While we have been conditioned that it is patriotic to accept a history that portrays our country in the best light possible, the real patriotism however, is looking at our history honestly and even critically, by doing so we will learn from those lessons, both from the successes and the failures it provides. It is shameful, and perhaps even dangerous, when we allow our history to be colored, misrepresented or manipulated to support ideologies, agendas, or causes. It is an absolute mistake to use patriotism as a factor in convincing the American People to choose a spirit of aggression and intolerance in policy making over than the traditional values found within our Constitution and the Founding Documents. If we are to profit from the errors of the last century in particular, then we would come away from our history lesson with a very clear understanding that the United States has strayed extremely far from its foundation and it has costs us dearly.
In viewing the history of the United States during the Twentieth Century, we can quickly see that it was a century characterized by numerous provocations and interventions; rarely did we contribute to widespread stabilization, but a generalized destabilization within nations and regions of the world. We rarely consider that our popular history seems to be written for our consumption, portraying a very righteous and amicable nation that has sought only justice for the nations of the world, a view that is totally contrary to the facts of history. It is impossible for us to justify our national aggression by stating it is a consistent philosophy while claiming to maintain a peaceful influence in the world. Such aggression is an anomaly of our traditional American character. Indeed, such aggressive intervention has proven to be a defect in our modern national character, one that is in a vital need of correction by returning to our foundational Constitutional philosophy.
In general, the American psyche, both politically and socially, has been distorted to such a degree that it now reveals a lack of tolerance and respect for the rights of other nations, all the while promoting our own version of self-righteousness wrapped up in a faade of Red, White and Blue. Such distortions are far from the reality of Patriotism upon which this nation was founded. We cannot expunge our own national history through palpable evasions or distortions of the truth while maintaining that by doing so we are defending our nation. Nor can we claim to uphold our patriotism by such contortions in our history; such mental gymnastics are little more than a contradiction to all reason and indeed to the meaning of patriotism itself. Until we openly confess our political sins of the past it is doubtful that we can prevent their repetition in the future.
Our national militarism has naturally lends itself to national expansionism and, in ways we rarely consider, to that of the glorification of executive monarchism. We have seen the Machiavellian philosophy take root in this country over the past 40 years, a philosophy that teaches that the State and its ability to render its power unabated is the real source of all happiness and security. It feeds upon the doctrinal plea that by strengthening the reach of the State it can, through the medium of militarism, provide for the necessary security of the People by spreading its particular ideological agenda and making the world safe for democracy. That philosophy however, ignores the primary source of our national security by subjecting our nation to the consequential dangers that such militaristic interventions entail.
The most important factor, one that is often overlooked in this Machiavellian ideology, is that the greatest source of national defense can be found by remaining entanglement free. This Machiavellian indoctrination over the last 109 years has effectively been engrained, not only in the mind of the political apparatus, but also in the minds of the People to the point that the government has been granted an unlimited license to proceed without the restraint of the People's consent. I feel that eventually reality will force a rejection of the Machiavellian ideology and the maxims that have blinded our national conscience to the point that we can no longer rationally see the options provided to us by the wisdom of the Founders. The Machiavellian Shibboleth should be considered an obsolete doctrine, dangerous in its application and perverse in the tenets of Jingoism that now dominates this current Administration and grips large portions of the American attitude. We must disavow such national war fetishes and the demands of imperialistic traits that not only fail to deliver real security but actually decreases our national safety.
In our seemingly persistent denial of our own imperialism, we are simply being untrue to ourselves and through such denials we turn our backs upon those tenets that our Founding Statesmen ascribed, for our benefit, to this Great Nation of Liberty and Justice. When our politicians lay claim to a peaceful disposition while promoting the cry for intervention, they not only betray our national conscience, but deceive the People with such contradictions of traditional national principles.
Our history has been filled with threats, threats to our way of life, threats to our very existence and while we must be diligent in meeting all direct and immediate threats with a strong rational response, we should avoid the tendency to face such issues with a charge of reactionary emotionalism. Reactionary decision-making leads to little in the way of constructive measures and usually only opens us up to an increase of potentially dangerous threats. In our nature we are afforded the ability to either look at our actions based upon reason or based upon fear. Upon reason, we shall always find a sense of rational decisions combined with responsible actions that ultimately benefit us as individuals and as a nation however, if we are given over to irrational fears then our actions risk betraying our overall security through reckless actions both domestically and on the foreign stage. We would do well to consider that our actions are connected to events from times past and will always tie future consequences to the present.
A policy of interventionism is usually accompanied by a swell of national pride, promoted, as it were, by the State and its corporate sponsors, who are always the beneficiaries of such polices. It is rarely considered that a poor and potentially dangerous doctrine or policy, when consistently applied, will eventually embed itself deeply into the national character and influence that character in ways that will ultimately decrease all periphery vision, giving rise to unreasonable fears and trepidations that tend to blind us to other possible considerations. There has never, in all our history, been such a poorly defined doctrine as that we currently are witnessing with regards to our foreign policy. Its broad application has no real focal point, no perceivable goals and few effectual results that can be declared as successful in providing this country actual defense. The proverbial “can of worms” has been opened regarding our foreign policy and with that open “can” the “night crawlers” are finding their way into our domestic policies, creeping into areas that have always been held as sacrosanct to our traditional Constitutional values.
