What does it mean to be a patriot these days? Emma and Brittany discuss.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: When you think about being a patriot or being patriotic, I know I have like some vivid images come to my mind. I think of people waving American flags, you know, celebrating the 4th of July, standing for the Pledge of Allegiance, and gosh, what’s the, oh, the national anthem supporting our troops who are fighting in foreign wars. There’s like all these vivid images that come to mind when you think of being patriotic. And often the term patriot is kind of used to describe people who don’t question the government and who love America no matter what. And I, think that’s interesting that that’s sort of what that word has come to mean. Because originally the first Patriots, the ones who started America, they were actually fighters and that was their name for them was Patriots. And I think they would disagree with that idea quite a bit, that to be patriotic and to be, you know this patriotic person, I guess, I’m trying to think of another word, but that’s like the key word here. I think they would really disagree that to be patriotic you have to blindly love everything that the government does. And when you look back at sort of what happened in the American founding, you see plenty of evidence of that. So Brittany, do you wanna talk a little bit about the conditions that sort of led up to America being created?
Brittany: Yeah, Absolutely. So, you know, we were part of Britain for a very long time. Great Britain. That’s how we became a country. But one thing I love about patriotism is that your allegiance is not to your government. Your allegiance is not to a geographical piece of land, right? your allegiance is to a set of ideals and principles that help make a country free, that foster individualism. So let’s keep that in mind. And that’s really how the Patriots, you know, started is the Revolutionary War, actually the lead up to the Revolutionary War. When the intolerable acts and all the grievances that they list and the declaration were, were causing them to really question why they were giving allegiance to a government. They clearly didn’t care about them at all. That was ignoring them until they wanted money and then was coming in, you know, taxing the heck out of them. So I think we’ve come to see Patriot, it was a negative term. And I don’t think like people like you and I have Emma, cause I think we remember what it means, but people now associated with people dangerous, you know, we talked about domestic terrorism people associate with people who might be domestic terrorists, people who really just, you know who want to seek chaos and maybe they’re old school and it’s just, it’s so funny to me. But the word patriot back in the day was interchangeable with revolutionaries, you know, the Continentals the rebels, which sounds fun to me, but those aren’t exactly the words you used to describe people who love their government. And let’s be honest, they didn’t love their government. That’s not what they loved. They loved the idea of individual liberty, of the ideas of John Locke, who we’ve talked about before, and these classical philosophers. So they were committing treason by rebellion against their British overlords, you know, who were disrespecting their rights. And without a rebellion, we, wouldn’t have a country at all. So I would say that interchangeably is, without Patriots, we wouldn’t have a country at all.
Emma: It’s true. And that patriotism that they showed was distrust of government, that’s what started this whole thing. It’s why we have a country in the first place and they were actually considered treasonous by the British. And I think there are plenty of people in America who look at, you know, folks who see the world the way that we do, who see things from a liberty perspective and believe in limited government. And a lot of them probably see us as treason nest, because we think paying taxes is being robbed. And we think that the government shouldn’t have all of these crazy powers over us. But in reality, it is patriotic to question the government’s power because the ideas things that make us patriots are these ideas that we are born free, that we have God-given rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the Bill of Rights is an important look at what was really important to the founders. And when you look into what they were talking about and who they were addressing, they weren’t telling people, they weren’t telling Brittany and I how we need to live to be good people. They were talking to the government and saying, government, you can’t do this. You can’t do that. And everything else that’s not in here, just because we didn’t list it in here, doesn’t mean that people are, you know, have to live by all these crazy rules. Like they, they were very, very clear that they were talking to the federal government. They were talking to potential tyrants and people who might try to take people’s rights away. And they were saying, you know, hey, any powers that we don’t specifically give the government don’t belong to the government. And it’s sad because I think today it’s almost become the opposite where it’s like the government controls so many aspects of our lives that it’s almost like crazy if we can do something without asking for permission. And there are certain states that have, constitutional carry for the Second Amendment, for example, and they’re kind of the exception to the rule, which is interesting because you would think that most states would just follow what was in the constitution because it’s the best picture we have of what America was meant to be. but it’s very fascinating to me how people have sort of had this mindset shift where, you know, to be patriotic, you just kind of go along with whatever the government says. And I would actually argue that it’s the complete opposite. It’s being questioning of what the government does this measure up to those patriotic values of individual liberty that the founders were so obsessed with and that they were so fired up about they were willing to commit treason against the British. So I think there are ways that we can be patriotic today and sort of embrace that spirit. And maybe Brittany, you and I can kind of popcorn a couple of different ideas, but one that I think is really keeping an eye on what the government is doing to people. Like we’ve talked about civil asset forfeiture, where people get their money just taken away for no reason with no cause and, the government basically gets to just divvy it up like it’s loot, like they’re pirates. paying attention to stuff like that and understanding that it’s there and using your voice to call those things out. But Brittany, I don’t know if you have any other sort of modern-day ways that we can be patriotic.
