Skip navigation

John Chuckman



“America’s Founding Fathers, I submit, would vehemently disagree.’

Not that I am an Obama admirer, far from it, but this piece is silly rubbish.

I do not understand anyone quoting some guys from over two centuries ago on vital issues of our own day.

Would you quote any of them on how to run a big estate? With slaves, of course.

Would you quote any of them on the best way to maintain your carriage?

Or about heating and cooling your house?

I actually do understand it, but the truth is sad.

The Patriot types are people embracing a religion, for this kind of Americanism is a religion as surely as Islam or Catholicism. Indeed, it a fundamentalist form of religion and not just the Sunday-morning-hour-in-church type.

It goes beyond the normal range of affection for one’s own country we find in most places. It is far fiercer and more demanding. And I believe dangerous because all fierce, fundamentalist religions are dangerous, without exception.

It is a secular religion, but it is no less intense in its beliefs or replete with myths and legends.

It has its own holy writ with documents like the Declaration and Constitution, documents which in many details are as outdated and backward as Leviticus.

It has its own Commandments, the Bill of Rights.

It has its own temples and monuments. Washington is packed with them.

It has a whole list of secular saints from Jefferson to Lincoln, many of them having great public alters.

It has its own version of Jesus and Satan in Washington and Benedict Arnold.

It has its own regularly repeated mumbo-jumbo stuff, its version of the Apostles’ Creed, in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star-Spangled Banner.

And then there’s that strange tenet of faith called “original intent,” as though a group of slave-holding planters from backwater locations more than two centuries ago had a direct revelation from God of eternal truths.

There’s even something combining elements of the Last Supper and Jesus in the desert with Satan. It’s called Valley Forge.

Well, I don’t care if people embrace any religion. It’s their business, so long as it doesn’t hurt others.

But that’s exactly what is wrong about the American Civic Religion, as it was nick-named by a clever Irish scholar some decades back, it does have the effect of hurting others.

Others are hurt in all the pointless imperial wars abroad. And people, terribly afflicted by those very wars as today’s refugees from the Syria and Libya America worked to destroy, are given no help and often maligned.

It’s much the same with making any real progress of rights and freedoms and democracy inside the country, too. Look how long it took to give millions even a degree of equal rights. Concepts like Original Intent and States’ Rights kept black Americans without any rights for a century after the Civil War.

There is a fundamental problem in trying to maintain a world empire and in trying to have a decent society. It actually cannot be done.

But faith in the American Civic Religion is just what mightily assists the imperial machine and keeps it going. Blind believers following an establishment which couldn’t care less about their lives or welfare, in many ways resembling poor believing peasants in Europe deeply revering the Pope as he conducted his wars and infamies.

Trump was elected in part over a concern in society that America’s establishment had become a self-perpetuating machine, conducting endless wars abroad and ignoring its own people. And that was, and remains, an accurate perception.

But nothing can really change so long as Patriotism in America is virtually exactly the same thing as Ultra-orthodoxy in Israel.




%d bloggers like this: