Patriotism is a Fraud and You Have Been Duped
“Leibesh: Rabbi! May I ask you a question?
Rabbi: Certainly, Lebisch!
Leibesh: Is there a proper blessing… for the Tsar?
Rabbi: A blessing for the Tsar? Of course! May God bless and keep the Tsar… far away from us!”—Fiddler on the Roof
I have always viewed Patriotism as an aberration. It seemed contrived, unreal, and foolish. Even as a child I felt there was something strange about this whole pledge of allegiance business.
As a young boy I had an unyielding thirst to read, and somewhere along the line I become very aware of the racist history of the ole’ USA. I can’t place the how and I’ve long forgotten the why, but every morning when we’d line up to pledge our lives to the multicolored cloth hanging above us and it just felt odd to me. I kept running that line over and over again in my head “and justice for all” and it never sounded right. My half-formed mind floated to images of Emit Till, lynchings, and hooded fascists stalking the countryside in white robes. When I learned about the civil war I would often fantasize about being a military governor during Reconstruction, gleefully stringing up Klansman and racists from lamp poles and burning entire cities to the fucking ground.
Needless to say, I was an odd child.
But even past the very vivd reality of race other things didn’t add up. I didn’t understand exactly what we were all so happy about, so proud of. Weren’t my classmates reading the same history books at home I was? Were they aware of the savage brutality that flag was founded on? The oceans of blood that thing had consumed?
I didn’t fare much better in high school, somehow winding up in the JROTC program. Here I discovered I just didn’t care for rules, and gladly whipped my classmates up into a Soviet frenzy just for fun. One day on grass manicured with military precision, all the JROTC classes assembled to perform feats of strength in front of representatives of every branch of the military. This was to be a moment of honor, though for who was never quite clear, so I decided to do the mature thing and ruin it.
Under that humid sun the last class marched out, distant at first but slowly holding high a homemade USSR flag and chanting the name “STALIN!” I didn’t know who Marx or Lenin was, didn’t know about gulags or purges, didn’t really understand Communism. I just knew they hated this symbol and I really liked to play Red Alert 2. The operation was a success: they were mortified and I quickly no longer had to deal with the rules of the quasi-air-force as I was soon kicked out of the program.
The incident was a turning point in my life. What fascinated me was the profane nature of it all: this red sweater hastily drawn upon with a black permanent marker getting the same reaction as if I’d dropped a baby on the ground. How could such a thing wield that much power over the minds of grown adults, twist and bend their logic enough to view one rag as sacred and another as the penultimate evil? What strange force made these men and woman get up everyday and willingly shed every aspect of their personality in the name of some immaterial “allegiance?”
It was only through later study that I determined these poor folks had been infected by a terrible virus, one that’s contaminated not only this country but every country on the planet. This virus infects the mind and controls the body, often causing the diseased to become violent and ignorant.
I speak of course of the virus of Patriotism.
You Are Being Lied To
Who could have anything bad to say about a love for one’s country? Wasn’t it Patriotism that kept us united as a people, creating a sense of national solidarity?
First lets make one thing clear: if patriotism is so natural and so good, why in the world does the government need to keep shoving it down your throat?
“The war criminals at the US Pentagon have long drawn on seemingly limitless quantities of taxpayers’ money. Part of their Public Relations strategy is to maintain their claim on the lion’s share of the USA’s public treasury by sponsoring patriotic events at college and NFL football games. Their modus vivendi is to drape themselves in the American flag to inflate their budgets while boosting recruitment into the Armed Forces.
The ritualistic militarization of American football is reaching its most fascistic extremes in this, the fiftieth Superbowl Sunday. On the ground the Armed Forces Chorus will sing America the Beautiful. These soldier songsters are sharing the spotlight with Lady Gaga. She is entrusted to render the US National Anthem for the 100 million plus viewers in worldwide television audience.
As CNN advertised in its CIA-sponsored news, the National Guard and Civil Air Patrol divisions of the US Air Force will guard the Superbowl skies from terrorist attack. In CNN’s spin doctoring, much attention is devoted to the F-15. We learn from the ad/news report that the F-15 has a capacity of 2000 mph, that it can ascend to up to twelve miles above land, and that it has 34 combat victories. Are these specs being included in Superbowl news to make the players and fans at Levi’s Stadium feel more secure?”
Ritualistic you say? Almost like…an enchantment? A public ritual involving death machines fresh from the killing fields of Syria and Libya “protecting” the Super Bowl from our always invisible enemies. And this isn’t the first time the NFL scored touchdowns in the name of the State.
“All this patriotic propaganda- the troop-salutes, the banner ads, even the community service events where troops and NFL teams “build or re-build” a playground together, come with a price tag.
Fourteen NFL teams were paid a total of $5.4 million by the Department of Defense to cover the nationalistic propaganda filling downtime during the games….
