Patriotism: A menace to society

Emma Goldman (in)famously wrote of patriotism as a menace to liberty, and it is easy enough, as an American, to agree. But this story comes from abroad, as Reuters reports on the latest attempt to boost patriotism in Thailand:

A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be “chaotic” because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day, lawmakers said Friday.

A vote on the Flag Bill proposed by a group of retired and active duty generals in the army-appointed parliament was deferred Thursday to allow a committee to study it ….

…. “The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds, so why can’t motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country?,” retired General and NLA member Pricha Rochanasena, 70, told Reuters.

“They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway,” he said, referring to Bangkok’s notoriously congested streets.

Note the word require in the above excerpt. The bill apparently does not propose any penalties for violators, so the notion of a requirement seems rather silly. According to Pricha, the bill is intended to allow motorists to be patriotic.

I find myself wondering what a traffic jam in Thailand sounds like. Perhaps legislators can reach a compromise legalizing road rage against motorists who honk their horns while the anthem is playing. And maybe a rider to require child prostitutes to stop faking orgasms during the twice-a-day playback.

You know. Patriotism. It will fix any country’s ills.