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The Third World War on terrorism declared by President Bush is no doubt patriotic in the sense it is motivated by "love of one's country." The Bush rhetoric, mimicked by the U.S. Congress and the majority of Americans, is jingoistic. Moreover, the Bush administration was blatantly war-mongering; indeed, it came into existence as a continuation of the previous Bush administration's mongering of war against Iraq. However, the administration's attempt to associate the war with Christianity, as a war under god or a war somehow defending the Christian faith, was politically motivated, self-serving rhetoric. President Bush did not represent fundamental
Christianity although he and other "well-meaning" people may have been deluded into thinking they did. Fundamentally, the president represented the secular economic interests of the wealthy, beginning with those of his own family, whose domestic and offshore corporate wheeling and dealing and political machinations are well known. The more property one owns the more he will love his country and need its police force to defend his holdings. And those who hold much less may very well agree with him, but not for religious reasons. President Bush’s effort to identify the politicaleconomic interests of the United States with the religious interest in god would be absurd unless one equated religion with the political theology of secular private capitalism. As far as most faithful and unfaithful people are concerned, the World Trade Center was not a spiritual temple nor was the Pentagon. Although some Muslims and Christians insisted were are involved in a religious conflict of crusade versus jihad, and that president Bush was a Christian fanatic behind the scenes, we think not: the issue was material not spiritual. On Independence Day 2002, President Bush said patriotism is a "living faith." The god of Christianity must be really dead then, or the president had lost touch with his Christian roots, for faith in nations is anathema to original Christianity. Therefore, not only was the patriotism of the Bush administration warmongering and jingoistic, it had an anti-Christian agenda as well. Patriotism as "living faith" worships
” . the Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven. When the judges asked them which was their country they said in answer.the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness.. to whom this planet was only a place of exile. To advance this thesis.'" However. they soon forgot Galilee. we quote from Edward Westermarck's The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas (1917). "Christianity was not hostile to the state. and cites Tertullian: ". They had no affection for Judea.a Christian ought rather to suffer like Daniel in the lion's den than sin against his religion.. with its utter disregard for the foreign nations.. in the whole Roman Empire there were no men who entire lacked patriotism as the early Christians. but the emperor should be obeyed only so long as his commands do not conflict with the law of God . Indeed. they cared nothing for the glory of Greece and Rome.. and nothing is more entire foreign to him than affairs of State. 'I am a Christian. The Christian and the Stoic rejected it on different grounds: while the Stoic felt himself as a citizen of the world. He discusses the Stoic cosmopolitan philosophy of a universal or world state." He notes the scriptural injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. was not opposed by philosophy alone: it met with an even more formidable antagonism in the new religion. and to obey the authorities as god's ministers. then states: "But the Roman ideal of patriotism.
no exception whatsoever must be made. but he approved of Judith murdering Holofernes. and rejected military service. Origen would not have Christians serve in the imperial armies. which are regarded as lawful among men. whose service is justice herself. Lactantius took the injunction "Thou shalt do no murder" in its absolute sense. since the killing itself is prohibited. neither will it be permitted a just man. that the Christians refused to take part in state wars. He not only prohibits us from free-booting.. The Divine Institutes. So. War was further justified in defense of the faith. It is always wrong to kill a man whom God has intended to be a sacrosanct creature. militarism and bloodshed was altogether abjured. hence he condoned tyrannicide. drawing no distinction between criminal "murder" and legal "killing. The early Christians were generally opposed to killing. O. in The Fathers of the . "One of the greatest reasons for which Christianity was considered a civil offense was this." "For when God forbids killing.P. Therefore. Clement condemned war as contrary to the faith." And.Of course religious people differ as to the true nature and the right applications of the laws of their god. should not be done. nor can he accuse anyone of a capital crime. which is not permitted even by public laws. in this command of God. because there is no difference whether you kill a man with a sword or word. but He also advises that those things also. In the West." (Lactantius. translated by Sister Mary Francis McDonald. to enter military service.