According to the Post, this is what the National Guard (who coughed up all but $100,000 of the millions) receives in return for its spending:
A Hometown Heroes Salute segment, online advertising and meeting space for a meeting or events, digital advertising on stadium screens, and advertising and marketing services including a kickoff video message from the Guard.”
“In the past decade, government subsidies to Hollywood production studios have increased substantially. In 2002 only five states provided subsidies to the film industry. In 2012, forty-five states including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico all offer Motion Picture Incentives (MPIs) through a variety of grants, cash rebates, and other special privileges to film crews in order to encourage movie producers to shoot films in their municipality. Favors to film companies also include tax credits which are not subsidies per se, but nonetheless provide the recipients with advantages over less-politically-favored industries…
“In return for our obliged battle contributions the Defense Department uses its propaganda wing, which is strictly dedicated to editing, approving, and overlooking film scripts, and making sure that Hollywood abides by the American patriotic ideal; it’s known as the Film Liaison Office….Furthermore, John Rizzo, the ex-general counsel of the CIA, affirmed that America’s main intelligence-gathering agency has a very “special relationship” with the entertainment industry. “There are officers assigned to this account full-time,” Rizzo claims. “Movie industry vets are receptive to helping the CIA in any way they can, probably in equal parts because they are sincerely patriotic and because it gives them a taste of real-life intrigue and excitement.”
All this effort in getting you to believe something sure looks suspicious, doesn’t it? It’s like a car salesmen sweating profusely and assuring you that “nothing is wrong with this car. It definitely wasn’t in an accident. Definitely. Totally fine, totally not damaged.” Ask any military recruiter just how often you’ll be able to study for those “free college courses,” or how quickly you can expect treatment if you’re injured and you’ll see much the same stammering.
So we have to ask ourselves: just why is Uncle Sam so interested in controlling how you think about him?
Patriotism is the Lies the State Gets You to Tell Yourself
The thing is whenever patriotism is discussed it’s never quite truly defined. Patriotism is not simply a love for one’s country, it is not just a feeling of solidarity. When 9/11 happened were you more shocked at the flagrant loss of human life or the fact that such a thing happened “to the United States?” If you answered the former congratulations! You’re a feeling human being; if you answered the latter I must ask why.
There is this weird thing about States: they remind me of ghosts. The restless Dead very rarely act in the open, preferring subtlety, but one of the things any good Necromancer can tell you is that the first trick they always pull is to whisper into your head. Anyone that’s shared living quarters with a negative entity can affirm this. You’ll be there minding your own business when a strange thought seems to shoot through your head like an arrow that you should kill yourself, or better yet, kill someone else. You know YOU didn’t think it, and the thought itself carries this slimy, alien feel to it, but it rings in your head all the same.
This is much the effect of Patriotism: it is an intangible spirit that tries to get you to do things.
What often passes for Patriotism is often simply human rivalry, the love of a sports team simply transferred to a national level. We’ll root and cheer for the ole’ Red, White and Blue at a soccer match just as easily as we will if we’re competing with Russia to get into space.
The difference is the American soccer team doesn’t take the field with machine guns and start drone bombing the sidelines, actively funding armed fundamentalists to begin killing fans of the opposing team.
Different forms of Patriotism? Yes. But very related. Tolstoy notes:
“It is generally said that the real, good patriotism consists in desiring for one’s own people or State such real benefits as do not infringe the well-being of other nations
Talking recently to an Englishman about the present war, I said to him that the real cause of the war was not avarice, as people generally say, but patriotism, as is evident from the temper of the whole of English society. The Englishman did not agree with me, and said that even were the case so, it resulted from the fact that the patriotism at present inspiring Englishmen is a bad patriotism; but that good patriotism, such as he was imbued with, would cause Englishmen, his compatriots, to act well.”
The problem is the “good patriotism” leads just as easily to the “bad” kind because we never want anybody else to be patriotic. Would the American have the Russian put his people or country above all others? Why isn’t the patriotism held by an Iraqi insurgent viewed as sacredly as our long dead revolutionaries?
Patriotism operates like a mental short circuit, allowing one group a ready made list of excuses and ego-enhancement while diminishing the same in other countries. Tolstoy agrees adding “So that not the imaginary but the real patriotism, which we all know, by which most people to-day are swayed and from which humanity suffers so severely, is not the wish for spiritual benefits for one’s own people (it is impossible to desire spiritual benefits for one’s own people only), but is a very definite feeling of preference for one’s own people or State above all other peoples and States, and a consequent wish to get for that people or State the greatest advantages and power that can be got- things which are obtainable only at the expense of the advantages and power of other peoples or States.”
Emma Goldman was even more scathing in her contempt for Patriotism:
“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…
We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.”
Emma was uncanny in her prediction: the United States, by the CIA’s own admission, has become the largest and most violent terrorist organization on the globe. All for what? Safety? We’re no more safe than 20 years ago. Freedom? We’re certainly less free then we were 50 years ago.
