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LEARNING: History & Education | April 1, 1986



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

I just read two utterly shocking articles (which I quote from in fair use).

The first article is about government that is "highly nationalistic. It tries to identify its principles with the country, so that disagreement will look like treason. Some other country, or some group within the country, is usually picked out to serve as 'the enemy' and made to appear as the cause of all evils or misfortunes...Sometimes it combines racial and religious bigotry...

"[This form of government], like all forms of government, rests finally upon the sincere consent of a large part of the population. To maintain this consent, the...leadership must cut off the people from any information which might cause them to doubt the complete truth of...[official] principles...Travel to other countries must be controlled...

"[In some nations, such government] at first won the support of the wealthy classes, both landed and industrial. These people saw...a protection against the demands of farmers and other workers...[These governments] at first upheld the rights of private property. They subjected the working classes to a rigorous discipline. As soon as they were firmly established...[the leaders] began to limit profit, impose capital levies, and regulate business in great detail...[In another nation, however, such] government disturbed the propertied classes very little.

"...[This form of government] maintains among the people a permanently warlike frame of mind. Every citizen feels that he is mobilized against enemies of the [government]...within, and against possible foreign foes...[The leader] usually comes to power during a period of economic crisis or depression. He gets rid of the depression partly by employing many people in the making of armaments. He must convince people that the country is threatened."

The second article describes "a belief that every form of regulation or government is immoral..."

Are these two shocking articles about the present and possibly future course of American patriotism? No, these articles were from our 1963 World Book Encyclopedia -- the second article was about "Anarchism", and the first article was about "Fascism"!

Democrats and Republicans alike must always guard against extremism, to both the anarchist far-left and the fascist far-right, if our democratic-republic is "to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..."

That, by the way, is from the Preamble to the Constitution for our United States of America.

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