Destructive Patriotism Arises from the Same Irrational Spring as Racism and Is Equally Toxic
It can twist and color everything in your life–and other people’s–and it’s so insidious that you may not even notice. Harmful patriotism–patriotism as a blunt instrument–is so commonplace in the U.S., so internalized, that most people aren’t even aware of it. It’s just another of the givens of that great country.
The surreal by-products of American super patriotism are many and various. Is the deliberate killing with a perfectly legal assault rifle of two innocent citizens, and the wounding of another, on the street in Kenosha, Wisconsin, surreal enough for you? What about the failure of a jury of his peers to convict the perpetrator, who was later publicly received and celebrated by an ex-president of the United States? To normal people from other countries the incident, its legal derivations and social acceptance smacks of grave mental illness, not just the killer’s but of the entire country.
Double Down and You’ve Got Mega Hypocrisy
To this level of mindless brutality on the part of the killer, the judge, the jury and a large part of the American public, we have to add the mega-hypocrisy of the Americans selling themselves as paladins of world democracy. All of this in the face of the massive destruction and mayhem either carried out or sponsored by the U.S. around the world.
It’s possible in part due to the level of K-12 education in the United States, which is not only substandard by international standards, but ideologically slanted in favor of the Americans’ cruel and unusual societal norms. These sick values, and the laws that arise from them, are not embraced by any other modern democracy in the world, with the possible exception of Britain, which has been a virtual American dependency since World War II.
No Matter How Smart, Well Intentioned or Well Informed You Are, You Cannot Escape Your Givens
Many Americans consider themselves to be motivated by clear thinking and good will. That may be true, but there are subliminal factors that underlie all of their givens, their life’s default settings that are burned into their subconscious from infancy. Racism is one of them, but there are lots more. There’s patriotism, temperament, exceptionalism, generosity, altruism, tolerance, love of animals, solidarity and its opposite, greed.
Most people aren’t even aware of their givens; they just respond to them automatically as the occasion arises, like Pavlov’s dog. Watch your own dog’s hackles rise when you meet an old friend on the street and he slaps you on the back. The dog doesn’t have to think on those occasions. His givens come into play instant and automatically, and one of them is “protect your master.” We, ourselves, are not much different from our dogs in this respect. Whenever U.S. plutocrats organize or join in with their dubious allies–Saudi Arabia, for example–in one of their undeclared wars anywhere in the world–in the impoverished, hungry country of Yemen, for example–the American media monster drags out the bandwagon for everyone to get on board. “What, you’re not going to support our troops? What are you, some sort of anti-patriot?” All of the big media outlets are, first and foremost, businesses. They don’t just represent American company interests, they are big businesses themselves, participating in the benefits of U.S. aggressions worldwide. It’s their duty. They have to do their part in exporting American free-market democracy and contributing to the growth of the mythical Free World.
Where Do You Get Your Givens?
Your givens are delivered with your mother’s milk, your father’s distrust of foreigners, your grandfather’s love of guns, your allergy to cat fur, the friends from your neighborhood, the Pledge of Allegiance, Sunday school, war games, team sports, reality TV, admiration of winners and accumulators even if they’re cheaters, imitation of dubious role models, all-pervading greed and commercialism. This being the case, in an ideal world it would be imperative to convey to children a set of sane givens and healthy attitudes. If it weren’t for pond-slime reality TV, Donald Trump would be just another lowbrow real-estate speculator, not an aspiring candidate for a second term as President of the United States of America.
This being the case, any country that aspires to its citizens’ decency and wellbeing must convey to its children a solid set of healthy examples, at home, in school and in their world at large. Though this pursuit of generous values is the basis for the most advanced school systems and consequent societies in the world, from Scandinavia on down, they are conspiculously absent–even directly contradicted–in the United States, the land of ruthless individualism. This truth is reflected in conflict, insults and aggression, from the lowest schoolyard disagreement to any declaration by U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken. He thinks he’s being tough. He’s being ridiculous.
Bill Blum Explains the Naiveness of the American People
William Blum, author of America’s Deadliest Export, was headed for the U.S. Foreign Service as a young man, before the horror of the Vietnam War turned him around. He spent the rest of his life peeling back, layer by layer, America’s rotten foreign policy onion. In this, his last book (2013), he explains in unvarnished terms the American blind spots:
The American people are very much like the children of aAmerica’s Deadliest Export, William Blum
Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living, and don’t want to know, but then wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window.
To anyone who has read Konrad Lorenz, it’s clear what is happening to those Mafia boss children. They have been imprinted on bogus American values just like Lorenz’s newly-hatched ducklings who would follow the first person or thing they saw moving after they exited their eggs.
It is Bill Blum’s contention that, regardless of the insistence of American politicians–from presidents on down–in filling their mouths with “democracy,” since World War II the U.S. has intervened in the internal affairs of more than 50 foreign governments and interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 more. It was President John F. Kennedy who thwarted the CIA attempt to unseat Fidel Castro in Cuba by negating air cover for the ill-conceived and ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation in April of 1961. Just two and a half years later Kennedy was cut down on a Dallas street. Was that because someone in a high place decided that he lacked the quintessential quality of all American presidents: ultra patriotism?