The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


I was over at Asher Hunter’s blog when I noticed in his sidebar a quote, which I thought was probably from some current anti-Bush/Blair activist, but got a shock when I saw who the quote was actually from. I then went to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, which I’ve always found is a good source for separating fact from rumour, and they confirmed it to be true.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

I have been attacked in the past for my negative attitude to “patriotism”, but this confirms my belief that it is one of the emotions that is most easily manipulated and abused by politicians.


kats said...

The phrase "like lambs to the slaughter" comes to mind.


Asher Hunter said...

As a Canadian, we get flooded by American propaganda, because we watch their television shows so much (one of the many reasons why I stopped watching tv 15 years ago).

So it came as quite a shock to me one day when I came across a quote by Oscar Wilde: "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious."

This was the first time I had ever heard anyone say that patriotism was anything other than a good thing. So I started to think about the idea of patriotism - the idea of supporting and defending one's country, no matter what.

Doesn't sound healthy. If you ethically disagree with your country's standpoint on an issue, how can you support it?

Kim Ayres said...

Patriotism is one of those emotions that I've always had difficulty with.

It reminds me of when I was in school and was expected to support the school soccer/rugby/cricket team. And yet, most of the kids who were in the team were the kind of jocks that made my life a misery. Many of them were nothing but bullies or sycophants and yet I was supposed to cheer them on purely because they were in the same school as me.

Patriotism often struck me as the same kind of idea. It's not about supporting what's right, it's about blind support for our "leaders" and their agendas.

BStrong said...

Our government uses this tactic all the time. The latest was the WMD in Iraq. Now we have the Homeland Security Agency and all they have to do is raise the threat level one bar and it will send us all into our basements to take cover.

Now I have to worry about some government agency monitoring this blog and labeling me a threat to the country.


Kim Ayres said...

The Echelon Surveillance Network already monitors all your emails, faxes, phonecalls and any other kind of satellite communication. The automated system keeps an eye out for key words and phrases which are flagged up for human monitoring if they appear in the right combinations.

So all I have to do is start putting phrases like Iran, Saddam Hussain, Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Ladin, Israel, Palestine, terrorists, bomb making equipment, national security breach, etc on to the comments of your blog and you will suddenly be monitored more closely.

Damn! Having explained that on my comments means that I'm now being monitored as a security threat...

BStrong said...

You're cracking me up lol. I'll be sure to put in a good word for you when your parole hearing comes up.

Kim Ayres said...

Don't laugh too quickly - the amount of times you've visited this site and left comments means you'll be putting in that good word from the next cell ;)

Gyrobo said...

If Evil Bob Dole becomes the unquestioned master of the Frozen Lower Blogosphere, we will ALL have our rights taken away.

--==/ Vote Gyrobo \==--

Dr Maroon said...

An examination of “patriotism” especially ones own, is always quite sobering. It provides the individual a true look inside his head, and that inevitably leads to all the other areas where programming and conditioning have taken place.
What about all the other stereotypes we carry around? Has it all been clever manipulative marketing by those wishing to influence our behaviour or are there somewhere, innate absolutes that we spontaneously realize as we make our way in the world?
Buggered if I know.

Donald Rumsfeld put it succinctly : “There’s things we know…“
you know the rest.

Kim Ayres said...

OK gyrobo, you got my vote. But are you a patriot?

Dr Maroon - a quote like that is always worth repeating in full. So:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."

kats said...

Ohmygod I put the word Jihad in a blog title.


fatmammycat said...

Hve a nice weekend Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks fatmammycat.

Kats - now Jihad is mentioned on my site. Damn, now Jihad is mentioned twice, no... better make that 3... hang on, there's loud banging at the door and it looks like there's blue flashing lights out of the window... I'll just go and...

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