Tag Archives: Patriotism

Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 2, by Michael Krieger

Trump will try to make patriotism synonymous with supporting another stupid American war. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

– Major General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (1935)

Yesterday’s post, Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 1, outlined my view that President Donald Trump, despite campaign slogans to focus on “America First,” is likely to entangle the nation in major new wars which will precipitate a chaotic and dangerous collapse of U.S. empire.

I base this view on his actions since coming into office, as well as the bloodthirsty war hawks he’s increasingly turning to for advice, with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton being the most concerning of all. Today’s post will dig into how Trump will attempt to sell his wars, and will also address the role corporate media is likely to play in the legitimization of any future destructive conflagration.

 

To continue reading: Empire Destroying Wars Are Coming to America Under Trump – Part 2

Advertisements

Patriotism Is A Two-Edged Sword, by Paul Craig Roberts

The kind of “patriotism” being whipped up over football players standing or kneeling for the National Anthem can be used for nefarious purposes, like whipping up support for stupid wars. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

UPDATE: Louisiana state Representative Kenneth Havard informed me that he voted against the taxpayer subsidy to the pro-football team. Being tenacious, he is still after nixing the taxpayer subsidy. Hats off to him.

I sometimes wonder if America’s greatest threat is the population’s hyper-patriotism. The bulk of the population is now at work shutting down the NFL players’ First Amendment rights, and none of the incensed censors are capable of understanding that it is they, and not the NFL players, who are attacking the U.S. Constitution. We have been through all this flag business before, and federal courts have ruled for the protesters who burnt flags, wore them on their clothes, whatever. Yet, here we go again.

Hardwick Clothes CEO pulls the company’s advertising from NFL games. Insofar as advertising helps Hardwick’s shareholders, CEO Allan Jones is hurting his own shareholders in order to protest the NFL players’ protests, a thought that probably never occurred to him. http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/09/984704-first-ceo-hits-nfl-right-wallet-unpatriotic-national-anthem-protests/

According to this report — http://www.dcclothesline.com/2017/09/26/americans-nationwide-burn-nfl-tickets-shirts-in-solidarity-with-trump/ — white people across the country are burning their NFL shirts and their expensive tickets for which they paid hundreds of dollars.

A Louisiana state representative has introduced legislation to ban state subsidies for the New Orleans Saints because of their “disgraceful protests.” It is OK with Rep. Kenny Havard for Louisiana taxpayers to give hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to the NFL team as long as the players stand for the anthem, but not if they don’t. It apparently never occurred to Havard to question whether relatively poor Louisiana taxpayers should be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a billionaire team owner. There is no doubt that the average salary of the Saints exceeds the average salary of Louisiana taxpayers. http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/09/984526-louisiana-state-rep-pushes-make-nfl-team-pay-national-anthem-protests-literally/

Former NFL quarterback John Elway declares: “I believe that this is the greatest country in the world,” and his personal belief takes care of the numerous protesters who clearly have a different view. http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/09/984449-john-elway-responds-anthem-protests-nfl-players-pay-attention-words/

Bill O’Reilly makes a guest appearance on Fox News berating the NFL protesters for ignoring the effect on US soldiers in Afghanistan who “are putting their life on the line.” Apparently, after all these years it still has not occurred to O’Reilly that the soldiers’ lives — and those of Afghans — are being put on the line by the military/security complex’s drive for profits and the neoconservative drive for US and Israeli hegemony. http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/09/984598-oreilly-makes-return-fox-news-remind-nfl-players-soldiers-fighting-3000-miles-away/

To continue reading: Patriotism Is A Two-Edged Sword

The Idea of America, by Bill Bonner

Americans are much less free than their “oppressed” ancestors, the ones who rebelled against the king. From Bill Bonner at internationalman.com:

“Elizabeth,” I asked this morning as my wife climbed out of the pool. “How would you describe that sea turtle we saw on the beach?”

Pausing for a moment, she replied, “Rotating its slow and majestic flippers, it ground its way slowly and inexorably toward China…”

The sea turtle was headed east. Whether China was its destination or not, I don’t know. I only know that it was about to leave the Latin America isthmus, from the west coast of Nicaragua, and put out to sea when a muscular, brown young man picked it up and carried it back up on the beach. He and his friends had dug a big hole in the sand where the turtle was placed.

At night, we often see the dim light of flashlights along the beach. “It’s the locals looking for turtle eggs,” Manuel explained. “It’s illegal to take them, but…” Manuel shrugged his shoulders.

