There seems to be a sentiment on the left side of the political spectrum that support of one's country in the way of patriotism is not warranted. On the contrary we should I guess be embarrassed by our country's actions in the past. I do believe our country has made some bad decisions over the years. There is no doubt about that. And I am even ashamed by some of our actions: treatment of the American Indians, slavery, detainment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But does there not still remain many things about this nation that makes one swell with pride? When I visited the French memorial to the American soldier in Normandy many years ago I was awestruck. The nearly 10,000 crosses have a visual impact I will never forget. Included there is the son of former President Teddy Roosevelt. The French are grateful for the contribution our country made to freeing Europe from the clutches of nazism. Or when I watched the first man in history to set foot on the moon, an American. No other nation in the world has come close to the U.S. outpouring of money and resources to aid victims of natural disasters throughout the world. When we beat the Russians in hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics as a huge underdog. These are all proud moments for me.
The point I'm making is that patriotism does indeed still have it's place in the mindset of all Americans. An American flag hangs from the ceiling of my workshop. That flag represents to me all that is right with America. I am proud to be a citizen of this nation despite it's shortcomings. So what would be a good argument to take that flag down and remove that pride that resides in my heart? We have made mistakes and I can only hope that you, the younger generations, can learn from those mistakes and make our country a place that you can also feel patriotic towards.
In 1861, The Confederate States of America went to war against the United States. Some of its young men chose NOT to sacrifice their lives in order to defend the “peculiar institution” of their newly established nation. That leads me to ask two questions:
Question #1: Were these conscientious objectors merely “narcissistic leftists” for refusing to put the commercial interests and cultural paradigms of their state ahead of their own selfish desires to live out full lives? I regard that as a rhetorical question, in case you weren't aware.
The men who DID fight and die for their nation’s right to own slaves, according to how I perceive your interpretation, were clearly being “patriotic” for being willing to give up their presumably less worthy lives for their state and their aristocratic, whip-wielding leaders.
Question #2: To reiterate the original question on this post: Should patriotism be considered healthy or detrimental to our society?
Given that patriotism ultimately brought on the greatest tragedy in American history, I can't see how it was healthy.
Closer to the present day: There can be little doubt that the frenzied "Heil Hitlers" and Nazi salutes emanating from The Third Reich's feuhrer-adoring populace was the supreme expression of patriotism. In fact, you can't get much more patriotic than the Germans were in 1939. And Hitler-worshippers certainly thought it "patriotic" to exterminate six million Jews. Today, the vast majority of regretful Germans disavow their grandfathers' deluded expression of Teutonic warrior superiority. At Nuremberg, we American patriots condemned many of the German patriots to death. Here in "exceptional" America, neo-cons (fascists) thought it patriotic to indiscriminately slaughter up to a million "ragheads" who tragically believed that the oil beneath their sands rightfully belonged to them instead of Exxon-Mobil. The 19 fanatics who attacked the Twin Towers thought it patriotic to express their people's outrage at what they perceived as American interference with their way of life. Obviously the meaning of the term, "patriotism," depends on who is defining it.
I really don't see how your brand of patriotism was healthy for German society. Nor do I see it being unequivocally healthy for ours. I am quite proud that I would have narcissistically refused to sacrifice my life so that George Bush could pose as a great Christian "crusader," instead of the cowardly egotist he is. We leftists do indeed regard our lives and those of our families as being more important than the grand delusions and imperialist dreams of our leaders. I will not voluntarily die for them just to prove I am "patriotic."
"In 1861, The Confederate States of America went to war against the United States."
And in 2011 Libyan rebels went to war against the recognized government of that country. What is your point of this statement?
"Were these conscientious objectors merely “narcissistic leftists” for refusing to put the commercial interests and cultural paradigms of their state ahead of their own selfish desires to live out full lives?"
In general, conscientious objectors are only those who, under any circumstance, are unable to fire at the enemy even in self defense. I've seen a few of them and they tend to have a psychological breakdown when forced to shoot. As for refusing to serve your country on purely selfish reasons, then yes, it is narcissistic and also considered high treason.
Your next paragraph is moral conjecture and not at all immediately apparent at the time. Victors write history, losers get the short end of the stick.
"Given that patriotism ultimately brought on the greatest tragedy in American history, I can't see how it was healthy."
Judged by this paragraph, I don't think you quite know what patriotism is. For instance, paying your taxes can be considered a patriotic duty.
"In fact, you can't get much more patriotic than the Germans were in 1939."
And this you have some kind of evidence from apart from your opinion..?
"Here in "exceptional" America, neo-cons (fascists) thought it patriotic to indiscriminately slaughter up to a million "ragheads""
If I recall correctly, less than 1 in 10 of that number were actually killed by Americans.
"the oil beneath their sands rightfully belonged to them instead of Exxon-Mobil."
Note that the vast majority of oil from the ME is supplied by NOCs, not private companies. Check your facts.
"The 19 fanatics who attacked the Twin Towers thought it patriotic to express their people's outrage at what they perceived as American interference with their way of life."
Again, you have proof this was their chief motivation? Here I was thinking it was about political religion. Also, they were disavowed from their home country of Saudi due to their political beliefs, and they were definitely not friends of their home country. Thus patriotism is a red herring.
"I will not voluntarily die for them just to prove I am "patriotic.""
Usually it is not voluntary; Nazi-Germany had conscription.
Well, if you are one after having been drafted/joined a military, you will need a psychological excuse and also demonstrate it. In a number of countries you may beforehand choose to label yourself one and receive some type of social service instead (though this is a more modern invention).
