Nationalism, Militarism, Patriotism, Government, and a Social Market Economy

The United States faces a crisis of conscience in the coming years. Our turn toward isolationist policies lacking any consideration for global impact places us in a precarious position. We lost much of our international influence by exchanging it for almost total dependence on overwhelming military superiority.

While the ability to defend oneself is critical, the use of such strength as a bludgeon against both allies and enemies to bend to our will is a near-sighted policy. The rallying cry of the “patriot” is often the first step towards disaster.

We are smarter than that.

This confluence of “isms” in the US culminated with the election of Donald Trump and a sharp turn away from what this country once represented; strength wielded with compassion. While labels can only go so far in defining individuals and policies, they are generally used in a derogatory way or, when meant as a positive attribute, often absent a full understanding of their meaning.

It is important to know what one is promoting before embracing a myth.

Nationalism: identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. (Oxford Dictionary definition)

Militarism: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests. (Oxford Dictionary definition)

Patriotism: the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country. (Oxford Dictionary definition)

64 Best Patriotism Quotes And Sayings Of All Time

Former Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and Medal of Honor recipient for Gallantry during the Battle of Tarawa in World War II, General David Monroe Shoup, had this to say about such philosophies.

“The battle successes and heroic exploits of America’s fine young fighting men have added to the military’s traditions which extol service, bravery, and sacrifice, and so it has somehow become unpatriotic to question our military strategy and tactics or the motives of military leaders.”

He went on to say about the growing American involvement in Vietnam,

 “militarism in America is in full bloom and promises a future of vigorous self-pollination — unless the blight of Vietnam reveals that militarism is more a poisonous weed than a glorious blossom.”

One can easily see how those prescient words were both correct about our involvement in Vietnam (which Shoup opposed) and about our situation today.

The most mystifying thing about it is how a man like Mr. Trump, who avoided the draft, ridiculed those who serve, and denigrated those who died in the service of their country, became the poster child for all three, nationalism, militarism, and patriotism.

While each has a place in building and securing a nation, they also pose a danger when left uncontrolled by reason, rational policies, and compassion for our global society.

It is time for Americans to take a long, hard look at themselves before they lockstep off a cliff singing God Bless America in pursuit of a greatness that is a sham.

Then there are labels like socialism which are often thrown out as a threat to our capitalist system. A more thorough examination of the American form of government, one which reveals the true genius of the founding fathers, shows our government and economy are not pure capitalism.

Much of our success came from governmental intervention into the excesses of capitalism. Labor laws, workplace safety laws, collective bargaining, product liability, antitrust laws, all had a negative impact on profits for the higher purpose of protecting workers, consumers, and the environment.

The words “collective” bargaining itself carries socialist tendencies since it levels the playing field between the wealthy business owners and those whose labor makes the companies successful.

Social Security, Unemployment benefits, Disability benefits all provide support derived from the profits of a capitalist economy which otherwise would have been denied.

Our economy, like it or not, is a blend of capitalism and socialism. And Democratic Socialism–a philosophy that seeks to balance the downsides of a free market economy with fair treatment of labor–is not opposed to capitalism. It opposes excesses and provides a balance.

Here’s how the Oxford Dictionary and other sources describe it.

A social market economy is a free-market or mixed-market capitalist system, sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy, where government intervention in price formation is kept to a minimum, but the state provides significant services in areas such as social security, health care, unemployment benefits and the recognition of labor rights through national collective bargaining arrangements.

The social market economy refrains from attempts to plan and guide production, the workforce, or sales, but it does support planned efforts to influence the economy through the organic means of a comprehensive economic policy coupled with flexible adaptation to market studies. Combining monetary, credit, trade, tax, customs, investment and social policies as well as other measures, this type of economic policy aims to create an economy that serves the welfare and needs of the entire population, thereby fulfilling its ultimate goal (http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/docpage.cfm?docpage_id=3415)

The fact is there are many countries who enjoy higher standards of living, better educational opportunities, better access to medical care, lower infant mortality (which relates to access to health care), and other benefits through social democratic reforms.

Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand are just a few examples.

