POSTED: 23 JUNE 2008 - 9:00am EST

George Carlin dies of heart failure in California at 71

image above: Detail of the cover of When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops

A warning to us from George Carlin
by George Carlin  in "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?"

"Be on the alert for phrases such as:

• Old Glory
• Main Street
• the stars and stripes
•  the heartland
• all across this great land of ours
•  from Maine to California
• on American soil

And don't forget all those freedom-loving people around the world who look to us as a beacon of hope. Those, I assume, would be the ones we haven't bombed lately. And you'd also better be ready to be reminded, over and over, that you live in a country that somehow fancies itself leader of the free world. Got that? Leader of the free world. I don't know when we're going to retire that stupid shit, but personally, I've heard it quite long enough.

And what exactly is the free world, anyway? I guess it would depend on what you consider the non-free world. And I can't find a clear definition of that, can you? Where is that? Russia? China? For chrissakes, Russia has a better Mafia than we do now, and China is pirating Lion King DVDs and selling dildos on the Internet. They sound pretty free to me.

Here are some jingoistic variations you need to be on the lookout for:

• The greatest nation on Earth.
• The greatest nation in the history of the world.
• The most powerful nation on the face of the Earth.

That last one is usually thrown in just before we bomb a bunch of brown people. Which is every couple of years."

image above: A recent photo of George Carlin

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

- Hermann Goring at the Nuremberg Trials