Julian Sanchez | Patriotism as Status Socialism (or, America: F**k Yeah!)You know that annoying guy on internet message boards who is always talking about how The Simpsons already made that joke?
You can think of patriotism as a kind of status socialism—a collectivization of the means of self-esteem production. You don’t have to graduate from an Ivy or make a lot of money to feel proud or special about being an American; you don’t have to do a damn thing but be born here. Cultural valorization of “American-ness” relative to other status markers, then, is a kind of redistribution of psychological capital to those who lack other sources of it.
Well I'm that guy, except I turn to Eric Hoffer instead of The Simpsons.
The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.
— The True Believer, Section 9
Speaking of this, I liked the sentiment Rand Paul expressed in his victory speech earlier this week. Here's how Tim Cavanaugh described it:
So in his speech he declared that "America is exceptional, but it is not inherently so." It is the choice of freedom that creates the fragile exception, not a blood/soil birthright.I like America because of what it has made and can make possible, not because it is America.