Reflexive Patriotism, Last Refuge of a Scoundrel Nation
by Kirkpatrick Sale
Of course one of the difficulties in putting across the benefits of, the need for, secession is the very deep-seated fundamentalism of we’re-number-one American patriotism. If there is no perception that the American government is thoroughly malodorous, corrupt, and iniquitous, if at the base of every brain is the belief in one-nation-indivisible (a phrase, by the way, created in 1892 by a socialist ideologue to brainwash young boys), and if there is no underlying sense that what we do around the world as a imperial power ranges from maladroit to evil, then there’s no way anyone could possibly comprehend, much less support, secession.
What brings this to mind is the reactions around the country this past May to the announcement that U.S. Special Forces had assassinated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. At so-called Ground Zero, in front of the White House, at stadiums across the country, on college campuses and village greens coast to coast, those who happened to be up late on a Sunday night, a number fortified by alcohol, burst out in wild flag-waving celebrations and raucous yoo-ess-ay cheers.
It didn’t matter that this was an achievement that for some reason took intelligence agencies a full ten years to bring off, that its significance in the actual putting down of Islamic terrorism would seem to be uncertain, or that it had and would have no effect soever on the bogged-down war in Afghanistan. It didn’t even matter that this kind of killing – assassination of political leaders in foreign lands – is generally regarded as contrary to an international law that in general discourages people going around offing bad guys they don’t like, and contrary indeed to an American regulation that operated for nearly three decades until overturned in the heat of 9/11.