thing and replace it with an entirely new system such as communism that is not patriotic, that is treason if you actually try to work toward it.  If you want to throw all the bums out and start over by electing new and hopefully better people without tearing down the constitution that is or at least can be patriotic.

When Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam and help them spread propaganda that was treason it wasn’t patriotic.  Yes there where perfectly  legitimate reasons for people to be part of the peace movement and for trying to stop the war, however to be actively involved in sending out propaganda for the other side is not in any way patriotic or appropriate, even if you don’t want to call this treason.

Take the people who celebrate when American Soldiers get killed.  This is not patriotic in any sense of the word and while it is their right to do so don’t get angry when people call you unpatriotic for it.  When you see communists in America using their Freedoms to rail about the US and support the nations enemies that is not patriotic that is quite close to treason depending on the context of course.  Then we have the people who burn American flags.  Burning the American flag at a protest is in no way patriotic, or even appropriate.  I don’t think it should be legal to start lighting anything on fire in the middle of the street during a protest because it can be dangerous to people around you.  However if it’s in the fire pit in your back yard go right ahead since it isn’t in a situation where it could cause damage to public or private property, much less hurt the people around you.  Also for anyone who doesn’t know this, burning is the proper way to dispose of a flag.

Freedom of Speech is one of the most important ideas in all of history.   It is what allows us to have a and maintain the Republic, because we can have the public debates necessary for self government.  However there are many people and organizations in America – and every country – that can be considered a Fifth Column.  What is the motive for dissent, is it out of love for your country or is it about hatred?  Is it out of a general disagreement with the policies of the government and the politicians or is it out of hate for the Nation itself?   These are the questions you must always ask.

“Dissent is patriotic only if the dissenter is a patriot. Otherwise it’s plain old treason.” ~ The People’s Cube




  1. “Dissent, while necessary in an open and just society sometimes is really just a vapid asshole running his mouth and acting like he is brave for doing so. ”

    Well said. It’s a fine line between treason and patriotic dissent. Too often, those on the left lean towards the former, imo.

  2. Hmmm…. that would mean that the US Governement, since the Federal Reserve Act in the early 1900s, has not been patriotic at all. In fact, it’s just been building up to a Socialist Tyranny, presumably the beginnings of a New World Order.

    In actual fact, the Patriot Act can be considered quite unpatriotic, as it deprives the citizens of many human rights. Naming the act the Patriot Act is about as apt as naming N. Korea the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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