Aaaagh! Enough. I keep reading that I should Honor Our Troops. On airline flights, I am asked to applaud Our Young Men in Uniform. Why, for God’s sake? What have Our Troops done for me except cause me great embarrassment, cost money better spent on anything else, and kill millions of people that I have had no interest in killing? For this I am to thank them?
No, they don’t have noble motives. Men join the military because they need a job, because they want money for college or because they are bored or want to prove their manhood or go to exotic places and get laid. Basic training, jump school, being a tank gunner or doing nocturnal scuba insertions are much more appealing to a young man than selling fan belts at the NAPA outlet.
Patriotism? “Love of country” is an after-market add-on, good for a drink or a pat on the back at the Legion–nothing more than an expression of the pack instinct that makes men in all places and times join in groups to fight other groups. The pack instinct is why tribal warfare is continual among primitive peoples, why war, otherwise inexplicable, remains incessant between modern countries. It is why the gangs of young males in Chicago mirror military hierarchy, with territory to be expanded or defended, with leaders and insignia (e.g. black and gold jackets for the Latin Kings ), with hand signs to signify identify and loyalty. It is why people join screaming mobs in political conventions, why they become wildly emotional over football teams consisting largely of convicted felons who have nothing to do with the city.
The pattern of loyalty inward to one’s pack and hostility outward toward other packs explains (continue reading)