Where there be patriotism , I note a recurring not so leit motiv of barbarian menace du jour is not far away....
I'm not so sure. It seems a barbarian menace du jour is a necessary element of any ideology. For example, as a libertrian, I suspect petty tyrants (and some not so petty ones) behind every corner, and I never fall go to sleep without checking first if there might be one hiding under my bed. No doubt Lola and Blatham do the same with fanatic Christians and anti-intellectual Republicans respectively. Some paranoia about barbarians is a normal and harmless byproduct of the way we all think about politics. It's when that paranoia gets enforced from positions of power that one needs to reach for one's garlic, one's stick, and one's crucifix.
Hmmmmm....very true, but seemingly more harmful in the hands of some ideologies than others??? Or is it that the more harmful (by which I mean, for the sake of this argument, more likely to support going out and killing other people) go for different ideologies, or for the more extreme form of the ideology in question?
As a social democrat, I get very worried about my current conservative government, eg, and I am doing what I can to persuade it against some of its more extreme anti Aboriginal and anti worker pieces of legislation, but I have no desire to go out and kill it, nor would I denounce as traitorous Australia haters those who do not oppose it.
Patriotism seems to me an ideology which is especially prone to turn murderous, or to support murder. Prolly because, if I am correct about its origins in "clan/kin group" protectiveness, it is sort of hard wired into our more primitive neuro/hormonal systems.
Actually, I suspect that is where the dangerousness in fervently held ideologies (including religions) comes in....it evokes all who do not agree with is as "out group/stranger".
Certainly, I think some religions seem to encourage mor ebloodiness than others. I cannot really think of a time when Buddhists have slaughtered non Buddhists to try and make the mBuddhists, for instance....though I do not doubt they have killed for other reasons.
I guess I see patriotism as especially prone to dangerousness....while I do not see it as alone in that, of course.
Look at all the examples right here on this sweet little board where numbers of folk are calling anyone anti the Iraq war traitorous and supportive of terror.
There is something wrong with this picture.
I do not doubt there is also something wrong with its mirror image from the other side, too, but a thing which holds one must support one's country's killings, even when opne considers them utterly unjustified? Hmmmmmmm.....