January 30, 2007
Is Dissent the Highest form of Patriotism
Probably old news to veteran bloggers, but has everyone seen these Bumper Stickers? Do people put these on their cars to encourage general dissent, dissent against the current administration or as some sort of an ego road trip? I've seen a lot of these around recently and ran into this one yesterday. I've read more about Jefferson lately and this quote was bugging me because it seemed out of character. Like sometimes people will say that the God commands us to kill because they saw it in the bible.
I looked for the quote with some expectation that it was taken out of context and the whole message would not support dissension as the highest form of patriotism. I wasn't prepared for such a well known and widely distributed quote being just flat wrong. According to the Jefferson Library, he never said it at all and in fact they find it out of character also, citing the following substantiated quote:
"Political dissension is doubtless a less evil than the lethargy of despotism: but still it is a great evil, and it would be as worthy the efforts of the patriot as of the philosopher, to exclude it's influence if possible, from social life. The good are rare enough at best. There is no reason to subdivide them by artificial lines. But whether we shall ever be able so far to perfect the principles of society as that political opinions shall, in it's intercourse, be as inoffensive as those of philosophy, mechanics, or any other, may well be doubted."
TJ to Thomas Pinckney, 29 May 1797
This hardly seems a cattle call for dissenters. And in fact, if I read this correctly, I believe he is saying that patriots should avoid dissenion. Wow! The anti-US, anti-Bush crowd will be rocked at their foundation. Or... they won't do anything at all because this quote/lie is actually well known, just not by me until now. I think I need to come up with a new bumpersticker:
Lying is the Sleeziest form of Patriotism
Posted by WallyWallace at January 30, 2007
08:01 AM | Email This
This past weekend, as I watched C-SPAN and viewed portions of the antiwar (anti-victory) protest in Washington, D.C., I heard one of the speakers allude to this slogan.
Dissent the "highest form" of patriotism? I think not. Arguably, the "highest form" of patriotism is that that of the soldier who courageously risks life and limb to protect our freedoms, including the freedom to dissent.
Dissent can be right or wrong, useful or pointless, productive or counter-productive.
The RIGHT to dissent is an important value, but dissent itself must be judged on its own merits.
Dissent will only be considered by the Left to be the highest form of patriotism until we have a democrat president again someday. Then dissent will be OUT (*at least to the Left).
Dissent is certainly a right we have; make no mistake. And we have all disagreed with something at one time or another. But I think the highest form of patriotism is loving your country and speaking well of it. The left is constantly criticizing America and its citizens for one thing or another, and has been known to describe America as a "sick mother". (yes, amazing I know, but true). Me--I think this is a great nation.Period. And am grateful to be a part of it. I love this country.
I wonder. If dissent was the highest form of patriotism, how does that conform to the patriots of 1775?
The patriots of 1775 were willing to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to secure independence from England. If someone dissented from this view, what were they against?
An independent America.
Were they considered patriots? Probably not, they were probably considered Tories - supporters of the enemy - patriots for the Crown - the enemy.
The ability to dissent is the highest form of free speech, but it certainly is not the highest form of patriotism.
4. I DO question their patriotism.