Does Patriotism Matter? – Thomas Sowell @ RealClearPolitics
Thomas Sowell has written a piece on patriotism called ‘Does Patriotism Matter?‘ at Real Clear Politics. It was interesting piece to read to see how today’s American society is walking down the same path of our French friends did between World War I and World War II. As Mr Sowell concludes, will it matter for us?
Again Mr Sowell opens the piece by sharing how patriotism was viewed and how evidentually the French teacher union addressed this after World War I.
The Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday but patriotism has long been viewed with suspicion or disdain by many of the intelligentsia. As far back as 1793, prominent British writer William Godwin called patriotism “high-sounding nonsense.”
Internationalism has long been a competitor with patriotism, especially among the intelligentsia. H.G. Wells advocated replacing the idea of duty to one’s country with “the idea of cosmopolitan duty.”
Perhaps nowhere was patriotism so downplayed or deplored than among intellectuals in the Western democracies in the two decades after the horrors of the First World War, fought under various nations’ banners of patriotism.
In France, after the First World War, the teachers’ unions launched a systematic purge of textbooks, in order to promote internationalism and pacifism.
This was very interesting. It seems our predecessors had encountered similar actions on how to display one’s patriotism. It is amazing that like the French teachers, our modern today education system is re-writing our own history by watering it down to promote the same things in the 1930s. Some of our modern day leaders are concern about this action as was other leaders of the 1930s:
In Britain, Winston Churchill warned that a country “cannot avoid war by dilating upon its horrors.” In France, Marshal Philippe Petain, the victor at Verdun, warned in 1934 that teachers were trying to “raise our sons in ignorance of or in contempt of the fatherland.”
But they were voices drowned out by the pacifist and internationalist rhetoric of the 1920s and 1930s.
Mr Sowell goes on to ask whether it mattered? Well, what happen to French during World War II? Mr Sowell writes,
… France collapsed after just six weeks of fighting and surrendered to Nazi Germany. At the bitter moment of defeat the head of the French teachers’ union was told, “You are partially responsible for the defeat.”
Mr Sowell shares how French leaders who arose during World War II thought of the government’s actions prior to the war:
Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mauriac, and other Frenchmen blamed a lack of national will or general moral decay, for the sudden and humiliating collapse of France in 1940.
It is interesting to see how history repeats itself. Do we as Americans want to follow in these steps?
Consider this when we vote this fall.