The common thread to all threats, throughout our history, has been the utilization of the fear, and the use of that fear is exploited by the government to increase its own grasp of domestic powers or to expand its global reach. Militarism is developed and defined specifically by tyrannical aspects within governments to support their own arbitrary authority and by designing such predatory ambitions the scope of government power is extended, usually pressed upon weak and relatively defenseless nations that have no real defense against facing such overwhelming force. The primary driving ambition is, besides power, the control over vastly rich resources within certain regions. These resources are touted as essential to our national security interests and the rights of another nations' sovereignty appear to be rarely enough deter our government push toward intervention to pursue such national interests.
Interventionist militarism has always promoted and utilized the development of pseudo-patriotism in the hearts and minds of the people to the point that they believe the push of military might is not only necessary, but, more times than not, it is portrayed as a noble cause. Rarely is there the consideration that such actions are not only used to maintain and grow the institutions of militarism, but that they are usually inimical to our own security. Of course, it is always in the interests of the Militarists to win the conflict, but even when a conflict is won the consequences of even victory are rarely considered.
The entry of America into World War I is a perfect example of the effects of militarism on a country. Prior to our entry, both sides of the conflict had almost exhausted themselves to the point of suing for peace, but with the entry of America the war was extended and the results of the war changed the power-structure around the world. Additionally, our entry and the victory that followed set the stage for several events that not only promoted a domestic extension of our government's authority, but also created events that would ultimately lead to the rise of Hitler and therefore WWII. Had America not entered WWI, both sides of the conflict would have settled for peace, Germany would have never faced the severe and shameful terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The economic drain of ruining reparations on Germany and the decades of national impotency would later give rise to the extremism of National Socialism and the disaster of WWII. This government rarely appears to take into consideration the consequences of its actions, its policies, and its interventions, if it would then not only would the world be a very different place, but our country would be a vastly different one then we see today. It would be far more secure, far more prosperous and far more respected.
Perhaps one of the most damaging results of our entry into the WWI was on the domestic front. The government created a truly massive propaganda machine called the CPI [Committee on Public Information] for the sole purpose of beating the drums of war, whipping the American public into an almost total acceptance of militaristic interventionism and repression of all dissent contrary to the war effort.
Those propaganda methods were extremely effective and they are still employed today by the government when seeking support for its militaristic agenda. The primary method utilized was fear and hate; fear of the enemy combined with hate, all epitomized by an inordinate demonization. The methods of the CPI portrayed Germans as the most dangerous enemy this country had ever faced, a threat to our way of life, depraved, brutal barbarians, intent of the destruction of our democracy and all freedom loving people around the world. Stories of atrocities and potential atrocities were common-place; the intent was to stimulate a national self-righteousness and complete indignation toward the enemy, it was very effective and produced the desired results within the minds of the people thereby making them pliable to the militaristic cause of the government. The CPI propaganda arm of the government had no qualms about the distortion of the truth or outright subversion of the truth and blatant lies utilized for the greater good of the cause and the expansion of American military might.
“So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor. There must be no ambiguity about which the public is to hate. A handy rule for arousing hate, is, if at first they do not enrage, use an atrocity. It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man.” Lasswell-CPI
Obviously, it worked so well that it has continued to be used to this day. It is not hard to find the exact wording today as was utilized during WWI and WWII in describing the enemy and the potential extreme threat that enemy represents to our way of life. It also appears that the American people remain equally as sensitive to such methods today as they were nearly 100 years ago during the Wilson Administration. In such efforts, the government needs hatred to fuel its war machine and it is extremely skilled in presentations crafted to elicit those darker emotions among the People, all for the cause, the government's cause, whether justified or not.
After WWI, the CPI remained a very useful tool of the government, but instead of war, it used the same methods against potential political opposition, to enhance factions and special interest that government sought partnerships with in order to gain a far more powerful position on the domestic front. It became government policy to use such tools to mold American public opinion to fit the views and requirements of the State.
The use of Militarism, and the propaganda tools used to support it, is contrary to the goals once espoused by this country and the traditions upon which it was founded. It is impossible for the traditional institutions of this country to continue if such tactics continue to influence and direct public opinion based upon certain agendas which may not always be exposed to the general public but are sold to them as an absolute necessity for our survival as a nation when in fact that may not be the case. Unless we are willing to not only maintain our Rights and defend our Liberties, we will lose them to a systematic distortion of truth created to generate a particular agenda contrary to our real national interests and the traditional Constitutional form of government.
“The abuse of official powers and thirst for dishonest gain are now so common that they cease to shock.”Edward Bates-Lincoln's Attorney General.
Of course, along with Militarism abroad comes an increase of political repression at home. Any government that gravitates toward Militarism tends to also move toward a Police State, especially when there is the advantage of an external threat or a potential internal threat. The two go hand-in-hand and rarely can Militarism be found without the backing of a degree of domestic oppression. It is also not unusual within such a mentality of such extreme views that those who promote it are ultimately gripped with the same fear it seeks to propagate. We have seen the shift in this country since the events of 9/11; it has been a drastic move toward dangerously irrational reactionary thought.
We have lost much to those who seek an agenda other than those upon which this country was founded and yet there remains a strong tie, and even a yearning that now compels the People to return to the traditions instituted by our Founders. The message of revolutionary Freedom will not be silenced in this country, it may be battered, oppressed and dissent may even be criminalized, but the Cry of Liberty will continue to grow louder and the Cause of Freedom will prevail AT ANY COST!Tweet
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