A Lesson in Patriotism for Chris Matthews

As Thomas Paine put it, "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government."


Chris Matthews is the smartest man on MSNBC only because most of the rest of MSNBC consists of functional illiterates (Ed Schultz, Al Sharpton), the mentally ill (Larry O'Donnell) and the Media Matters zombies who are incapable of independent thought (Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes).

In the kingdom of the retarded, the man with one brain cell is king. On any local television station, Chris Matthews would be the guy who brought everyone else the coffee. On MSNBC, he's the only guy who can tell time on a clock without any help.

That doesn't make him less of an idiot.

THOMAS ROBERTS: It’s weird Orrin Hatch — with Chuck Todd, he kept calling it a bill. He kept referring to Obamacare as a bill.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know why? He wants to disrespect it. Disrespect for institutions, for the election of a president, for the American voter who elected him is a real problem and why they can call themselves patriots as they do that is highly inconsistent. The patriot is the person who accepts the law and the patriot is the one who believes in compromise, who believes in government.

I'm not sure what dictionary Chris Matthews is reading from, but he couldn't be more wrong if he were Al Sharpton. Patriot comes from Patria. It refers to love of the fatherland. The reference at its core is not even to the state, but to the homeland.

To the extent that Patria was associated with the state, it certainly wasn't associated with some inflexible notion of submission to authority. The idea that the patriot believes in compromise rather than fighting for what he believes in is alien to the American notion of patriotism.

Chris Matthews confuses patriotism with something like obedient citizenship. If so it's a poor choice of words.

The American usage of Patriot contrasted with that of Loyalist. It was a deliberate contrast. Unlike the Loyalist, the Patriot was devoted to his native soil rather than to any government.

Thus for example, Sam Adams wrote, "If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."

The patriots are not those obedient to the highest seats of government. They are a resistive force who have a higher loyalty.

Or as Thomas Paine put it, "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government."

Or as Theodore Roosevelt put it, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

It's Chris Matthews who is unpatriotic.