Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken
It is there when your kids go to school. Its hands are in your paycheck. It influences who your employer hires or does not hire. It is on your radio. It is on the television. It is at halftime of the sport you watch. It is in many of our churches. It might even be reading your email or tracking your web usage. But this is not enough for the state. Its influence must grow and its power must spread until it dominates everything. And so the cries for compulsory community service, for military participation, and for voter participation go out. The cries are echoed again and again until you seem to hear them everywhere. Even the most benign of sources begin to parrot the state:
But the state is scared. Some people are questioning. They are ignoring some of the more ridiculous laws. The numbers are tiny, but the voices are being heard. They are teaching their children at home. They are teaching their kids to disbelieve the propaganda and to think for themselves. They are teaching their children Ambrose Bierce’s definition of patriotism:
Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.
Ambrose Bierce – The Devil’s Dictionary