. as time passed. Then. Some held that for them all bloodshed. the ethical problem involved in military service was not an issue. when to a Christian was forbidden all revenge.. the legions were filled chiefly with barbarians from the fringes of the Empire. At one stage in history the powerful Church of Alexandria seems to have looked askance upon the reception of soldiers into the membership and to have regarded enlistment in the army as permissible in only in exceptional circumstances. such Christians as were drawn from these groups were ineligible. where Christianity was late in obtaining a large following. and that it made necessary inflicting punishment. that it was out of accord with the Christian obligation to the family. on the ground that such service brought one under another master than Christ. To most Christians. that it involved taking the sword. however.Church. the Church expected those of its members who served in the army to remain there. Catholic Washington) University of America Press: However. therefore. too. The state could nearly always obtain as many soldiers as it wished through voluntary enlistment without recourse to conscription. After Christianity was adopted by the state. was unlawful. Professor Latourette of Yale arrives at a different conclusion after examining the records: "For years many Christians regarded service in the army as inconsistent with their profession." (Kenneth Scott . Jew and slaves were legally disqualified from membership in the legions and. Tertullian argued against Christians taking part in the army. whether as soldiers or executioners. at least in the first three centuries.
1932) Thus people disagree on whether or not militarism was an issue. visiting prisoners. Volume II. burying the dead.Latourette. Christians were "a third race". was the one and only god for humankind. giving alms to the poor. A History of the Expansion of Christianity. it was a universal religion recognizing everyone including laborers and slaves as brothers. The whole body of Christians unanimously refused to hold any communion with the gods of Rome. and his province. considerable discourse on the non-issue had still been handed down to us from antiquity. punishable by death. The First Five Centuries. and loving their brethren. Christians were adjudged guilty of high treason.a feature which made it popular.those who were Roman citizens could be mercifully beheaded. Christians did agree on practicing the Jewish virtues. New York: Harper. The persecution of the "criminals" in those trying days when works proved faith. an "antisocial" or alternate society opposed to both Jew and Roman in its obsession with personal salvation . Early Christianity had no class discrimination or castes and outcastes. especially those of the Pharisees: caring for orphans and for the sick. And they agreed their god. the . his city. served to strengthen their bond: "Every Christian rejected with contempt the superstitions of his family. or persist and be given to the beasts . if it was not. the Creator and Lawgiver. Calamities and hardships visited upon the GrecoRoman world were blamed on the Christian refusal to recognize the national gods. They could recant and be spared.
For ." (Edward Gibbon.. Christian martyrs refused to pledge allegiance to emperor or to empire.H. "If you vainly suppose that I will swear by the genius of Caesar. or to its Commander-in-Chief). "The new converts seemed to renounce their family and country." Furthermore. for their refusal to participate in religious nationalism made them responsible for the wrath of the gods. you are ignorant who I am. hence they were atheists.empire. The martyr Polycarp said. which everywhere assumed a different character from the rest of mankind. I am a Christian.C. Listen plainly.." (No doubt Polycarp would also refuse to pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American.." Also. I serve that god whom no man has seen. The History of the Decline and Fall of he Roman Empire) W. and of mankind. Whereas Westermarck's stated.." Frend provides information that for some Christians it was a religion of protest. Rather. Whereas Romans identified religion with the state. "The personal guilt which every Christian had contracted in thus preferring his private sentiment to the national religion was aggravated by a very high degree by the number and union of the criminals. that they might connect themselves in an indissoluble bond of union with a peculiar society. and to the Republic for which it stands.. Christians separated politics from religion.. "Christianity was not hostile to the State. traitors who were wont to declare: "I do not recognize the empire of this world." Therefore they must be punished. Frend's The Rise of Christianity affirms fundamental Christianity's antipathy to patriotism.
pride and injustices of the Greco-Roman world. he said Jesus was an impudent quack who learned magic in Egypt. and consider them common property…. Lucian explained: "Their first lawgivers persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another. But he was a "backslider". an introverted sect solely interested in its own members. As for Christian rejection of the things of this world. having the blind faith conducive to revolt. Therefore consider the convert Tatian (fl. Tatian despised what he perceived as the emptiness. for there should be common polity for all. and was at one point expelled from the empire for insulting the emperor. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately. In his view. 160). Christianity waited for troubled times to flourish. the convert Peregrinus Proteus.instance. which at the time was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity: "I reject your legislation. Christianity was an illegal association. by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Celsus considered the Christians a revolutionary cult bent on subverting the establishment. had made several absurd attempts to stir up trouble between Greeks and Romans." declared Tatian. after the have transgressed once and for all by denying the Greek gods. Christian." Eventually troubled times fell upon the empire. Cynic and Stoic were all disgusted by the luxurious corruption of good times. reverting to Cynicism. Christians were gladdened by the opportunities . famous for committing suicide by throwing himself onto a pyre at the Olympian games.
