Monday, January 31, 2005

pontification on patriotism

a friend asked me if i'd ever consider getting canadian citizenship.

i went to visit the American national landmarks in philadelphia with Romina. It was very useful to see it with a pair of non-American eyes. it really felt like philadelphia was some sort of sacred shrine of Americanness, where you come and recite the sacred symbols of the cult and renew your devotion to the faith--"life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" "city on a hill" "innocent until proven guilty" "we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Passages drilled into our collective psyches by indoctrination with patriotic songs and stories during childhood.

the same international tests that show American students lagging behind in math and science (though I quesiton these results actually) show that Americans lead the world in civic education. i wonder if this patriotic indoctrination is unique to America, or common everywhere. and though i mock it, i'm not sure if it is a bad thing.

anyway, point is i'm effectively brainwashed, that in the words of Noam Chomsky, when he was asked whether he would consider leaving the United States "No. This is the best country in the world."

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