You can't really conscientious object to something you have no intention of joining or will never be forced to join, so dragging it into an anti-military civilian life is over-application of the term.
The military is easy to get into and difficult to get out of. A lot of people claim "conscientious objector" status when they find out it sucks, though the only thing they are really objecting to is the harsh treatment received. To separate the chaff from the wheat, most soldiers will be forced to prove their status, including a psych eval.
Being Princess Cantwanna of Nonoland tends to work poorly when you are stripped of your rights. ;)
I think you are confusing the timing of the claim. If you claim you are one before entering, the evidence required is low. Your word will most likely suffice.
Maintaining you are one/became one after joining, and it's a whole other ordeal. I presume, on your word, that a sworn affidavit on a 'change in beliefs' might be applicable some place. However, it certainly is not in most secular countries. The only way to prove their claim, at least in Scandinavia and the parts of NW Europe I personally know of, was a psychological breakdown.
The reason for this is that military service sucks, and it sucks badly. Those who enter usually face this grim reality after a short time, and a 'change of mind' has to be deemed as substantive"by military judges, not civilian ones. It's the same reason why "finding God" rarely is found substantive by criminal parole boards this side of the pond.
Mostly it's the timing argument. One has the option to flag this status before joining the armed services. A reversal of opinion after joining will be presumed to be an excuse.
If it is made easy, anyone who found themselves sleeping outside in -35 degrees or running into a hail of oncoming bullets could just say "i am a conscientious objector" and find themselves shipped off to what is perceived as a cushy service by comparison. If they insist hard and long enough a court marshal hearing is more likely than dismissal, especially in times of conflict.
Of course, saying beforehand that you object has a pretty decent chance of working granted you have been an active participant in anti-war movements, religion, or similar. On the other hand, if you have ever fired a gun it's highly unlikely you will be believed.
This leads to the second argument, which is believability of the claim. The starting point is that you aren't and you have to positively prove that you are. If you read the link carefully you see it pivots around the wording "sincerely held objection". Good luck proving that...
As a side note, I have chronic and bad migraines (as in triptanes quite often don't work, and I have to take rather large amounts of codeine 4-6 times per month). This was not accepted as sufficient medical grounds and merely that I was "complaining". Those who claimed to be conscientious objectors, even though they had had 1+ years beforehand to make the case, were usually laughed out of the commanders offices. Reality is a harsh mistress.
"Can I ask you what argument you think it is that I am making?"
That merely claiming conscientious objector status somehow relieves you of duty. It generally doesn't without mounds of supporting evidence. A psychological breakdown, my initial argument, would be exactly such evidence and the only such I have actually seen work in real life thrice.
Specifically, where you would see most people getting denied conscientious objector status would be under the "Consideration" part: "-the general credibility of the CF member". That's such a legally squishy statement that pretty much any application can be denied prima facie referring to it; A soldier's credibility is always less than that of his officers'.
Then I misread/interpreted you and apologize. :)
Thank you. I believe we are pretty much on the same page, sans perhaps communication issues. :)
I think it should be noted that the OPs (Dale) initial statements are still invalid. If I recall correctly, both sides of the US Civil War had conscription in a time well before conscientious objection became accepted. This essentially implies you being faced with the option of fighting whichever enemy your state points at or be charged with treason. I sincerely doubt large numbers, if any, potential soldiers of the confederate states used it successfully as an objection to serving.
Additionally, it is today not exactly something which you can merely claim without tangible evidence - it applies only to those who actually have a sincere objection. Being ideologically against a specific conflict or unfavorable to your country's foreign policy does not count. It seems as if Dale would perhaps raise weapons against the Nazis or confederates, thus he is not a conscientious objector, merely an ideological one.
I have a strong respect and sympathy of the institution of conscientious objection. Unfortunately, I do go on the offensive when I perceive it being misused as an excuse for egotistical aims.
"We should love our fellow Americans, but no more than we should love ALL people in the world."
I think the word love is a little strong for my tastes. I respect EVERYONE as an individual until they give me just cause to do otherwise. I can count on both hands those that I love.
As to patriotic duty in the sense of serving one's country in time of war I am of mixed emotions. I do not entirely agree with our involvement in past and present military operations. The justification of some is on shaky ground at best. But in the instance of WWII for example there was an undeniable threat to world peace. If we had chosen not to get involved the outcome of that decision would of been undeniably catastrophic. If America's sons had chosen to turn their collective backs on the call to service what would that have said about us as a principled democratic nation? Should we adopt a policy of isolationism and tell the rest of the world their on their own? Kuwait would of certainly been disappointed by that call.
No one is supporting blind patriotism to country. If something stinks then we have a right to say so.
"The "outpouring" of money for foreign disasters doesn't come from some institutional sense of compassion existing in the American governmental, historical, economic framework; it is caring PEOPLE helping suffering PEOPLE who donate."
Exactly! It's the people of our nation who care. We have demonstrated that time and again. You place too much emphasis on government(s). It's the individuals of this country working as a collective that makes it great. I have as much of a hard-on for big government as the next guy. In a utopian world there would be no governments, no chiefs, no lords, no presidents, and no kings. For it is these very positions of power that seem to necessitate the need for dominion, or even dominance, over others. The common man anywhere on this planet is not interested in the lofty goals of power mongers. But we do have to accept the reality of man's inability to avoid killing one another. War is the scourge of mankind, unfortunately.
"What our "Plegde of Allegiance:" should say is, "I pledge allegiance to my fellow man...""
Why is that necessary? What has my fellow man done to deserve my allegiance necessarily? Allegiance is a strong word. I can go with respect but there I draw the line.