America is the nation of immigrants. America was founded on the principals of freedom of speech, equality, and the pursuit of happiness and this principle of freedoms encouraged people to come to America. To be an American does not simply mean being born on American soil, it means that one believes and supports the beliefs of American principles. Scruton stated that, “to inherit a culture you must identify with it; and if you cannot identify with it, then you must find a new identity by rejecting it.” To be American is to live by its values, such as patriotism, individualism, conformity, success, and equality. While these are American values, the conflicts that occur between values and those that hold these values is what makes an American. These values lead Americans to become loyal yet logical, expressive yet traditional, and hypocritically tolerant or truly tolerant yet discriminating, all because we hold dearly the tenets of freedom to speech, liberty and pursuits of happiness.
Patriotism’s narrow definition is the love or devotion to one’s country. In America, patriotism has evolved from its founding principle to become a value in American lives. This leads to many Americans having loyalty as a core American virtue. It made Americans connote the word patriotism with loyalty. To be loyalty to the country is to be patriotic; therefore, if one is not patriotic then they by definition they are not loyal to the country. This ultimatum of sorts, breaks Americans into two categorizes—Authoritarian Patriots and Democratic Patriots. The people who believe if someone is not patriotic then, they are disloyal are authoritarian patriots and it “is a resigning of one's will, right of choice, and need to understand to the authority” (Westheimer). They become blind and absently loyal to a cause or decision made by the government.
Moreover, Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, criticizes blind patriots and states that he “detest[s] their blind, thoughtless, automatic acquiescence to it all, their simpleminded patriotism, their prideful ignorance, their love-it-or-leave-it platitudes, how they didn’t understand and didn’t want to understand” (43). Authoritarian patriots tend to lead Americans down the wrong path of values. They prefer conformity, which leads them not to think for themselves and like Brain said, unwilling to understand for themselves. This is why they are so quick to associate being unpatriotic to being disloyal, because of their “simpleminded patriotism.” Henry Steele Commager agrees with this in his book, Freedom and Order and states that, “criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive” (177). However, while blind patriots ignorantly follow, their belief of loyalty as a virtue is genuine.
Conversely, the democratic patriots incorporate loyalty and logic into their beliefs. Democratic patriots are “true and loyal - not to the government, but to the...