The Reactionary Utopian
                       August 25, 2005

by Joe Sobran

     In America, a patriot is a guy who complains about 
all the things that are wrong with this country and then 
accuses other Americans of not loving it. Judging by 
their intellectual subtlety, some of our patriots could 
have studied civics under Huck Finn's Pap. "Call this a 
govment! Why, just look at it and see what it's like." 
Today Pap would probably be a talk-radio host. A popular 
one, too. Nowadays no talent like his goes unrewarded.

     The other day Rush Limbaugh raised the thoughtful 
question whether people who oppose the Iraq war are 
really patriotic. Just asking, of course. Not accusing 
anyone of anything. Hinting, maybe.

     Oddly enough, Bill Clinton (whom Rush isn't too fond 
of, and vice versa) once said something in the same vein: 
"There's nothing patriotic about hating your government 
or pretending you can hate your government but love your 
country." That's the patriot's creed in one pithy 
sentence. Saddam Hussein couldn't have said it better. 
How can you hate torture chambers and try to pass 
yourself off as a patriot? I'll never understand people 
like that.

     Rush had a point, though, when he asked how people 
can say they "oppose the war" but "support our troops." 
After all, the war is what our troops are doing. And they 
are volunteers, not draftees. You might as well say you 
have nothing against soldiers, as long as they don't hurt 
anyone. What do you think soldiers are paid to do? Hand 
out chewing gum?

     It reminds me of an illuminating moment in a 
television documentary about neo-Nazis many years ago. 
The interviewer asked a young man why he would belong to 
such a group. Slightly abashed, he replied, "Well, Nazism 
is the answer for me. It may not be the answer for 
everyone." Only in a pluralistic country could such a 
concept arise: tolerant, all-volunteer Nazism. Often the 
best kind. Somewhere, Hitler and Goebbels must be kicking 
themselves for not thinking of it.

     Live and let live, I always say. Don't bother the 
other fellow if he wants to goose-step to a different 
drummer; that's his business. What a dull world it would 
be if we all had to goose-step at the same pace! It would 
be especially hard on those of us who use canes and 

     A truly equal-opportunity, nondiscriminatory Nazism 
might be an improvement on some types of American 
patriotism. Rush and Sean Hannity, brothers under the 
thin skin, habitually speak of opponents of the war as 
"liberals" and "the Left," unless something has changed 
since I last snapped off my radio. But they ignore those 
of us who can oppose the war without hankering to send an 
alleged lesbian to the White House in 2008.

     I think I speak for millions when I say I wouldn't 
mind seeing a white male in the White House -- maybe even 
a dead white male, considering how poorly the live ones 
usually perform. What we usually get are deadly white 

     The point is to end the war, which was a bad idea in 
the first place and has failed on its own terms, which 
you can believe no matter what else you think about the 
government. I know liberals and leftists who believe 
that, but I also know conservatives, moderate 
Republicans, libertarians, anarchists, and others who 
believe it too.

     And no, I won't insult your common sense by saying I 
"support our troops." I rather strongly disapprove of 
what they're doing in Iraq. When you join the armed 
forces, you agree to fight wherever you are told, no 
matter where, no matter why. And President Bush isn't too 
good at explaining why. Cindy Sheehan is right about 
that; but her son, it pains me to point out, did agree to 
serve. Did she try to dissuade him?

     Most of us love our country. We can hardly help it. 
It's only natural to feel affection for your homeland. 
But that doesn't translate into unconditional love for 
whoever happens to be in charge of it at any given 
moment, whether it's a Clinton or a Bush.

     I like Americans. Some of my best friends are 
Americans. I know that's what anti-Americans always say, 
but in my case it happens to be true. In fact, nearly all 
my best friends are Americans. Maybe a few are illegal 
aliens, but they're the minority.


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