and the Eastern and Western churches evolved from the difference . Thus the schism in attitudes. the exclusiveness of a cult and its creed is bigotry . Whether historically informed people are religious or not. if any cult at all. for instance. the state become Christianity's friend instead of foe. In fact. a Jesus and a Christ at once. Bush? But he does not represent all Christians. they exhorted them to do their duty under god and inspired them to bloodshed. thus far a new religion has required state force to become a world religion instead of sinking into obscurity. Constantine's son Constantius took up the cross where his father left off. if any creed at all. Not only did zealous Christians pray for the troops. The Eastern and Western bishops argued over the fine points of the Christian creed. nor does Christianity represent all people. Alas. After all. the cult and creed of right-wing fundamentalists politically represented by born-again Christian George W. just as the old pharaohs were gods incarnate. would the state favor? Which creed. would be the official creed? Would it be.the separation was a bloody one. which cult. The separation releases each from the embrace that tends to hamper them both if not destroy one or the other. they understand the importance of separating church and state. The Eastern Caesar would force a particular creed upon the whole empire. . he wanted to be pope as well as emperor.provided for their church to flourish.bigots are those who swear "By God" to justify their own opinions. those points being symbolic of their regional political differences. Constantine took up the cause for reasons of his own.
Christianity had not died out in Gothland. They know courageous Christians (faithful Christians) can no more burn incense to the modern nation or take oaths of allegiance to flags under national gods than could the early Christian pledge allegiance to Roman gods and the empire those gods stood for.a term with a barbarian origin. tolerant of 40." How absurd. They believe war is an outrageous crime against humanity.To those of other "bigoted" (by god) persuasions. and we should know what they are. For instance. There is no true faith when a "one and only god" is exchanged for many gods and then the religious go on to make war against each other to see which nation is most favored by the "one and only god. immoral and repugnant that is to fundamental Christianity. Christians appear on the whole to be a "bigoted" Jewish cult. behind its lip-service to god is the barbarian standard: "My country right or wrong. But the most radical bigots have certain virtues in common. These few remnants of the true faith still have hope for the brotherhood of the whole human race under a single father." Of course the barbarian standard is a national idol or an emblem of god . The ancient Romans. and the pagan chiefs. Bury recounts what happened in the fourth century when triumphant Christianity lost their grip over a certain German frontier: "With the exodus of bishop Wulfilas and his company. saw them as such. . J. still today a few Christians recognize that genuine fundamental Christianity is hostile to much of our commercial activity and thought.000 gods.B.
which preserve a general picture of its character. On feast days statues were carried around the wooden dwellings in every village. named Athanaric.. There . human society has for its basis the identity of reason in individuals. There is also an obvious connection between the cosmopolitan idea and the Stoic system in general.met with a formidable antagonist.. even burning the sacred groves. The Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven..especially one of the most prominent. then.. But loyalty to one's own native group or "nation" as well as dissidence is older than the hills of Rome... The Roman ideal of patriotism.." (J. A religious test was instituted.. Edward Westermarck recapitulated patriotism in The Origin and Development of Moral Ideals: "The citizens of Alexander's huge empire had in a way become citizen of the world... You may read about this persecution in the Acts of the Martyr Saint Sabas. Bury.B. were intent upon killing it. It made them indignant to see men of their folk withholding sacrifices from the national gods.. and whosoever refused to worship was burned alive.. with its utter disregard of foreign nations. insulting the images. And the blood of martyrs flowed in Dacia. modern patriotism is nationalistic and appears to be a relatively new social phenomenon associated with the rise of nationalism coincident to the rebellions against the authority of the Church and its anointed princes... According to the Stoics. hence we have no ground for limiting this society to a single nation. The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians) Now.
