The Measles of Mankind | Letters | Chicago Reader

The Measles of Mankind 

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To the editors:

The following law is still in force, negating the necessity for an amendment to the Bill of Rights [Hot Type, July 7]. U.S. Legal Code, Title 1800, Section 700 reads: "Whoever knowingly casts contempt upon any flag of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning or trampling on it shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both."

Our peerless leader and his campaign advisers did a great job showing how unpatriotic Dukakis and his ilk were in 1988; they are now wrapping up in the flag to enforce us to follow in their path. They could strengthen the campaign by further flouting the First Amendment by destroying all copies of Bartlett's and other books of quotations which shamelessly flaunt these:

Ambrose Bierce: "Patriotism: The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors."

Alexander Pope: "A patriot is a fool in every age."

George Bernard Shaw: "Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy. I have defined the 100% American as 99% an idiot."

John Dryden: "Never was a patriot yet, but was a fool."

Albert Einstein: "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."

Was patriotism ever more rampant than in Nazi Germany?

Hank Oettinger

W. Grace


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