Peace is Unpatriotic - Hogeye Bill
War is armed hostile conflict between states. Peace is absence of war. Patriotism is love or devotion to one's state. Now that we've defined terms, let's look at the situation.
The US state rulers want war, in the form of occupation of foreign territories. If you have love or devotion for your state, then you go along with your rulers and support the occupations. Cheer the war, dutifully pay taxes to fund the war, sacrifice your children to fight the war, and celebrate the slaughter of innocent people to win the war.
Those of us who want peace, and are not devoted to serving the state's rulers or bleeding for their ambitions, are decidedly unpatriotic. We think the State is wrong, we think the rulers are criminals, we loathe the state - the mass-murdering institution of war and plunder.
Thus, it worries me when self-labeled peaceniks try to position themselves as patriots. It's a clear case of *failure to understand the concept.* The state is the problem, not the solution. I understand why these misguided folks do it: "Patriotism" is a sugary feel-good word on TV and in newspapers, so why not try to hijack its meaning for the cause of peace? Why not associate "peace" with the nicey-nice word "patriotism." There are two things wrong with this. One: Peace is good in itself, for many reasons. There's no need to appeal to (and soil it with) patriotism. Second: The juxtaposition of "peace" and "patriotism" sends a conflicting message. War is the health of the state; Peace is the infirmity of the state. Peace is keeping the state so weak the rulers cannot engage in foreign aggression, maintain foreign bases, or poison and bomb foreign peoples.
Appealing to nationalism, jingoism, and patriotism undermines the most effective actions and strategies for stopping war. It is unpatriotic people, the tax-resisters and draft resisters, who limit the state's ability to wage war. It is the traitors who are the most effective peacemakers. It is the teenager who says "fuck you" to the state's military recruiters, who spits on the flag and laughs at the brain-dead big lies, who will win peace.
Patriotism is the root of all evil. It is the motive-power of war, the word that calls sheep to their slaughter, the depraved fiction that glosses over mass slaughter and torture. "Patriotism" is a slave mentality, the fatuity of human lemmings willing to immolate themselves at the whim of depraved masters.
A patriotic peacenik already has the poison of the next war coursing through his tainted blood. "Stop this war," he cries, while tilling the soil for the next war. "Stop the war but love Big Brother," he bleats, glorifying the creator of all past wars, and preparing the next barbarity in Iran, or Sudan, or Colombia. To these misguided state-duped patriots we say: You cannot love and worship the god of war, and truly oppose war. To oppose war you must oppose the institutions which create war. The state is evil - it is the root cause of war. Not just your state, but all states. It's the institution, stupid!
Rise up, anti-patriots! Be seditionist, traitorous, and true to humanity. Do the right thing - condemn your state. Love thy neighbor and hate thy state. Be peaceful, unpatriotic, and proud.
Here's a sample of what wise men throughout the ages have said about patriotism:
When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.
- Lao-Tzu (6TH CENTURY B.C.), Legendary Chinese philosopher.
Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.
- John Dryden (1631-1700), English poet, dramatist, critic.
Patriot - One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.
- Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. author. The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906).
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
- Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer.
Under Ambrose Bierce's entry for Patriotism in his Devil's Dictionary (see above), Bierce added: "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."
"My country, right or wrong" ... is like saying "My mother, drunk or sober."
- G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), British author.
God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.
- Luis Bunuel (1900-1983), Spanish filmmaker. My Last Sigh, ch. 14 (1983).
Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism" I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice.
- Erich Fromm (1900-1980), U.S. psychologist. The Sane Society, ch. 3, "Rootedness-Brotherliness vs. Incest" (1955).
Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.
- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist. A Mencken Chrestomathy, "Sententiae: The Mind of Men" (1949).
Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power. And as such it is recommended wherever it is preached. Patriotism is slavery.
- Leo Tolstoy, "On Patriotism"
Addendum - Reply to Dan
It is true that "patriotism" once had a different meaning than "love or devotion to one's State." A couple of centuries ago it meant love of country (community or locality) rather than love of State. Jefferson referred to the local Massachusetts tax-resisters of Shays' Rebellion when he wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots." But, like the term "liberal," the meaning of "patriotism" changed 180 degrees during the 19th century. Orwell was vainly trying to revive the antiquated meaning of "patriotism," much like some modern day libertarians try to reclaim "liberal" by calling themselves "true liberals" or "classical liberals." Face it: today "patriotism" is firmly associated with State, not locality.
If you want to fight Orwellianism, I suggest you challenge the equivocation of "nation," "country," and "State," so popular among politicians. "Nation" still retains its culture/language heritage; "country" is still used to mean a geographical area rather than a State. There is still a chance to retain these terms as separate concepts from "State." But "patriotism" (and "liberalism") are a done deal. If you use these words in their original meaning, you'll spend more time explaining your terminology than making your point.
While we agree on the original meaning of patriotism, Dan, we disagree on the timing of its capture by the dark forces. You write, "patriot was only 'hijacked' by politicians as recently as the First World War to have any association with support for aggressive military action." I beg to differ. Herbert Spencer wrote an essay called "Patriotism" deriding the British Empire's occupation of Afghanistan way back in 1902. http://praxeology.net/HS-FC-20 "To me the cry – 'Our country, right or wrong!' seems detestable. By association with love of country the sentiment it expresses gains a certain justification. Do but pull off the cloak, however, and the contained sentiment is seen to be of the lowest." Leo Tolstoy also wrote about the association of patriotism with militarism and nationalism. See the quote below. In the US, "patriotism" has been associated with militarism at least since the Spanish-American war. See Mark Twain's "War Prayer," which begins, "It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping..."
I disagree with you, Dan, when you write, "Saying that 'Peace is Patriotic' is not an attempt to appeal to Nationalists." On the contrary, it is a direct appeal to nationalism. An appeal which, as I noted in the essay, contradicts the peace message and promotes future wars. The Omni peace poles, with the red, white, and blue colors of the US Imperial Logo promotes both nationalism and future aggression. Indeed, while Omni members protest the current occupation of Iraq, most of them favor intervention in Sudan! To paraphrase a saying: With peaceniks like this, who needs warmongers?
I am disappointed in Omni. Despite its name "Omni" (meaning "all"), it is a partisan statist socialist group that more often than not, fights *against* peace and justice. Its support for intervention in Sudan, braindead Wal-mart bashing, and more recently its endorsement of minimum productivity laws, makes me proud to have been expelled from the group for political incorrectness.
I made a video of my essay which will be shown on CAT (Fayetteville Community Access Television ch 18. In the video, I include some of my favorite patriotism quotes.