In the last couple of weeks or so, the topic of “patriotism” has been popping up in my cities 2 main web forums. A week or so ago, it was started as a complaint post about people not removing headgear (hats and such) during the national anthem. And most recently, the topic came up again, with a poster complaining about the tattered and torn state of a “Canadian” stores Canadian Flag.
I skirted the topic on both sites for awhile (I love to speak my mind, but its not always welcome). In particular in one forum, with an admin that takes any excuse as a good one for censorship and/or banning. But I eventually said my piece in the “Hats” threads on both sites.
I (in a round about way of course) made light of how “patriotic” many in this city are, despite the massive amounts of money that are spent in multinational corporations. People around here can not get enough of the spoils of the big corporations, and even have inquiry threads going almost weekly on the very same site, as to the status of when the next big box will come in (North Americas biggest whole sale outlet).
The “link” may not be apparent, or may seem irrelevant. But we seem to dump a WHOLE lot of money into (primarily) American companies, on products that primarily originate in Asia. As far as I can see, the only good that these companies do around here, is the “investment” in the locals, and the wages paid out to workers (which equals to jack shit).
Our other return on investment for allowing these companies to do business in the community, is accepting the local ecological footprints of these entities. The most notable is the trash generated (all has to be disposed of in landfills or in other ways, on the public dime).
Either way, my entry in the hats thread on both sites was basically “Who cares! With the amount that Canadians spend on multinationals, I hardly think that many of us have any reason to call ourselves “patriotic” “. On the heavily censored site, the post remained. But it was the last one in the thread (apparently I shut everyone up lol).
As for the other site, there was more or less, agreement. Most of the users are on the right of me (patriotic to various degrees), but even they agreed to the silliness.
As for the torn flag issue, that was another matter. Most of the members showed their disagreement in their silence, but one member (a vet) did a lot of talk about how he had showed his patriotism by serving his country. But he voiced his disagreement in what I found to be a slightly passive aggressive manor (“The wolf does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep”).
Certainly an interesting analogy. Though I would argue that his analogy of who the “Wolf” in the situation is, is off. Its not people like me. Its the governments starting the wars (and of course the corporations that benefit from said wars).
In the last while, I have been reevaluating many of my previous stances on issues. And one of them is patriotism.
Patriotism always has been a tool of manipulation though out the ages. Its easy to keep your troops fighting to the death on the front lines (and signing up in droves to do so), if they are under the impression that that they doing so for their (and everyone they know’s) “freedoms”. The partnership of patriotism and religion is responsible for many dead soldiers, martyr’s of their nations.
The Nazi army of Germany back in the day, was filled with proudly patriotic citizens fighting for their nation. The soldiers of the United States (and other nations) today, fight with the same patriotism for the nations they represent.
Most will be quick to say “There is a HUGE difference between the Nazi’s and the American Military!”. But back in the day, the average German would have likely said the same thing.
That is the power of propaganda. And if there is one tool of propaganda that works wonders, its patriotism.
We know that patriotism is a dangerous tool. At its worst, it can be a tool of propaganda. And at best, it introduces unnecessary friction and roadblocks to situations that would not otherwise be so complicated. Particularly notable in todays globalist world.
Today the world is more connected then it has ever been before. The internet has erased international boarders in terms of global communications. And global trade partnerships, combined with the ease of movement between even the furthest reaches of the globe for most countries citizens, have rendered the world more connected then ever.
In this day and age, patriotism is not just risky, but unpractical. An obsolete concept in a globally dependent world.
I consider myself a “World Citizen” before I consider myself a Canadian citizen. As such, I do not really “observe” days like Canada day, though I do make note of them.. This year I posted a picture of a Canadian flag for Canada day, but also a picture of an American flag for independence day (a nod to all my friends on the South side of the Boarder).
I choose to have a more nationally ambiguous view, for a number of reasons. The first, is the mess of emotions that is often tied into “patriotism” (Canadian or otherwise). Its not helping anyone. Especially when it could almost be said that many are FALSE patriots (if being “patriotic” is boiled down into doing good for your country, how is flooding companies that pipe that money OUT OF THE COUNTRY, accomplishing that?).
Another reason, is that what happens in the rest of the world, matters for everyone (so its important that everyone is involved).
For example, the Internet is international in nature. We have learned fairly recently that such entities as the NSA do not only break the laws of its own nation, but also those of many around the world. For example, you may live in Britain and think your protected by your nations privacy laws. But they do not matter to the NSA.
The policing of the internet has to be international in nature.
Then there is Fukushima Daiichi, and incidents like it. Japan has done a great job of closing off the information flow (in terms of the status of the situation) to the rest of the world. And a good part of the world has forgotten. And yet, the situation (and others like it) could potentially have international ramifications.
Then there is the mother of all ecological catastrophes, climate change.
This is a problem that will come to affect EVERYONE on earth, I have no doubt about that. The severity may depend on the locations in which you reside, but I have no doubt that the fingers of climate change will be touching, everywhere.
As such, there needs to be an international plan of action.
Many individuals, cities and countries world wide are currently doing quite a bit towards fighting this threat. But the problem is, they are offset by everyone else, that ISN’T doing anything. All that matters, is what is going in the air. So long as carbon is being burned, the risk potential continues to go up.
Patriotism is not just a propaganda tool, it is also a dangerous opiate. And like with a real opiate, if we all continue to cling to the divisions of patriotism, were all going to overdose.