What’s so bad about America bashing besides the fact that it’s unpatriotic* and possibly seditious? Christopher Caldwell, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and frequent contributor to the Financial Times (FT) makes a few suggestions [about the nature of identity and citizenship] in his article critiquing a new British report on the same, which provides a rather accomodating segue to answering that question.
In Uneasy birth of a ‘creedal’ nation, Caldwell critiques Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney-general, in his new report, “Citizenship: Our Common Bond” to suggest that a revival of the Treason Act of 1351 is not necessarily as backward-looking as it may seem, and by extension, loyalty to one’s home country can be seen as a rather indispensible concept.
Today in the multicultural state of Britain, as in the US and France, among other republics, states Caldwell regarding Goldsmith’s report, national identities are built on creeds – i.e., a set of philosophical beliefs – rather than arising out of traditional ethnic or historical similitudes.
Caldwell says that this notion is radically egalitarian in assuring that natives are treated no differently than foreigners.
The irony, then, of leftist arguments which suggest that requiring an oath of loyalty for immigrants to their chosen nation reeks of fascism is that this oath actually takes the place of a birthright. [The irony is] that this oath is offered freely to whosoever should make the choice and qualify, rather than being restricted to only the privileged who happen to have been born here. (Let’s not take that argument too far because loose interpretations are vulnerable to demagoguery.)
A pledge of loyalty can be seen as a token of submission; in society, we must be accountable to one another or else we will reap chaos and trouble. If we do not have common origins, people can claim cultural autonomy and separate standards, which bedevil any attempt at imposing a rule of law. Lawlessness always brings tyranny and thus, we must secure liberty by either or a combination of the two following means: 1. Common ethnicity/history and 2. Common values.
The pledge of allegiance, as in the US, or establishing treason acts (as in Britain) is a compromise rather than putting out all foreigners who don’t look or act like us (such as in Russia, among other countries as of late).
Lib Dems, Socialists and what have you should take heed that when their platform trades on the notion of ‘fairness’ and ‘equity’, an arrogant disafiliation with [patriotism] or nationalism is a repudiation of those very ideals; that the rejection of these norms is an unsustainable path, hence, a watermark of their own decline. Enter the golden straightjacket.
*patriot. A term used during the American Revolution to discriminate rebels from loyalists [to the British Crown]. This word has subsequently come to connote all things American.