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Patriotism

by Adam
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russ_watters
#91
Aug19-04, 01:25 PM
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I think THIS may be of interest. I was actually looking for a political scientists' viewpoint, but I think the writer of a dictionary may have a relevant insight:
But when people take patriotism to a fanatic extreme, this is usually called nationalism. (The terms jingoism and chauvinism are near synonyms.) Nationalism is more centered in thought than in feeling; it's actually a political and social philosophy. The Columbia Encyclopedia defines it as "a collective state of mind or consciousness in which people believe their primary duty and loyalty is to the nation-state. Often nationalism implies national superiority and glorifies various national virtues. Thus love of nation may be overemphasized; concern with national self-interest to the exclusion of the rights of other nations may lead to international conflict." So, because nationalism is the belief that national interests and security are more important than international considerations, it often goes hand in hand with a militaristic foreign policy. It also tends to encourage cultural conformity and intolerance. [emphasis added]
So essentially, nationalism, according to this dictionary (personified) is patriotism perverted to extremism.

Also, the bolded part was a key in my poly-sci class: nationalism is exclusionary, patriotism is not.

One implication of nationalism, mentioned but not explored, is the security part. Security means (mostly) borders and boundaries. That's where nationalism gets its ties to the land a country is sitting on.

And there are some quotes there from famous people who do share this view of patriotism.

If you're specifically looking for the word "ideals," you can find it HERE (disclaimer: I have no idea who this person is, but I mostly share his opinion).
When these people fought for their country, they were not fighting for a flag, and they weren't fighting for a government, either. There was no United States at the time -- America was just an ideal, and it was that ideal that they fought for, fought to try to bring about, to bring that ideal into reality. That's what patriots do, then and now -- try to bring that ideal into reality.
This guy is specifically talking about the original American patriots and while he is right that there was no country (government) to fight for at the time, now that there is a country (government) to fight for, fighting for that government as the embodiment of those ideals is still patriotism. That's also why when government fails in its responsibility to uphold those ideals, fighting against the government is still patriotism.
BoulderHead
#92
Aug20-04, 02:09 PM
P: n/a
Please check that again. honestrosewater asked Adam to define patriotism and he did.
I cannot believe how poor my comprehension skills are becoming of late! Sorry about that, I’d like to blame medications rather than mind, but suspect the latter, lol.

Well, you posted the definitions of "country" and "nation." Are you saying you see nothing in either of those definitions that would imply ideals?
I’m saying I see more than a path leading only to ideals, something you have denied exists. You speak of a specific definition which must lead only to ideals. The truth is closer to the definition being general, not specific, and from this general definition you rework to arrive at ideals. This is exactly what you are doing below when you make the following path;

Patriotism: love of country
Country: a nation
Nation: the government
Government: the Constitution
Constitution: the collection of ideals on which the US was founded
And I want to point out a few considerations;
First; I think Nation equates more to a people than to a government, but ok.
Second; The entire path outlined above is not, and never will amount to, a demonstration that patriotism must only be defined in accordance with your beliefs for at least the following reasons;

1) The entire path outlined demonstrates a specific definition arrived at by selective interpretation from broader general definitions.
2) Each successive ‘jump’ is not necessitated by anything beyond a desire to arrive at what one wishes to arrive at.
3) Just as nothing demands one jump must lead to the next, neither is there a braking mechanism implied to stop the process at ideals.

In short, there were/are other meanings that could have been ascribed to any of those words and the chain could have been stopped at any point along the way such to have arrived at a different conclusion. That is just a plain and simple fact, nothing less and nothing more. Definitions are no doubt being redefined with every generation and even within any given there is disagreement. All of these are reasons why your claim that patriotism can only be properly defined as you would have it, is as absurd as it is patently false.

In any case you have already said you agree that patriotism is based on ideals.
This is neither what I said, or meant to say, and in any event cannot be used as a defense for your view. What I said was;
“I tie patriotism to ideals. Unlike you, I do not boldly proclaim to hold the ‘true’ definition, but merely state to hold my own definition (knowing it isn't to be found in any dictionary )”
Clearly, I’m talking about my own personal definition here, not claiming such definition is some unalterable fact demanded by definition as you insist on continuing to do.

Huh? I'm following the dictionary definition.
The one that says nationalism and patriotism are synonymous?

