I posted this five years ago, and do it again on this July Fourth, as a service to John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and similar superpatriots. Expect to see Burke’s quote showing up at Tea Party rallies. The excerpt is from Albert Jay Nock’s Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, Harper & Brothers, 1943:
Does patriotism mean loyalty to a political system and its institutions, constitutional, autocratic, republican, or what-not? But if history has made anything unmistakably clear, it is that from the standpoint of the individual and his welfare, these are no more than names.
The reality which in the end they are found to cover is the same for all alike. If a tree be known by its fruits, which I believe is regarded as good sound doctrine, then the peculiar merit of a system, if it has any, ought to be reflected in the qualities and conditions of the people who live under it; and looking over the peoples and systems of the world, I found no reason in the nature of things why a person should be loyal to one system rather than another. One could see at a glance that there is no saving grace in any system. Whatever merit or demerit may attach to any of them lies in the way it is administered…
Burke touched this matter of patriotism with a searching phrase. “For us to love our country,” he said, “our country ought to be lovely.”