Flags Anthems and Pledges – A poem about brainwashing

Flags, Anthems and Pledges


Flags, anthems and pledges

Brainwashing instruments

That restrict freedoms.

Nationalist fascism,

Flaky around the edges,

Warlords and fiefdoms.

Tying us in to allegiance

To forces that exploit our desires.

Strangulating our freedoms

With their economic empires.

Consumer units under control

Slotted into the patriotic hole.


Opher 26.12.2017



As Samuel Johnson said – Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Patriotism, with its entire flag waving tribalism, is nothing more than a fiction to manipulate people by. It comes straight out of its partner nationalism and is the cause of much war and conflict.

Populist politicians use it to gain power. Businessmen harness it to gain profit.

It is visceral not cerebral and it panders to the gut rather than the brain. Many a brave lad full of ideals has been beguiled and used. Many a brave lad has returned with his legs blown off, his mind scrambled and his future in tatters all for the love of a notion of country.

To quote the great Wilfred Owen (himself a victim twice over) – The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

2 thoughts on “Flags Anthems and Pledges – A poem about brainwashing

    1. I look at it with a degree of cynicism Cheryl. The whole concept of countries is artificial. I love the beauty of Britain and a lot of my culture. There are many things I hate about it – the class system, royalty, old boy network, snootiness, North/South divide, stupidity of so many, tabloid press, Tories, the weather. I would be quite happy to live elsewhere (France, Spain, Italy, USA, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka come to mind) but one gets used to the culture one grew up with. For me it is really about regimes. Do I support the regime in charge – and even with the nastiness of the Tories they are still a regime that largely support the culture I identify with. I see myself as an internationalist.
      I look more globally. People are people. I would like to see nations break down. I certainly would not go to war on behalf of my country. I would always look at whether I agree with the cause or not.

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