I heard some woman say the other day that if she could ask the candidates one question, she would ask them:
“Would you [willingly] die for your country?”
All I could think at the time was ‘what an idiotic question!’ Here this clearly – it takes an irrational person to say they willingly die for a country, a religion, a cause or any other reason. There is, of course, the possibility that they mean something else. But it is important to pay attention to what words are actually used because words ‘mean things’!
I can think of a great number of causes that I would risk my life willingly to uphold, protect or defend. Certain ideas or ideologies are worthy of assuming risk to self for the purpose of defending. But NOT ONE of those ideas would I ‘willingly’ die for. As in, I am going to do everything in my power to avoid dying even if I am willing to risk my life.
Take a quote posted by someone on facebook today:
“The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.” – Eric Hoffer
I have often asserted that those who follow a ‘belief’, be it religion or statism or some other kind of subjective reasoning, supplants part of their self-esteem for the sake of the ideal. If their notion of what is good constitutes satisfying the constructs of a ‘belief’ that is not based on fact, then the notion of what is good for themselves is dependent upon adhering to the ideal. And if the ideal is one asserted by others and relies upon faith and not proof, then that person’s self-esteem is subject to the whims of the person claiming to speak for the ideal.
I would like to suggest that anyone who says “I would die for my country” just save us all time. Go to your kitchen, find a nice big butcher knife. Place the tip of it between the 4th and 5th ribs slightly to the left of your scapula, shout out whatever pro-state slogans you desire and have at it!