Virtues of the Vicious

‘So, what brings you here?’, ‘Oh y’know… Mindless hate’.

Some of you will know the quote the title refers to. Keen Nicholas Cage fans will note it’s appearance in ‘The Rock’, as said by Sean Connery. For those non-terrible 90’s action movie fans, the full quote is “Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious”, supposedly coined by Oscar Wilde, though according to the internets this is not for definite.

Of all the apt expressions on the subject of nationalism and patriotism I think this one hits the nail on the head perfectly. Patriotism, is in essence, the worse kind of pride we can suffer from. It is simply a case of someone going up to someone else and saying ‘The arbitrary borders of which I hail from are better than those which you hail from‘. That is essentially it. Yes, obviously there are notions of race, and therefore xenophobia, which also result in this nonsense, but those are topics for another day.

Why is it that people feel their country has some superior attributes over another? What aspects of your nation make it worth the pride inducing shit that comes from peoples mouths? There are two countries of which I can safely comment on this on and they are Britain and America, simply by virtue of having lived in both of them. I currently live in China, an equally patriotic country, of which I hesitate to comment on simply for the fact that I have not been here long enough to have a well based impression of it. I don’t want this to turn in to a rant about the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ (a term the French are rather fond of when discussing the US and UK) so China will get a mention in small amounts some other time…

So where does patriotism come from? What makes the English feel that singing ‘Two World Wars, and one World Cup‘ at football matches against Germany is clever or funny? What makes the Americans senselessly chant ‘USA! USA! USA!‘ when Osama bin Laden was finally caught and shot? You could even bring up the Common Agricultural Policy ask the French what makes them so special that they feel they must do everything they can to protect their farmers? This strange pride in where people come from seems ridiculous when you think that it is in essence a matter of supporting a place you happened to be born. ‘Congratulations your results in the gene pool lottery made you [insert nationality here], you must now fervently love it in the face of all reason’.

A couple of examples spring to mind when I think of patriotism, which I have noted above, they are easy to criticise, and are very obvious. So first of all, the English and international football. Seriously… What’s it all about? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some football. I have very fond memories of watching England lose time and time again in the face of the ‘hun’. It’s funny and it strikes a cord with the English sense of disappointment. It’s also fucking stupid when you get a bunch of grown men gather together to sing songs about the Second World War. Why is the song from the Great Escape always played at football matches? It’s not like the England team escape with a win. Quite the opposite in fact. Maybe it’s a song to remind everyone that in the end nearly everyone gets shot and it’s all one big failure… That does actually sound like the England team – minus the actual shooting (which might not go amiss). But nothing gets my back up when the British (and I do mean British in this post, I have just been using the England football team as an example to start things off) seem to think that they are so superior when talking about anything to do with the current globalised state that we now find ourselves in. This usually has something to do with Europe, and/or immigrants. Woe betide anyone that has something good to say about immigrants. The whole English Defence League, British National Party, UK Independence Party, ‘Keep Britain White’ thing is out and out the dumbest thing in the world next to Pop Idol and Big Brother. The idea that Britain is some sacred land that cannot be blemished with dark people that tend to work harder than the British, well that’s just fucking stupid. Seriously. And I really do mean to include the Scots and the Welsh… But I generally think their football is shit.

So to the Americans. There are lots of things that get my goat up about American jingoism, so much so that I don’t actually know where to begin. Don’t get me wrong, I like Americans more often then not. About the same amount as the French really… No. I jest. I hate everyone in equal measure so don’t feel picked on. But really… I was in San Francisco when ‘they got Osama’. It was nasty business. And I had been led to believe San Fran was a pretty chilled out place. But the comments I heard (and I was in Haight-Ashbury at the time…) were disturbing bordering on vile. Don’t get me wrong, Osama was a bad man, but to the point of boogie-man proportions that he was made out to be, seems silly. ‘Don’t be a bad Jimmy, or Osama’s gonna fuck your shit up… Rag head style’. I mean really, there are so many things wrong with that whole thing I am actually struggling to coherently begin. But what saddens me the most is the adherence to the American constitution that borders on such fucking ignorant and offensive behaviour it is unforgivable. I do not wish to tar all with the same brush, but a man that is given an audience to say that the Labour camp in Norway that suffered such horrific events in the past week is given a national syndicated platform to suggest that the people in the camp were comparable to the Hitler Youth, and then even try to defend his comments… well that’s fucked up. But fair enough that’s not nationalism. I just felt that people should be outraged more than they seem to be. To my point… the idea that the American way of life is so lovely and wonderful and something to strive to is a fallacy that has become entrenched though some Gramscian nightmare. The adherence to a rapacious capitalist immoral state is disturbing. Particularly when said immoral states pretends it’s insidious nature is somehow virtuous (I will not harp on about these things, but examples can be found here, here and here). And that’s not even beginning with America’s own immigration debate. The various laws that wish to be passed or have been passed in Arizona and Georgia are gross crimes against what I feel Americans are so proud of. What ever happened to ‘Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free‘?

Look familiar?

Basically, peoples’ beliefs in that some form of utopia lies within their borders of some predetermined lines are stupid. Childish, stupid, and very much antiquated. Stop it. Stop being a fucking moron and accept that you live in a capitalist, debt loving, cheap-goods-supplied society that cannot afford to have such stupid mentalities that rely on fear and denunciation of ‘the other’, that rely on undocumented workers and foreigners to equip your lifestyle, that rely on porous borders to really stay afloat, that can’t survive without someone of every nationality under sun helping you out. They’ll only end up fucking your sons and daughters, and laughing in your stupid fat fucking face. Because you’re not better than anyone else; just a monkey that has too much time on its hands, that figures hating other monkeys is more interesting than masturbating.

One Response to “Virtues of the Vicious”
  1. Angry Man Number One says:

    Some monkeys hate other monkeys and masturbate at the same time, although I admit that’s a niche market

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