The Delusion of Patriotism

I am not a patriot.   I think George Bernard Shaw captured it’s essence quite well by saying

Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it. ~George Bernard Shaw

I will got farther and say that Patriotism is a sickness to a country.  In order to feed a delusion of this nature, it’s necessary to exclude negative information from your mind.  Or worse, far worse, to reconstruct the negative information into positive information.  As a result many problems get ignored or created.

A great many national mistakes happen when people sell a horrible idea under the guise of patriotism.   The Third Reich comes to mind.  But don’t delude yourself that this is the only or the worst example.  Humans have been using patriotism to sell hate and war for millennia.   Horror after horror gets committed and still we pretend that being patriotic is the best thing we can be as a citizen.

Patriotism is a way to make people stop thinking.   If something is labeled Patriotic, it is to be considered good.  Full Stop.  No questions must be asked.  So much so that people are now labeling Trump’s followers a Nationalists to distinguish them from Patriots.  Because the idea of Patriotism itself must not be sullied.  It’s an illusion that must be carried by a country.

Patriotism is a state sanctioned religion.  People are encouraged to feel an emotional attachment to the state and to identify so fully with it that they will support the country even when it does things that hurt them or others.  They are discouraged from questioning the intrinsic goodness of their own country.

Patriotism is an essential lie that keeps armies in service.  People go off to fight wars that have little or no impact on people in their country out of “patriotism”.   In American we often tell our military that they are defending our freedom.  But it’s hard to see how that gets swallowed when they get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Well, that’s the beauty of Patriotism.  We just label it and package it and everyone just nods and agrees.

I refuse to be patriotic.  I like my country.  I want to keep living in this country and indeed I have no choice but to continue living here.  But I do not think this is the best country and in fact I am often ashamed of it.

  • I want this country to be better than it currently is.

I think that sentiment has more potential to be good for the country than all the patriotic foolishness that gets blathered.

Patriotism is a con.  Work, honesty and improvement are the only thing worthy of my country.  Patriotism is only worthy of fools.

 

 

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