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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

Source: Tonystiles.com

Source: Tonystiles.com

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.”

How about those journalists taking orders on what to write from the military? Hell, how about the Propaganda division of the military actually working for CNN?

How about all those war movies lately?

“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

Source: madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com

Source: madeinamericathebook.wordpress.com

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

Source: cruciality.files.wordpress.com

Source: cruciality.files.wordpress.com

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.

18 Comments »

  1. Super essay. You are not alone. I grew up during the Vietnam war, and also during the time when the USA was ramping up for the big Bicentennial thing in 1976. I could not see much daylight between Ho Chi Minh and Paul Revere. Donald Trump is really spinning the black magic of patriotism down in SC as I write this. Its a terrible thing to watch. I wish I had some magic to break the fever, but I don’t other than just not participating in it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rest assured this witch/activist/artist has espoused this same idea for decades in my own work. It is a very hard wall to break through. I always ask people to tell me what makes this country so great. We aren’t the happiest, the healthiest, the most humane, the most free, or even the most democratic. We have the most nukes and the largest military. That makes us powerful, not great. For me, it is the abundant soil that makes this country great, the ripe black earth itself and all that springs from it. Laid and built here by nature, not by any political machine, but that political machine is killing it surely. Our biggest national export: the topsoil runoff into the Mississippi River from the fallow winter fields of factory farms. It is nonsensical. So the great Dark Mother has my allegiance. Thank you so much for this spirit-invigorating essay, brother-in-arms. BB

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not really keen on articles that tell me how I “should” view things — especially coming at the end of an essay designed to point out that that’s exactly what patriotism does. “Patriotism tells you what you should believe, but you shouldn’t listen to it — you should listen to ME!” Right. Because that argument works so very well.

    I think you would have better served this article if you had titled it “US Patriotism is a Fraud and You Have Been Duped”. As it is, it just seems to this Canadian witch like more USians speaking for us without listening to us. By generalizing all patriotism based almost entirely on examples from the US, you are spreading a US-centric version of events.

    If you’d titled the article more specifically, I’d be in agreement with it. As it is, I’m just pissed off that yet another USian is taking it upon themselves to speak for the whole world.

    (Canadian patriotism, for the record, has its issues, but it is not the big evil bogeyman you’ve described in your article about US patriotism. Now, if only you could be clear that you’re talking about the US specifically, instead of trying to paint the entire world in the same three colors.)

    Like

      • Classifying things as universal evils is lazy thinking. Most things are more complicated than just good or evil and require a more nuanced discussion.

        If you want to critique Canadian patriotism, you need to have a good understanding of Canadian history, instead of just dismissing the country as being founded by patriotic empire lovers (bit more complicated than that). You also need to have a good understanding of modern Canada, because countries change and evolve and grow.

        US patriotism has become synonymous with nationalism and jingoism, but using that definition of patriotism — one that necessarily includes nationalism and jingoism instead of just having the potential to include those aspects — to define all patriotism is disingenuous and lazy. Not to mention there’s a difference between the patriotism of the state (which is often nationalism and jingoism) and the patriotism of the individual person (can be nationalism/jingoism; might not include those at all and may just be a genuine love of one’s home country, which includes critiquing said country).

        It is my patriotism to Canada that not only allows me to criticize my country and ask it to do better, it demands of me that I do these things. How can I truly be a patriot if I am not willing to criticize the crappy stuff my country does? I want my country to do well, and that means I want it to stop being an asshole.

        If I weren’t a patriot, I’d just say fuck it and move to Norway because things are so shitty here. But I truly believe Canada can do better, and I’m going to stay here and fight for a better country.

        A true deconstruction of patriotism, nationalism, and jingoism could be an interesting conversation to have, and possibly a necessary one. But that conversation can’t happen if people are just going to scream that patriotism is evil, full stop. Once you put things into the boxes of good and evil, you stop the conversation.

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Canadian patriotism, for the record, has its issues, but it is not the big evil bogeyman you’ve described in your article about US patriotism.”

      …I sincerely doubt the peoples of the First Nations/Inuit/Métis/Aboriginals would agree with that assessment. Canadian patriotism demonstrably remains a nightmare for many to this day.

      Sure, Canada hasn’t engaged in imperialistic exercises overseas to the extent of their bellicose neighbor to the south, but I wonder if that is more due to lack of opportunity and lack of access to the necessary resource base than a “kinder, gentler patriotism.”

      Patriotism is defined narrowly as an emotional attachment of the individual to a nation which they consider to be their homeland, to which you have posted textbook examples. This leads us back to the following:

      “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?”

      I believe I understand the nuance you are attempting to introduce here, and I applaud it in the interests of free inquiry. However your loyalty to an imaginary concept is unwarranted and by my reading, only strengthens the central thesis of this piece.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I sincerely doubt the peoples of the First Nations/Inuit/Métis/Aboriginals would agree with that assessment.”

        Do you actually know any First Nations peoples, or are you just trying to speak for all of us? Like other groups of Canadians, we’re not a monolith, and many will have different opinions. I know many other First Nations people who would consider themselves patriots — some to Canada, some to their band first. Some just to the land — which yes, is now called Canada, and might in the future be called something else, but still remains our homeland. This is not a narrow definition of patriotism; it is one with nuance.

        But I guess I should have expected to have my heritage erased and to be condescended to when I disagreed with this piece. Teach me to try to ask USians to not be so godsdamned UScentric.

        Like

  4. @Morag, February 22, 2016 at 2:27 am

    “Most things are more complicated than just good or evil and require a more nuanced discussion.”

    Most things are more complicated but patriotism is one of the few things that, having taken a long time to consider it, examining the nuanced views of all the possible goods, any right minded individual will come to the conclusion that it’s a universal evil.