No, the grand American Imperium borne from bloodshed and maintained by the torture and death of millions exists because it must, because we are “exceptional” and thus we are destined to rule. Whatever needs to be done will be to maintain our hegemony, and the act of loving this is what the State needs. This ego-inflation on a national scale is fed by a steady diet of Patriotism and could easily be used to defend any loathsome behavior from purges and gulags to infinite war and genocide.
And it is on a regular basis: remember Madeleine Albright, the woman who called us “the indispensable nation,” also referred to the death of 500,000 Iraqi children as an “acceptable price” to pay for victory.
This logic, that we are “special” and because of this we can do what we like was greedily eaten up by movie-going masses through films like Zero-Dark-Thirty and American Sniper. Torture and murder weren’t simply shown, they were glorified.
The sheer fact a company would spend millions of dollars for a 30 second Super Bowl ad should attest to the importance of this battle for the subconscious. What effect do you think 30 minutes can have? How about an entire fucking movie? Patriot propaganda, while different, is as widespread as it’s Capitalist cousin and shares the same goal: to make you believe that it’s manufactured thoughts are your own. This is done primarily through emotional appeals which short circuits critical thinking as I covered before. So has Tolstoy:
“This occurs because the ruling classes (including not only the actual rulers with their officials, but all the classes who enjoy an exceptionally advantageous position: the capitalists, journalists, and most of the artists and scientists) can retain their position–exceptionally advantageous in comparison with that of the labouring masses–thanks only to Government organization, which rests on patriotism. They have in their hands all the most powerful means of influencing the people, and always sedulously support patriotic feelings in themselves and others, more especially as those feelings which uphold the Government’s power are those that are always best rewarded by that power…
“The ruling classes have in their hands the army, money, the schools, the churches, and the press. In the schools, they kindle patriotism in the children by means of histories describing their own people as the best of all peoples and always in the right. Among adults they kindle it by spectacles, jubilees, monuments, and by a lying patriotic press. Above all, they inflame patriotism in this way: perpetrating every kind of harshness and injustice against other nations, they provoke in them enmity towards their own people, and then in turn exploit that enmity to embitter their people against the foreigner.”
Patriotism then isn’t a love for one’s country. Patriotism is the state-sanctioned mental violation of entire peoples, all to keep them in service to the Ruling Class.
Stop Believing the Bullshit
Is the good of the nation really our good? It’s clearly good for some people: whenever the drums of war sound the poor are gathered around but the rich are free to play. In nearly all branches of government we have a ruling class of the rich for the rich, yet we are strong-armed to believe we’re “all in this together” yet they never seem to send their kids off to fight the wars they cause.
What loyalty should you have to these parasites and their “nation?” The same as they’ve given to you: NONE!
Sit with me beside the shattered corpse of an old Oak tree that provided shade for the Spaniards when they landed here, now torn down for a Burger King; walk with me amongst the shrinking Everglades who’s water supply is being strangled in the name of Bug Sugar. Our sacred spaces are dying in the name of progress, the very fields of existence we draw upon for power being mutilated for “the greater good,” and we are supposed to fawn over the State responsible for this?
We never see a strip mall torn down for a public park! We never see Northrop-Grumman have to beg for money and protection like our waterways do! I cannot file a petition to divest myself from the police but those who rule can far more easily explain away my right to live if our “boys in blue” so need it!
The Nation wants you to sweat and sacrifice(often your very life) yet scoffs at the idea it should do the same. What Occultist in their right mind would maintain a relationship such a spirit?
As magicians and Workers of Spirit we need to treat the invisible concepts of “State” and “Patriotism” just the same as we would any other entity that would seek to control our thoughts. You would not willingly jump off a cliff because some Wood Sprite claims it opens another dimension, yet you might pridefully watch our children sign up to die in a desert for some intangible “freedom.” We would not whitewash German history because one of our Ancestors fought for the Kaiser in WW1, yet how many here will apply the same vigorous criticism to American troops today? Why is it that we can communicate across dimensions yet would swear undying loyalty and subservience not to a land or country(for we’ve seen how they treat the land and we KNOW they don’t find it holy) but to an impalpable political “system” that shares none of our values yet demands our serfdom?
How many mores times must we as a community swallow “the noble lie?” How many more must be murdered in the streets until we realize the State would rather see us dead than disobedient? How polluted must our air become before we realize that the same people we keep voting for have the money to buy the purified stuff and don’t intend to give it up?
When will the witches and wizards realize they have been put under a spell of compulsion and begin to cast some of their own?
It’s time for the magically inclined to wake up and realize they’ve been hexed, that a malignant and poisonous little troll that loves to wave flags has been implanted in our skulls. In the media, in conversation, this troll whispers excuses for evil just as easily as it spreads lies to further it’s own agenda, an agenda it values much higher than our lives and dreams. It’s time for the magical folk to cast out this errant alien, to unbind themselves from the dictums of the State.
How should the Magical Folk view Patriotism? The same as any other negative entity that seeks to control them: with contempt, suspicion, and about two gallons of Florida Water to keep it far, far away.