Patriotism, AFL-CIO’s Trumka and Samuel Johnson

By September 2, 2010Economy, Labor Unions

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, “Making Patriotic Choices To Save The Economy“:

It’s time for all Americans to remember that patriotism is about more than fighting abroad. It’s also about fighting for ourselves, our neighbors and our communities here in the United States. It’s time for economic patriotism.

Trumka came out with his “economic patriotism” rhetoric in time for Labor Day and the fall elections. Judging by his column, it’s just another, more invidious slogan to accompany the rest of the usual slogans.

Samuel Johnson had smart observations on the topic in “The Patriot,” his 1774 essay directed to the electors of England.

A man sometimes starts up a patriot, only by disseminating discontent, and propagating reports of secret influence, of dangerous counsels, of violated rights, and encroaching usurpation.

This practice is no certain note of patriotism. To instigate the populace with rage beyond the provocation, is to suspend publick happiness, if not to destroy it. He is no lover of his country, that unnecessarily disturbs its peace. Few errours and few faults of government, can justify an appeal to the rabble; who ought not to judge of what they cannot understand, and whose opinions are not propagated by reason, but caught by contagion.

Just saying …

President Obama appears with Trumka next Monday at the annual Laborfest in Milwaukee. Will the President, too, embrace this rhetoric of “economic patriotism?”

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