The American Experiment, an appropriate analogy since experiments adjust to new evidence, faces a critical moment. Do we revert to the harshness of a government that turns a blind eye to abuse of labor? Do we ignore the health needs of Americans because of pressures from those who place profits over people? Do we let the paroxysms of nationalism and militarisms mask the true nature of the American soul? Do we ignore the scientific evidence of climate change for the sake of profiteering from the demise of our world?

It is time for Americans to take a long, hard look at themselves before they lockstep off a cliff singing God Bless America in pursuit of a greatness that is a sham.

Ponder This
Why is it whenever any natural or manmade disaster occurs, or a …
I Have Seen the Light
How could I be so naive? How could I not recognize the …
Are You F#$%ing Kidding Me?
I came across this headline for an Op-ed piece in Newsweek, Uvalde …
What Would Jesus Do?
At an appearance before a conservative Christian group called the Charis Christian …

************************************************************************

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Friends, Americans, Countrymen…

Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
I seek to understand Trump, not to denigrate him
The evil a President does lives after them
The good is oft overwhelmed by these deeds
So let it be with this President
His loyal supporters, led by Mike Pence, say Trump is ambitious
If it were so, it was a dangerous fault, and grievously hath this country suffer’d for it.
Here, under the eyes of Pence and the rest—For Pence is an honorable man;
So are they all honorable men (and women which is hard to explain)

What cause withholds you then from seeing through this ambition?
America has lost her reason
Bear with me;
For my heart fears we may never regain it.

Come I to speak before this crucial election.
Some say Trump is a friend, faithful and just to the country.
Yet nigh on 200000 fellow Americans lie in their graves,
Victims of this ambition and deception
But Pence says he is an honorable man
I speak not to disprove what Pence spoke, the judgement of history will speak loud on this.
But here I am to speak what I do know
We all do love this country, not without cause
What cause withholds you then from seeing through this ambition?
America has lost her reason
Bear with me;
For my heart fears we may never regain it.
And I must pause till it comes back to us
Now is the moment to cast out this foul ambition
Now is the time to return to reason.
Now is the time.

…any other choice flies in the face of logic (couldn’t resist)

P.S. any bets on how long before the blogosphere is teaming with conspiracy theories that the fly was a nano robot built by Bill Gates and flown by Dr. Fauci?

If you liked, or hated, this piece, read on!

Ponder This
Why is it whenever any natural or manmade disaster occurs, or a …
I Have Seen the Light
How could I be so naive? How could I not recognize the …
Are You F#$%ing Kidding Me?
I came across this headline for an Op-ed piece in Newsweek, Uvalde …
What Would Jesus Do?
At an appearance before a conservative Christian group called the Charis Christian …

*****

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

We DID Start The Fire…

Two fires are burning in America, both fueled by ignorance, indifference, and plain old stupidity.

Curious Kids: when I swipe a matchstick how does it make fire?

In the western US, wildfires burn out of control, consuming millions of acres of forests, entire towns, killing unknown numbers of wildlife, and destroying humans. Many of our fellow Americans push aside the overwhelming evidence of climate change—the intensity of these fires and resulting firestorms are a symptom of the problem—for politics or because of a vested interest in ignoring the science.

Despite the enormous evidence of anthropogenic climate change, we have a President who ignores it all and tells people to “rake their leaves.” That such an unsophisticated, uninformed, scientifically bereft attitude exists in 21st century America is astounding.

We are returning to the Dark Ages where mystics and charlatans guided decisions absent any rational basis. They hide their actions from us by the smoke of fires of our own creation.

We ignore these signs at our own peril, for the earth is resilient. Like any sophisticated, self-sustaining system, our planet has an immune system. If we continue down this path, the earth may come to see us not as the most fantastic product of evolution, but a dangerous one. The signs are already there with glaciers disappearing, sea levels rising, temperatures climbing, and storm intensities increasing.

The planet will protect itself either with us… or from us.

We repeat the pattern of ignoring problems in hopes they will just go away in other matters, the other fire burning across this country—the fire of racism, intolerance, and violent resistance to acknowleding the inequalities in our society.

