Monday, July 4, 2016

Ever wonder who's handing out the flags?

"A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: 'I, the state, am the people.'"

Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Well, damnit, I wanted to talk up some Dick today but I just heard a firecracker outside my window so I guess it must be that time of year again. 4th of July, the day when Americans celebrate their independence from... a five-cent tax on tea... or something like that. Now, instead of launching into my usual sort of long-winded tirade, I'd just like to remind the world (I hold a highly optimistic view of my readership) that the concept of nations with which we've all grown up dates back to around 1848. The notion of an internal, bottom-up coherence to territorial, taxing, warring entities beyond the size of a city is about 170 years old. Before that, the over-arching structure was pretty much all kings and emperors. Your great-grandparents' great-grandparents would remember that time. History is appallingly short from biological terms.

Of course it took almost no time flat for the new nations to show their true colors as mere facades for autocratic powermongering, but the real point here is that nationalism is a passing fad. There is such a thing as instinctive tribalism, the in/out-group dynamic which guides most of our simian shit-slinging, but the particular cover under which the rich exploit the tribalism of the poor in order to convince the poor to support the various pyramid schemes of power varies from century to century. No reason to think nationalism will last any longer than the hey-day of the Hanseatic League or sacrificing bulls to Mithra. Your grandchildren may very well end up swearing their daily allegiance to Real Madrid or the Green Bay Packers.

Hell, a lot already do, right before their nightly prayer to holy JayZus.

Nationalism and patriotism are fabrications. Tools of control. You're waving flags around to celebrate no more material a commonality than... well, being handed the same color flags to wave around.
Woo. Go team us!

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