    The only positive thing you can say in defense of patriotism is that it encourages you to critique your government. In the first place, you don’t need patriotism to do that, in point of fact, 9 times out of 10, “patriotism” will hinder the critique of government action, especially when the government acts in accordance with your interests.

    Secondly, part of the evil of patriotism is it makes you believe you are part of something unitary rather than something universal. Canada is not an isolated system, the shit Canada does, or the US, or Norway for that matter, impacts us all. Patriotism, to your band, people, nation or the ruling elite narrows your interest to your own back yard so you don’t see that burning the scrub there is likely to cause a forest fire.

    You are not Canadian, that’s just a label somebody arbitrarily applied to you based on the location of your birth. You didn’t ask for it, it was imposed upon you, and somebody went to a lot of trouble to do it so you can safely assume they had a reason. This article asks you to consider who labelled you, why and to what ends it is likely to be used.

    Your interests have more in common with a man who makes his living combing a dump in Nairobi to find recyclables than it does with the titular head of the Canadian state. Patriotism is designed to blind you to that fact. Has it?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh yes! Sometime in my teen years I started to question all of this, and the 30 years since have made me even more sure that the “patriotism” I see touted on TV and by many people I know is a scam and has nothing to do with loving – and wanting to improve – the land of my birth.

    Like

  6. It took me a while to get beyond my gut reaction to this piece. Normally I’m fully in support of Gods and Radicals, but this article threw me off.

    The Heathen sense of virtue is entirely connected to the community. If I was to grossly oversimplify it, I would say that to the Heathen, what is good is what is beneficial to the folk, and what is bad is what is harmful to it. Our gods are firmly on the side of civilization. Something I wrote a while ago: “In mythic time, human beings were created, and our civilization was given form by the gods. In this time “long ago” the first gifts were given to human beings – our will, our health, our sacral natures. The land was made safe for us by Thor’s struggles and labours. Our ancestors gave us shape and repute by their deeds and gave us breath by their bodies. The battle dead, whose Memorial Chamber literally lies at the axis mundi of the Parliament Buildings, provide with their bones and blood the foundation of the Folk of Canada. These first gifts form the basis of civilization, gifts which demand response. By venerating the gods, the wights of the land, and the dead, we reciprocate their gifts – primordial and ongoing.”

    I don’t doubt it when Dr. Bones says he’s had a poisonous relationship with patriotism. I’m fully aware of Canada’s awful legacy with First Nations peoples (and its ongoing genocide of the same). I’m aware of the thousands of Indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing or who have been trafficked as a result of colonialism and racism. I’m aware of these and other crimes for which there is no excuse and likely no recompense possible. How can we offer compensation for hundreds of thousands dead? How can we pay weregild for residential schools?

    I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t know how to reconcile what I know Canada has done with what it can be. I don’t want to dismiss the poison we’ve made on this land, or pretend it’s not still very real and very ongoing.

    I joined the Canadian Army to repay my country for the easy life I’ve had. When I stood in the Memorial Chamber I saw how the whole building – the whole cosmos of Canada, built there on unceded Algonquin territory – curled around the Chamber. This world was built on the battle dead, literally. When I pour out offerings to them with my Kindred, I can feel them there in the Vé – all their deeds, noble and less than noble, courageous and cruel, flowing up from the Well into the lives of the folk.

    I joined the Army to repay a gift for a gift. That’s my patriotism. It might not go down well here at Gods and Radicals. But I think my gods are ok with it.

    Like

    • We’ll be writing a bit more on patriotism and nationalism pretty soon. It’s a really difficult topic, and quite fraught.
      One thing worth looking at is the question of the ‘idea of Canada’ (or any other nation). Our feelings, loyalty, attachment, and identification with ideas that others have created are obviously widespread, as well as our familial ties and desire to be loyal. These are good things; unfortunately, Nations are constructs, egregores if you will, which channel these very noble attributes of humans towards other ends, including war, economic imperialism, and xenophobia. It’s therein that the nation becomes problematic.

      The desire to serve and protect people by putting yourself in the way of harm is indeed noble–it’s something I personally identify with more than most other traits. And it’s also such a rare human trait that powerful people have a very huge interest in abusing it for their own needs.

      Like

  7. Rhyd –

    You’re absolutely right that it’s a fraught subject. I know that about myself, at least. As someone who is very much a patriot – and a patriot on the left – I become all sorts of emotional when my country is brought up. It gets more complicated when I examine other intersections of Heathen praxis and nationalism. It should be no secret to anyone what kind of poisons come out when our symbols, ways, and gods meet the legacy of white hatred. I can’t pretend that there isn’t a problem, or that a certain kind of person is attracted to Heathenry. I myself – a white male, able-bodied, a soldier – must constantly examine myself and my deeds.

    How can I “rehabilitate” nationalism, when in Canada it and white supremacy have so often been uttered in the same breath (and is there any difference)?

    It’s true that Nation is a meaning created by others, a myth in the old sense of our place in the world as a folk. So is everything else. Every way in which we understand the world – and I include positivist science – are stories that we tell about a world without meaning, structure, direction – an Abyss, a wilderness. And as I said before, it was the gift of our gods, civilization (meaning) wrenched out of that wilderness, that made us a folk. Nation is a divine gift.

    And even that is dust.

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  8. Should probably clarify – when I say I must examine myself and my deeds, I don’t mean in any way to imply that it’s an unnecessary burden done out of some sense of “political correctness,” or that I resent it. I mean that rooting out racist, patriarchal deeds in myself is a (long, ongoing) process of self-decolonization. I was told once that decolonization is violent. It is my belief that that is no less true when it is myself that I am decolonizing.

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    • If I come out that way I’d be glad to take you up on it.

      If you ever end up wandering onto the space coast let me know.

      Like

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