. and only too often makes us the . "With the fall of the Roman Empire patriotism died out in Europe and remained extinct for centuries…. no doubt owing to her insular position.. According to Voltaire patriotism is composed of selflove and prejudice...were no men who so entirely lacked patriotism as the early Christians... The cause of a distressed lady was in many instances preferable to that of the country to which he belonged…. To make use of the native dialect was a sign of ignorance. The first duty of vassal was to his lord….. In the code of Chivalry. and to place worldly interests above the claims of the Church was impious. Men were looked upon as members of the human race rather than as citizens of any particular country. In the Middle Ages 'his country' meant little more than the neighborhood in which he lived. In France the development of the national feeling was closely connected with the strengthening of the royal power and its gradual victory over feudalism.... not the glory or welfare of the nation. In the seventeenth century a Jesuit general called patriotism 'a plague with the most certain death of Christian love’.. true patriotism had there no place at all…... Kingdoms existed but no nations... "The key-note of the great movement which led to the Revolution was the liberty and equality of the individual... It is strange yet undeniable that no trace of this feeling displayed itself in the medieval history of France before the English wars.. The Church became a positive enemy of national interests. In England the nation feeling developed earlier than on the Continent.
it was the protest of race over race. The wholesale man-killing trade requires more and better equipment than that required for the making of such necessities of life as shoes. and inhumane than religion. Lessing writes... he assumed there existed a supernatural force in rain and various other natural phenomena. the attempt to emancipate was absorbed in the desire to subjugate.the resistance was popular. And the murderous occupation guarantees far better returns and greater glory than that obtained by the average workingman. Gustave Hervé called patriotism a superstition ....one far more injurious... the racial feeling has been the most vigorous force. Similarly.... he could not account for either.. 'Love of Fatherland (is) at best an heroical weakness' ." Leo Tolstoy defined patriotism as the principle that justifies the training of wholesale murderers. and houses. That is.... Ever since. when primitive man heard thunder and saw lightning.. Patriotism.. on the other ..and it was national.enemies of our fellow men... The French people were regarded by it (the resistance) as an ethnological. therefore he concluded that there must be a force greater than himself operating behind the scenes..... Gradually the interest in other countries grew to be more selfish.. and has gradually become a true danger to humanity. not as a historic unit. When Napoleon introduced French administration in the countries. It was stirred by the feeling of national rather than political unity. clothing. Religious superstition originated in man's inability to explain natural phenomena.. brutal..
Rather. I do not say that he is NOT honest. is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of deliberate lies and falsehoods. have made a cloak for self-interest. and might be turned out of place in a year.hand. I maintained that certainly all patriots were not scoundrels. he would lose that character of firmness which he has. nor grateful to their friends. This ministry is neither stable. Dr. in all ages and countries. patriotic superstition robs man of his selfrespect and dignity. as Sir Robert Walpole was." Incidentally. is the last resort of scoundrels. the word "refuge" is what appears in Boswell's entry of Friday.’ But let it be considered. that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country. Being urged (not by Johnson) to name one. "resort". Johnson: 'Sir. sir. at which many will start: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. but that pretended patriotism which so many. Were he to accept a place from this ministry. an apophthegm. "Patriotism. Emma Goldman. so that he may think it more in his interest to take his chance of his party coming in. in a strong determined tone. I mentioned and eminent person (Burke) whom we all greatly admired." . 7 April 1775: "Patriotism having become one of our topicks. but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest. Johnson suddenly uttered. Johnson did not use the term. the great anarcho-communist who averred that patriotism is "a menace to liberty". Johnson as saying. vastly increasing his arrogance and conceit. liked to quote Dr.
British patriotism was back in vogue with a vengeance. even when the forceful maxim is watered down by the text. Burke. As Rochefauld cynically said. Yet. it often embraces its domestic oppressors in self-defense and roots out anyone who sympathizes with the enemy. As we recall. many Englishmen had good cause to openly distrust patriotism and to have malice for government and its alleged justice: the sacrifice of lives and property under patriotism's bloody banner soon appeared to be for the sordid gain of a few at the expense of many. as was the patriotism of other peoples. Whatever the form of sovereignty. Yet. Patriotism eventually found its object in the People around the Flag instead of the King on his Throne. led the patriotic . "Virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.When taken in context. at least not as strongly as Emma Goldman and others wanted it to. whenever a people is threatened by dire circumstances. in the 1790s." (Maximes) When Dr.dissenters were driven underground. we remain wary of anyone who wraps himself in the flag lest we sink in his ship. Johnson spoke of the patriotic refuge. when France's Revolutionary forces threatened to liberate its neighbors including English subjects from the monarchical patriotism oppressing them. Pitt's government successfully cracked down on civil liberties . the famous quote does not support the argument that patriotism per se is a menace to liberty. the greatest English conservative of all time. after experiencing the absurd Wars of the Fronde.
