perpetrated in the name of a patriotic ideal that bases itself not on the protection of American government but on the desire to change and mold the government into some idealized version of what the govern- ment once was and can become again, if only through dedication and commitment to a cause. Too often, of course, such ideals have resulted in a conservative backlash to return to the values of the past. These val- ues, it is believed, were pure in nature and maintained the natural order and balance of American society. Thus, in many patriot movements of today, there is a distrust and even intense hatred of all things seen as un-American. For instance, in the patriot world of political violence, the desire to return to a “pure” form of American government necessitates, indeed even demands, actions against those who do damage to such an ideal: immigrants, those of different religions (non-Christian), those who damage or destroy “traditional values,” and the like. This book shall be guided by the following outline. Chapter One will examine the idea of the patriot in the American mythos. This chapter shall more fully examine the notion of the patriot as both unquestioning lover of country and factious disturber of government. It will be demon- strated that these two notions of the patriot have gone hand in hand in American history. This chapter shall establish the idea that those who are “patriots” have either been “superpatriots” in Michael Parenti’s sense (in that they follow government policy without question)19 or they are patri- ots who agitate for change through violence or threatened violence. Even those who may fall into the former category may become violent (as in the case of individuals and groups who act violently toward those whom they believe are contravening government authority). The chapter will also lay the foundation for that which patriots “care” about: government. The construction of the U.S. Constitution will be examined, as will the vio- lence that both precipitated and followed this seminal event in the hearts and minds of patriots. The “cult of the Constitution” will be established that provides a basis and justification for the acts of all patriots. Chapter Two will examine the challenges that early American patri- ots faced as their government grew and evolved. This growth was prob- lematic for some, as it meant a move away from cherished values of the Revolutionary period—small and limited government, states’ rights, and the protection of valued cultural mores. The shift away from power being focused at the state level to power with a locus in the national seat of government would concern those who wished to remain loyal to the government as it had been constructed but who expressed serious con- cerns about how government was evolving. This tension between an idealized version of government and the reality of government would Introduction xvii
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