Superpatriots, writes Michael Parenti, 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.
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 and a humorous touch, Parenti addresses 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?” 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, he 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.
Michael Parenti is one of the nation’s leading progressive political analysts. An internationally known writer and speaker, he is the author of 17 books, including Democracy for the Few (seventh ed.) and The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome. He has also published over 250 articles in scholarly journals, political periodicals, popular magazines, and nationally known newspapers. He lives in Berkeley, CA.