A Timely Note on Patriotism

We interrupt your regularly schedule review of Burklo’s Christianity to offer these thoughts on the nature of patriotism from James Hillman’s A Terrible Love of War.

The enemy provides the constellating image in the individual and is necessary to the state in order to collect individuals into a cohesive warring body. René Girard’s Violence and the Sacred elaborates this single point extensively: the emotional foundation of a unified society derives from “violent unanimity,” the collective destruction of a sacrificial victim, scapegoat, or enemy upon whom all together, without exception or dissent, turn on and eliminate. Thereby, the inherent conflicts within a community that can lead to internal violence become exteriorized and ritualized onto an enemy. Once an enemy has been found or invented, named, and excoriated, the “unanimous violence” without dissent, i.e., patriotism and the preemptive strikes of preventative war, become opportune consequents…If war begins in the state, the state begins in enmity.

Emphasis added.

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2 thoughts on “A Timely Note on Patriotism

  1. swallison50 says:

    You’ve quoted two very interesting people. I finally laid out the money for “I See Satan Fall Like Lightning” last year and am glad I did. I don’t know that I swallow the whole thing hook line and sinker, but he is certainly on to something. A few years earlier, a Lipscomb grad (from the sixties era) and Psychologist/Counselor impelled me toward Hillman. I found the Sacred Code rewarding and blogged a little about it. Come to think of it, he was the one pushing Girard too. Your snippet from Hillman is all too true.

    • I’m really not buying his whole line of thought in the book either, but I’ll review the whole thing if and when I can finish it. (Not being a psychologist, some of the jargon and idiosyncratic reasoning stumps me sometime.) Moments like this quote, however, keep me reading.

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