Despite the mounds of evidence of climate change and racism, we continue to ignore the signs. The only difference between these two issues is we have been ignoring racism for a much longer period, despite having documented it with our own words. Words written by well-intentioned (mostly) individuals or commissions, published with a grand ceremony, then forgotten when the attention fades,

In 1922, the Chicago Commission of Race Relations published a seven-hundred-page report entitled “The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and Race Riot.” The report documented evidence of housing and employment discrimination and brutal mistreatment at the hands of the police and the criminal justice system.

(From the report) “… investigations indicate that Negroes are more commonly arrested, subjected to police identification, and convicted than white offenders, that on similar evidence they are generally held and convicted on more serious charges, and that they are given longer sentence… These practices and tendencies are not only unfair to Negroes, but weaken the machinery of Justice and, when taken with the greater inability of Negroes to pay fines in addition to or in lieu of terms of jail, produce misleading statistics of Negro crime.” (emphasis mine)

Nothing changed.

In 1935, following riots in Harlem, another report said.

“… The sudden breach of the public order was the result of a highly emotional situation among the colored people of Harlem, due in large part to the nervous strain of years of unemployment and insecurity…it is probable that their justifiable pent-up feelings, that they were victims of gross injustice and prejudice, would sooner or later have brought about an explosion…

The blame belongs to a society that tolerates inadequate and often wretched housing, inadequate and inefficient schools and other public facilities, unemployment, unduly high rents, lack of recreational grounds, discrimination in industry and public utilities against colored people, brutality and lack of courtesy of the police.” (emphasis mine)

Nothing changed.

In 1977, Michael Lipsky and David J. Olson published a study entitled “Commission Politics: The Processing of Racial Crisis in America.” They said between 1917 and 1943, at least twenty-one commissions were appointed to investigate race riots.

Take a look at you and me,

are we too blind to see,

do we simply turn our heads

and look the other way

Well the world turns

Despite the sincerity and good intentions of theses twenty-one commissions, nothing changed. The reports were printed, distributed, read, and forgotten.

The Kerner Commission, the grandaddy of race riot reports written after the Watts Riot in LA in the 1960s, is another example. Well written and meticulously researched, it documented the conditions leading to the riot and was largely ignored.

President Lyndon Johnson, who could not understand why his Great Society initiative—Voter Rights Act, Welfare Reform, and other programs—did not solve the problem, refused to accept it.

Nothing changed.

In 1969, Elvis Presley had a hit record called In the Ghetto, written by Mac Davis. A prophetic tune then, and now.

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
’cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need
it’s another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto
People, don’t you understand
the child needs a helping hand
or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
are we too blind to see,
do we simply turn our heads
and look the other way
Well the world turns
and a hungry little boy with a runny nose
plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto
And his hunger burns
so he starts to roam the streets at night
and he learns how to steal
and he learns how to fight
In the ghetto
Then one night in desperation
a young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car,
tries to run, but he don’t get far
And his mama cries
As a crowd gathers ’round an angry young man
face down on the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto
As her young man dies,
on a cold and gray Chicago mornin’,
another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

 We face a turning point in America. The challenges we face– the raging inferno of wildfires amplified by climate change, and the hellish nightmare of our failure to address racism and discrimination against our fellow Americans–can be our descent into Armageddon or our rise to Enlightenment.

There have been times in our history when a leader emerged—often one we might least suspect of having the courage or ability—to guide and unite us in a time of need.

George Washington, a surveyor and soldier, who rose to become the epitome of a selfless statesman dedicated to the good of the country, led us through the birth of a nation.

Abraham Lincoln, a Kentucky woodsman who rose to lead us toward reunifying the country and abolishing slavery. Who knows how different we might have been if he had lived out his second term?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, once seen as weak and ineffectual, rose to lead us out of not one, but two dangerous dark times in our history, the Great Depression and World War II.

We face such a choice this November. Can Joe Biden rise to this moment in history and lead this country out of the conflagration we face? I am uncertain. But I am sure of this; Mr. Trump will not. He is not the leader we desperately need at this moment in history.

We need someone to quell the flames, not fan them.

We need someone who embraces science and reason, not disparages it,

We need someone with compassion for the challenges facing people of color, not one who openly encourages white supremacy and fear-mongering.

There is one other thing I am confident we do not need. We do not need another commission to study these problems. We need a leader who will gather the best and the brightest among us and craft solutions.

