The Olympic torch and accompanying controversy is currently circulating in Australia. “Chinese nationalists”, as the TV calls them, are waving flags and speechifying about how they must defend China. I must confess instinctive alarm upon seeing so many red and yellow Chinese flags being waved. Most Westerners remain unaware of the degree to which the Chinese have nationalist propaganda constantly drummed into them. Things are similar on North Korea; in South Korea and Japan things are less extreme, tempered by Westernisation and free-market capitalism, but this regimented brainwashing remains one of East Asia’s less attractive cultural qualities.

Patriotism is always combative, isn’t it? It’s a position that necessarily requires an object of opposition. The obvious, and close, parallel is sports barracking. It’s the same grand feeling of belonging, and hatred of the opposing team, these feelings boosted and reinforced by the mass nature of fandom. Evolutionary psychologists say that this is an instinct that survived because it makes a tribe fitter to survive in competition against other tribes. A feeling of commonality and shared effort means people forgo their individual interests for the larger good.

Despite what some conservative, religious types might say, this feeling of commonality does not occur spontaneously. Some people do not feel especially patriotic, and this not some sort of genetically-transferable moral failing. Commonality requires an experience of widely shared values, shared ownership of the tribal culture, and mutual aid. Personally, I have never experienced any of these, and so am not patriotic. I am at the lower end of the socio-economic scale, and so I keep my views to myself to avoid patriotic retaliation. At the other end of the scale, some people are rich enough to feel they are above the requirements of nationalistic patriotism – ease of travel means they regard their life as international, super-national, in fact. Instead of national values, they have the international values of money and wealth.

I recall, in high school (many years ago now), being required to write an essay on the importance of patriotism. The question so angered me that I wrote a half-page saying that patriotism was necessary in order to persuade people to fight wars, and got a very low mark for my trouble. At the time, my reaction was largely informed by my awareness of the flag-waving and propagandising of past wars, learned in my history classes. Now, years later, I see that I was correct on a deeper level. If a nation is to survive, then people must be willing to place its continuing existence over their own. Until the advent of the Zionist One-World Government (which could hardly be worse than our current system), patriotism is necessary.

But what if you, like me, are not patriotic? Well, if you aren’t troubled by moral questions, you just use the system to your advantage. Even if you are, best thing is to keep your head down and not make trouble. Patriots don’t like non-patriots. In fact they dislike them more than enemy patriots, whom at least they can understand. It’s the same way extroverts hate introverts, who understand extroverts all too well. There is probably a correlation between extroversion and introversion and patriotism and non-patriotism.

One should also not make trouble because, even if one does not feel a spiritual bond with one’s country, one still needs patriots for defence. To be blunt, they are a buffer between us and the enemy patriots. This sounds callous, of course, but a non-patriotic soldier would be less effective than a patriot, so it’s probably best to keep him safe behind the lines, where he can do the clerical work and salesmanship that still need doing, war or no war. (This reminds me of an article I read years ago, on how to use psychopathic employees effectively in business!)

Basically, patriotism is like religion. They are both spiritual in origin, which means that, while the phenomenon of the beliefs and behaviours of their adherents is undeniable, the ultimate objects and causes underlying these beliefs and behaviours are, to be blunt, non-existent. Nonetheless, these things are apparently necessary to society’s existence, to maintain order and promote the greater good. I suppose, in this case, non-believers are in some way socially defective. It is strange that failing to partake in a delusion constitutes a defect, but that’s the way the world is. Best to not rock the boat.