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      Loving Your Country

      In this post, I'm considering the USA in particular. It's occurred to me that many Americans treat their country similar to a god. Desecrating the flag is illegal, just as desecrating a bible is forbidden in Christianity. The rule that the flag cannot be dropped onto the ground reminds me of attending Synagogue and having to kiss a Siddur (the Jewish holy book) that has dropped to the ground. The flag is supposed to be considered a living thing, just as Catholics treat their wafers and the blood of Christ as living things. There are a startling amount of other rules for handling the American flag. National anthems are sung worldwide, but far more often in the US, and with extra respect.

      I understand having a certain amount of pride in the place that one lives if you're happy with the government or if it has a respectable history, but not to the point of worship. Many Americans do treat their feelings of 'love' and respect for their country as a touchy subject. I sometimes get the feeling that they're even a bit afraid of Big Brother coming down on them or something if they have a negative thought about it. That their government has brainwashed them so heavily into making them consider America to be such a profound place, a lot of them are incapable of fully realizing how stupid it all is. Even though most Americans seem unhappy with their government lately, they still seem to love the country itself. They're made to sing the anthem every day in school. This is repetition from a young age, a good way to brainwash someone, and should set off alarms.

      If you do love your country, what is your justification? Is it even possible to love a section of land? Why? Have Americans really been brainwashed, or is their respect for their country justified? Any other opinions or input on this issue?
      Last edited by Dianeva; 03-27-2013 at 01:32 AM.
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      It's conservatives who are like that. Liberals are against all that patriotic crap and often get called unamerican for it in angry hateful tones that suggest the lynch mob. Conservatives tend to be rah rah patriotic as well as religious and to value what they consider traditional family values often while having a distorted idea of what those values really are. Somehow in America being conservative is tied closely with being Christian. Lately all the conservative TV and radio networks are fired up with patriotic fervor because of a test question at some school where it asked "Why do terrorists hate America?" and the correct answer was "Because some American policies cause problems for people in other countries" rather than "Terrorists hate everybody" or "Everybody just hates Americans for some reason". The die-hard conservative line is that American kids should only be exposed to American propaganda and not to a realistic view of things.

      Also, nobody loves a patch of land - the country people love is the society and the government they belong to and the ideals it stands for. Conservatives in America tend to get really carried away in those ideals and like to overlook anything bad their country does, and believe it's every American's patriotic duty to do so. So anybody who criticizes the government automatically becomes unpatriotic and probably a Commie (or Terrorist sympathizer these days - whatever is the latest Hated Enemy of Democracy).

      There's a very enlightening book on the subject of the liberal mind versus the conservative mind called The Republican Brain which demonstrates that America is becoming increasingly divided by these two very different kinds of minds - especially since the inception of cable news networks and talk radio networks that spout their own highly partisan views to the public and allow them to watch/listen all day long to nothing but a heavily slanted viewpoint that ridicules the opposing side and this mindset tends to make people swing heavily toward one side or the other while the middle ground gets largely ignored these days.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 03-27-2013 at 03:35 AM.
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      In this post, I'm considering the USA in particular. It's occurred to me that many Americans treat their country similar to a god. Desecrating the flag is illegal, just as desecrating a bible is forbidden in Christianity. The rule that the flag cannot be dropped onto the ground reminds me of attending Synagogue and having to kiss a Siddur (the Jewish holy book) that has dropped to the ground. The flag is supposed to be considered a living thing, just as Catholics treat their wafers and the blood of Christ as living things. There are a startling amount of other rules for handling the American flag. National anthems are sung worldwide, but far more often in the US, and with extra respect.
      I have often found the similarities somewhat disturbing myself. I just try to respect the men an women that died to give us freedom. Nothing more nothing less. Good post.
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      I would say I love Scotland, the reason obviously being that I was born here and have lived here my entire life. When you've only ever lived in one country throughout your life, you're bound to have a biased connection to it. But there are many things about it that I think I could appreciate had I been born elsewhere. The stunning scenery, the long, intricate history, the creative and intellectual culture that has developed over the centuries. This is all stuff I believe I would find intriguing had I not been born a Scot, just as I find it intriguing in foreign cultures.