Part of the problem here may be the fact that the US is different from other countries in some ways. In a monarchy, for example, the king, quite literally is the country. Oaths of allegience are to the King (that doesn't leave a lot of room for principles, does it?). In the US (and in most democracies), the Constitution is king. And what is the Constitution if not a collection of priciples (ideals) arranged into a functioning government document.
I would not define country to literally be any person, so no meaningful agreement can I find with such a statement. Even so, if the King is the country then ‘love of country’, would simply mean love of King, and no doubt a good number of patriots would love him, lol. All that is really seen above is a predisposition to assume ideals into patriotism.

Now, I will agree it is entirely possible to derive your interpretation of what patriotism means, but this cannot ever diminish the fact, for example, that ‘country’ equates to geography. There is simply no way you will ever get around this by showing your ‘technique’ to derive a specific meaning, so at some point you really should concede that it is in fact possible to understand patriotism in the cynical manner of Mr. Vonnegut.

That does not mean I won't defend my opinion if asked, nor does it mean I won't consider anyone else's opinion.
I’m not asking you to defend your opinion. When you are finally able to concede that opinion is all your view amounts to then I’ll consider the discourse successfully concluded.


The dictionary definition is pretty simple.
Yes, which is why I must ask; what part of synonymous don’t you understand?

It is. Its just more concise.
Exactly! Concise as in; Expressing much in a few words. In fact this is quite true, although you prefer to ignore much of what can be expressed in effort to bolster an assumed conclusion.

Well gee, if you cut out the differences, then they look pretty similar! Yet annother tautology. Tiring.
This is cute, but I’m not the one who offered a source for those definitions, you were, LOL! Instead of attempting to write it off as ‘yet another tautology’ on my part, try considering it for what it actually is; an indicator of how ridiculously thin your position truly is. Also; if you think it tiring I’d like to discuss a very exciting new idea you’ve given me; take any two words, cut out the differences, and bingo, they look pretty similar (by god, we have a tautology, haha).

You're saying patriotism is not an ideal?
*when will this finally be understood?*
I’m saying you cannot prove it must only be an ideal, and therefore using that argument to prove Vonnegut is wrong can only fail (which is a separate matter from demonstrating that definitions can in fact equate to Vonnegut’s understanding, btw).

Are you saying the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence are not based on ideals?
It doesn’t matter if is was or wasn’t *yawn*.


So where do the ideals of the Constituion and Declaration fit in there?
Are you now asking for my help in fitting presupposed ideals into your tautology again?

IMO, you've pared down the definitions in such a way as to specifically exclude what makes the US the US and patriotism patriotism.
First; I’m working from the definitions, and I asked it be shown where in those definitions I went wrong, you haven’t shown me. Instead, you bemoan a sacred cow.
Second; There is plenty of room there for being in love with real-estate, so what are you complaining about? lol
Third; [edited out my misunderstanding]
Forth; In an effort to accomodate the US and Patriotism, here’s another dandy from Vonnegut;

(From Mother Night)
"Drawn crudely in the dust of three window-panes were a swastika, a hammer and sickle, and the Stars and Stripes. I had drawn the three symbols weeks before, at the conclusion of an argument about patriotism with Kraft. I had given a hearty cheer for each symbol, demonstrating to Kraft the meaning of patriotism to, respectively, a Nazi, a Communist, and an American. 'Hooray, hooray, hooray,' I'd said."


Maybe the next step is to ask a few political scientists what they think about the definitions of patriotism and nationalism.
What if they too suggest going to the dictionary? lol

A little more on this (I'll set aside for now the fact you are contradicting an earlier statement you made...)
Don’t set anything aside please, I clearly make mistakes (I’m actually human and fallible) and want to know all my short fallings
russ_watters
#93
Aug20-04, 02:45 PM
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Quote Quote by BoulderHead
I’m not asking you to defend your opinion. When you are finally able to concede that opinion is all your view amounts to then I’ll consider the discourse successfully concluded.
Sure, I'll concede to that if you concede that my opinion is the prevailing one among political scientists and therefore the correct interpretation.

One thing I will concede now - though I consider the path to the definition straightforward, that may come from the fact I have studied this in great detail. To someone who has never studied this, I can see why it wouldn't be so clear. But not knowing does not give one license to make up their own definitions to suit their own personal politics.

