Our cause is noble. It is the cause of mankind!
What does solar power have to do with American patriotism? And is patriotism even a good thing to begin with?
Many people I know who been into clean energy and environmentalism for decades support solar power today as a way to save the world, not just America. Indeed, many of these folks seem suspicious of anything having to do with American patriotism, agreeing with Samuel Johnson’s quip that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
By contrast, Abraham Lincoln said:
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
I agree with Honest Abe that patriotism is just men and women caring about their own place and trying to do what’s best for it. And for Americans, the place they care about most, after their own home and hometown, is their country.
To Help the World, Start with America
For most Americans, the world is just too big a place to really care about on a practical level. But their country is just the right size. Big enough to be inspiring. And relatable enough for you to make a difference.
So, I think patriotism is a good thing. And I think tapping into patriotism is a powerful way to help America get more solar power.
Here’s the best part: since the United States is the world’s leading country — with the biggest economy and the most influence on global culture — if we make solar our #1 energy source, then the rest of the world will surely follow. In fact, some countries have already started beating America on solar. If we take our leadership back, those countries and everybody else will be inspired to do even more for solar.
That will wind up helping the whole world. What Washington said about the revolution of 1776 applies as well to today’s American solar revolution: “Our cause is noble. It is the cause of mankind!”
To help the world go solar, Americans need to start with America.
That’s why the Introduction to The Solar Patriot is all about how solar and patriotism go together.
For those of us who already love solar, we know that using more of an energy source whose fuel is free and non-polluting (sunshine) is a no-brainer. Of course, compared to dirty fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power, solar is patriotic.
For people who are still solar-curious, talking about patriotism may be a way to help them connect with the subject of solar power.
Americans are Still Patriotic
Despite today’s cynicism about heroes of American history, for nearly every American whether on the left or on the right, stories of patriots like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams (and lesser-known figures like African-American patriot spy James Lafayette) remain moving and inspiring.
The people were not perfect. But their stories still call on all Americans to keep our country moving forward and to try to make the bold vision of 1776 into a reality today and tomorrow.
I’m glad that so many leading advocates for solar power seem to agree. Just see what one of them has to say:
“Democracy, patriotism, and rooftop solar go hand in hand and Erik Curren makes the case with simple, easy-to-understand stories from the front line of the modern-day battle for energy independence. Curren highlights parallels between today’s fights and some of the most iconic stories from American history. This book is a great introduction to one of the most important issues of our time.”
Executive Director, Solar United Neighbors
See for yourself how solar and patriotism go together. Download the Introduction to The Solar Patriot for free now.
— Erik Curren, The Solar Patriot