The United States chimed in across the Atlantic: a number of English radicals were idolized. . to make a right application of Punishments and Rewards. More than a century prior. that are of the most Danger to the Publique. those that spring from contempt of Justice. in their books. considering it to be a high crime: "It belongeth to the Office of the Soveraign." Hobbes believed rebellion was frequently caused by the reading of political and liberal books. but correction. the severest Punishments are to be inflicted for those Crimes. and laudable. Thomas Hobbes rendered his opinion on malicious dissent. such as those which proceed from malice to the Government established. "From the reading. who were corresponding amicably with their Jacobin brethren in France. of such books. make it lawfull. and discharging of choler. And seeing the end of punishment is not revenge. men have undertaken to kill their Kings. including Christian Dissenters. I say. or of others by his example..English bandwagon against the dissonant dissidence of English radicals. because the Greek and Latine writers.. either of the offender. those that provoke Indignation in the Multitude. They wrongly attribute the successful exploits to the form of government rather than to the imitation of particular strong men. Young men are misled by the classic accounts of popular uprisings and wars successfully waged by ancient democracies. just after the English civil wars of the 1640's.
are contrary to our naturall Passions. he call him Tyrant. and of no strength to secure a man at all. not so much with the form of the tyranny but with its exercise from afar: some thinkers see the American Revolution not so much as a revolution but as a changing of the guard resulting in local autonomy under an elected king. without the terrour of some Power. Modesty. without the Sword. and in summe) doing to other.for any man so to do. and he might have recommended severer measures. that carry us to Partiality. and to obtain those changes they accomplish at times even violent revolutions. provided before he do it. for. but the essence of these institutions is too much the expression of the hereditary needs of the race for them not invariably to abide by it. Mercy. after all." No doubt Hobbes would have approved of William Pitt's crackdown on dissidence in the 1790s. and house of commoners. they possess . In fact. aristocratic senate. are but Words. of changing the names of their institutions.) of themselves. Pride. as wee would be done to. it is true." The American colonists begged to disagree. to cause them to be observed. as he wrote elsewhere in Leviathan: "For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice. Equity. And Covenants. There incessant mobility only exerts its influence on quite superficial matters. and the like. Revenge. Gustave Le Bon commented on institutional conservatism of some revolutionaries: "They may be desirous.
conversely. the liberty that United States citizens so valiantly wrested from the clutches of British tyranny helped inspire European radicals. As for the sordid gain of scoundrels who take refuge in patriotism. of course. and of one reactionary "terrour" after another designed to enharness liberty unleashed. 'The word patriotism has no precise definition and there are vague and varying ideas as to the psychological springs. but only after the nobler principles of patriotism were laid down by loyal lords. the war against France denounced by the English radicals seems like a just war: not only had France moved on Holland. there was plenty of hard-won booty. In retrospect. but she had declared war on England. mother of a genuinely democratic revolution. And the English radicals were. Just what are the noble principles of patriotism? Let us not take our own word for it. Coker's study in the 1934 Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. All may agree that patriotism is love of one's "country. driven underground. in France.conservative instincts as indestructible as those of all primitive beings. historical origins and characteristic manifestations of the sentiment of patriotism. but rather turn to Francis W." (Gustave Le Bon. re-emerged forcefully in 1830. The Crowd) In any case. much admired in the new United States." There is little agreement among . The English radical movement. they were effectively suppressed by Pitt's government when England embarked on its long war against Revolutionary France.
