Joining the Freedom Gang
Where I grew up, I was taught that WWI was caused by patriotism and people wearing uniform-like clothes. Okay, it was a unit on Prussia, but those were the conclusions I took from my history course leading up to WWI. It is, I think, the conclusion most Europeans take. You can see it when they look vaguely embarrassed at patriotism, or at serving in the military.
Of course, I’m old enough that most of the movies I watched in my childhood in Portugal (in the seventies, since we got our first TV in 1970 when I was eight. Yes, as mentioned recently on my blog, I did grow up in the Paleolithic) were old World War II movies.
So I’ve always been exposed to the ideas of the U.S. military, to the traditions, to the heroes revered by our enlisted men. My case was probably worsened by reading both Heinlein and military biographies.
Like Heinlein, I believe that a nation in which the young men are no longer willing to fight even in defense of their homeland is a dead nation -- it simply hasn’t fallen over yet. Which is why the anti-militarism and anti-patriotism that attacked Europe in the aftermath of WWI (and was aided in no small measure by Soviet Union agitprop) is such a lethal disease.
It is particularly bad in Europe, since we know (there are several studies) that people are more willing to do things for people they are somewhat related to. Though the homogeneity of blood in Europe is very exaggerated (turns out there was a lot of traveling, invading, immigrating, emigrating and an awful lot of sleeping with cute/strange foreigners), it is certainly greater and more visible than in the U.S. In fact, my mother was somewhere between confused and disgusted by how different we look from each other. And I regret to tell you, this wasn’t even races as such, since in Colorado racial minorities are very much minorities and where I lived at the time (small mountain town) you could count them on the fingers of one hand. This was just because, unlike in Europe, she couldn’t identify people as “English” or “Irish” or “French,” which, yes, you can do if you live in a touristic country.
Sometimes I hear such homogeneity and tribalism touted as the cure for the west’s lack of will to fight or to defend itself. I often hear it prescribed for America, where I would very much like an explanation of how that would work. Cultural integration? That I can see happening, and in fact it’s taking all the efforts of our various institutions (mostly colonized by the left) to keep it from happening. However, genetic homogeneity would seem to be beyond our reach.