Alexander's Column

American Patriot Defined

By Mark Alexander · Apr. 14, 2011

Patriots' Day: Their Sacred Honor in Defense of Liberty Endures

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” –George Washington

A young reader in the Czech Republic contacted me recently with a question. (Yes, The Patriot Post’s message of Liberty is global.)

She wrote, “We as a Czech family subscribe to The Patriot Post and read it with great interest. My homeland has been subject to the tyranny of Nationalist and Marxist Socialism. Could you please help me understand the difference between ‘patriotism’ and ‘nationalism’? In Europe, anyone who puts his country first is called a nationalist and this pejorative term is equated with patriotism.”

I responded, “Nationalism refers to a blind allegiance to the state, no matter what the nature of the state may be. American Patriotism refers to the steadfast devotion for the First Principles of our nation’s Founding, individual Liberty as ‘endowed by our Creator,’ and the extension of that legacy to our posterity. American Patriotic devotion to Liberty will always be in contest with allegiance to the state or its sovereigns, especially when it manifests in some form of Socialism.”

It is easy to understand how a Czech student might find it challenging to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. Sadly most American students, heirs to the great legacy of Liberty bestowed upon them by generations of Patriots gone before, also can’t articulate the difference.

In the early morning hours of the first Patriots' Day, April 19th, 1775, farmers and laborers, landowners and statesmen alike, pledged through action what Thomas Jefferson would later frame in words as “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.” Thus began the great campaign to reject the predictable albeit tyrannical order of the state and to embrace the difficult toils of securing individual Liberty. It was this as-yet unwritten pledge by militiamen in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which would delineate the distinction between Liberty and tyranny in Colonial America.

Why would the first generation of American Patriots forgo, in the inimitable words of Samuel Adams, “the tranquility of servitude” for “the animating contest of freedom”?

The answer to that question defined the spirit of American Patriotism at the dawn of the American Revolution, and to this day and for eternity, that spirit will serve as the first line of defense between Liberty and tyranny.

In the first months of the American Revolution, English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, a Tory loyalist, wrote that American Patriots' quest for liberty was nothing more than “the delirious dream of republican fanaticism” which would “put the axe to the roots of all government.” Johnson concluded famously, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Unlike King George’s partisans, however, American Patriots were unwaveringly loyal to something much larger than a mere man or geo-political institution. They pledged their sacred honor in support of Essential Liberty as “endowed by our Creator” and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate guidance, our Constitution.

It is this resolute devotion to the natural rights of man, the higher order of Liberty as endowed by God not government, which defines the spirit of American Patriots, and has obliged the animated contest of freedom from Lexington Green to this day.

In all the generations since the Revolution, and loudly again in the present era, the essence of Johnson’s denigration of patriotism has been repeated by all statists, who augment their disdain for Patriots with words like “fascist, nationalist and jingoist.”

These statists, Democratic Socialists in the current vernacular, would have you believe that they are the “true patriots,” and only they deserve to be the arbiters of Liberty. To grasp their extent of their distorted view of patriotism, consider Barack Hussein Obama’s rationale for higher taxes to fund more government growth this week. Obama had the audacity to suggest, “This sense of responsibility – to each other and to our country – isn’t a partisan feeling. It’s patriotism.”

Caveat emptor: As George Washington implored in his Farewell Address, “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

Liberty, as affirmed through natural law, is an abject affront to Socialists, who can claim dominion over others only if they supplant Rule of Law with their own rule. For such statists, the notion of serving a higher purpose than oneself is enigmatic; consequently, there is a raging ideological battle between Democratic Socialists and Patriots across our nation today.

Our steadfast support for Liberty and limited government is diametrically opposed to the Socialist manifesto of the Democrat Party, as reframed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, and renewed by every Democrat president since.

Regardless of how statists choose to promote Democratic Socialism, like Nationalist Socialism, it is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged. Ultimately, it likewise seeks a centrally planned economy directed by a dominant-party state that controls economic production by way of taxation, regulation and income redistribution.

Mustering in response to the current threat of tyranny, the Tea Party movement is the latest incarnation in the lineage of American Patriots serving a cause much greater than our own self-interest. It is a direct ideological descendant of the Sons of Liberty who, in 1773, boarded three East India Company ships and threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, the first Tea Party.

According to the Democratic Socialists of Barack Obama’s ilk, the Tea Party rank and file are an “angry mob” who are “waving their little tea bags” while they “bitterly cling to guns and religion.” Indeed, the spirit of American Patriots is anathema to these statists.

In fact, today’s Patriots are much like those of previous generations.

We are mothers, fathers and other family members nurturing the next generation of young Patriots. We are farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen and industrial producers. We are small business owners, service providers and professionals in medicine and law. We are employees and employers. We are in ministry at home and missionaries abroad. We are students and professors at colleges and universities, often standing alone for what is good and right.