he quotes the Communist Manifesto: "The proletariat has no fatherland. declared.equally intelligent and public spirited men as to what is meant by one's country. when he was the active political head of England in the eighteenth century. We should add here that fundamental Islam is no lover of nations. All those who are opposed to universal law and order are referred to as "the Party of War." Sir Robert Walpole. He reminds us that radical and revolutionary doctrines are antithetical to patriotism... what services and sacrifices one owes them and what sort of social conduct follows naturally from the patriotic attitude. patriotism is regarded as anti-Christian by many fundamental Christians. and would treat all persons. What some have regarded as the most characteristic and ennobling virtue of civilized man. in referring to the political group opposed to him who called themselves "patriots" that he could create fifty patriots overnight merely by "refusing to grant an unreasonable or insolent demand. Christians fundamentally rejects patriotism in favor of the salvation of all persons ." Furthermore. who one's fellow countrymen are." ' Professor Coker further observed that patriotism reaches its height in divisiveness and hostility.in fact. others have execrated as "the passion of fools" or "the last refuge of a scoundrel. regardless of nationality." And of course all monotheistic world religions espouse universal . according to one law.
Louis said. the continuation of the war against Iraq. upon whom an attack is an attack on civilization itself". or otherwise submit to their one-god . thus returning them to their fundamental faith in Allah. should be run through with a sword. "Homeland". Patriotism. and it often takes on a religious tone when it faces and makes an idol or god of death. the "Leader of World Civilization.peace for those who nod. was finally settled upon as the most appropriate term. as St. is hard to put down. avoiding the Germanic implications of the term "Fatherland. the highly organized terror led by "this great Nation of Ours". whatever its correct definition may be. we are correct in saying that the patriotism of the Bush administration is war- ." The asexual term. or whether or not the ultimate goal for which the administration ran for office. which plunged its people into chaos. Setting aside the question of whether or not the socalled Third World War on Terrorism. is a sane and righteous agenda. and we love her even more when she is attacked. bend their knee. witness this current regression to religious nationalism or state religion by the administration of the United States government: "Patriotism is a living faith. is a Just (Holy) War. bow. Nonetheless.infidels who don't. We love our Motherland. the President of the United States did say that he consulted a "father" higher than his own "father" for authority to wage a pre-emptive war to destroy a sovereign nation." said the commander-inchief on Independence Day 2002.
purportedly.mongering and jingoistic. despite their low average intelligence and susceptibility to suggestion. When writing about "group mind" and "herd psychology". Patriotism has its positive side. We are familiar with the various ideas proposed. and so on. have a potential for ethical conduct surpassing that of any individual taken alone. Coker refers to idealists who have managed to synthesize. particularly those of the French Revolution. Freud pointed out that sociologists had derived their theories about the pernicious aspects of collective mental life from the behavior of revolutionary groups. after all. the researchers admitted that groups. at least in their own minds. In all social spheres. for instance. Loyalty and selfsacrifice. Nevertheless. Each state would be a responsible member of global society. patriotism and pacifism. . Patriotism involves affection for and loyalty to one's own group. some Muslims and Christians insist the underlying cause of the antipathy is religious: a continuation of Crusade versus militant jihad on behalf of. for patriotism as "living faith" worships the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness. a world of states that have a liberal attitude towards their social obligations. we dream of unity in diversity even though it defies the fundamental principle of "rational" logic. may have worthy goals. thus we find. monistic or pluralistic. the same one-god. On the other hand. to achieve world peace and harmony. And it is an anti-Christian as well. or a nation subject to international law.
Appeals to sentiments of glory. At least in regards to morality. for not bringing forward anything new on the subject. Solomon was right when he said there is nothing new under the Sun." wrote Le Bon. Collectivities alone are capable of great disinterestedness and great devotion. Professional criticism of human behavior presents a scientific or objective facade for praise and blame. The Crowd. "That the moral concepts are ultimately based on emotions either of indignation or approval is a fact which a certain school of thinkers have in vain attempted to deny. honour. and is really an elaboration of subjective prejudices associated with pleasant and unpleasant feelings. and every kind of crime. although he was favorably disposed towards the work on the whole. and patriotism are particularly likely to influence the individual forming part of a crowd. incendiarism. and often to the extent of obtaining from him the sacrifice of his life. History is rich in examples analogous to those furnished by the Crusaders and the volunteers of 1793. Freud's negative criticism was itself unoriginal. of acts much loftier indeed than those of which the isolated individual is capable. "but it is also capable of very lofty acts of devotion. which always implies mentality. How numerous are the crowds that have heroically faced death for ." noted Westermarck.Freud criticized sociologist Gustav Le Bon's immortal little book. and disinterestedness. "A crowd may be guilty of murder. sacrifice.
