By Madison S. Hughes (08.14.2011), Updated (09.22.2011)
Patriotism is a form of false pride for those who have nothing of their own of which they can be proud. It is little more than a tribal characteristic of banal instinct that provides a gratifying sensation of self-worth.
How can one be proud of being born within a particular geographical area of which they had absolutely no input? Clearly, reflective thought is not a part of this end. Reflective thought would require one to objectively evaluate the actions of their country, and the effect those actions have on them and the world as a whole. If one were to honestly do so, one, as I, would realize a great desire to expatriate to a less religious, more equitable country as one would find in Scandinavia and Western Europe.
In contemporary America, the Tea Baggers base their definition of what it is to be an American on geography and ignorance. They are not cosmopolitan by any stretch of the imagination, nor do they show any sign of cultural curiosity. They are simply demonstrating territorial instinct, as do others with similar cerebral deficits.
Patriotism to one’s country is understood, and need not be expressed. If one feels inclined to overtly express such, then one is expressing nationalism, not patriotism.
Howard Zinn would have turned 94 today if his seemingly boundless energy and youthfulness had not been cut short in January 2010.
It’s worth remembering that A People’s History of the United States first came out in 1980 as a tide of reaction was seeking to bury the social movements that inspired Howard’s book and which he saw as the hope for the future.
Howard challenged these ideas in a terrific speech he gave in 1970: “If you don’t think, if you just listen to TV and read scholarly things, you actually begin to think that things are not so bad, or that just little things are wrong. But you have to get a little detached, and then come back and look at the world, and you are horrified. So we have to start from that supposition—that things are really topsy-turvy.”
Howard had that rare ability to step back and help us understand our topsy-turvy world primarily because he approached politics and history from the standpoint of someone who thought it was possible to turn our world right side up — to put people before profit, the environment before the interests of mining companies.
¡Howard Zinn presente!
- Lies the Debunkers Told Me: How Bad History Books Win Us Over (theatlantic.com)
A gathering of great scientists who individually will tell a personal story related to science.
Tracy Day, Brian Green (The Elegant Universe), Ira Flatow (Science Radio Host), Neil deGrasse Tyson (The Cosmos), Richard Dawkins (A Selfish Gene), Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Neal Stephenson (Science Fiction Author)
h/t: Intelligence is sexy
Socrates warned against fearing death. He thought it irrational—the fear of death causes you to believe you’re wiser than you actually are. “No body knows death; no body can tell, but it may be the greatest benefit of mankind; and yet men are afraid of it, as if they knew certainly that it were the greatest of evils,” he concluded. His real aim may have been the religious who expressed faith in an afterlife with utmost certainty, a trend still going strong today.
No mere mortal knows what occurs after death, yet that hasn’t stopped many from speculating. Though Socrates expressed unkind words toward the religious, turns out those who strongly believe in religion fear death less than the less religiously inclined—until you get to atheism, that is. A new study published in Religion, Brain & Behavior discovered a U-shaped curve toward contemplating death, with the most religious and atheists enjoying the least fear of mortality.