Tags: nfl | protest | national anthem | rome | antipatriotism

Self-Defeating Civilizations Protested Their National Symbols Too

Self-Defeating Civilizations Protested Their National Symbols Too
Oakland Raiders players sit during the national anthem before they take on the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 24, 2017, in Landover, Maryland. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 28 September 2017 12:31 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Social science is every bit as deserving of our attention as physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and all the rest — producing as many titans as any hard science. One of those geniuses who had more than a little experience running a great and sophisticated society, Winston Churchill, famously declared that “a love for tradition has never weakened a country; indeed, it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.” There is an attack on tradition nonetheless occurring in the United States at present and unless it is addressed may in fact lead to peril.

The NFL’s internationally televised assault on the American flag and national anthem is virulent enough to rate with some very similar and astonishingly pernicious rejections of their own culture by previous societies, collective stumbles that brought entire civilizations to their knees. Those American progressives who see the current anthem disrespect and many other public assaults on patriotism as quite acceptable aren’t much unlike the pampered and jaded young patricians of the Roman emperor Honorius’ reign (393-423 AD). These avant-garde aristocrats sashayed around Rome in the latest fashion: with their hair dyed blonde and wearing the furs of the very barbarian enemies who were soon to extinguish their nation. Simultaneous with adopting the manners and looks of their forthcoming murderers, other young Romans were captivated not by the desperate need to defend their homeland, but instead were transfixed by the reverse philosophy. Great numbers of strong, young men who should have presented their services to the legions when the empire required them like never before, tended to opt for something else. The monastic craze was sweeping the Roman Empire, and too many of the best of Rome’s military-aged youth cloistered themselves away, oblivious to the plight of their nation, waiting meekly for the end to come, focused completely on an afterlife and patently unconcerned with the one they were living. Moreover, remaining unmarried, they worsened a population decline that had been savaged by repeated pandemics.

The Byzantines also participated with great fervor in their own annihilation. It wasn’t so much what repeated assaults by Arab and Persian armies did, but how the shocked defenders of Byzantium reacted to the emergencies in the eighth and ninth centuries. A similar public lunacy swept their realm — placing blame on themselves, imagining that their own culture, traditions, religion — and icons — were at the heart of their troubles. A dozen decades of insanely self-destructive disorders were unleashed as one half of society went smashing all the images, statues, and iconography of their culture, while the other half struggled mightily to prevent them from doing so. It didn’t bring the nation to an end, but it was a seminal wound from which Byzantium never fully recovered. When the Turks arrived they really had relatively little trouble sweeping the remaining Byzantines into the dustpan of history.

The fact is that there is hardly any last chapter in any civilization that doesn’t have the same cast of characters sneering at the rest of the population, screaming to the high heavens that everything about their culture, traditions, laws, and people is weighed in the balance and found wanting. On the other hand, those nations that have flirted with annihilation and yet found the strength to fight back and courageously maintain their sovereignty — Russia comes to mind as a good example — have made sure they first and foremost dealt forcefully with domestic purveyors of defeatism and anti-patriotism. During WWII, anyone engaging in any behavior deemed even slightly deleterious to Russia — even to mention, for example, that Germans were difficult foes in the field, or that Nazi equipment was well-made, or to refer to any previous Russian defeat — these and a thousand other minor faux pas could be deemed capital offenses. There is no enemy at the gate currently — in Washington, D.C. — so such fantastically extreme strictures to protect the integrity of the nation’s colors, national hymn, and mores is hardly required. What might be done, however, we can take from the experience of the power that attacked the Soviet Union.

Germany has free speech, but makes an exception with swastikas and other Nazi paraphernalia and tropes. Their Federal Constitutional Court has upheld that exclusion, and for reasons that should seem obvious. Our Constitution can likewise be utilized to address what is clearly an equally serious infirmity in our public weal: open, vituperative, widely-disseminated insults and demeaning of our national symbols, meant to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy the republic. A 28th amendment to the Constitution could prohibit current and future attempts by those who would use its freedoms, media and public forum to destroy it, by banning misuse of our flag, anthem, and other national icons.

This is a call for a grass-roots upwelling to put that amendment before the nation.

David Nabhan is a science writer, the author of "Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology" (2017) and three previous books on earthquakes. Nabhan is also a science fiction writer ("Pilots of Borealis," 2015) and the author of many scores of newspaper and magazine op-eds. Nabhan has been featured on television and talk radio all over the world. His website is www.earthquakepredictors.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The NFL’s internationally televised assault on the American flag and national anthem is virulent enough to rate with some very similar and astonishingly pernicious rejections of their own culture by previous societies, collective stumbles that brought entire civilizations to their knees.
nfl, protest, national anthem, rome, antipatriotism
Thursday, 28 September 2017 12:31 PM
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