On July 4, 1776, the fathers of the United States of America formally declared our
independence from British rule. Lacking a stable government and financial resources, our
predecessors marched on an endless grid of bloody battle fields with the vision of a new
nation---a nation in which they shared a love not for what it was, but for what it had the
potential to be. This was an era of absolute allegiance, when little boys paid homage to
our politicians and hoped to one day be a leader in a free and equal nation. Such
love--such nationalism--has never been so potent as that critical moment in history.
Unfortunately, our nation has seen a regression in patriotic deeds. Politics are
disregarded and, likewise, politicians are deemed as fools. Paul Goodman addresses this
issue in the excerpt, “Patriotism” , from the novel, Growing Up Absurd. In this piece,
Goodman attempts to identify some of the key factors which have contributed to the
decline of patriotism, ultimately placing the responsibility on many of society’s affluent
institutions and beliefs.
Goodman first places the responsibility on parental guidance within the home.
“....patriotism is the culture of childhood and adolescence. Without this first culture, we
come with a fatal emptiness to the humane culture of science, art, humanity, and God...”
(Goodman, 1962). Here, Goodman molds a comparison between patriotism and the
subjective aspects of adult society. He implies that, if as a child, one cannot build a
faithful relationship with his own country, he will not be able to form more complex
relationships nor gain appreciation for commodities such as art, science or religion. This
idea supports the framework of our modern educational system. We teach entering
students the essentials. We create songs, play games, dress up, all in attempts to stimulate
the chills learning capabilities as well as expand the use of imagination, while main...