Thursday, May 26, 2011


Just got an email from Goshen College - they still are dilly-dallying about making a decision regarding the playing of the National Anthem at sporting events, and interestingly shortly thereafter I received another email from a friend about Patriotism.  Maybe the GC folks should consider this if they believe that they need to demonstrate a bit of patriotism via the National Anthem:

On Patriotism

by Fred Reed

Patriotism is everywhere thought to be a virtue rather than a mental disorder. I don’t get it.

If I told the Rotarians or an American Legion hall that “John is a patriot,” all would approve greatly of John. If I told them that patriotism was nothing more than the loyalty to each other of dogs in a pack, they would lynch me. Patriotism, they believe, is a Good Thing.

Of course the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor were patriots, as were the German soldiers who murdered millions in the Second World War. The men who brought down the towers in New York were patriots, though of a religious sort. Do we admire their patriotism?

Of course not. When we say “John is a patriot,” we mean “John is a reliable member of our dog pack,” nothing more. The pack instinct seems more ancient, and certainly stronger, than morality or any form of human decency. Thus, once the pack – citizenry, I meant to say – have been properly roused to a pitch of patriotism, they will, under cover of the most diaphanous pretexts, rape Nanking, bomb Hiroshima, kill the Jews or, if they are Jews, Palestinians. We are animals of the pack. We don’t admire patriotism. We admire loyalty to ourselves.

The pack dominates humanity. Observe that the behavior of urban gangs – the Vice Lords, Mara Salvatrucha, Los Locos Intocables, Crips, Bloods – precisely mirrors that of more formally recognized gangs, which are called “countries.” Gangs, like countries, are intensely territorial with recognized borders fiercely defended. The soldiers of gangs, like those of countries, have uniforms, usually clothing of particular colors, and they “throw signs” – make the patterns of fingers indicating their gang – and wear their hats sideways in different directions to indicate to whom their patriotism is plighted. They have generals, councils of war, and ranks paralleling the colonels and majors of national packs. They fight each other endlessly, as do countries, for territory, for control of markets, or because someone insulted someone. It makes no sense – it would be more reasonable for example to divide the market for drugs instead of killing each other – but they do it because of the pack instinct.

Packery dominates society. Across the country high schools form basketball packs and do battle on the court, while cheerleaders jump and twirl, preferably in short skirts (here we have the other major instinct) to maintain patriotic fervor in the onlookers. Cities with NFL franchises hire bulky felons from around the country to bump forcefully into the parallel felons of other cities, arousing warlike sentiments among their respective fellow dogs.

Fans. Fans.

Such is their footballian enthusiasm that they will sometimes burn their own cities in delight at victory or disturbance at loss. Without the pack instinct, football would hardly matter to them at all.  It’s everywhere. The Olympics, the World Cup, racial groups, political parties – Crips and Bloods, all.

Part of patriotism is nationalism, the political expression of having given up to the pack all independence of thought.  Patriotism is of course incompatible with morality. This is more explicit in the soldier, a patriot who agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill by the various alpha-dogs – President, Fuehrer, emperor, Duce, generals.

Is this not literally true? An adolescent enlists, never having heard of Ruritania, which is perhaps on the other side of the earth. A year later, having learned to manage the Gatlings on a helicopter gunship, he is told that Ruritania is A Grave Threat. Never having seen a Ruritanian, being unable to spell the place, not knowing where it is (you would be amazed how many veterans of Viet Nam do not know where it is) he is soon killing Ruritanians. He will shortly hate them intensely as vermin, scuttling cockroaches, rice-propelled paddy maggots, gooks, or sand niggers.

The military calls the pack instinct “unit cohesion,” and fosters it to the point that soldiers often have more loyalty to the military than to the national pack. Thus it is easy to get them to fire on their own citizens. It has not happened in the United States since perhaps Kent State, but in the past the soldiery were often used to kill striking workers. All you have to do is to get the troops to think of the murderees as another group.