We are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and public servants standing in harm’s way at home and around the world, who are loyal, first and foremost, to our revered oath to “support and defend” our Constitution.

We are consumers and taxpayers. We are voters.

We are not defined by race, creed, ethnicity, religion, wealth, education, geography or political affiliation, but by our devotion to our Creator, and the Liberty He has entrusted to us, one and all.

We are Patriot sons and daughters from all walks of life, heirs to the blessings of Liberty bequeathed to us at great personal cost by our Patriot forebears, confirmed in the opinion that it is our duty to God and Country to extend that blessing to our posterity, and avowed upon our sacred honor to that end. We are vigilant, strong, prepared and faithful.

In stark contrast to Samuel Johnson in 1775 and Obama today, John Adams wrote, “If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.”

To that end, Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. … Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”

In 1964, Ronald Reagan issued a clarion call for Liberty in his most famous speech, “A Time for Choosing.” He echoed the commands of Captain John Parker at Lexington Green in 1775: “There is a point beyond which they must not advance.” Reagan concluded, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

Now, on the eve of Patriots' Day 2011, and nearly five decades later, and much closer to the decline that Reagan predicted, we must choose between prosperity and poverty, between Liberty and tyranny.

Which will it be?

While contemplating that question, we should, in the words of Samuel Adams, “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, ‘What should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ … If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands, which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

If you have not already done so, please help us, in the words of Sam Adams, “set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men,” by supporting our Annual Campaign!

View all comments


Dewey E. Du Bose said:

Having served 30 years in the US Army, I still do not trust the federal government with my life or my way of life. I am willing and able to defend myself and my family against the wrong headedness of our elected officials and the illegal interpretation of our Constitution. Having weapons and being willing to use them to defend one's home, family and community is and will always be a hard decision to make for a lot of Americans. It was also a hard decision for our forefathers to make, but make it the did. To have to bear arms against ones own kind, should never be an easy thing to do, however, "Liberty, once lost is, lost forever."(John Adams)

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Linda GrayWolf-Carrero said:

Wow, that was awesome! The Lord of blessings is upon thee, and fear not the night for I am with thee. He will supply all of your needs, and you will triumph over our enemies. From one Patriot to another: thank you for your sacrifices, and contributions to our hearts which will never give up on what our ForeFathers endowed through God. Know this: We will always know the taste of freedom, because of God!

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Tboy in SW Ms. said:

Outstanding article.. Thanks once again I just donated what I could I regret it could not be more..

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Son of Black Dog in Cambridge,MD said:

From A HANDBOOK FOR JURORS: "The Constitution of thr United States and the Bill of Rights is designed to hold the national government in check; to protect the individual citizen from an unchecked all-powerful government. However, those documents are not a safeguard to liberty should they stand in the way of a government that has either the cunning to evade their requirements, or the power of force to overcome those who would attempt to defend their Constitutional rights. Consequently, if there exists no tribunal apart from, uncontrolled by, and above the government with power to nullify governments unjust "laws" as fast as they can be written and entered into our statute books, we are no longer free." Shall we save our liberty from theb attempts at ursurpation by thre current administration and its minions? Beware DOJ,BATF&E and the Ambassodor to the

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Greg D said:

I have been reading the Patriot Post off and on as time permits for the last few years. I have a daughter that is now 20 years old and in college, currently studying abroad in England. My concern is that her and all of her friends are so bleeding edge liberal as to be unrepentant Marxist. I have tried to instill in her the reasons for a conservative view but I fear I have failed. I only hope that once she actually starts working at a real career and sees the depth of the what the government asks of her and how little it gives in return for all those dollars squander that it awaken in her the spark I've tried to fan into a flame.Keep up the good work and liberty shall not pass into twilight.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM

Son of Black Dog in Cambridge,MD said:

T.Dawson Thank you for your efforts at The Appleseed Project. I implore you to consider other events of 19 April historically,(if memory serves me), Ruby Ridge, Waco, Oklahoma City. Just a thought.

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Odin said:

"To that end, Jefferson wrote, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. ... Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever."Most of your essay is good but Jefferson was referring to the enslavement of blacks in this quote, so your into is somewhat disingenuous. As for Buckley, you know he was a racist, right?

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM

The Editor replied:

Wrong on all counts, but good try.

