A few days ago, Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, (Athens is the anchor city of his district. I'm listening to the B-52s right now.) went on a long rant about FDR being a communist. It's the sort of thing you've probably heard before, notable mainly because it was made on the floor of Congress instead at the Rotary club by a shitfaced RV dealer, and also for this very odd assertion of Broun's at some point in the middle of his rant:
"Broun was speaking Tuesday on the House floor about how the 'original intent' of the Constitution was to promote the 'general welfare of the nation, not welfare of individuals'"
Now it may seem obvious to you or me, perhaps even old-fashioned common-sensical. That 'The Nation' is nothing more than the sum of the individuals who live here. that there is no possible distinction between a mandate to promote the welfare of the Nation and the welfare of the people who live here.
But there's a rub in 'nothing more than'. There's a reason that right-wingers are enraged by the 'desecration' of the flag or other abstract symbols of America, while at the same time are often gleefully blase towards pollution of the physical American land or deprivation of flesh-and-blood American people. I've mentioned before about how the America they fancy themselves loving more than the rest of us is not a flesh and blood thing to them, but a totem. They want to believe that America exists as something beyond human scrutiny, beyond the mundane and mortal, a glorious light, that by submitting to the One True American Way they are the essence of this Light, the embodiment of courage and truth in a world of slugs and slime.
At any rate, to accept that the nation is the people who live here would mean accepting that they take pride in feeling superior love and loyalty for the very people they feel superior to. And not even wingnuts are capable of enough doublethink to ignore this contradiction.
And that brings us back to man living for the Sabbath. A belief that life does not exist for its own sake, (and that therefore improving the general quality of life should be the obvious end of society) but as a test of mettle. It's ideals in the vein of loyalty, courage, strength, endurance, discipline etc, that exist for their own sakes, not because they advance the end of improving the human condition in this way or that. People are here for the sake of honoring these ideals by struggling to measure up to them. And of course the people who hold such beliefs are always convinced that they are among the tiny handful of worthies who are good and strong enough to pass the test, and that they are entitled to punish and reign over the mass of us depraved weaklings as reward.
Why should we believe that 'AMERICA' is good? Because presuming her goodness out of hand is part of the test. Why should we be loyal to 'AMERICA', because 'AMERICA' exists as a canvas to display our loyalty upon. The answer to how many flags to put on your car is always FUCKING MORE.
"though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people." - So said Glover Cleveland, conservative Democrat of the Gilded Age, a couple of decades after J.S. Mills assertion that morality was the greatest happiness for the greatest number was perceived as shockingly radical. So this idea is nothing new, why does it continue to stick around? Because here in the Heartland we still teach our White Real American Manly Men to take charge and show em who's boss. And we'll believe anything that gives us an excuse to dictate down to you city freaks.