Sea turtles are protected by international convention. But here in the wilds of Nicaragua, they still end up in the soup from time to time.

Not the Same America

This is America, too… but it is not the same America. It is the New World… but not as new as the world north of the Rio Grande. Here, the Old World has not yet been snuffed out. It survives in a semitropical paradise.

But the object of our attention today is neither the Old World nor the new one – but the ever-changing, never fully explored idea of America.

“Proud to be an American,” says one bumper sticker. “One nation – indivisible,” says another. America was, of course, founded on the opposite principle… the idea that people were free to separate themselves from a parent government whenever they felt they had come of age. But no fraud, no matter how stupendous, is so obvious as to be detected by the average American. That is America’s great strength… or its most serious weakness.

After September 11, so many people bought flags that the shops ran short. Old Glory festooned nearly every porch and bridge. Patriotism swelled in every heart.

Europeans, coming back to the Old Country, reported that they had never seen anything like it. A Frenchman takes his country for granted. He is born into it, just as he is born into his religion. He may be proud of La Belle France the way he is proud of his cheese. But he is not fool enough to claim credit for either one. He just feels lucky to have them for his own.

To continue reading: The Idea of America

The Myth of Conservative Patriotism, by Christian Newman

Many of today’s conservatives, despite branding themselves as “patriots,” have very little in common with America’s founding fathers. From Christian Newman at lewrockwell.com:

The word “patriot” holds a special place in the heart of America, and the attachment to that word, in particular, runs deep into the roots of the United States’ history to its founding. While the word has taken on a meaning of national pride and attachment to one’s homeland, the American usage of the term brings with it a certain kind of pride that goes back to the American revolution. For it was the Patriots who ultimately loved their homeland, who stood for local and (in most cases) limited self-government, and grew to hate the established and increasingly obnoxious and interventionist Imperial British regime.

In contrast, modern “conservatives” and right wingers also lay a claim to the word “patriot,” and on the surface, it seems like the shoe fits. After all, it is the loud and proud American right that stands up for such time-honored American traditions like standing for the national anthem, keeping “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, proudly displaying their “thin blue line” bumper stickers (sometimes ironically and paradoxically next to the Gadsden flag), and honoring the veterans of America’s wars abroad. It’s nearly easier to start a “USA! The USA!” chant at a sporting event than a wave. After all, since July 4th is a revered holiday, surely there couldn’t possibly be a contradiction in rhetoric and reality?

Yet upon closer examination, it seems the rank-and-file right-wing is rather picky and choosy about exactly what American patriotism means. They proudly give lip-service and reverence to the founding of the country, to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, but their actions speak otherwise. Modern conservatism seems to have severed its relation to the Patriotism of America’s birth and instead has embraced a nationalist, collectivist strain of statist pride dating back to the Progressive Era and bolstered by two “victories” in the World Wars. Today, the right wing with their almost religious and spiritual devotion to support for military servicemen, will proclaim their devotion to swift justice and an active foreign policy to fight for “freedom” abroad, to topple dictators, and to defend our vital allies and friends around the world from boogeymen that never seem to go away.

To continue reading: The Myth of Conservative Patriotism

He Said That? 8/29/16

From Mark Twain (1835–1910), American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings, ed. Bernard DeVoto, 1939. First published in 1962 when the author’s daughter, Clara Clemens, withdrew her objection:

Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object — robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing, by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused the change? Merely a politician’s trick — a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor — none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, “Our Country, right or wrong,” and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?

For in a republic, who is “the Country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is “the country?” Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Is it the school-superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.

He Said That? 7/15/15

From George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and founder of the London School of Economics, 1856-1950:

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

Let Us Salute the Flag, by Fred Reed

This has needed saying for a long time. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

On the Nobility of Motives
Aaaagh! Enough. I keep reading that I should Honor Our Troops. On airline flights, I am asked to applaud Our Young Men in Uniform. Why, for God’s sake? What have Our Troops done for me except cause me great embarrassment, cost money better spent on anything else, and kill millions of people that I have had no interest in killing? For this I am to thank them?

No, they don’t have noble motives. Men join the military because they need a job, because they want money for college or because they are bored or want to prove their manhood or go to exotic places and get laid. Basic training, jump school, being a tank gunner or doing nocturnal scuba insertions are much more appealing to a young man than selling fan belts at the NAPA outlet.