      I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near the level of patriotism mentioned in the OP though. I respect my country's history, law, politics, etc. But my respect doesn't come close to the point of worship. Though I do feel a certain affinity for the Saltire (Scottiish national flag) and the various other national symbols, I don't exactly glorify or praise them. Such an attitude, I agree, is unhealthy and shouldn't be encouraged or worse, enforced. Scotland has a long martial tradition that can be a source of pride for some people. For me personally, it doesn't really matter much. I recognise the significance of some of the major battles fought in our history and the bravery of the people who could be considered 'war heroes' who gave their lives in those battles. But what inspires me more is our cultural contributions to the world, such as the role we played in the Enlightenment era. That, to me, is a healthy thing to be proud of. It has nothing to do with chest thumping and all to do with what, as a nation, you can positively give to the rest of humanity.

      I don't think we have the same problem as America with religiousness being tied to a deep conservative nationalism. There have been hostilities brought about by a clash of protestant and catholic identities forged by historical events in the country, but it's not exactly related to national identity. Thankfully, this is likely to fade as our society becomes increasingly secular as the years go by.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      The rule that the flag cannot be dropped onto the ground reminds me of attending Synagogue and having to kiss a Siddur (the Jewish holy book) that has dropped to the ground.
      My family has a little flag anchor on a tree in our driveway, and periodically we change the flag. Usually during the summer we have the US flag displayed. I remember one time I was told to go put it up, I unknowingly let it touch the ground while trying to fix it to the pole, and my mom flipped her shit. Aside from avoiding getting dirt on it, I never understood why it was such a sin to let it touch the ground. Sure, it can be symbolic, but...it's also a piece of cloth. You can buy one for a dollar.

      They're made to sing the anthem every day in school. This is repetition from a young age, a good way to brainwash someone, and should set off alarms.
      We actually said the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school, not the national anthem.

      Generally it's demanded that you at least stand up for the pledge, though vocally reciting it wasn't required. Some teachers don't really care if you stood up or not, while others will threaten punishment (usually being sent to the principal's office) if you didn't. I only recall one teacher doing that at my high school.

      Even though most Americans seem unhappy with their government lately, they still seem to love the country itself.

      ....

      If you do love your country, what is your justification? Is it even possible to love a section of land? Why?
      The country is where you grow up, where your family and friends are. Equating the "country" with the "nation" shouldn't be done, as it confuses the state with society. They tend to be kept separate, as they should, which is why people will say they hate the government but love the country.
      Last edited by BLUELINE976; 03-27-2013 at 02:29 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Sleeper View Post
      I would say I love Scotland, the reason obviously being that I was born here and have lived here my entire life. When you've only ever lived in one country throughout your life, you're bound to have a biased connection to it. But there are many things about it that I think I could appreciate had I been born elsewhere. The stunning scenery, the long, intricate history, the creative and intellectual culture that has developed over the centuries. This is all stuff I believe I would find intriguing had I not been born a Scot, just as I find it intriguing in foreign cultures.
      Do you love Britain? Do you love Europe?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Do you love Britain? Do you love Europe?
      I wouldn't necessarily say I love them, but they both form part of what is, at the very least, my geographic identity. I'm part of the island of Britain, making me British, and I'm part of the continent of Europe, making me European. It's easier to feel a connection to a British identity than a European one, since there isn't really any cohesive European culture. It's more a mixing pot of different cultures tied together by a common history, so it's kinda hard to feel European. But I put more stock in my Scottish identity than anything else, really. My emotional attachment to each one in descending order would be: Scottish, British, then European.

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      When I was a teenager and the flag burning amendment to the Constitution was being pushed for in Congress, I used a blow torch to melt a plastic American flag to a neighborhood street. I'm not a vandal now, but I have the same attitude. I care a great deal about my country's society and am impressed by a lot of what my country's people have done, but I think it is ridiculous to treat nationality like a religion. A country is not a god. It is just land, the people on it, and the system they have. I also think saying the Pledge of Allegience is insane and that the American national anthem is absolutely horrible.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Sleeper View Post
      I wouldn't necessarily say I love them, but they both form part of what is, at the very least, my geographic identity. I'm part of the island of Britain, making me British, and I'm part of the continent of Europe, making me European. It's easier to feel a connection to a British identity than a European one, since there isn't really any cohesive European culture. It's more a mixing pot of different cultures tied together by a common history, so it's kinda hard to feel European. But I put more stock in my Scottish identity than anything else, really. My emotional attachment to each one in descending order would be: Scottish, British, then European.
      What about Glaswegian?

