The Writings of Bertell Ollman
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Test Your Patriotism I.Q. < DIALECTICAL MARXISM: The Writings of Bertell Ollman Test Your Patriotism I.Q.

By Bertell Ollman

September 1980
  1. When your country calls you to serve, does it matter to you if the voice on the other end of the line is that of
    1. candidate Carter
    2. Exxon
    3. Donald Duck
    4. all of the above?

  2. What kind of Government did Afghanistan have before the Russian intervention?

  3. Do you "remember the Maine" (and the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Lusitania, and the Alamo)? Or do you oppose "learning from history"?

  4. How does the Russian action in Afghanistan threaten your real interests—your job, the price of beef (or oil), the quality of heath care or the safety of your neighborhood?

  5. How will Carter's reaction to the Soviet action effect your ability to complain about these matters and to work for their improvements?

  6. What was President Carter's standing in the polls before the recent flurry of foreign policy pronouncements?

  7. Do you think the Russians lie behind the taking of hostages in Iran? the swine flu? sun spots?

  8. What was left of "Detente" after the Carter Government increased its arms budget 5% per year over inflation, agreed to place atomic weapons in Europe (the equivalent of the Russians placing them in Cuba) and reneged on SALT II—all this before the Soviet action in Afghanistan?

  9. What will your community look (smell, sound, taste) like after an atomic war?

  10. What was learned at Mylai about simply following orders and at Watergate about the people who gave them?

  11. What steps did the Russians take to boycott the 1968 and 1972 Olympics which were held during our Government's far bloodier war of aggression against Vietnam?

  12. If Carter's new policy is intended to protect Persian Gulf states from Soviet aggression, why has most of the reaction from this region been so critical of his efforts (N.Y.T., Jan. 26, 1980)? Do people ordinarily bite the hand that protects them?

  13. Why is it always people who are too old to fight who favor a draft? How about a draft limited to Republicans and others with learning disabilities?

  14. As a patriot, which do you love more: the flag, the national anthem, the Washington Monument, a handful of good American soil, or the Constitution (minus the first ten amendments)?

  15. Do you think any of these are the things for which Exxon, Carter and Co. are asking us to make the supreme sacrifice?

  16. Why do all our wars and war scares since World War II seem to develop just when our capitalist economy needs the kind of boost that only additional spending for defense (sic) and drafting the unemployed can provide?

  17. What do you think George Bernard Shaw meant when he said that patriotism is "the last refuge of fools and scoundrels"?

  18. What is the worth of political leaders and parties which are afraid to ask, let alone answer, the above questions?
  1. If you can't answer any questions, possibly because you couldn't read more than two or three of them before blowing up in anger, you are a good "symbol patriot," lost in an emotional defense of symbols, and deserve everything your Government is preparing for you.

  2. If you answered only half of these questions, or at least didn't explode until you got that far, you show a dangerous ability to think for yourself and have probably lost a lot of friends.

  3. If you managed to read to the end and answer most of these questions, you are a "people patriot," more interested in defending real people than empty symbols, and are deeply subversive of everything that is threatening to send the people who inhabit this globe down the tubes—and I love you for it.