Patriotism or competitiveness?

Today, if one has the talent and certain sum of money, the only thing that stands in one’s way to conquering the world is a visa.

Yes, visa. Not long treks in the deserts as in Marco Polo’s case. Nor months of sea travel across vast oceans as in the case of Magellan. But visa, a piece of document whose processing is not nearly as hard as a desert trek or ocean travel.

Imagine that if visa were the only requirement to travel during the time of Marco Polo and Magellan, what other impossible accomplishments would they have accomplished to benefit the world?

Today, it’s far less complicated to cross international boundaries than it was hundreds of years ago. Yet, today we romanticize the stay-at-home idea. Why? Is it because we believe in the notion of “making big waves in our little pond” or what?

I salute those who would like to stay in the country to mind the house. That’s their conviction. It is worthy of my respect. It is also the politically correct and patriotic thing to do.

But excuse me for saying this: patriotism is two cupfuls of sentimentality, one spoonful of logic. Mix them and—viola! —what we get is an inconsequential status in the world arena.

Many patriots are liable to do foolish things. Most think with their heart instead of their mind. Daily, we are served with news from Baghdad about young patriots strapping their body with bombs and exploding themselves in crowded streets.

During World War II, Gen. George Patton, Jr. snapped his men out of the patriotic trance with an unorthodox pep talk. Gen Patton told his army, “To win this war, a son-of-a-bitch must not die for his country. Instead he lets the other son-of-a-bitch die for his,” or words to that effect. Dying for one’s country is fine, but it will not win the war, according to Gen. Patton.

This Gen. Patton is a genius…

Staying home is the patriotic thing to do, but it would not gain for us global competitiveness. I think that staying at home and becoming world-class is an oxymoron. It’s a conflict of definitions—unless, of course, one aspires to be a world-class crook. We have produced locally a baker’s dozen of them already, I think.

See also…The Thumb Tip Monologue

The Thumb Tip Monologue (Part 2)

The Thumb Tip Monologue (Part 4)

The Thumb Tip Monologue (Part 5) Leodini

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