By KDS444 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
War has long been used by nations seeking an economic or a political boost. I learned about several wars that had taken place around the world, including those fought on American soil in high school History classes. A few years later, College Public and Social Policy college classes broadened my understanding of how and why world governments choose war over diplomacy. I learned that countries can avoid certain unpleasantries of compulsory military service requirements, like draft mandates, through the use of socially engineered mechanisms.
One such social construct utilizes the promotion of nationalism. Nationalism differs from patriotism in a measure of degrees. It might be considered a monstrous reflection of that which is considered patriotic, similar to that of a harmless duck that just digested copious amounts of anabolic steroids. State leaders justify the employment of nationalism as a positive deterrent to collective apathy and subsequent social problems, such as rampant crime or political unrest. Though nationalism is facilitated through a variety of means, state-sponsored propaganda is one of the quicker and more effective methods.
Post 9-11 nationalism, aided by an explosion of social media outlets and an increasingly capitalist global economy, has spread quickly beyond world governments. Its reach has expanded into our homes, communities, and businesses. Marketers are keenly aware of the ease with which they might elicit favorable responses from a captivated target group. The obsessive patriot, aka nationalist, will usually spend money not only on supporting the troops, but also to buy popular military memorabilia. But it doesn’t stop there! The savvy political hopeful can potentially save millions of campaign dollars by tugging on his future constituents’ heart-strings, prompting each individual to identify with him in brotherhood instead of by political party.
What do you currently believe? Is the image of a New Nationalist simply a harmless notion of the free market, or is it a germinating weed that might corrupt our sprouting democracy? I, along with a slew of social scientists, have often spoken of how the slippery-slope of power and control affects individual and government behavior. We have either not been effective in conveying our message to the masses, or the people just don’t want to hear what we are saying. Best-Selling Author and former Pentagon Official Rosa Brooks recently participated in a Foreign Policy Podcast, taking the opportunity to question the expanded use of socially engineered American nationalism and specifically exploring the long-term costs of blurred lines resulting from increased US Military deployments:
Please listen to the podcast and find a copy of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything* by Rosa Brooks. Then share it with everyone you know. In fact, I would recommend this book to each and every participating citizen and educational institution across America.
*DISCLAIMER: I have no affiliation with Rosa Brooks, Simon & Schuster, the Foreign Policy Group, or the Graham Holdings Company.