Patriotism is wrong

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by spuriousmonkey, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Some people on this forum asked why I mock patriotism. I mock it for the same reason I mock religious people. If a person insists on blind faith in country or god, or both, he can expect my mockery. If he can't handle mockery he clearly isn't faithful enough.

    However, we might not all agree on this and maybe it would be proper to discuss this matter.

    To start of the discussion I will give some points of critique:

    1. Patriotism is emotional and learned.
    2. Patriotism strives to impose morals on others.
    3. Patriotism can be used to control people.

    Well, that should be enough to get something started.
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  3. kenworth dude...**** it,lets go bowling Registered Senior Member

    4.patriotism encourages people to be proud of actions and acheivements they had absolutely nothing to do with.
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  5. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

    I don't think patriotism is learned. Love to one's homeland is natural. Nationalism is part of human nature, too. Yes, it can be used to control people; wherever there is an emotion, this vulnerability to control is also present. Imposition of morals goes with control. I dislike morals in general, no matter what they're tied to.

    Patriotism makes an individual a part of a large group. With the western idolization of individualism in everything, the importance of being in a group may seem bizarre. However, we're not individuals living separately, we're always a part of a group. Patriotism is a good thing, it makes people think for the improvement of their country. When you take away patriotism, the individual is left with self-interest and develops greed; this is how you get leaders like Bush.
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  7. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    If love of one's homeland is natural then why isn't everybody a patriot. How did people love their country when there weren't any countries?

    Am I a freak for never having loved my homecountry?

    isn't this the same argument religious people use? I believe in God because it feels right. I believe in my country because it is natural. It feels right.

    You do not have to be patriotic to feel part of a group. Au contraire, in the 'freedom in the US' thread the whole discussion is mainly about being part of society or being an individualist. And all individualist were patriots, and the guy (moi) clinging to the idea of 'society is us' dismisses patriotism.

    Patriotism makes people complecent and dependent on their country. It eliminates criticism of their own nation because it conflicts with their 'love' of their country.

    Countries which didn't even exist a few centuries ago.
  8. ZenDrake come to the darkside Registered Senior Member

    (this is a post I'd posted in the abortion thread but which was
    on this topic; just substitute patriotism for nationalism,
    though, one could argue the differences between the two terms)

    I've always viewed nationalism as a remnant and an expression
    of tribalism...
    Its the same emotion that people dedicated to a particular sports team
    experience or what people that are part of an inclusionary group feel
    about their own group vs. those outside of the group.
    Acedemics, Political groups and even egalitarians also have this
    though its expressed in ideological terms the net effects are the
    same as it gives them an ingroup to belong to and an outgroup to
    view in the context of otherness.

    "At one time, nation-states were made up essentially of ethnies, and defended genetic interests—even if in not so many words. Nation states acted naturally in what they took to be the benefit of their citizens, defending national territory against invasion, armed or unarmed. Dr. Salter notes that “the nation state is a psychological substitute for the primordial band and tribe,” and that “the political rhetoric of national identity and mobilization is rich in kinship metaphors such as the founding fathers, the motherland, brothers-in-arms, and fraternity.” No other appeal can elicit the same kind of devotion or sacrifice.

    Dr. Salter adds that by today’s standards nation-states were frankly xenophobic: “In the past ethnocentric culture has usually been adaptive. Indoctrination is a powerful strategy for encouraging ethnocentric thinking, one that allows leaders to mobilize the community for defense.” Mobilization can go too far, and lead to aggressive war that wastes lives even if it adds territory, but some level of nationalism is necessary for any people to maintain itself."

    Some view nationalism such as Germany's to be noble and an
    admirable and laudable trait. In England its against the law for
    Englishman to fly the British flag, but other ethnies are allowed to
    fly their home countries (not England) flag. I'd much more respect
    a proud and haughty nationalism than a self-loathing apologetic
    trend surfer.
  9. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    Let's view this from another perspective and situation. Does the list below sound any different to what you've stated and/or implied?

    1. Love of ones family is emotional and learned.
    2. Love of ones family strives to impose morals on others.
    3. Love of ones family can be used to control people.

    4. Love of ones family encourages people to be proud of actions and acheivements they had absolutely nothing to do with.

    By the way, I think you have the idea of patriotism wrong. You might want to review your ideas and/or definitions more carefully.

    Baron Max
  10. Qorl Guest

    No it's not.
  11. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

  12. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

    No, not because "it feels right." Love to your homeland is like love to your mother: it is the place where you came from, it is a part of your personality (inevitably). And, if you remain living in your homeland, it is the country which observes your interests.

    I know none of this.

    You are dependent on the country in which you reside. But this does not mean you ought to be complacent.

    People love differently, and this relates to love of other people as well. No, you do not have to be blind to the faults of your mother but you love her unconditionally. Understand? Love towards your homeland is different from the love towards your mother because you are able to change things in your homeland.

    When countries didn't exist, people loved land on which they lived and their tribe.

    No, you're not a freak. You're still normal.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2006
  13. leopold Valued Senior Member

    what kind of patriotism we talking abou? there are other types besides political.
    religious patriot would be a fanatic
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2006
  14. leopold Valued Senior Member

    no you are no freak spurious.
    but i do believe you are searching for the "perfect" country, and there isn't one.
    in fact i feel the perfect country would have to incorporate all the different systems into one. but that will never happen because of nationalism and or patriotism.
    you know what i'm talking about
    "my country is the best thing ever created and every other country is barely more than worthless."
  15. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Dear Whitewolf,

    I can understand your reasoning but do not mind me for disagreeing still with your reasoning. And I will try to explain to you why, and I will not go through your post line by line. Instead I will focus on one thought.

