Patriotism In Joseph Heller's Catch-22

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“Whatever others may say, they say it to deceive and comfort themselves, not help you.” These eloquent yet bleak words of Serbian writer Dejan Stovanovic resonate in both the minds and physical actions of the characters in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. In his novel, Heller incessantly satirizes the deceptions between characters in order to mock the fallacious nature of patriotism to an overly bureaucratic military during wartime. One of these characters, Milo Minderbinder, is the personification of capitalism; no matter the circumstances, he puts his economic self-interest over even the lives of others, and intentionally deceives his comrades into thinking he is a faithful, loyal member of the American military and is generously trying to make life better for…show more content…
He explains, “I’d like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry. If we pay the government everything we owe it, we’ll only be encouraging government control and discouraging other individuals from bombing their own men and planes. We’ll be taking away their incentive” (259). Heller satirizes the views of free-market capitalists when outlining Milo’s outlandish preference for all countries to adopt armies made up entirely of mercenaries, and this makes clear the danger of disruptive financial motivations in governments and war. Milo’s clear passion for fostering unrestricted industries and even privatizing national militaries demonstrates the consequences of blind loyalty to an ideology, in this case, capitalism. Furthermore, these lines reveal that Milo deceived the United States military when he swore his allegiance to the nation and its defense yet consistently placed his commitment to capitalism above his loyalty to the United
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