Recommending treason

Undeserved pride is a formidable killer. It begins with the family vendetta, which has particular traditions in every culture we have known, East and West. But sometimes this pride is partially deserved, as when the family member lives and works within the creative family enterprise, contributing his modest part to the achievement of the whole. Taking pride in this, can be reasonable.

Pride in a city, or a town or district, or even the district within a town, can take on something of this contributory pride; if the person who is part of this more abstract “family” is actually contributing. Or at least, not getting in the way.

In nationalism, or what I call chauvinism, we go “full pride,” as we also do in the Church, congratulating ourselves upon being Catholics (or with whatever denomination we are badged). Here, it is unlikely that any individual brings honour to his nation or religion, or can make any other “mystical” ownership claim. You were born into it, or perhaps were assimilated; it existed before you and will exist after.

These things simply are, and at the large scale one cannot build or demolish, except with a regiment of soldiers, and luck. But the credit goes to the revolutionary act, whether of creation or destruction, beyond the power of any single assailant. Yet whether positive or negative, it tends towards evil. For God is, and will be, the author of every holy thing to happen beyond our human compass.

The present almost universal belief in tech scientism denies this inextinguishable fact. We wish to take credit, alone or among some team of scienticists, for making the world better in some way. But we cannot even know what makes the world better, in the long run; or what makes it worse. Such questions are “above our pay grade,” as a certain contemptible president liked to say.

But pride invested in one’s part of “research,” “development,” “technology,” and the rest of the bureaucracy of supposed “science,” is innocent compared to the claims of nationalism. For, national pride demands a war.

This is perhaps best expressed by the missiles flung (by both sides) into Ukrainian neighbourhoods. The recipients must concede the rule of the missile-hurling aggressor of the moment. Should they surrender, they might still be killed, for pride takes enthusiasm in killing. It does not turn itself promptly off.

Of course, the argument for a peaceful nationalism has been made, many times since the world began. I love my country, and can thus appreciate that you love yours; as a passive thing, when presented in stills. We — your nation and mine — are allies at the deepest level, and flourish there. Trade, which is to say voluntary trade within fairly free markets, is how we choose to deal with each other.

Yet, trade, too, is finally captured by the national bureaucracies, who compete for power in a numerical game; and politicians make trade into a semblance of war.

Pride commands the acts of cruelty, leading to torture and murder, that are rhetorically suggested by our national leaders. By the rules of democracy, every voter buys in. The person who will not participate in the mental illness at the surface of public life, is quickly labelled as a “traitor” or “apostate.” For pride is ever looking for traitors.