    When countries didn't exist, people loved land on which they lived and their tribe.

    Even if 'love' might not be the proper word I would definitely agree that people 'felt a strong bond' with their 'lands' and their 'tribe'. However I do not agree that this 'tribal feeling' (for lack of a better word) was later subsituted by patriotism. If I delve in my own emotional experience that could also be called a pathetic mess, I do find a strong bond with the neighbourhood I grew up in and on a larger scale, the city and the nature of the landscape surrounding this city. If I see a picture of such a landscape, or the street I grew up in, I would call that home and have a strong feeling about it. Not necessarily the feeling would be that of being proud, or love. But it is where I spend the first decades of my life.

    When you show me a picture of a tulip field, Beatrix (our queen), canals, amsterdam I feel nothing.

    Now I know that using my own experience is a slippery slope of intellectual disaster indeed. In this case I think it signifies that there is indeed a strong feeling of a 'homeland' in every person.

    One of my points would be that this is rather limited to a small local area and local people, such as family, neighbours, townspeople.

    I do think the article I referred to in wikipedia earlier is quite an interesting read because it raises quite a lot of issues with Patriotism and discusses its merits and disadvantages. There are quite a lot of negative aspects of patriotism. What is also clear is that patriotism can be used a political power tool. The state has an interest in spreading and maintaining patriotism.

    That made me wonder if patriotism is merely the utilization of a 'natural' feeling for the sake of control of the masses. Of course, I am not telling anyone that you can NOT like your the country where you were born and raised. It's probably impossible to mention any country that doesn't have any wonderful qualities!

    And isn't it so very very easy to promote patriotism? Isn't it the cheapest tool around to control or manipulate the masses? We are now back at one of the original questions. Is patriotism natural (i know you didn't define it as such, but bare with me)?

    I say no. Patriotism is an exploitation of a natural feeling. I'm sure it feels good to be a patriot and that it can be a general feeling in a country. That doesn't make it a 'normal' experience.
  16. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    With anything, Patriotism has it's goods and bads. The bad things of patriotism occur when it's doctrinized and excessive.
    Simple patriotism and nationalism won't so easily result in fervent fanaticism, that's takes a while. If anything, patriotism and nationalism have the ability the unite a country.
  17. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    What is good about that?
  18. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    "I venture to suggest that partiotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adali Stevenson

    "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him. For then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain

    "I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country’s, my God’s and Truth’s. I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American." -- Daniel Webster

    "Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country ...with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be." -- John Wayne
  19. Kalypso Think before you click Post Registered Senior Member

    I would classify this thread troll baiting.
  20. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    So who gives a shit how you'd classify it? Or is your ego so over-blown that you just had to make your presense known by making that comment?

    Baron Max
  21. Kalypso Think before you click Post Registered Senior Member

    Well, I'd assume people reading without a beef against me (Like you do, because I make you look like an idiot). This guy says he wants to discuss something, then just starts flaming people that respond. That's troll baiting.

    Keep being an idiot though, it's fun to make you look stupid.
  22. Oxygen One Hissy Kitty Registered Senior Member

    I don't think patriotism is wrong in and of itself. For me it's more a question of why. I am an American and a patriot. I have never been to a foreign country but have read quite a bit about quite a few of them and how their societies work. I have come to the conclusion thus far that in some other countries I would have been shot by the secret police or some other such nonsense before I was 21. I don't feel I would do well if I had to live in any other country (not even England, my 2nd choice) for various reasons. I am comfortable here, I feel my best opportunities are here, therefore I choose to stay here and love this place for all its faults and favors.

    This, of course, differs from the "sunshine patriot" who plasters red white and blue ribbons all over the back of his car until he can't see behind him just to make sure everyone knows he's not a terrorist. I'm sure we've all seen this guy...

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  23. whitewolf asleep under the juniper bush Registered Senior Member

    Dear Spurious,

    I understand your point of view. Allow me to elaborate further.

    Your experience is very much valuable. I agree, I wouldn't feel much when shown a picture of a city in my home country which I've never seen before. But that's not all that makes patriotism.

    You were raised to identify not only with your neighbors, but with the entire nation. You celebrated the national holidays, watched parades, learned history. You watched the same cartoons as kids you've never seen, read the same newspapers. Most likely, it was never spelled out that Holland is the most important place in the world. But, through growing familiar with Holland and its culture, your bond with your neighborhood was extending over the country. These are all assumptions, of course, so please correct me wherever you see fit. But this is where the "naturalness" comes in: as one identifies with people, one grows to like them.

    In the country where government members are elected, patriotism is crucial. When you vote, you are to think not only of your taxes and your industrial area (for example), but also about the poorer citizens and farmers' estates which you've never seen.

    I liked the wikipedia article. However, I've noticed that a lot of people think being patriotic automatically means liking the current government. I think that's a mistake. A patriotic person doesn't have to love the government or the current popular ideology. Patriotism is what would push someone to do something about the dislike of government or ideas. Also, patriotism is not to be associated with ethnocentrism, racism, or anything of the sort; these are different things. Yes, you may think that immigration is bad for your country for some reason; indeed, some think immigration is bad for economy and those who occupy low-paying jobs. But this in no way implies that people from other countries are inferior. When it comes to international relations, the country in which you reside ought to be the most important one, because its government represents your interests.

    Yes, it is easy to promote patriotism and turn it into fanaticism. It's easy to do that with any emotion or reasoned conviction. It's easy to make a fool out of anyone this way, not just the masses. But here comes the responsibility of each individual.

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