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      I love the city I'm in. The people are nice and very liberal. I feel that, through attending the university here, and through knocking on thousands of doors and conversing with people from all neighborhoods, I've somehow made myself a part of the city. I don't feel a reverence for it, I don't treat it like it's anything but a city, but I am fond of it, and do feel I belong.

      But loving the whole country? What have I done to contribute? Nothing. Why am I here? Because I was born here. How can I love it if I can't directly influence what I think is wrong with it?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      What about Glaswegian?
      I don't really care much about being Glaswegian. I was born and raised here, so it'll always be my home city. But I really don't feel much love for it. I struggle to think of anything that would stir within me a sense of Glaswegian pride.

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      Being British has a certain effect on you the same as I'd assume being American has on an American. Personally I like the idea of being British (English) In particular because I guess we've a lot of history (bad of good) and that such a small country has a stature that Britain does (excuse me if this sounds biased or stupid, I'm not very knowledgeable in those areas). Heritage plays a big role also as the famous people are always referenced by the country they came from. Something that I am very proud of is J.R.R Tolkien (born in South Africa but raised and studied in England). However there are many things that I think are ruining, if that is the right word (it is for me) what it means to be British (however important that is). There is something irrational that makes you 'love' your country (for me anyway)

      That about wraps it up.
      Last edited by Superadam051; 03-27-2013 at 09:11 PM.
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      Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

      Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

      After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will attack that monkey in order to prevent getting sprayed with water.

      Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      In this post, I'm considering the USA in particular. It's occurred to me that many Americans treat their country similar to a god. Desecrating the flag is illegal, just as desecrating a bible is forbidden in Christianity. The rule that the flag cannot be dropped onto the ground reminds me of attending Synagogue and having to kiss a Siddur (the Jewish holy book) that has dropped to the ground. The flag is supposed to be considered a living thing, just as Catholics treat their wafers and the blood of Christ as living things. There are a startling amount of other rules for handling the American flag. National anthems are sung worldwide, but far more often in the US, and with extra respect.
      Every country creates its own rules for respect of government symbols, and the United States is no different. The flag is supposed to represent, to Americans, all that has been fought for in breaking away from England and all that the forefathers wanted in a "more perfect union."

      Sure, it's a horribly flawed idea and the people who first came here didn't want to pay taxes, but the concept of this new nation was to be better than what had come before, and the flag is intended to represent that ideal for all those who care to hold on to those beliefs.

      In this country it is completely legal to desecrate the flag, especially in protest, and it's because this country has these freedoms that make it a great place to live.

      I read over that list of flag rules you posted, and it clearly states that desecrating the flag is illegal and punishable by a fine, but it only applies to the District of Columbia where our nation's capitol resides. Everything else is just "proper flag etiquette" and guidelines to show respect.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I understand having a certain amount of pride in the place that one lives if you're happy with the government or if it has a respectable history, but not to the point of worship. Many Americans do treat their feelings of 'love' and respect for their country as a touchy subject. I sometimes get the feeling that they're even a bit afraid of Big Brother coming down on them or something if they have a negative thought about it. That their government has brainwashed them so heavily into making them consider America to be such a profound place, a lot of them are incapable of fully realizing how stupid it all is. Even though most Americans seem unhappy with their government lately, they still seem to love the country itself.
      This last sentence is totally true, and I have found it has become more true over the decades as media coverage has increased and social media has found its way into politics.

      Americans love the country for the ideals and principles we are taught to stand for...and much of that involves expressing our dissatisfaction with situations in order to effect change (good or bad).

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      They're made to sing the anthem every day in school. This is repetition from a young age, a good way to brainwash someone, and should set off alarms.
      This is also true for many countries. Here, as was pointed out already, children actually recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily with the right hand placed over the heart. It is indeed a doctrine to encourage patriotism but it's hardly different from other nations.

      Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is not required and parents can even opt out of their children participating in such displays.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      If you do love your country, what is your justification? Is it even possible to love a section of land? Why? Have Americans really been brainwashed, or is their respect for their country justified? Any other opinions or input on this issue?
      I have a great appreciation for this land, even with all its flaws, for the simple reasons set forth in those early ideals. The "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" is our motto, and because of those words many people here are not just brainwashed sheep but people who really care about other people and are brave enough to say so, whether by digging wells in Africa and providing vaccinations in poor countries, or by giving charitably to thousands of non-profit organizations devoted to distributing supplies and aid to other parts of the world. In 2011 the United States was the world's most charitable nation according to the World Giving Index, despite our economic woes, and it's common for our people to offer our resources in times of need to many nations. We're not perfect by any means and lord knows we can all do more...but I'm proud to say I teach caring, charity, and compassion to my children because of how I was raised.
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      Desecrating the flag isn't illegal. Pretty much anything bad you can do to a flag is protected under freedom of speech. If you want to pull down your pants in public and wipe your butt with the flag then set it on fire, then throw it on the ground and stomp the fire out, that is totally legal. In fact pulling down your pants in public is normally illegal but if you do it as part of a protest while desecrating the flag it magically becomes a protected action due to the first amendment.

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      Simple Answer: Maybe some countries have stronger traditions than others....or maybe things changed recently....

      Personal Answer: I spent six years in the Army, and one thing I've learned is that everything we do is based on something that was traditionally done in the past. The salute came from armored knights raising their visors to see each other. Almost everything you mentioned about the flag (and things you didn't like how the military marches and moves), and how it's treated came about from a Prussian guy, and I'm pretty sure he learned it from someplace else. A warflag was carried in battle by a guidon...and his job was to rally the troops, and you'll see where I'm getting at with that later on.

      Now to the main question....If this were the 80s....I'd probably agree with you. There was a point where you wouldn't find anyone who would bad mouth our country who lived here. Fast forward to the 98, when I joined the Army. We were told by our superiors not to tell people we didn't know that we were in the Army. If we were traveling, we would have to wear civilian clothes...not because of terrorist (back then no one was thinking about that), it was because of so many people people had a lot of hate for the military, and the country itself.

      Fast forward to late 2004...tons of innocent lives were lost people were devastated. Everyone mourned...and came together as a country. Cars everywhere sported US flags on their antennas. People were actually proud to be Americans again. This luster is fading again, but the people who really care, never worried about the band wagon. I know each and every day that somewhere, there is a brother or sister in arms, that dies because they volunteered to do what they do. I love them for for it. I love my family, and I love this country because this is where we're at. I just hate how its ran and who has been running it before I was born.

      As for the brainwashing....I don't think they're brainwashing people. I just think that they're not telling them the whole story. I'm not sure how true this holds for other countries, but a person doesn't learn their countries history until they do research on their own. I'm pretty sure people would rather be uplifted by propaganda, than heartbroken by the truth.

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      Bill Hicks on flag burning:

      Last edited by Universal Mind; 03-28-2013 at 08:57 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Yeah I was in the Army too for a lot of years, but I feel decidedly un-patriotic most of the time. I suppose it's just a relativity thing, or an overreaction to anything I perceive as a moralistic appeal to patriotism. I like some places and some people in America well enough, but I've been to lots of other countries and I like them just as much. In my opinion the country is far too big to constitute a loving community, and trying to force it to be so with social pressure is pathetic. The "national principles" appeal is all lies anyway.

      Because, ya know, Indians.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xanous View Post
      I have often found the similarities somewhat disturbing myself. I just try to respect the men an women that died to give us freedom. Nothing more nothing less. Good post.
      Ugh. I'm sorry, I don't disrespect soldiers. But really? What freedom? I'm not saying America isn't relatively free, but if you're not talking specifically about the revolution or civil war veterans, then you've got me terribly confused.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I don't believe that patriotism is necessarily a bad thing, I would call myself proudly patriotic but I feel this has to be explained. No country on Earth is absolutely perfect and people will have to learn to accept that. However I do believe that you should be able to show your love of where you live, the rich history and culture of your nation etc etc .. I think patriotism has often been confused with Nationalism and Jingoism, as demonstrated by many strongly "patriotic" Americans (National anthem and pledge of allegiance every day, treating every single flag as if it were your own child, arrogance when concerned with other countries and the rest of the world and your countries superiority and perfection). There's nothing wrong with being proud of your history, culture and heritage, but putting other people down and seeing your own as superior is a step too far.
      I also know that every country has these horribly arrogant people in one way or another but I believe the way the U.S. education system and media influence Americans doesn't help the issue at all as well as the international anti-american rhetoric that follows ..

