Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Darwinian Nature of Patriotism

Howard Zinn--best known as the author of The People's History of the United States--is one of the leading writers for the American Left. The website for The Progressive has a 4th of July article by Zinn, who argues that it is immoral for Americans to celebrate July 4th. He writes:

"On this July 4, we would be well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledge of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

"Is it not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred."

He concludes: "We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation."

As I have indicated in Darwinian Conservatism, this is one fundamental distinction between the utopianism of the Left and the realism of conservatism: the Left adheres to a rationalist utopianism of universal benevolence that denies patriotism, while conservatives recognize that it is natural and good for human beings to be more attached to those close to them than to strangers, even though this divides human beings in ways that often create tragic conflicts. One can see this, for example, in the way that both Edmund Burke and Adam Smith rejected the humanitarian rationalism of Richard Price who insisted that moral principle required that all human beings should deny patriotic attachments so that they could be "citizens of the world."

A Darwinian account of human nature explains the ultimate causes of such group loyality as arising from evolutionary group selection that favors a tribal attachment to one's own. Of course, our natural capacity for sympathy allows us to extend our concern to ever wider groups, even to the point of feeling some concern for human strangers and even nonhuman animals. But this humanitarian concern will always be weaker than our attachments to kin, to friends, and to fellow citizens.

There is a dark side to such tribalism, as Zinn indicates, because our natural tendency to cooperate with our group to compete with out-groups can lead to brutual cruelty. But to think that the proper solution to this moral problem is a disinterested humanitarian rationalism that shows no spirited attachment to one's own is a utopian, if not inhuman, denial of human nature and the natural grounds of moral concern.

Happy 4th of July!


Anonymous said...

Pledge of Allegiance pictures http://rexcurry.net/pledge-allegiance-pledge-allegiance.jpg and Swastikas pictures http://rexcurry.net/swastika3clear.jpg expose shocking secrets about American history.

Socialists in the USA originated the Nazi salute, robotic group-chanting to flags, Nazism, flag fetishism, and the modern swastika as "S" symbolism for "Socialism." http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html

Much of that history is the history of the Pledge Of Allegiance.

Those historical facts explain the enormous size and scope of government today, and the USA's growing police state. They are reasons for massive reductions in government, taxation, spending and socialism.

The "Nazi salute" is more accurately called the "American salute" as it was created and popularized by national socialists in the USA. It was the early salute of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was written by Francis Bellamy. http://rexcurry.net/pledgetragedy.html Francis Bellamy was cousin and cohort of Edward Bellamy. http://rexcurry.net/pledgebackward.html Edward Bellamy and Francis Bellamy were self-proclaimed socialists in the Nationalism movement and they promoted military socialism.

They wanted the government to take over education and use it to spread their worship of government. When the government granted their wish, the government’s schools imposed segregation by law and taught racism as official policy. The official racism and segregation was a bad example three decades before the National Socialist German Workers Party, and decades afterward.

The Pledge was mandated by law in government schools for three decades before, and through, the creation of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. http://rexcurry.net/bellamy-edward-karl-marx.html

see photo of Pledge of Allegiance http://rexcurry.net/USA-pledge-of-allegiance-rexcurrydotnet.jpg Pledge of Allegiance.

Many people do not know that the term "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party." Members of the horrid group did not call themselves Nazis. In that sense, there was no Nazi Party. They also did not call themselves Fascists. They called themselves socialists, just as their name indicates.

The historian Dr. Rex Curry showed that the early Pledge Of Allegiance did not use an ancient Roman salute, and that the 'ancient Roman salute' myth came from the Pledge Of Allegiance. The discoveries have been reviewed and verified on wikipedia http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-metropolitan-museum-of-art.html

The original pledge was anti libertarian and began with a military salute that then stretched out toward the flag. In actual use, the second part of the gesture was performed with a straight arm and palm down by children casually performing the forced ritual chanting. Due to the way that both gestures were used sequentially in the pledge, the military salute led to the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute is an extended military salute via the USA's Pledge Of Allegiance.

Media coverage about the discoveries continues to grow http://rexcurry.net/audio-rex-curry-podcast-radio.html

Fan mail for work exposing the Pledge’s poisonous pedigree is at http://rexcurry.net/pledge_heart.html

And listen at http://odeo.com/audio/1747108/view

The Pledge's early salute caused quite a Fuhrer/furor. The dogma behind the Pledge was the same dogma that led to the socialist Wholecost (of which the Holocaust was a part): 62 million slaughtered under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 49 million under the Peoples’ Republic of China; 21 million under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. It was the worst slaughter of humanity ever.

