As far as the nationalists are concerned, to oppose the U.S. warfare state is to despise America, to condemn the atrocities committed by the Bush administration is to hate America, to reveal skepticism of foreign intervention is to reveal disloyalty to America, whereas to be a shill for all the slaughter done by the U.S. government is to be a good American.
The Pentagon is America. The Homeland Security Department is America. The Iraq War is America. George W. Bush is America. The imperial capital — complete with snipers on the rooftops, armed battalions keeping the city in siege, and a power elite bent on running the world — is America, and if you don’t like it, you must hate America.
Oddly enough, this principle, usually coming from conservatives or "libertarian" nationalist internationalists, does not seem to apply to other things the government does. If you don’t like welfare, do you hate America? If you distrust Social Security, does it mean you hope for America’s downfall? If you are less than enthusiastic about gun control, public education, or the war on drugs, are you rooting for the failure of America itself? No.
How about in other countries, at other times? Did the Russians who spoke out against Stalin hate Russia? Did the Germans who reviled Hitler hate Germany? Did the Chinese who despised Mao hate China?
These analogies might seem over the top. Even today, America is certainly among the best places to live inside, despite its many troubles. For one thing, we still have many freedoms, at least tacitly, that most other countries do not. For another, living in America, we have much less a chance of being bombed by the U.S. government than do foreigners.
This does not mean that Americans are free from the U.S. state. Americans must still pay rent to the government for the privilege of earning a living. Americans must still use the inflated, counterfeited currency controlled by the Federal Reserve monopoly. Americans must still accept the terms of the "social contract" that dictates where they send their children to school, what they may put into their own bodies, which weapons they are free to own, what business arrangements they may enter, and which government programs, including wars, they must fund through taxation, upon penalty of imprisonment.
Occasionally, the government here kills the wrong Americans for the wrong reasons. Police sometimes shoot the wrong person. Sometimes, there are military-style assaults, conducted by the U.S. government, against American citizens. If you lived in a certain neighborhood in Philadelphia in 1985, a certain shack in Idaho in 1992, or a certain commune in Texas in 1993, you might have found yourself firebombed by the police department, shot and killed by an FBI sniper, or gassed, machine-gunned, burned, and crushed to death by the feds.
More often than its military sieges on "its" own citizens, the U.S. government locks up innocent people who never broke the law for which they were charged. Even more frequently, the government imprisons harmless people who broke laws that should not be laws, often ones that contradict the ostensible Supreme Law that is the Constitution.
For the average American, these nightmares are fortunately not a reality. But for years nevertheless they have been oppressed by a ridiculous tax system and regulatory regime, and constantly in danger of having their property seized, their liberty confined to a jail cell, or their lives snuffed out, due to the error, incompetence, or malice of some high-paid bureaucrat in an office building somewhere they never met.
It has only gotten worse under Bush. Americans can now be spied on by the federal thought police who are supposedly working to stop terrorism, detained indefinitely without trial or benefit of habeas corpus, and, perhaps quite soon, forced to surrender their children to a national universal mandatory mental-health screening apparatus right out of Brave New World.
Do you love this? If to oppose the warfare state is to oppose America, must those who love America also love the state’s destruction of the Bill of Rights, its occasional murders of innocent Americans, its burgeoning prison-industrial complex filled with peaceful innocents, its crippling taxation, repressive regulation, medieval property seizures, and attempts to nationalize the very minds of America’s children?
Do you love seeing America being preyed on by the overblown parasitic state in Washington, DC? If you truly love America, you should oppose the government that has always been its greatest enemy — especially as it concerns the power of that government to kill, not accidentally or anomalously, as it sometimes does at home, but as a matter of outright policy, as it does abroad. Or, at a minimum, if you love America, you should stop cheering on this killing and refuse to participate in the glorification of the security state that robs Americans blind and uses the loot to wreck our privacy and liberty and to bomb, crush and murder foreign innocents.
The U.S. government is now posturing itself to invade the world, country by country, beginning, it seems, with Iran and Syria. If the project commences, it will kill thousands on top of the thousands it has killed in the last three years and the millions it has killed since it embarked on empire in 1898. I oppose this strongly, not because I hate America, but because I love America, I love my fellow Americans, and I do not trust the U.S. state to bring liberty to the world any more than I trust it to refrain from destroying liberty, as it has done continually and for the most part increasingly, ever since the founding of this beautiful country in which I was born and which I will always love.
Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research assistant at the Independent Institute. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.