Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Debate is good fascism

Most people will be patriotic no matter where they live so long as it is a reasonably good place to be. The actions of numerous Iraqis et al. against Americans prove that many will cling to a love of country even when that country isn't such a great place.

Blind patriotism is a strong proclivity. Nobody wants to think her own country is bad.

Still others teach us, by example, that peer pressure plays a primary role in would-be thought control of the kind that occurs practically on its own volition. Also known as fascism, the behavior is frequently synonymous with blind patriotism, which transcends a mere love for country to comprise other things (e.g., "love of political party," "love of race," "love of philosophical idea," "love of one religious interpretation," and so on).

Of course these people want us to think like they do. After all, agreement, to them, is evidence of their own ideals' veracities.

Here in the U.S. we haev always rationalized our patriotism by citing the many wonderful things our country's systems bestow at least the majority of us. We may be seeing a drop in "blind" patriotism these days because the tangible, good things here that have made blind patriotism in this country rational and harmless are fledgling.

Many attribute the fledgling to Bush, which is good, for it means they understand why they love their country, and still love it. They may or may not be right, but their conclusions should not lead us to question their patriotism. Their dissent should, rather, encourage us to ferret out and admonish the politicians and fourth estaters who would rather admonish the observant among us.

It is so easy to manipulate patriotic fervor to serve disingenuous or even well-intentioned but misguided ends. Patriotic passion easily widens to encompass fascism that glorifies and coerces groupthink based in fallacious, bigoted, and dangerous ideals.

Fascist patriotism is probably unavoidable at times and useful when it comes to self defense, but what if the appeal to self defense is a ruse? Enter variety of thought, which now becomes absolutely essential. The only fascist ideal we should promote is the fascism that says all ideas are welcome to participate.

Author's note: A distinction between patriotism and nationalism may be necessary in order to elaborate nuances.