Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What price patriotism?

From a friend a question

What do you think of Nationalism in general?
good or bad?
helpful or harmful?
valuable or worthless?

And my answer

That is a multi sided question because there are two big questions hidden in the one. On one side is the recognition that you are living in many layers of a collective, from your neighborhood or church, to your city, your state and of course your country. In each of those cases you are a member more or less as an accident of where you live, but if you work with the other members to improve the situation in the collective, your life is improved because you get benefits from that collective, even when you might not see a one to one relationship in your benefits and effort.

There is of course the largest collective that is all humanity, and while 200 years ago what happened on the other side of the globe might have few consequences to you, that is certainly no longer the case, from your factory that got shipped to China, to the collapse of the Antarctic ice shelves. So while you indeed do want to improve each of your other collectives, and need to work on that as you can, you need to work on the global one as well. If Chinese workers got a decent wage you would have more jobs at better wages, If the Antarctic Ice melts I get waterfront property.

There is of course another very much darker side that lays underneath any recognition of one's collective that can go from simply annoying to the worst sort of mass murder and genocide. At the lightest it is properly called triumphalism, that your collective is the most desirable to be a member of because of aspects you like and achievements you are proud of, plus you are in it and others are not. Internally this can gin up the troops to make more sacrifices for the collective, and under wise leadership can still bring cohesion and a better outcome for the extra effort, but from that point forward the slope begins to get slippery.

Things begin to get dicey when a collective adopts strong triumphalism that is directed outwards, especially when your collective is one of two or more in a larger collective, your collective can generate annoyance to downright hostility. A leader of your collective, particularly if unimaginative, or merely has an agenda to benefit himself at the expense of the collective, can use the hostility generated to create more triumphalism and get more support and sacrifice, even beyond what might normally be willingly given. This can cause a cycle of hostility that can easily get out of hand.

At some point there gets to be the idea that the Collective would be much better off if other collectives were not a part of the larger collective, and by eliminating them eliminate the source of hostility. This might take the form of wanting to divide the land in half, one collective or the other to run away or be pushed away, or if there is no away then mass murder can start. By the time this Eliminationism is in full flower, getting cooler heads to shut it down can be difficult or impossible, and the greatest evils humans know can be commonplace.

The trick then is to be mindful of the triumphalism, and hold leaders carefully accountable if they gin it up beyond that lightest levels, but particularly if they are unworthy of that leadership they will strongly resist efforts to do so. There in lies the Bane of Humanity.

A good Reference: "Eliminationism in America": Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X, and Appendix.

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One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come