Pretty much everything else has already been covered - including that BS about synonyms. (again) Its in bold on the first page of the thread.
What if they too suggest going to the dictionary? lol
Check the link I posted for a dictionary writer's explanation of the definition.
Also; if you think it tiring I’d like to discuss a very exciting new idea you’ve given me; take any two words, cut out the differences, and bingo, they look pretty similar (by god, we have a tautology, haha).
I was actually thinking of doing just that to demonstrate how rediculous your editing technique was. But I let it go.
First; I think Nation equates more to a people than to a government, but ok.
Do we need to define "democracy" now too?
Don’t set anything aside please, I clearly make mistakes (I’m actually human and fallible) and want to know all my short fallings
The fact that you tend to acknowledge them does give me respect for you. Not many people will even acknowledge a simple misread.
BoulderHead
#94
Aug20-04, 07:53 PM
P: n/a
Sure, I'll concede to that if you concede that my opinion is the prevailing one among political scientists and therefore the correct interpretation.
It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
- Giordano Bruno

The truth, in this case, is the definition of patriotism is an open ended quagmire that quite easily fits hand in glove with nationalism.

Here is how I’m inclined to see the matter at present; to the extend patriotism is defined in terms of ideals it is idealistic, and to the extent such is applied to a nation-state it is nationalistic, fostering that same old tradition of us verses them mentality (People seem forever intent on being part of something bigger than themselves, something I consider pathetic). I do believe eventually dictionaries are going to be seen reflecting ideals into their definitions for patriotism, but that day seems yet to arrive, so I cannot agree to your interpretation being correct, only prevalent.

One thing I will concede now - though I consider the path to the definition straightforward, that may come from the fact I have studied this in great detail. To someone who has never studied this, I can see why it wouldn't be so clear. But not knowing does not give one license to make up their own definitions to suit their own personal politics.
This is not so much of a concession as a pronouncement of ignorance upon those not holding your view. Not only is this a pronouncement of ignorance, but demonstrates an unwillingness to concede another view, too. I simply will not allow this to stand for the fact you been challenged to demonstrate your view is the only possible interpretation and you have completely failed to do so. If your dictionary source had put forth the definition I will show below, I would immediately have conceded the point (actually, I never would have contested it). You are still claiming to know when in fact your own source was ambiguous at best. I think what makes the most sense is there is an ongoing process using ‘license’ to redefine patriotism away from nationalism and toward ideals. There is nothing straightforward about a definition open for defining ‘country’ as government, people, territory, etc. How about taking this revision for a test drive;

Patriotism: love of the collection of ideals on which [insert country of choice] was founded.

Now that’s what I would consider as being straightforward, and if that’s what had been meant then that’s what belongs in the dictionary!

Pretty much everything else has already been covered - including that BS about synonyms. (again) Its in bold on the first page of the thread.
Then take the matter up with dictionary.com because;
1) It was quite clearly in your source.
2) To simply ignore it is to again engage in a process of selective ‘cherry picking’.

If you were referring to; “the conviction that the culture and interests of your nation are superior to those of any other nation." Then I would simply point out there is nothing inherent here to preclude a patriot from feeling this way (for the obvious reason they are in love with the ideals behind the founding of their country). Ever hear anyone state; we’re better than they are? (I certainly have, right over there in the political forum as a matter of fact).


BoulderHead;
First; I think Nation equates more to a people than to a government, but ok.

russ_watters
Do we need to define "democracy" now too?
No need; just check and you will see the definitions for Nation, State, and Country, at one point each refer to the other, but the bulk of the definitions for Nation seem to imply a body of people (otherwise you should have corrected my renderings from the 1945 definitions earlier). Because of this it is possible to ‘snag’ whatever one wants to support a position, and this is exactly why there is nothing straightforward about the definition of patriotism.
BoulderHead
#95
Aug20-04, 09:44 PM
P: n/a
That definition of "country" also reflects a nationalistic view - and again, considering when it was written, its unsurprising. Particularly, definition 3. "Fatherland" is a word the Nazis used to describe Germany..
On the topic of Fatherland as it relates to Patriot, with text boldened by yours truly;

patriot - 1596, "compatriot," from M.Fr. patriote (15c.), from L.L. patriota "fellow-countryman" (6c.), from Gk. patriotes "fellow countryman," from patrios "of one's fathers," patris "fatherland," from pater (gen. patros) "father," with -otes, suffix expressing state or condition. Meaning "loyal and disinterested supporter of one's country" is attested from 1605, but became an ironic term of ridicule or abuse from mid-18c. in England, so that Johnson, who at first defined it as "one whose ruling passion is the love of his country," in his fourth edition added, "It is sometimes used for a factious disturber of the government."

