This is the 4th of July week-end when America celebrates Independence Day.
Is it wrong to celebrate the birth of a nation and the victories that led to the birth of that nation?
Is it wrong to wave flags in a patriotic way?
It all depends on the degree and tone of that celebration. If you are celebrating the shared story of a people’s coming together and the heroic deeds of perilous struggles against oppressors that is one thing.
But if one is allowing themselves to be swept up into a mood of nationalistic fervor where they believe one country has a special destiny and is somehow more important or greater than other nations, then this is a grave sacrilege and error.
The leading classes of a country have a need to manufacture some reason why young men and women should go to war to defend their interests. They can’t very well say “We do not want the young men and women of our upper classes to go and fight, so you sons and daughters of the poor must go and fight to protect the safety and privileges of the affluent and the corporations.”
The leading classes can’t very well say, “We have made terrible mistakes that have led to this war that could have been prevented with more rational and ethical actions. Now that these terrible mistakes have been made we need the sons and daughters of the poor and the working class to go and fight to protect the nation and the interests of the rich.”
The leading classes must distract the young men and women of the poor and working class from seeing how greedy and exploitative the ruling classes are at home and around the world. The leading classes must give the young men and women of the poor and working class a “great cause” to fight for so they will be whipped into a frenzy and join up.
So the leaders wrap themselves in a flag and whip up nationalist fervor about the great threat to the nation and this is enough to hypnotize tens of millions of people into supporting just about any crime overseas imaginable.
And if the young men and women of the poor and working class refuse to sign up, the leading classes threaten them with prison. They threaten their masculinity, or their femininity, of those who refuse to fight by labeling them as “cowards,” and anyone who criticizes the war as “a traitor.” Look at the jail sentences handed down to anyone who criticized America’s involvement in World War I.
As with the Gulf of Tonkin in 1965, so too with the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003, the US government is completely willing to lie to the American people about why a war has to be fought and who started it.
None of this is to imply there may never be reasons why a nation needs to be prepared to defend their country and send its best and bravest off to fight. None of this is to imply that there are not truly evil people around the world who are vicious, mad dogs who need to be stopped, to use Malcolm X’s phrase, “By any means necessary.”
But before you or your young peopel go off to fight, make sure you are not being lied to. Make sure the sons and daughters of the senators and congress people who declared war are the first to fight and are on the front lines in the fight. Make sure you know what the fight is really all about.
Do not be hypnotized by flags or marching bands or stirring speeches.
Do not turn a blind eye to the fact that the sons and daughters of government leaders and the rich go off to expensive colleges, while the sons and daughters of the poor go off to fight and bleed on foreign soil and to try to kill the sons and daughters of the poor in a country they know nothing about.
Read books like Tim Wieners “Legacy of Ashes” which is a history of the CIA.
When you see the tragic mixture of gross incompetence and ruthless, cynical violence of the American CIA in dozens of countries around the world, you will be better informed as to who the true enemy is. No doubt a history of the KGB will be just as enlightening.
Meditation is about learning to see through the lies we tell ourselves and the lies that others tell us. Meditation is about learning to see through the illusions we weave for ourselves and the illusions and lies others try to get us to buy into.
Learn how to see through the lies of nations and psychosis of nationalism.
When you see a flag of America, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Russia, India, Japan, Viet-Nam, North Korea, and China and most other countries look closely. You will see the blood of millions of innocents dripping from the flag. This will help you see the true nature of flags and nations.
This will help you and your young people make better decisions about who to fight and why, and how to fight them.
This will change the course of nations one person at a time.
Will Raymond The Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” and host of MeditationPractice.com.