The Stanford Review is that campus’s conservative publication. They have excellent, well-researched and well-written editorials.

By Harry Elliot:

States, Stockholm Syndrome, and Pseudo-Patriotism

A government has the power, in most cases, to enslave us at a moment’s notice for a war we may not support, and to silence anybody who speaks ill of its military plans. It forces us to send our children to school whether or not we approve of it. It forbids us from agreeing freely with an employer to work for less than $7.25 an hour. It tells us what we may and may not buy, sell, eat, drink, watch, smoke, drive and consent to. Most concerning, it demands up to 40% of the money we make to fuel these acts of coercion, and has the power to incarcerate and fine us if we refuse to pay up.

One would perhaps expect, given we have come to value freedom and individual liberty over the last century or so, that people would loathe the state; yet, to the contrary, any effort to shrink its size or scope is met with indignation. It is hardly surprising that within the structure of a state, individuals seek to maximize their own political and economic interests, unfortunate though the results may be for the bankers and energy companies of this world. It is curious, however, that people not only support the process of the state but also the entity of it. Those who accuse war drafts of being coercive and illegitimate are vilified as traitors. Refusing to pay one’s taxes – or even simply seeking to pay the least permissible – has led to protests against companies whose tax savings have allowed them to employ thousands more people than they otherwise would have. Even fleeing the state to escape its coercion is met with media fury.

There appears to be something deeply embedded into the psyche that many would label ‘patriotism’. However, it is difficult to tell why somebody would feel patriotic to a state which has, does and will deny its citizens vast swathes of rights, which persistently evades transparency measures, and which bullies people into paying for its ‘services’. Patriotism becomes even harder to explain when we consider just how arbitrary nationality is. We have no choice as to when or where we are born, so it seems odd that we should exhibit specific loyalty to the particular government within whose borders we came to be, especially when this loyalty also comprises actively fighting people from other nations.