People were persecuted (beatings, lynchings, etc) for refusing to perform robotic chanting to the national flag at the same time in government schools in the USA and Germany (to the American flag, and to the German swastika flag).

American socialists (e.g. Edward Bellamy and Francis Bellamy teamed with the Theosophical Society and Freemasons) bear some blame for altering the notorious symbol used as overlapping S-letters for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers Party.

The same symbol was used by the Theosophical Society during the time when the Bellamys, Freemasons and the Theosophical Society worked together to promote socialism.

They also originated and helped to spread the stiff arm salute via the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings.

As German socialism's notorious flag symbol, the swastika was deliberately turned 45 degrees to the horizontal and always oriented in the S-direction. Similar alphabetic symbolism is still visible as Volkswagen logos. http://rexcurry.net/swastika-audi-logo.JPG

The bizarre acts in the USA began as early as 1875 and continued through the creation of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (German Nazis or NSGWP). American soldiers used the swastika symbol in WWI (against Germany) and the symbol was used by the American military during WWII. http://rexcurry.net/45th-infantry-division-swastika-sooner-soldiers.html

The NSGWP had clear roots in National Socialism promoted by socialists in the USA. Amazing graphic images that prove the point are at http://rexcurry.net/theosophy-madame-blavatsky-theosophical-society.html

The USA is still the worst example in the world of bizarre laws that require robotic chanting to a national flag in government schools (socialist schools) every day for 12 years. It has changed generations of Americans from libertarians to authoritarians. The government bamboozled individuals into believing that collective robotic chanting in government schools daily is a beautiful expression of freedom. http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html

Anonymous said...

the only patriotic, ideologically left thinker that I recall is the recently deceased Richard Rorty. Or maybe John Dewey too.

Pragmatist in general tend to more patriotic than their left leaning colleagues.

Anonymous said...

So Howard Zinn is your paradigmatic leftist? I hope you don't think that I need to choose between 'Darwinian conservatism' and Howard Zinn. That choice makes me feel rather cramped.

Do you really think that the wholesale rejection of patriotism is typical of thinkers on the left? To consider the issue more carefully, consider a distinction. Many people, myself included, are suspicious of the attitudes and behaviors often described as patriotic because we have the sense that they involve an insufficiently critical attitude towards one's own nation, an almost idolatrous deference to the nation, an arbitrary elevation of one's own nation over others, and naive sentimentality. I don't think that people on the left are the only ones who reject all of that.

Nor am I committed, by rejecting all of that, to rejecting the idea that I should care in a special way about my own family, community, and state. Conservatives have no monopoly on that idea, unless you're willing to include people like Bernard Williams, Philippa Foot, Rosalind Hursthouse, Richard Kraut, Michael Walzer, and Charles Taylor as 'conservatives.' Even some self-described 'cosmopolitans' agree that we have special relationships to our families and to various communities, and that these relationships entail that we act differently towards different people and that we distribute our concern unequally.

So call that thesis the 'special concern' or 'agent-relative concern' thesis or whatever you like. It entails patriotism insofar as one's own nation is among the most important communities to which one belongs. Conservatives certainly aren't the only ones who accept this idea. It does not require acceptance of the attitudes and behaviors that often go under the name 'patriotism,' however. To maintain that one ought to care more deeply and in different ways for one's own country than for others does not entail that one should believe that one's own country is, objectively speaking, the best country in the world. Nor, more importantly, does it entail that one should be willing to treat other countries and their members as mere instruments to the flourishing of one's own fellows. Nor does it entail that we should overlook all of the problems and mistakes that our own country has made, or that we should support our country's leaders in whatever they do.

So yes, people on the left reject fake, sentimental patriotism. Some of them also throw the baby out with the bathwater. Others, like Zinn, are driven by their moral fundamentalism to reduce entire ideas and nations to their worst components and consequences (and yet complain when people make the same cheap move against Marx). But most people on the left do not reject the idea that they should care in a special way for the communities of which they are members, their nation in particular. The trouble isn't that the leftists are all anti-patriotic cosmopolitans; it's that conservatives want to say that we need not have any concern for people outside our own political community except insofar as those people can aid us or hinder us in our pursuit of happiness. It isn't that liberals are utopian universalists, it's that conservatives are jingoistic xenophobes who worship their own nation.

If you object to that vast generalization, then stop perpetrating the same crimes against non-conservative thought.

MacIntyre's lecture, "Is Patriotism a Virtue?" might have much to teach you.