Lady Liberty said:

T. Dawson: appleseedS or thanks!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Robert of Prague said:

Dear Mark;A great essay as always. As one reader commented, there should've been more emphasis on the individual v/ the group-think & the blind adherence of the state/party official agenda to distinguish Patriotism from Nationalism. I really know the difference. Your mentioning of the young CZ reader touched me since I came from that country. The political, legal & economic corruption there is appalling, fueled by communists/socialists & the apathy & amorality of the populace after 60 years of the red/brown menace. Most patriots & entrepreneurs were executed, robbed, incarcerated or exiled. I'd also object to your term of Democratic Socialism (D.S.); in my book, it is an oxymoron. I'd call it Neo-socialism or postmodern-socialism. As I've mentioned in my previous comments (especially under B. Prelutsky's articles) there is nothing democratic in socialism/communism, compared to the classic democracy of ancient Greece or in its present form. The only concession I'd make is that the current overt attempts of BHO & the progressives in Congress, academia & MSM might be called D.S. However, as a brief & transitory state of affairs only on the road to a total control of the state over its subjects. We already have in the USA a soft quasi-socialism w/ a thin & peeling veneer of the Republic & Federalism. Should BHO win in 2012 - heaven forbid! - the era of so-called D.S. is going to be brief indeed; the state will soon rule absolutely through a vast army of unelected bureaucrats (it already does) & more insidious & unconstitutional regulations (84,000 pages as we speak!), fees, taxes & judicial fiat & government unions even w/ the two party system remaining. One example, the recent EPA pronouncement (completely illegal & beyond idiocy) of CO2 being a hazardous substance & the vast majority of the sheeple are oblivious, yawning or applauding. Even the red comrades didn't do this to us! I am stunned by both sides of this sad equation. 2012 is going to be a fateful year indeed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Robert of Prague said:

Glenn MN;It seems that the US atheist is a different animal.I know many atheists in EU including my family who are staunch conservatives. I was raised in a defiant anticommunist & pro-American family & on the American ideals w/out any mention of God. These principles rang true to us despite our secular & scientific views. Based on reasoning & logic & direct experience w/ history, it was a no-brainer. Further, we all are, for generations, fiercely independent & defenders of Liberty; our ancestors were serfs. Ergo, my motto & creed is: "Rather free in want than rich in servitude." Lastly, to all patriots. I can assure you that the very air & everything that goes w/ it smells & feels completely different outside of the Iron Curtain. As a 21 y old escaping the Soviet tanks, I was willing to die in order to smell that for five minutes. To know that difference would've been worth it. Knowing now that our Liberty & Freedoms come from God (eternal in nature) is very powerful.Therefore, I identify deeply w/ T. Jefferson's "I have sworn eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of men." Amen. Happy Easter/Passover to all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

Robert of Prague said:

Oops;My memory is failing me. ;-)"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of man." Th. Jefferson.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Kirby said:

BelieverofTruth's comment about being out gunned is not completely incorrect. Although we (the armed citizen) have far superior numbers, the government still has far superior weaponry. If we allow the current socialist elitists to succeed in their continued efforts to restrict the kind and number of guns private citizens are allowed to own and carry, that disparity will continue to grow. It is fine to say that a single state may have more armed patriots than the army, but if they are restricted to single shot long rifles and shotguns, the numbers still will not stack up well with a small number with advanced weaponry. That is why the framers of the Constitution did not use technology limiting terms like rifle, sword, musket etc. They said “Arms”, clearly meaning whatever the latest technology of weaponry is. That is why it is vitally important that we resist the efforts by the left to restrict semi-autos, magazines greater than 10 rounds, lead bullets, etc. from private ownership.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 2:32 PM

P. MCGarry said:

I would like to add an element to the discussion about Nationalism vs Patriotism. I admit that I did not read your treatise in its entirety because I noticed that this critical element was missing. It seems to me, in my understanding of Nationalism in Communistic countrys, vs my feelings of Patriotism that a major difference is coercion. I am a patriot because I choose to love my country because of the opportunities she offers whereas many living in "unfree countrys" are coerced to support their government/country. I also have great respect for the founding father's who were willing to give all to provide the opportunity for those who came after them. It is interesting that reading about Lenin and others that once they came to power they guickly moved to "control". I read once where John Adams wanted George Washington to be crowned the King but Washington refused and sought to establish the value of Presidents. It seems to me that many of the most Nationalistic work for the government of their country in which case they are payed very well and have power and status that is unlimited compared to their county men. I am well aware that many people from other countrys left their countrys to come to America for the opportunity to be free and to establish an adaquate means of providing for their families/self because of the freedom of opportunity. Why did Mr. Gorbechav leave his beloved country to come to America if he loved his country and the standards there. My contention is that Nationalism seems to be forced, coerced, or otherwise purchased by the government in order to keep their people in check. I fear this is where many are attempting to place us in this great country and seems to be a major problem with our politics today.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

j ingold in utah said:

You might suggest to Sarah that she might see what it would take for her to go to Hillsdale College, where she will be surrounded by Patriots.
(Why didn't you think of that?)

Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM

John Burke in Anchorage, Alaska said:

I like the Patriot Post. I especially like how they don't want vets to contribute. I am a Vietnam era vet and I donated because I can afford it and like that attitude. Keep up the good work and I will continue to contribute to a great publication. I strive for our freedom in an era of left liberal anti-liberty politicians. I am a life member of the VFW and am tired of folks denigrating the U.S.


Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 12:26 PM