"The name of patriot had become [c.1744] a by-word of derision. Horace Walpole scarcely exaggerated when he said that ... the most popular declaration which a candidate could make on the hustings was that he had never been and never would be a patriot." [Macaulay, "Horace Walpole," 1833]

Somewhat revived in ref. to resistance movements in overrun countries in WWII, it has usually had a positive sense in Amer.Eng., where the phony and rascally variety has been consigned to the word patrioteer (1928). Oriana Fallaci ["The Rage and the Pride," 2002] marvels that Americans, so fond of patriotic, (1757) patriot, and patriotism (1726), lack the root noun and are content to express the idea of patria by cumbersome compounds such as homeland. (Joyce, Shaw, and H.G. Wells all used patria as an Eng. word early 20c., but it failed to stick.)
Taken from; http://www.etymonline.com/p3etym.htm


Here is what a United States Congressman has said;

Patriotism is a love of and loyalty to one's country. A patriot is someone who loves, supports, and is prepared to serve their country. The word patriotism comes from a Greek word meaning fatherland. For most of history, love of fatherland or homeland was an attachment to the physical features of the land. But that notion changed in the eighteenth century, when the ideals of democracy, socialism, and communism strongly emerged into political thought. Patriotism was still a love of one's country that included connections to the land and people, but then also included its customs and traditions, pride in its history, and devotion to its welfare.
Taken from; http://rodriguez.house.gov/news/record.asp?id=903

Can't you just smell the soil?

I have never once heard an American use that term to describe the chunk of land the US sits on or pledge allegience to the chunk of land. That part, specifically, does not apply to the US
Scope of topic not limited to US.
russ_watters
#96
Aug22-04, 03:25 PM
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Quote Quote by BoulderHead
It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
- Giordano Bruno
Great quote, but it has nothing to do with what a definition is. A definition is an arbitrary human construct, and as such, is arrived at by general agreement of the majority. Your (interesting) info on the entemology shows that.

In science, you must agree on the exact definition of a term, otherwise, it doesn't work. For some reason, people like to think that in political science, that principle doesn't apply. Well, it does.

If you walk into a physics class and tell your prof you are going to define mass as "q" and use it in all of your equations (e=qc2), he'll laugh first because he thinks you are kidding - but if you actually do it, he'll fail you.

Similarly, if you tell your poly sci prof that you choose to define patriotism as an exact synonym of nationalism, she'll laugh first, then fail you if you do it (especially if an essay question specifically asks what the difference is).
BoulderHead
#97
Aug22-04, 06:03 PM
P: n/a
Great quote, but it has nothing to do with what a definition is. A definition is an arbitrary human construct, and as such, is arrived at by general agreement of the majority. Your (interesting) info on the entemology shows that.

In science, you must agree on the exact definition of a term, otherwise, it doesn't work. For some reason, people like to think that in political science, that principle doesn't apply. Well, it does.

If you walk into a physics class and tell your prof you are going to define mass as "q" and use it in all of your equations (e=qc2), he'll laugh first because he thinks you are kidding - but if you actually do it, he'll fail you.

Similarly, if you tell your poly sci prof that you choose to define patriotism as an exact synonym of nationalism, she'll laugh first, then fail you if you do it (especially if an essay question specifically asks what the difference is).
Give it up, Russ. Not one iota of this supports your defense. As can now easily be seen by anyone reading these posts, your interpretation is a relatively modern invention in the history of the word patriotism and even at that it is restricted to a narrow context (the same one you seem limited to judging such things with). I have challenged you to demonstrate why there is nothing in the definition to suggest Vonnegut’s understanding and you absolutely cannot do it because the history of the word itself demonstrates there is. You have attempted at least in part to support your position by insisting patriotism can only be interpreted one way (your way), but again, you cannot do it without denying history (past and present). It appears you want to posit academia supports only your view, but you have not shown this to be factual. In the first place, it seems doubtful you would ever have had actual dealings beyond one or two such people (and therefore do not speak from a position of authority), secondly, your statement can only lead one to believe you are much too timid to attempt questioning authority (and therefore merely do what you think is expected of you, rather than actually explore the issue).
Your erroneous analogy to tautologies such as 2 + 2 = 4 misses the mark; not all things are static and unchanging, some things are even vague. Vonnegut’s view is supported both by history and linguistics, while your view of only one possible way to define patriotism equating to ideals is nothing short of ludicrous. If you wanted to argue a relativist position where context was to be considered then you missed your opportunity. Language is used in conjunction with other members of society, true, but the totality of meaning for a word such as patriotism is not limited by some narrow group, believed to exist, that one personally identifies with to the exclusion of all else, so if you want to argue context (I’m from the US and this is how we do it here, so everyone else must be wrong, etc.) you will undermine your bold claims your own self.