      I can't remember where exactly but I saw this thought and think it's a good thing to base your thinking off of :

      A true patriot won't just sit back and let politicians blindly run the country, they will question every choice and decision to make sure it is the absolute best for the country and it's people. A true patriot doesn't senselessly defend those in power or at the top just because they're representing the State
      Last edited by Vampireboy; 04-10-2013 at 07:38 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Vampireboy View Post
      A true patriot won't just sit back and let politicians blindly run the country, they will question every choice and decision to make sure it is the absolute best for the country and it's people. A true patriot doesn't senselessly defend those in power or at the top just because they're representing the State

      I absolutely agree with this.

      That doesn't mean I live up to the ideal every day.


      Know what's funny? People all over the world are confused about people in other places. I've seen plenty of misconceptions made about people from every place in the world, including east and west coast Americans about each other. The truth is that most people are guilty of this to varying degrees. The best we can do is recognize it within ourselves and try to understand that most of us (humans) want the same basic things. After that...we're separated by differences in politics and ideology that do more to keep us apart than bring us together.

      I'd rather be a patriot of the planet and be considered a friend than be seen as a patriot of one small section of the planet and considered part of an arrogant collective.

      Another good quote:

      All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color.
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      I learned recently (on a radio program about national vices - the US's was arrogance) that in America you have a baseball competition called the "World Series", where various teams from the USA play. And the winners are crowned "world champions". And none of you finds this strange or humorous.

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      A little off-topic, Xei, but I did find this:

      Despite its name, the World Series remains solely the championship of the major-league baseball teams in the United States and Canada, although MLB, its players, and North American media sometimes informally refer to World Series winners as "world champions of baseball."[24]

      The United States, Canada and Mexico (Liga Méxicana de Béisbol, established 1925) were the only professional baseball countries until a few decades into the 20th century. The first Japanese professional baseball efforts began in 1920. The current Japanese leagues date from the late 1940s (after World War II). Various Latin American leagues also formed around that time.

      By the 1990s, baseball was played at a highly skilled level in many countries. Reaching North America's high-salary major leagues is the goal of many of the best players around the world, which gives a strong international flavor to the Series. Many talented players from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, and elsewhere now play in the majors. One notable exception is Cuban citizens, because of the political tensions between the US and Cuba since 1959 (yet a number of Cuba's finest ballplayers have still managed to defect to the United States over the past half-century to play in the American professional leagues). Japanese professional players also have a difficult time coming to the North American leagues. They become free agents only after nine years playing service in NPB, although their Japanese teams may at any time "post" them for bids from MLB teams, which commonly happens at the player's request.

      Several tournaments feature teams composed only players from one country, similar to national teams in other sports. The World Baseball Classic, sponsored by Major League Baseball, uses a format similar to the FIFA World Cup to promote competition between nations every four years. The International Baseball Federation also sponsored a Baseball World Cup to crown a world champion. But as these teams do not feature the best talent from each nation, the public generally does not give much weight to the result of these tournaments. The Caribbean Series features competition among the league champions from Mexico, Puetro Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela but unlike the FIFA Club World Cup, there is no club competition that feature champions from all professional leagues across the world.

      Honestly I never would have known because I find baseball terribly boring to watch. It may be the "national pastime" but its slow pace bores me to tears.

      I seem to recall some English people having a nationalistic attitude towards Cricket in a similar manner, but that was 25 to 30 years ago. Don't know how it is now.

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      I still don't think you get it. There's nothing wrong with being proud of a team or a country at a sport and calling yourselves world champions when you are indeed the best in the world. The ridiculousness is calling your team "champions of the world" when you've only played other teams from your country. Can you imagine the counties of England having a cricket or football league and then the winners declaring themselves the greatest team in the universe? Of course not. No other culture on Earth could make a statement like that without even seeing what's absurd about it.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      No other culture on Earth could make a statement like that without even seeing what's absurd about it.

      Now this made me laugh. Thank you for that.


      Maybe you should go ask the people who created the World Series (the relevant people to ask in this tangent) whether or not they understand the absurdity of it. I'm sure they could try to explain how it came to be called that.

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