I am under an impression that most National Anthems have a religious connotation on them. I am a South African, the first part of the National Anthem, loosley translated, says god bless Afrika  help to stop wars and suffering. It is written in two major Indeginous language groups. Now I am concerned about the fact that I will be saying those words, when I know their meaninglessness. What does that say to me, as a Freethinker should I be patriotic, where do I draw the line in my patriotism?  Do I belong  to one geographically stationed group of humans or to all of them as they are scattered all over the globe? Should Free thinking soldiers go out there in the name of their country and fight wars that smell some religious defending?

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Personally, I don't get group-based pride at all. Allegiance or solidarity make sense because without it there's no cohesion and cohesion gives powewr to an oppressed group. But why feel any sort of pride a s a group? That's why I don't get "gay pride" or "black pride." Proud of being attracted to one's own sex? Proud of a lot of melanin in one's skin? How about "solidarity" instead of "pride"?

True. The word "equality" would make more sense, but doesn't sound as inspirational. Maybe it's like the difference between English 101 and Dramatic Social Movements 101.

I loved my girls playing soccer into high school, and doing well in school, especially in science. But I still avoid the word "proud", even when I want to brag about them. I want to set a good example, which some might say is similar to having pride.

More on topic, I can't stand flag-waving nationalism, unless (say) it's to demonstrate solidarity against outside oppressors.

Group pride makes about as much sense as group guilt. By the time I was born, the industrial slavery of black people was over, and my family hadn't come to the US yet anyway when that was going on. Consequently, I feel no guilt over slavery. I do regret that it went on, but if I have anything to be proud of in the sense we are talking here, it's that my country expended 625,000 lives plus more than a quarter million wounded to bring it to an end. White lives, pretty much.

What is the first task of government, if it's not to make large numbers of people governable?

Religions help. National anthems also help.

Do national anthems serve those who govern?

Yes; they serve to stop the governed from criticizing those who govern...

1) ...as the governed pay their taxes, and

2) ...even as the governed go off to wars that will enrich those who govern.

It's all about ruling the masses. Divine Authority makes it easier for them to swallow it.

Perhaps everyone on Earth would unite, if everyone believed that Martians were planning an attack.

Ugly, stinky, green, Martian-speaking reptiles waving huge, ugly, stinky, scaly, green flags.

Trying to steal our women and children.

And our precious, bodily fluids.

And laughing a lot.

Perhaps everyone on Earth would unite, if everyone believed that Martians were planning an attack.

They are.

No need to concern ourselves with attacking Martians, but if other non-earthly beings were to attack, most American earthlings would panic and pray.

They did exactly that when in the 1930s George Orwell did his radio show on an attack by Martians.

A few leaders would gather some of the less-panicked for a defense but most would remain panicked and praying.

Thanks, Gregg; a little laughter goes a long way.

They did exactly that when in the 1930s George Orwell did his radio show on an attack by Martians.

It was Orson Welles, and that was a radio version of War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.

Since Orson formatted the show as if it were a series of news bulletins it sounded frighteningly believable.

JFK's famous words: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask instead what you can do for your country.

What, if any, feelings/emotions do they stir in you?

Alexander Hamilton's little-known words on June 18 in the 1787 Federal Convention: The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the rich and well-born a distinct and permanent share in the government.

Combine their ideas: Ask not what the rich and well-born can do for you. Ask instead what you can do for the rich and well-born.

These words describe America far better.

Patriotism. Bah, humbug!

The patriotism I see in the US today usually turns my stomach, but I do believe there are some basic benefits from belonging to a tribe. I just wish more people would understand we are all from the same tribe.

This topic reminds me of a conversation I had with a Conservative Christian coworker. He was joking that he hates anything French. For some reason Conservatives seem to have a deep-seated anger at the French.

I asked my coworker if he ever met someone from France, he replied "no" and that he never intends to. I then asked him if his religion allowed for him to hate whole groups of people that he never met. He didn't answer this question, he just walked away muttering under his breath!

I have run into more than a few "France haters".  Maybe it's because France get's most of it's energy from small nuclear reactors and:

Of all the major Western powers involved in the Gulf War, France was perhaps the most ambiguous in its attitude towards the whole affair.


People dislike the French ("hate" is rather too strong) because they can be rude. So can Americans or Brits or Canadians or Brazilians, of course. However, it's very common in France. In the U.S., most of us meeting a foreign tourist are generally fascinated with them, full of friendlly questions, and are nice and helpful. Not always so in France.


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