We spent our Memorial Day watching two “war” movies…Pearl Harbor and Hacksaw Ridge. It was our first viewing of Hacksaw and we now understand why it was touted so highly.
Of course, as closet philosophers, it is hard not to think of such movies as to their meaning. This true story of a religious conscientious objector during WW2 who wanted to still serve his country without bearing arms is one for the ages.
Because of our lifelong observations and distrust of governments, it is hard to not be biased in our views. Memorial day has always been particularly depressing as we see all the flag waving and honoring of wartime soldiers. We have never doubted honoring the sacrifice of those who served in defending our country. At the same time, we cannot turn a blind eye to the Western powers frothing up international conflicts in the name of
“god and country”.
Since the great world wars of the last century, the USA and their allies have not clearly won a war or “conflict”. This while spending trillions of dollars fighting in far away places such as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and others. Government spends a lot of time justifying the actions of the CIA, FBI and other organizations that tend to lead us into warmongering based on supposed ideals of democracy and Christianity. “Onward Christian Soldiers” has become a real physical battle cry while ignoring the tenants of a pacifist Jesus who the religion worships. Where did this disconnect start?
We have argued for decades that the best way to control the world is through international trade and economic development. If our countries are too busy competing economically, we will be less inclined to attack our partners based on religious or patriotic ideals. In addition, true free trade and international travel would help the masses better understand differences between our cultures without wanting to change each other. People will tend to change more quickly when following true leadership than when forced to comply at the end of a gun barrel.
Patriotism is ok…as long as it is kept in check by constitutional values. Today’s governments do not operate by the Constitution. Most of today’s conflicts are fought under illegal ideologies and have a lot to do with economic stealing related to oil, gas, and other resources that are most abundant in some very backward countries. Just because a country is backward does not give a superpower the freedom to invade or take over.
We love the ideals of the USA within its historical and constitutional framework…yet we don’t blindly adhere to unconstitutional laws or actions on the part of our governments. While we can admire the blind courage and faith it takes for soldiers to serve in foreign conflicts sponsored by our government, it is actually MORE courageous for individuals to buck against these actions on principle.
It is important to realize that “patriotism” does not mean blindly following a government or leader into unconscionable actions. Many of today’s biggest patriots are those whistleblowers or activists who attempt to move the hand of despotic governments towards constitutional governance.
Some of the biggest patriots today are the Edward Snowdens or Julian Assange’s of the world. These are individuals who have acted against the illegal actions of their governments and militaries. These are people who have sacrificed all their worldly goods in order to pursue truth and freedom.
While we honor our men and women in uniform, we should especially recognize those patriots who have stood against the tyrannies of their governments without military actions. These are the modern day “Paul Reveres” and “Ben Franklins”. These are the true patriots of principle.