29 Jun Love of Country has to be Taught
Love of Country has to be Taught
A UFI reader recently shared her thoughts with us and we wanted to pass them on in commemoration of the upcoming United States 4th of July Independence Day Celebration and to highlight a worldwide threat to national sovereignty.
As a docent at a large metropolitan city art museum, I was tasked with community outreach . My assignment was to deliver a slide show of art pieces depicting American History–its founding through the Civil War– to schools and community groups. While preparing the slides and the script to go with them, I worked with inspiring and gorgeous works of art by Trumbull, Copley, and Peale, my heart would be touched by the grandeur of the this country and by the depictions of sacrifices made by so many individuals. How fortunate and grateful I felt to be an American. As I practiced my delivery, I began to wonder if I could even make it through a presentation without becoming teary-eyed–how embarrassing!
It ended up not being a problem, however, because as I visited school after school (elementary through college), the students would sit politely and listen, but would never show any emotion in their faces. They were definitely not feeling any part of what I had felt as I viewed these artistic depictions of crucial events and the giants of American History. I soon lost those original tender and emotional feelings about the things I was sharing; chocking it up to my being a reformed overly-emotional old ninny.
But then I began a series of visits to Senior Citizen centers. As the screen would illuminate with historic scenes of tragedy and triumph, those tears of recognition of sacrifices made, love of country and pure gratitude that I had originally felt, I now saw streaming down the faces of my elderly audiences. I had not just imagined the impact of those art pieces depicting the goodness of America nor my past feelings; these patriotic Americans, who themselves had made innumerable sacrifices, were feeling it too!
It was then that I realized that patriotism and love of country has to be taught and somehow a crucial part of what it means to be American has been lost on our children. I guess I just assumed that somehow everyone’s children, including my own, would pick it up by osmosis or something. I should have known better because I have seen firsthand some of the virulent anti-American thinking that much of the academic world teaches our children. That way of thinking must be countered.
If we don’t share the stories of America’s founders and our feelings If Americans don’t understand who they are and the innate greatness of their country; then this country will most certainly cease to be great. I am making a commitment to teach patriotism to my children and grandchild today.
–A concerned American
What does this mean to nations of the world?
At a recent UN meeting, we had occasion to engage in a discussion with some delegates from Western Europe. The topic? “Is patriotism a positive thing for a country or does patriotism quickly slip into ‘nationalism’ [the desire for national advancement, the policy or doctrine of asserting the interest of one’s own nation above the interest of other nations, excessive loyalty to one’s own nation.], xenophobia, and racism.” Quite frankly, we were shocked when one British delegate shared how surprised she was to discover that Americans proudly displayed U.S. flags–from their houses, from their cars, from their hats, lining the city streets, etc. “In Britain and in other parts of Europe you will rarely see a country flag displayed like that,” she said. “The only place you’ll see the Union Jack [British flag] is maybe flying over Buckingham Palace or 10 Downing Street.” She continued: “Any overt statements and displays of patriotism are frowned upon; in fact, if you do that kind of thing it is perceived as something a kin to being a white supremacist, a Nazi maybe…. someone that is socially reprehensible and probably politically dangerous.”
Princeton University ethicist Peter Singer “suggests that humanity’s long-term prospects, even its very survival, turns on the degree to which men and women begin to see themselves as world citizens and build new institutions of global governance that can effectively respond to the challenges posed by sharing one small planet.” Singer calls for stronger “institutions of global decision-making” and claims that “national sovereignty has no intrinsic moral weight.” Singer continues: “problems are now too intertwined to be well resolved in a system consisting of nation-states, in which citizens give their primary, and near exclusive, loyalty to their own nation-state, rather than to the largely global community.” It appears that Peter Singer would agree with our British acquaintance that appeals to patriotism and love of country are not only out-dated, but downright dangerous.
Professor Jeremy Rabkin (Cornell and Harvard) sees it differently. He regularly writes on the importance of national sovereignty insisting that the push for increased power to international bodies is a move toward “arranging for vast redistribution of wealth, a curbing of the appetites of the strong, while curing the incapacities of the weak. This is not international law as we have ever known it; it is a prescription for global governance.”
“Global Governance” equals less freedom
In the world of UN policies and politics, love of country is not necessarily a positive thing either. The goal of the international bodies is to remove “tribal identities that cause wars,” dissolve borders, create a system that leaves no individual poor or destitute, and with full transparency give all people a voice. Sounds good doesn’t it? The reality is far different.
Attempts on the part of the UN to solve the world’s problems have been for the most part unsuccessful. One of the main problems is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to problems of poverty and attaining peace. Situations and needs are too different; what works in Austria will be different that what works in Algeria. These one-size-fits-all solutions in the end serve no one and do little but open the door to mischief and manipulation of the existing system by various parties pushing their own agenda.
United Families International has seen first-hand how countries are manipulated into altering their values on family and life. If your country’s values and traditions conflict with the status quo determined by the “UN knows best” crowd, your values have to go. These international bodies are very good at exerting economic, political, and social pressure. “If you want aid, you’ll do it our way.”
Many people insist that the UN only wants to make the world a better place. Make no mistake, there is no such thing as a benign governing body. Every person, every official, every organization–government or otherwise–has an agenda.
Each person is endowed with the opportunity and ability to make decisions regarding their lives, but healthy communities and nations demand that we relinquish some of our autonomy or sovereignty for the good of the society. However, when we turn our decision-making processes over to other nations or international bodies, we lose our national sovereignty and a portion of our freedom. The further decision making gets from the individual citizen the more danger there is to an individual’s personal liberty. Put this in the context of global governance and the decision-making power of the world resting in the hands of just a few–those few probably residing on another continent–and it is frightening indeed.
The first step towards making global governance a reality is to reduce citizen’s attachment to their own country and to their history. We believe that process is well underway in a country that forgets to teach its children patriotism. So what can you do?
Teach your children and what better time than right now!
Make sure your children know the history of your country, the founding fathers and the circumstances that combine to make a country great and good. Tell the stories of family members, past and present, who have served their country and paid the price for freedom. Tell them why their country is good and keep telling them. Let them know that (should we “internationalize” this by saying, instead of (Independence Day) national holiday celebrations are about much, much more than parades, picnics, and fireworks displays.
United families International goes to all international meetings and negotiating conferences armed with this knowledge. Respect for national sovereignty is one of UFI’s core principles. We have specially prepared tools like UFI’s Negotiating Guide and Issues Guides to assist us in our efforts to educate and impact policy. You can’t go, but we can and do. If you appreciate our work, please help us help you by considering a donation. Let’s keep national sovereignty a well-understood and positive value.
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