Or the song will just repeat itself all over again and the country will continue to burn until there is nothing left of America…

As her young man dies,
on a cold and gray Chicago mornin’,
another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

Why Joe Biden?

Distaste or disdain for one candidate is a terrible reason to vote for their opponent. I daresay it is how we find ourselves in our current situation.

We are led by an untrustworthy, churlish, unsophisticated, anti-intellectual, out-of-his-depth President with delusions of grandeur and little regard for the history or stature of the office of President of the United States.

I believe the demonization of Hillary Clinton—some of it self-inflicted—drove many to vote for Mr. Trump, with little regard for the consequences of such actions. The nonsense of a Deep State conspiracy gripping many Americans shows how rare analytical thinking—the ability to explore all avenues of an issue and separate facts from fiction—is among many of our fellow citizens.

Minds turned to mush by years of reality TV and rationality-sapping attention deficiencies—the dumbing down of America—has robbed many of the ability to think beyond a Tweet or a meme.

We are a country where common sense is as rare as unicorns. Yet one must find reasons to vote for a candidate, not just against them. I want to detail my own reasons for voting for Joe Biden rather than against President Trump.

The government of the United States is not a business. It is not a For-Profit corporation to be run for the benefit of stockholders, the enrichment of executives, or the empowerment of the party occupying the Oval Office.

Often, a President must make decisions in the best interest of the country even when it may go against the wishes of those who voted for him, or her.

That is the difference between a candidate and a President and that is the content of character one must seek out in casting your vote. Which person is best suited to transition from candidate to statesman?

In my humble opinion, Joe Biden has demonstrated the ability to move from candidate to statesman many times over his distinguished career.

The fallacy that America needs a businessperson to lead the government is just that, a fallacy. Businesspeople are zero-sum personalities, seeking an advantage over their competitors. In domestic and international affairs, such a narrow minded approach is a recipe for disaster.

Our government exists for three limited purposes; to protect our constitutional rights, to defend us from all enemies foreign and domestic, and to ensure the fair and equitable operation of our free capitalist economic system.

The immense sophistication of the government of the United States is not something one learns on the job. One must have elements of experience, a comprehensive understanding of history, and an intuitive level of decision-making ability tempered by strong analytical skills and the courage to make difficult choices in the best interest of the country.

Most critical, is the ability to work with those of the opposite political spectrum to reach those compromises which are in the best interest of the country, and the world.

Joe Biden brings years of government experience at the highest levels to the table. He has established both relationships and credibility with foreign governments, something we have lost to the most severe degree with the current administration. Consistent reliability was never more needed than in the pandemic now gripping the world.

America should be leading the way out, not foundering in misinformation and anti-scientific voodoo driven rancor. Joe Biden is the candidate best positioned to re-establish a sense of purpose and balance during this national crisis.

And more important than anything else, Mr. Biden is unafraid to admit mistakes, learn from them, and adapt to changing times. America has always had a greatness within her, but we have not always been great. The best leaders, those who make the best Presidents, are those who listen to their opponents and adapt when they hear good ideas, no matter where or who they come from.

That is the Joe Biden I see before us. A man who understands the most terrible of personal tragedies, the satisfaction of hard work for a job well done, and the joys of accomplishing great things.

A man from modest means who has accomplished great things.

Now Mr. Biden is not perfect, but he is unfazed by changing circumstances and willing to change with them, not resist them out of some whitewashed memory of the good ‘ole days. He embraces good and necessary change with an open mind, not intransigent stubbornness.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells

Seamus Heaney

 I wish it had been Mr. Biden four years ago who faced Mr. Trump. I have little doubt the outcome would have been much different. Those who drove the political decisions back then will answer to the inquiries of history as to their culpability, but looking back is only useful if we apply the lessons to the future.

Joe Biden is the answer for the immediate future of this country, and Kamala Harris is the long-term future for change. The many controversies roiling this country; economic, health, racism, changes within criminal justice, climate change, are matters that will take time, and experience, to resolve. Placing someone like Ms. Harris in the position of Vice President, with a front-row seat to profiting from Joe Biden’s extensive experience, will offer a roadmap to future endeavors.

Why Joe Biden? Because for all the reasons I just pointed out, he is the best solution to regaining American greatness and our leadership and place of respect in the world.


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