the Nazis. One might say that fatherism and its father-principle is no better than the fuehrers (fathers) at its head. "Unconscious phenomena play an altogether preponderating part not only in organic life. The most subtle analyst. "The conscious life of the mind is of small importance in comparison with its unconscious life. customs and habits. is scarcely successful in discovering more than a very small number of the unconscious motives that determine his conduct.only people are humane and ethical. whether they are conscious of it or not. capacities and functions.its composition. but also in the operations of the intelligence. In retrospect. possession of a definite structure. But conditions are not in themselves human and ethical . Our conscious acts are the outcome of . or a father who is unconscious of the virtues and vices of his motives. however. a definite idea of the group's nature . association with other similar but different groups. ideas.beliefs. that is. the most acute observer. possession of traditions. no better than what they have in mind." wrote Le Bon. An intelligent individual might not want to be led by a moronic (foolish) father. we might wonder what conditions are sufficiently humane and ethical for the fulfillment of higher aims: consider the worst case of patriotism or fatherism. understood!" and phrases that they scarcely The psychologist William McDougal believed groups could be raised to a higher ethical level under certain conditions: a continuous existence (in contrast to a ephemeral crowd).
." Most interesting is Le Bon's assertion that crowds are lousy witnesses subject to a heightened suggestibility which can lead to collective hallucinations: "Their collective observations are as erroneous as possible. one of low intelligence: "From the intellectual view an abyss may exist between a great mathematician and his bootmaker. The decisions affecting matters of general interest come to by an assembly of men of distinction..." .. the crowd has an average mind. but from the point of view of character the difference is most often slight or non-existent." Hence we might expect that a democratic-republican assembly of experts from different walks of life might be best to direct vital public affairs. a mind of its own.unconscious substratum created in the mind in the main by hereditary influences. but specialists in different walks of life. by a process of contagion. had influenced his fellows. Facts proving that the most utter mistrust of the evidence of crowds is advisable might be multiplied to any extent. most often they merely represent the illusion of an individual who." Le Bon dwelled on the fact that when individuals come together as a crowd.. but Le Bon lowers that expectation: "(The) fact that crowds possess in common ordinary qualities explains why they can never accomplish acts demanding a high degree of intelligence.. In crowds it is stupidity and mother-wit that is accumulated. are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be adopted by a gathering of imbeciles.
His Congressional Court." The lone wolves who howl warnings are shouted down: "Being in doubt as to what constitutes truth or error." reads The Crowd. who had their contracts drafted long before the war began. After 9/11. and never to prove anything by reasoning are methods of argument well known to speakers at public meetings. by all sense of responsibility. Thanks to presidential guidance of base instinct. "The violence of the feelings of crowds is always increased. especially in heterogeneous crowds." Le Bon observed. on the other hand. At public meetings the slightest contradiction on the part of an orator is immediately received with howls of fury and violent invective. a crowd is disposed to give authoritative effect to its inspiration as it is intolerant. and having. as was the trust placed in the Great White Father. War was a foregone conclusion the day He was elected. His Intelligence Agencies. "An orator wishing to move a crowd must make an abusive use of violent affirmations.Said facts are accumulating to this day. For instance. collective fear turned to rage and lust for revenge. to affirm. and His People's Intuition. . To exaggerate. the interpretation of the "evidence" and the "facts" used to justify the inevitable Second Bush War against Iraq was faulty. fearful self-defense was converted to belligerent offense: retaliation was diverted to a target with greater spoils for the power elite. a clear nothing of its strength. a crowd will never do so. His Vice President of War. His Cabinet. "An individual may accept contradiction and discussion. to resort to repetitions.
but we are just as vicious. . If patriotism can be a good thing for nations and the world. our legal mass murders are more "humane".soon followed by blows and expulsion should the orator stick to his point." Our blows and expulsions and secret investigations and interrogations are more subtle and civilized today. we had better cultivate better fathers at home.
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