If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, nor as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one’s country, one’s fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.
We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children
Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.
If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.
Scholars, who pride themselves on speaking their minds, often engage in a form of self-censorship which is called “realism.” To be “realistic” in dealing with a problem is to work only among the alternatives which the most powerful in society put forth.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Abbie Hoffman American Political Activist
- Naomi Klein Canadian Author, Activist
- Noam Chomsky American Linguist, Philosopher, Social Critic
- Joseph Heller American Novelist
- Murray Bookchin American Political Thinker
- Emma Goldman American Anarchist
- Betty Friedan American Feminist, Author
- Doris Kearns Goodwin American Historian
- Christopher Hitchens Anglo-American Social Critic
- John Rawls American Philosopher