Should patriotism and economics be a blend or should both matters be kept separate? I think that they have to blend. If we love our country, then it follows that we want it to prosper. If we feel affection for our fellow citizens, it follows that we want them to prosper. If we love the land and waters of our country, then we must want a prosperous country, because preserving the environment is very expensive.
One of the great canards of extreme environmentalists (or, to be more specific, socialists disguised as environmentalists) is the assertion that prosperous countries do the most damage to the environment. The exact opposite is the truth. Poverty is the great destroyer of the environment because human survival always will take precedence over preservation of resources. If you doubt that last statement, visit Florida and then visit Haiti and compare the state of the two environments.
One of the things we, as individuals, can do to help our country prosper is, to the extent possible, buy American-made products by American-owned companies. That's not as easy as it seems. Many American-owned companies make their products in foreign countries and import them to the United States. Many American-named companies have been purchased by foreigners. Holiday Inn, for example, is owned by a United Kingdom Corporation.
To further complicate matters, many foreign corporations now make their products, or some of them, in the United States.....Honda, Toyota and Nissan, for example, are Japanese firms with some American manufacturing plants. Roger Simmermaker, the author of How Americans Can Buy American (Rivercross Publishing Inc) argues that it is always best to buy products of American-owned companies, even if those products are made overseas. He argues that the profits and taxes on those profits stay here and that it is easier to persuade American companies to bring jobs back, than it is to persuade foreign companies to keep jobs here.
He's right. Toyota, public-relations efforts notwithstanding, has its primary loyalty to Japan, as it should. If conditions arise in which Toyota must choose between what's in the best interests of its American subsidiaries and what's in the best interests of Japan, it will choose Japan. Anyone, who loves his own country must necessarily respect others who love their countries. There is no conflict between patriots of different countries, even though there may be a divergence of interests.
To help Americans buy American-owned products, Simmermaker has assembled a list of products by category and then displayed the brand names or company names that are American-owned and foreign-owned. Some of the categories are quite revealing of the disastrous trade policies followed by the U.S. government, beginning with the Kennedy Administration.
If you wish to buy a turntable for your stereo, manufactured by an American company, you're out of luck. There are none. Or, at least, none that Simmermaker could find. Aiwa, Fisher, Pioneer, Teac, Technics, and Sony are all Japanese-owned companies. If you look at the list of the top 50 banks in the world, ranked according to assets, you don't find an American bank until you get to No. 28, Citicorp. The top 27 are mostly Japanese with a smattering of European banks. It was not that many years ago, when most of the top 10 banks were American.
The fall of the American standard of living is a result of bad government policies, among other things. But the growth of individual selfishness, which grew in the 1980's on both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum, has contributed to our national decline. Selfishness and extreme individualism won't cut it. We are simultaneously individuals and members of a larger society. We have duties and obligations that go beyond ourselves. America is our ship, and we need to work together to keep her sailing.
Charley Reese is syndicated in over 150 newspapers nationwide.