Any researching at all will quickly demonstrate the falsity of your position; why, even the words of the National Museum of Patriotism demonstrate a general lack of consensus;
Welcome to the National Museum of Patriotism. Obviously the word “patriotism” means different things to different people.
Taken from; http://www.museumofpatriotism.org/index.html

Perhaps after straightening out the good folks at dictionary.com you might like to call the museum and explain the 'facts' to them as well;

Phone Numbers:
(404) 875-0691
or
Toll Free Phone:
(877) 276-1692

Also from that site;
“Patriotism is love for one’s country, to support, serve, and defend, to be inspired by, to change for the better and to care deeply for its citizens.”
Our definition, The National Museum of Patriotism, Inc.
It sure would have been nice if they’d have mentioned something about ideals, but at least they do not proclaim to hold a universal truth. Anyway, since you want to claim a general agreement supports your assertions (don't forget which ones I've been attacking) then I must now challenge you to present the proof. I predict you will meet with failure.
russ_watters
#98
Aug22-04, 07:44 PM
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Perhaps after straightening out the good folks at dictionary.com...
Huh? Did you not read the link I posted to a dictionary writer's explanation of the definition? Heck, did you even read the link you posted? From the site you linked (their definition, btw, fits mine):
We invite you to come inside and explore what patriotism meant to those Americans who came before us, as well as what it means to many of us today. We all share a belief in an idea called America. You are about to experience how that belief was - and is - expressed.
While it says the definition can be hard to pin down, they do frame it in such a way as to guide you to their definition (which, btw, seems to exclude the idea that it is tied to land), don't they? Of course, they get a tad more specific here:
It requires building on each visitor’s understanding of patriotism and helping that visitor recognize that true patriotism is based upon devotion to the American ideals of equality before the law, economic freedom, and civic virtue.
Again, though this quote doesn't specifically exclude the idea that its tied to land, it would seem to not be important enough to say it is included. It is quite specific though, that it is tied to ideals. And quite frankly, it almost seems like the quote you posted is them saying it means different things to different people because people don't understand it.

Also, of course definitions evolve and I never said they haven't - you seemed to be arguing that they don't (or, perhaps, that the modern understanding is somehow 'wrong')!

Regarding acadamia's opinion: how many do you need me to post before you conclude that there is a consensus opinion? Or perhaps better yet, could you find for me a political scientist who argues that nationalism and patriotism are exact synonyms?

Boulderhead, your argument here appears to be that you can look at the different definitions of the constituent words and pick the mixture you like best. Is that what you are claiming?
russ_watters
#99
Aug22-04, 08:49 PM
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P: 22,286
Something I alluded to before but didn’t fully develop: Clearly, people who think patriotism is a good thing and people who think it’s a bad thing are using two different definitions. I’d like to know why? I can’t ask Vonnegut, but I can ask you: why is it that you choose to use this definition? When someone tells you “I am a patriot,” what do you assume that person means? Do you assume s/he is using your definition? Does it tell you anything that the definition you choose conflicts with the definition an avowed patriot probably uses?

Thinking about it more, perhaps like love itself, patriotism is something only a patriot understands?
BoulderHead
#100
Aug23-04, 12:43 AM
P: n/a
Museum of Patriotism;
It requires building on each visitor’s understanding of patriotism and helping that visitor recognize that true patriotism is based upon devotion to the American ideals of equality before the law, economic freedom, and civic virtue

russ_watters;
Again, though this quote doesn't specifically exclude the idea that its tied to land, it would seem to not be important enough to say it is included. It is quite specific though, that it is tied to ideals.
Yes, it does mention ideals, this it true (and methinks ‘good’ – would have been better in their official definition). Notice they first say “Obviously the word “patriotism” means different things to different people.” And when they do provide a definition they are properly cautious and say it is ”Our definition”. These are both indicators that other definitions can and do exist, whereas you have claimed only yours can rightfully be derived. Next, they invoke a rendition of the Scotsman Fallacy by stating;

“It requires building on each visitor’s understanding of patriotism and helping that visitor recognize that true patriotism is based upon devotion to the American ideals of equality before the law, economic freedom, and civic virtue.”

