City Lights Books, 2004
How hype, fear, and mindless flag-waving are supplanting informed debate, commitment to democracy, and real patriotism.
“In this skillfully argued book . . . with wit and humor and penetrating analysis, Parenti invites the reader to connect the dots.” — Rufus Browning, co-author of Protest Is Not Enough
“Michael Parenti has done it again. By dissecting the imperial worldview of the people running our country, Michael provides us with all the intellectual tools we need to engage them in democratic debate and give them the spanking they so desperately deserve.” — Kevin Donaher, Co-Founder, Global Exchange
Superpatriots are those people who place national pride and American supremacy above every other public consideration, those who follow leaders uncritically, especially in their war policies abroad. Superpatriotism is the nationalistic hype propagated by officialdom, the media, and various flag-waving groups.
Michael Parenti demonstrates how superpatriotism attaches itself to religion, sports, the military, the schools, and big business. He questions whether its top politico-economic propagators are themselves really patriotic, given how they evade taxes, export our jobs, pollute our land, and plunder the public treasury.
With incisive probing, fine style, and humorous touch, Parenti treats such urgent questions as: What does it mean to love one’s country? Why is it so important to be Number One? What determines America’s “greatness?” And are we really God’s gift to humanity? He examines how US leaders and the corporate media fan the flames of fear to win support for huge arms budgets, global aggrandizement, and the suppression of political dissent at home and abroad.
Finally, Parenti poses an alternative to superpatriotism, arguing that the real patriots are those who care enough to educate themselves about our country’s history and its present plight. He reminds us that it is not “anti-American” to criticize unjust social conditions at home or oppose global policies pursued by our rulers. Rather it is our democratic right and patriotic duty to do so.
Table of Contents
- What Does It Mean to Love Our Country?
- “America—Love It or Leave It”
- The Importance of Being Number One
- Military Patriotism: For Flag and Missile
- “USA! USA!” Sports for Superpatriots
- The Divine Politicos
- Messianic Nation
- Follow the Leader
- Patriotic Fear
- The Menace Within
- Are the Plutocrats Patriotic?
- Support Our Troops (Cut Their Benefits)
- Rulers of the Planet
- “Why Do They Hate Us?”
- Real Patriotism
Aug. 1, 1988
A sharp and funny talk about Superpatriotism and the importance of being number One.
This talk examines how hype, fear and mindless flag waving supplant informed debate and commitment to democracy and justice.
Parenti raises intriguing questions such as: What does it mean to love one’s country? Why is it so important to be number one – and what is the messianic message behind so much nationalism?
This is one of Parenti’s great archival lectures, recorded in 1988 by KGNU radio in Boulder, CO.
Michael Parenti’s most recent books are The Culture Struggle (2006), Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader (2007), God and His Demons (2010), Democracy for the Few (9th ed. 2011), and The Face of Imperialism (2011). For further information about his work, visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org.
- Free Speech – At a Price by Michael Parenti (1996) (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Michael Parenti: Justice For Sale (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)
- Michael Parenti: How the Empire is Maintained (2010) (dandelionsalad.wordpress.com)