Friday, April 22, 2005


Patriotism and Nationalism

It’s interesting the way governments manipulate their populations by appealing to “patriotism,” when actually they are whipping up nationalistic and xenophobic sentiment in a bid to use their people to achieve often unstated and even villainous ends. Such manipulation is quite obvious in the recent “anti-Japanese” riots in China. While the Chinese government does indeed want to make a statement on Japanese nationalism, note that it does so by spurring nationalistic feelings among its own populace. But the bigger and unstated purpose is to give the Chinese people an outlet for their extreme dissatisfaction with their own government.

We’ve heard a lot about how ordinary Chinese called for and organized demonstrations using the internet and cell phones. No doubt this is true to an extent, but it’s a safe bet that some of those “ordinary Chinese” were working for the government.

But I don’t mean to single out the Chinese in particular, except as an example, because all governments do this to one extent or another. In the US, the Bush regime has shown itself to be highly adept at whipping up a nationalistic frenzy and manipulating the population. The distinction between nationalism and patriotism is all but lost in America.

For an excellent discussion of this subject see “The Cult of Patriotism.”

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