Uncle Sam Wants You
A flag is just a rag but throughout history flags have been used to encourage and justify mankind’s most heinous crimes. And in the U.S.A nothing has changed in this respect. Whenever an American government—of any stripe—wants to recruit cannon fodder for any of their foreign adventures the first thing they haul out is the flag, “Old Glory.” Time after time young Americans respond in true Pavlovian style. And it’s not just any old bone they’re drooling after. It’s a death lottery.
What possible explanation can there be for young people to put so little value on their very lives? The answer is simpler than you might think. Just as collies are bred for herding sheep, Americans are bred to go to war. But why? That’s not too complicated, either. Because if the United States runs out of soldiers their policy of permanent war falls apart. And they can’t have that. Without war what’s left of the American economy—technology and arms sales—falters, along with the myth of American invincibility and their militarists’ dream of “full spectrum dominance.” They’re almost there. They have already conquered Grenada and Panama, though they found some unexpected resistance in Irak and Afghanistan. Now all they have left to dominate are North Korea and Iran. Oh, I almost forgot. There’s Russia and China, too.
Inside the Godzilla Contraption
Underlying all this bellicose folderol is a drive train of tricks and lies that I shall refer to here as “Nationalism/Patriotism,” codename “Godzilla.” In theory those two concepts are closely related but different. But in current American practice, as patriotism is invariably linked to militarism, heroism, conquest and glory, nationalism and patriotism are Siamese twins, linked at the hip. In order for the Godzilla contraption to work young Americans have to be brought up in an immersion tank of perfectly-coordinated mechanisms all pulling together. All are designed to make these young people believe that they are, in some magical way, exceptional, uniquely different, actually superior to people of other societies around the world. This is pure poppycock, of course, but it’s common currency to them and most Americans believe it implicitly or explicitly. Concomitant with this exceptionalism is the tendency to underestimate their enemies, a tradition that dates back to General George Armstrong Custer.
George Orwell’s Observations from 70 Years Ago
I ran across some notes on nationalism written by Orwell in 1945 and found some of them eerily applicable to our own times. He starts with a definition:
“By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.”
More Vintage Wisdom from Orwell
“Nationalism is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”
The Author of Animal Farm and 1984 Goes On:
“Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakably certain of being in the right. As nearly as possible no nationalist ever thinks, talks or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance.”
This observation seems to me particularly apt considering the outrages being perpetrated on the world today by American militarism:
“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.
“Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder to discover what is actually happening. “Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.”
Orwell’s prescience is remarkable. What is even more remarkable is how little this state of affairs has changed over the past seven decades.
How Do They Build Their Godzillas?
Let’s look at the factors involved in converting an innocent child into a full-fledged American Nationalist/Patriot. First (and I say “first”because it hits most American children in the first grade) is the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. I was one of those little shavers in 1949 and I clearly recall standing up beside my desk, putting my hand over my heart and reciting a magical incantation. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…” I had no idea what these words were about but I knew they were magic because you had to stand up and put your hand over your heart to invoke it.
Read the full story in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.
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