Poetic patriotic propaganda, suitable for humming while being stripped of your liberties

Summary:  The 17+ thousand comments on the FM website are a window into the thinking of America.  An astonishingly high fraction reflect the intense indoctrination to which we’ve been subject during the past few decades from both the Left and Right.  Many appear to be credulous consumers of lies. A few, too many, come from conservatives who seem to be auditioning for the jobs with an American Gestapo. Here we examine one of the innocent examples.

Comment posted on Looking back on USMC thanksgivings, reminding us of things for which we should be grateful:

“This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
— Elmer Davis (1890-1958)

I kiss the ground I walk on, which is this United States of America. I humbly salute our great United States Marine Corp. May God bless and protect. As for Mr. Krugman, may he go fly a kite.

This demonstrates the peril into which the US has fallen, as he quotes words which he appears not to understand.  Let’s see if we can find the truth underlying the rhetoric.

Elmer Davis (1890 – 1958) was a leading journalist and author.  The above quote comes from But We Were Born Free, published 1954 — when we were in the midst of the cold war, our freedoms under assault from both enemies both external (the USSR) and internal (McCarthy was broken in 1954, but the forces he unleashed continued to burn).  Let’s look at the full quote, not the snippet.

“I believe it {America} will endure, but only if we stand up for it. The frightened men who are trying to frighten us, because they have no faith in their country are wrong. Even wronger are the smart men who are trying to use the frightened men for their own ends.

The United States has worked. The principles of freedom on which it was founded — free thought as well as political liberty — have worked. This is the faith once delivered to the fathers — the faith for which they were willing to fight, and if necessary, die. But for which they fought and won. Those men, whose heirs and beneficiaries we are, risked and knew they were risking their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. We shall have no heirs and beneficiaries, and shall deserve to have none if we lack the courage to preserve the heritage they won for us.

The national board of the Americans for Democratic Action remind us that this will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

Whose actions best exhibit the spirit of Davis’s words?

  • Those who advocate wars without Congressional authorization, domestic surveillance without warrant, indefinite detention — even execution — without trial or warrant, and torture in violation of both laws and treaties?
  • Or is it those — like Glenn Greenwald — who protest and organize against these things? We can follow the lead Elmer Davis gives us and ask the members of the Americans for Democratic Action, a progressive organization founded in 1947 and still going strong. Visit their website and see their view of these issues.

We cannot call the Founders for advice; we have only their words to guide us — in the Constitution, their speeches and writings. I believe this says what we need to hear:

“They who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”
— From the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759); written by Richard Jackson and published by Benjamin Franklin

For more information

About propaganda:

  1. Successful propaganda as a characteristic of 21st century America, 1 February 2010
  2. A note about practical propaganda, 22 March 2010
  3. About the political significance of the conservatives’ health care propaganda, 23 March 2010
  4. The similar delusions of America’s Left and Right show our common culture – and weakness, 26 March 2010
  5. Programs to reshape the American mind, run by the left and right, 2 August 2010
  6. Why Conservatives are winning: they use the WMD of political debate, 28 April 2011
  7. We are ignorant because we enjoy being lied to.  Today we look at lies about the US debt., 8 August 2011
  8. A small incident that tells much about America – a flag gets lowered in a classroom!, 5 September 2011
  9. Facts are an obstacle to the reform of America, 20 October 2011

5 thoughts on “Poetic patriotic propaganda, suitable for humming while being stripped of your liberties

  1. You and Mr. Garcia are simply showing there is no going forward until we forget the ash heap of the past. We are either too tied to incorrect interpretations or have some utterly bizarre belief that anyone is capable of learning from it.

    No one should ask what our Elmer Davis or our founders wanted, they should be asking what legacy they want to leave for the future.

    Republicans and their Democrat enablers are marching forward to create their legacy, they aren’t looking backwards other than to provide verbal window dressing for their actions.

  2. General Screwtape would say that wars are won on the immoral/grand strategic level first and that Davis’s carreer needs to be sidetracked into oblivion.

    Obviously, the reason why Iraq was lost was because of not enough torture.

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