If you talk to patriots, particularly to the military variety, they will usually be outraged at having their morality questioned. Here we encounter moral compartmentation, very much a characteristic of the pack. If you have several dogs, as we do, you will note that they are friendly and affectionate with the family and tussle playfully among themselves – but bark furiously at strangers and, unless they are very domesticated, will attack unknown dogs cooperatively and kill them.

Similarly the colonel next door will be honest, won’t kick your cat or steal your silverware. Should some natural disaster occur, work strenuously to save lives, at the risk of his own if need be. Yet he will consciencelessly cluster-bomb downtown Baghdad, and pride himself on having done so. A different pack, you see. It is all right to attack strange dogs.

The pack instinct, age old, limbic, atavistic, gonadal, precludes any sympathy for the suffereings of outsiders. If Dog pack A attacks intruding dog pack B to defend its territory, its members can’t afford to think, “Gosh, I’m really hurting this guy. Maybe I should stop.” You don’t defend territory by sharing it. Thus if you tell a patriot that his bombs are burning alive thousands of children, or that the embargo on Iraq killed half a million kids by dysentery because they couldn’t get chlorine to sterilize water, he won’t care. He can’t.

The same instinct governs thought about atrocities committed in wartime. In every war, every army (correctly) accuses the other side of committing atrocities. Atrocities are what armies do. Such is the elevating power of morality that soldiers feel constrained to lie about them. But patriots just don’t care. Psychologists speak of demonization and affecting numbing and such, but it’s really just that the tortured, raped, butchered and burned are members of the other pack.

I need a drink.

May 25, 2011


Sick Sigma Sez said...

If ole Fred were attacked by a shit-eating dog, there would be nothing left but a pile of clothes on top of a pair of shoes.

Bizzy Brain said...

I believe Fred Reed ( a non-Christian who lives in Mexico) writes with a sense of irreverent, tongue-in-cheek humor. He cannot be so stupid as to actually believe patriotism is nothing more than a dog pack impulse. With wrong definition in hand, he states that “patriotism is incompatible with morality,” that “patriots just don’t care,” etc., the implication being that patriotism is the root cause of man’s inhumanity to man and most other ills in the world.

Here are some gems from Mr. Reed’s other writings:
“Conservatives believe that the individual has the God-given right to rob others.”
“The conservative has no concern for the less fortunate, who he believes probably deserve it anyway.”
“The Old Testament reads like the annals of teenage gangs in Chicago.”
“Conservatives conspicuously lack esthetic sensibility.”
And here is my favorite, “And the sciences, though not intended to be, have become the opiate of the masses,” a play on Lenin’s statement that RELIGION is the opiate of the masses. (So, which is it, Fred?)

Hugh G. said...

Sounds like this guy picked up where Hunter Thompson left off.

Ricardo said...

Great post! I’m an atheist and a communist and believe everything Fred Reed has to say. If we could just get rid of “packery,” that would go a long way toward ending the struggle of the classes. Then the proletariat could emerge and gain control of the means of production and thereby bring about a just society. After that, a miracle would occur, the state would naturally wither away, and this would lead to a utopian, classless society, where everything worked on the basis of “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need.”
[At times I think I have too much time on my hands.]

Phil L. said...

Hey, dipsh*t Ricardo, did you ever stop to think that the poor and downtrodden and “oppressed” don’t care about equality and “social justice” and ‘from each according to his ability…’ etc. bs? All they want is to get rich.

Anonymous said...

I have a great idea! Why don't we all become Mennomaniacs?

Steve Heller said...

Great news for Fred Reed, Obama is not a patriot! When Herman Cain was asked on May 23rd about Obama as a man, he complimented his family life. But when asked whether the president was a patriot, Cain hesitated. After asking for a definition (a man who is working to do what he sees as right for his country), he simply said “no.”

Dr S said...

Glad to see old Fred got you guys all riled up!! :-> Let's stick with the main message - one person's patriot is another person's terrorist. The rest of his ranting is window dressing. I think that you all should watch this video, which will really push your buttons:

peace brothers :-)

Steve Heller said...

Great video! I will remind some of the guys to beware of hungry, strange dogs!

Bizzy Brain said...

Patton's take on patriotism: "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his."

Also, "Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base."