With Independence Day festivities approaching, Chronicles readers may be interested in a public lecture about patriotism which I gave in Louisville this past year. It has always seemed to me that before we can begin to intelligently discuss border control, Southern heritage, kneeling NFL linebackers, or any other given controversy, there is an even more fundamental issue which must be explored first. As Socrates might ask, what is patriotism, anyhow?

Globalists will argue, some very forthrightly, that patriotism is at best a necessary evil and at worst a vice, the vestige of a primitive past that should give way before an indiscriminate devotion to the planet Earth as a whole and to the human race as a whole. Many Christian pastors, bloggers, and pundits have for all intents and purposes adopted the globalist position as their own, albeit with the occasional Scriptural passage tacked on as a kind of fig leaf. Meanwhile, neoconservatives continue to promote an ahistorical, ideological version of patriotism, very much as homosexual activists promote an ahistorical, ideological version of marriage.

I’m no Plato to be serving up perfected and timeless definitions, but I will go out on a limb and suggest that maybe—just maybe—patriotism has something to do with patria.