Brittany: Yeah, I think one of the main ways is protecting free speech even when you don’t like what is being said. Yeah. And we say, you know, we throw this on the left or Democrats and liberals a lot, but I think everybody is guilty of somebody saying something they don’t like. And then all of a sudden they think, well now we need to have a law. You know we don’t like this, so now we need to do something to stop that. But we need to remember that everybody has their own opinion and we’re not going to agree with it. But the second you stop letting free speech, you know, be a primary principle of this country, then you’re entering very dangerous territory. Yeah. And that’s honestly, free speech is probably my biggest issue right now. And obviously, all the Bill of Rights amendments, all the things that, you know, are in there are matters but free speech specifically is just so important. And I’ll add one more. I think it’s knowing the difference between positive law and natural law, right? Yeah. Because positive law says that the government can create laws, and that’s where our rights come from. Our rights come from the government. Natural law says no, natural law says our rights come from just being born. You know, whether or not you believe in God and religion, it comes from God, all you have to do is be born, is what natural rights say. And by that, you know, that’s kind of where the Bill of Rights comes from, is that the government can’t do anything that we didn’t give them the power to do. Yeah. Positive law would say, our rights come from, you know, we’re allowed to do what the government says we can do. So it’s the opposite. So I think being a patriot means really looking at that and being willing to say, Hey, this isn’t right. You know this is not what this was intended to do.
Emma: Yeah, I totally agree. And kind of on that note too, even just studying those ideas and knowing those ideas that the founders cared so much about and that basically are the foundation for this entire country, knowing what those are and having an understanding of those ideas is so important because if you don’t understand the basics about our country, it’s gonna be pretty hard to be a good patriot and understand holding people accountable when they’re not following the rules or when they’re not following those principles. So I think doing our part to really study these ideas and know what the Bill of Rights says, and know what the Declaration of Independence says. And you don’t have to know every single word line for line, but I think there are a lot of people out there that have probably never actually read any part of the Constitution or read any part of the Declaration of Independence, which are super important. Without those things, we would not have America as we know it today. And you know, once again, you can only fight to defend those rights and defend those important things if you know what they are and you know your stuff. And there are gonna be plenty of people that you’ll probably encounter who have all sorts of wacky opinions about, you know, what America should and shouldn’t be and what they think the Constitution says. And if you wanna be able to actually speak the truth to those people, it’s probably a good idea to know your stuff and make sure that you’re reading up on that. So we talk a lot, a lot about that kind of stuff in our Tuttle Twins books, but we’re actually also working on an American history book that goes into how America was founded and all of these detailed descriptions of what life was like at that time and what really mattered to the founding fathers and what happened in the Revolutionary War. So, that’s coming, a bit down the road cuz a history book’s a pretty serious project. Yes. But I will say if you’re looking for resources on that, we have one coming out hopefully soon. So that’s kind of my last thought. Brittany, do you have anything else to add before we wrap it up here?
Brittany: Yeah, just one quick thing, and that is to remember again, that your loyalty doesn’t belong to a well to a government, or to a place, right? It’s being true to first principles and these ideas, that our country’s heart and soul were founded on. So that’s my closing thought.
Emma: Amen. Awesome. Well, we will wrap it up there guys. Thank you for listening and we will talk to you all again soon.
Brittany: Talk to you soon.