Patriotism? “Love of country” is an after-market add-on, good for a drink or a pat on the back at the Legion–nothing more than an expression of the pack instinct that makes men in all places and times join in groups to fight other groups. The pack instinct is why tribal warfare is continual among primitive peoples, why war, otherwise inexplicable, remains incessant between modern countries. It is why the gangs of young males in Chicago mirror military hierarchy, with territory to be expanded or defended, with leaders and insignia (e.g. black and god jackets for the Latin Kings ), with hand signs to signify identify and loyalty. It is why people join screaming mobs in political conventions, why they become wildly emotional over football teams consisting largely of convicted felons who have nothing to do with the city.
The pattern of loyalty inward to one’s pack and hostility outward toward other packs explains the peculiar morality of the military (and of most other people). A Marine colonel will be at home a good neighbor, civic-minded, honest, cut the grass and help old ladies across the street. Come a war and he will mercilessly bomb any city he is told to bomb, and after killing he doesn’t care whom on the ground, he will go to the officers’ club where there will be high-fives and war stories.

We must not notice this, or the other feral dogs will turn on us. If you say that soldiers are morally indistinguishable from Mafia hit-men, you will arouse outrage—but there is no difference. A soldier who has never heard of Vietnam or Iraq goes when ordered to kill Vietnamese and Iraqis, and duly kills them. Guido and Vito, who have never heard of Hyman Blitzschein the store-owner who is behind on his protection payments, break Hyman’s leg when ordered to. What is the difference?

Morality is always a very thin veneer on top of the deeper savagery of the pack. Militaries encourage this savagery. From Joshua onward until very recently, armies regularly put cities to the sword, and generals allowed their troops to sack and rape rewards for good service. For those unfamiliar with such things, “putting cities…” meant killing every living thing within.  

A graphic description of torture and murder routine in the Thirty Years War would have most readers retching. Today this sort of thing, when exposed, is held to be in bad taste. Only the United States engages openly in torture (put “Abu Ghraib) In Google images) but others do it.

Of course, much depends on who is doing what to whom. When the Germans bombed London, the English thought it barbaric. Later, when they were bombing German cities, it was a form of heroism. The Rape of Nanjing was hideous, while the frying of Hiroshima was not. Killing everyone in a city of a hundred thousand by hand would be very bad PR, but burning them to death from above is a cause for congratulations.

An effect of the pack instinct is the suppression of cognitive dissonance. If one noticed that a woman, campaigning for sexual abstinence, was pregnant with her seventh child, one might notice the contradiction. Patriots, or the American variety anyway, cannot notice that Our Boys, and Our Girls, are committing the routine atrocities that armies normally commit. Call it cognitive indifference.

American atrocities are always Isolated Incidents. An Isolated Incident is business-as-usual that is detected by the press. Thus torture is best avoided by restricting coverage.

It is de rigueur to spank of our boys fighting to defend America and our way of life, and to speak of their sacrifices. In the Fifties this spirit was exemplified by Superman jumping out of a window, while the voice-over intoned “truth, justice, and the American way,” then thought to be related.

Actually soldiers are more sacrificed than sacrificing. Precisely how killing Afghan goat-herds protects the United States is not clear: careful students of geography have argued that Afghanistan is somewhere else. The evidence does seem to support this.

Today, the motives of wars are usually disguised so as to be palatable. It has been said that the British fought for empire, the French for la gloire de la France, the Russians to steal watches from the wounded, and the Americans for vague moral abstractions. Thus Washington fights to rid Iraq of a cruel dictator, while supporting many others as cruel; fights to instill democracy, as if anyone anywhere cared whether Afghanistan were democratic; and to protect the world from nonexistent WMD.

The dog-pack instinct is most intense in the elite outfits, SEALs and Force Recon and Special Forces, with tightly-bonded small groups—the focus of males—working together. Powerful free-floating hostility characterizes them, and patriotism gives them a cover story for doing what they would want to do anyway.

Loyalty to a small band of warriors is easily transferred to an abstraction such as country or religious faith. Witness the fervor of Moslems today, or the enthusiasm for Christianity of illiterate Crusaders in the eleventh century who knew little of Christianity and certainly didn’t follow its moral precepts. Being swept up in a Cause gives an appearance of meaning to a life otherwise devoid of such. The flags, the hurrahs, the rhythmic thump-thump-thump of hundred of boots, the solidarity—these reinforce the pack instinct, and recruiters and politicians know it.

And so a coal-miner who hates the coal company, hates suits and liberals and the rich and blacks and homosexuals and knows he is being exploited and doesn’t really like anybody at all except local friends, will discover unexpected loyalty when the Japanese bomb Pearl.

And now, let’s hear a huzzah for Our Boys.

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2015/06/13/let-us-salute-the-flag/