In 1908, Emma Goldman gave a speech on patriotism. It was one of the most informative speeches of our time.
In this speech, the use of patriotism as a tool of state is thoroughly analyzed and dissected to show patriotism for what it has become. Here is my
favorite quote from this speech: “Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes
that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot
consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of
everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.
The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that from early infancy the mind of the child is provided with
blood-curdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with
the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we
are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition.”
Though this was in 1908, this statement still fits today. Patriotism is being used to not only wage a war aboard, but at home as well. All too often
I have seen instances of right wing conservative start putting down any party affiliate who doesn’t agree with there ideals. They use it as a put
down. They say: “You are not a true patriot if you don’t support Bush and this war!” What they are failing to understand is that to be patriotic
does not mean you have to support your government. There is even a new movement to completely wipe out love of country and replace it with love of
government. The Hardwood Institute has a plan called The New Patriotism Project, which is trying to redefine roles of patriots:
“The New Patriotism Project is moving Americans beyond flag-waving to a higher level of public and political engagement. The initiative is
providing people with the tools and vision to improve the way political leaders, the news media and citizens conduct themselves, community by
community across the country.” www.theharwoodinstitute.org...
They even have a barometer to measure just how patriotic you really are.
Another quote from Emma Goldman’s speech will help to better illustrate the patriotic point:
“What is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place
where, in childlike naiveté, we would watch the passing clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not float so swiftly? The place where we would count
the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where
we would listen to the music of the birds and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or is it the place where we would sit on
Mother's knee, enraptured by tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious
recollections of a happy, joyous and playful childhood?
If that were patriotism, few American men of today would be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill,
and mine, while deepening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. No longer can we hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories
our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears and grief.
What, then, is patriotism? "Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. Samuel Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of
our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the
exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory
than that of the honest workingman.”
It would seem that this business of patriotism as a tool of the state has been around for much longer than most of us realize. It’s no wonder that
many of us grow up thinking that the only right way is the American way. It is force fed to us from the time we enter kindergarten till we graduate
high school. We are taught from day one about the military accomplishments and the glory of previous battles of yesterday. The history is infused
with a romantic passion that imbues the youth with ideas of national pride and a strong sense that we are right every time. There is noting wrong with
national pride as long as you understand that everyone is wrong sometimes.
It seems that in out patriotic fervor we have suddenly switched the definition of a Nationalist with a Patriot. A nationalist is a person who loves
and supports their government without question. Apparently, this is exactly what the right wing demographic think the definition of patriotism is.
One of the greatest literary minds of the 1900’s, Russian philosopher and writer Leo Tolstoy defines patriotism as “the principle that will
justify the training of wholesale murderers".
Unfortunately I am sure this is true. Patriotism is being used to bring the American population to its knees. “You’re either with us or you’re
against us” mentality will prevail as long as patriotism is being vulgarized to fit the neocon agenda. Patriotism as a toll is polarizing our once
mighty nation into utter incivility and garbage. It is time we stop letting the government tell us how to act. We know what is right. We know that
love and kindness will always outperform and over achieve hate and murder. I love this land and its people. I love every rock, tree and child here in
America. I love democracy. Why then am I unpatriotic if I question my governments’ actions? Isn’t that what democracy is all about? So the begging
question here is: If I am patriotic in the neocon right sense of patriotism, does that mean I am anti-democracy?
Emma Goldmans’ 1908 speech: www.memorablequotations.com...
The Hardwood Institute: www.theharwoodinstitute.org...
Might and Morality A Strategy for World Dominance: By D. Lindley Young, C. J. Clarke and Valdana Gunnell
//ed to fix link//
[edit on 27-5-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]