Butler Shaffer (in 2014)

If you identify your sense of being with an institution (e.g., the nation-state) then its glorious accomplishments as well as its evil consequences become quite personal. Those who adorn their houses with American flags, or dress up in red-white-and-blue “America: Love It or Leave It” T-shirts are doing more than simply participating in limited cultural celebrations such as Halloween trick-or-treating, or dancing around a May-pole. They are making a metaphysical statement about their sense of who they are; that they correlate their sense of being with an institution that defines itself in terms of enjoying a monopoly on the use of violence; and whose modus operandi is to coerce, steal, threaten, torture, terrorize, and kill whomever it deems suitable to the accomplishment of its purposes.