Remembrance customs

Yesterday we had various ceremonies of remembrance up and down the country where the current citizens of the UK congregated to remember those fallen in past wars. These are solemn occasions and there is obvious emotion involved when considering those who have acted heroically and selflessly and have sacrificed their lives on behalf of others.

© Eric

© Eric

But let’s just analyse this a little deeper.

It seems to me that what we are really doing in these ceremonies is celebrating the actions of soldiers sent, by the government of our nation state, to fight with and try to kill the inhabitants of another nation state. If, like this libertarian, you despise the state and only tolerate its existence in terms of it being a necessary evil, is there really anything to celebrate in the memories of aggression, or sacrifice, undertaken on its behalf?

Moreover the ceremonies of remembrance, significantly involving all of those currently controlling and running the state, have the effect of bolstering nationalism and therefore paving the way for further state aggression in the future.

Of course I do not advocate the burning of poppies or the causing of any offence to those who wish to participate in acts of remembrance, but I’m afraid I’ll not be joining them. Whilst I can wonder at individual acts of bravery and the altruism involved in risking or sacrificing life for a principle or belief, I cannot condone acts of violence undertaken on behalf of a collective which itself has violence at the core of its existence.

So, as we approach the centenary of WW1 and begin to sense the mawkish nationalistic sentiment with which the graves of those involved will be desecrated, I have to say that I will be remembering those involved as deceived, rather than heroic.


One Comment

  1. I believe your basic premise is incorrect Ken. The idea that remembrance “bolsters Nationalism…” requires that the “rememberer” is paying homage to the state rather than simply honouring fallen comrades. That may be irrational, but there need not be any sinister implication or outcome.



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