Drones and Our National Religion

Via: War is a Crime

By davidswanson – Posted on 10 February 2013

The national religion of the United States of America is nationalism.  Its god is the flag.  Its prayer is the pledge of allegiance.

The flag’s powers include those of life and death, powers formerly possessed by traditional religions.  Its myths are built around the sacrifice of lives to protect against the evils outside the nation.  Its heroes are soldiers who make such sacrifices based on unquestioning faith.  A “Dream Act” that would give citizenship to those immigrants who kill or die for the flag embodies the deepest dreams of flag worship.  Its high priest is the Commander in Chief.  Its slaughter of infidels is not protection of a nation otherwise engaged, but an act that in itself completely constitutes the nation as it is understood by its devotees.  If the nation stopped killing it would cease to be.

What happens to myths like these when we discover that flying killer robots make better soldiers than soldiers do?  Or when we learn that the president is using those flying robots to kill U.S. citizens?  Which beliefs do we jettison to reduce the dissonance in our troubled brains?

Some 85% of U.S.ians, and shrinking rapidly, are theists.  Flag worship may be on the decline as well, but its numbers are still high.  A majority supports a ban on flag burning.  A majority supports the power of the president to kill non-U.S.ians with drones, while a significantly smaller percentage supports the president’s power to kill U.S. citizens with drones abroad.  That is to say, if the high priest declares someone an enemy of god, many people believe he should have the power to kill that enemy . . . unless that enemy is a U.S. citizen.  In secular terms, which make this reality seem all the crazier, many of us support acts of murder based on the citizenship of the victim.

Read more: here

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