On Patriotism

“Sometimes I think you’re not very patriotic,” said Mr. Bates (of Bates & Wheelock, the noted bankruptcy attorneys).

Mr. Magundi almost displayed some emotion at this accusation. “‘My country right or wrong’ is the rallying cry of imbeciles, not of patriots. If the people are the ultimate source of legitimate power in government, then a good citizen must be a good parent to his country, guiding her in the path of right, and correcting her when she strays into the wrong.

“Tell me: What would you say if a child punched an old woman, stole a car, robbed a bank, and shot a policeman, and his mother merely kissed him on the cheek and said, ‘My child, right or wrong’? We would all call that mother a bad parent. In the same way, anyone who stands idly by while his government acts like a schoolyard bully, and who abuses those who object to the bullying, is simply a bad citizen, and certainly not a patriot.”

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