Now, it is of course beside the point to our haggling, but I’m going to go on record here to say I reject their opinion of what true patriotism is based on. They imply patriots of other times, of other countries, operating under other definitions, cannot be ‘true’ unless they are based on the ‘American ideals’ outlined above (note what I will quote from Jill Ker Conway concerning civic virtue, below). I think this is inflammatory and while I may not be an American by birth, I observe even within their own Americentrism they mention neither the US Constitution nor Bill of Rights. Why couldn’t a dictatorship offer up what they are suggesting?

But, back to the point; their efforts to pursued people to such a view, even noting they mention ideals directly by name, does not support your blanket statement that patriotism must necessarily be defined as implying them.

Also, of course definitions evolve and I never said they haven't - you seemed to be arguing that they don't (or, perhaps, that the modern understanding is somehow 'wrong')!
Careful now, I do not want to stray off point. There is a difference between stating that patriotism cannot possibly be interpreted in any way but your own, and trying to argue that within a certain context patriotism cannot possibly be interpreted in any way but your own. Your original claim was the former type, not the latter; as you put it neither in context or qualified it as an opinion.

Regarding acadamia's opinion: how many do you need me to post before you conclude that there is a consensus opinion? Or perhaps better yet, could you find for me a political scientist who argues that nationalism and patriotism are exact synonyms?
To your second question; I wish to stay on my complaints. It is true that I can see perfectly well the difference between the two need not be more than negligible, and I have already shown how such could be the case. You did not comment on it at the time, but to answer your question I believe it possible to find such, yes, but you seem so recalcitrant to concede my other points that I prefer to keep drilling you with them.
To your first question; haha, it would take more for than against, obviously. Of course you are the one making the claim and so unless you are willing to retract it I would like to see you support it, yes? Try to account for Non-Americans if you can, please. I know it is difficult for many nationalists to see beyond their own territory, but judging the world so one dimensionally can come across as bigoted. I hope you will trust me when I promise to let you know if I become convinced, and maybe I’ll try to counter you two or three for one, if I’m able, lol. Why, I’ll get started with some intellectuals right now;

American Values: Understanding Patriotism in Our Time
Taken from; http://www.jfklibrary.org/forum_patriotism.html
DEREK BOK: Caroline, thank you. Well, patriotism is, in many ways, a mysterious word.
~ So this is very much a contested term. And we have a distinguished panel to discuss this illusive word and to debate what its contemporary significance is in the United States.
~ So we will move immediately, and I will simply try to throw a match into the tinder box and get the discussion going by, I think, starting in the obvious place by asking how we really ought to define patriotism since different people seem to take it so many different ways. Is it about love of country? Does it imply obligations? To whom are we loyal and why?
~ blah blah (actually some interesing blahs) ~

JILL KER CONWAY: As someone who has lived in three different countries and functioned as a citizen in all of them, I have a rather different perspective. I was born in Australia. And it's impossible for an Australian patriot to be accepting of public authority, because the tradition of the country was established by convicts. And the regime which controlled them was one they despised. So civic virtue in their minds became an absolutely iron will never to surrender to illegitimate authority. And for an Australian, patriotism has the aura of being somebody who will not accept the state and will not accept a conventional view of what love of country is. And anybody who goes and listens to a debate in the Australian Parliament will instantly become aware that these are fighting people who have no respect for their betters.

Bok: Before we leave these sorts of definitions, there is something I alluded to in my opening remarks that I'd like to put to Louis Menand. And that is, and maybe you'll just dispute my characterization. I think it's fair to say that patriotism tends to elicit quite different, more skeptical, even more hostile reactions among intellectuals than say among blue collar workers. And I guess that's where Samuel Johnson's quote about the last refuge of scoundrels is part of that tradition. And surely there are various critics who have pointed out that that tradition of skepticism persists in universities and other intellectual circles even today.

Would you agree that there is a certain skepticism about patriotism and its usage in the United States among intellectuals? And do you have an explanation as to why that might be if you see some truth in it?


MENAND: Yeah, I do. The explanation is it's our job.
~ Yes, academics are skeptical about concepts like patriotism, they're skeptical of all concepts, or they ought to be, because the academy is a place in which assumptions that the rest of us share in daily life as a matter of course can be questioned and can be examined. The mere act of questioning them should not be taken as un-patriotic.

DEREK BOK: Is it possible to disentangle that by suggesting that patriotism is a kind of loyalty to a set of ideals of America at its best rather than an unquestioning loyalty of a country or regime or something of that--

WILKINS: Well, you know, I really could have lived by Edmund Burke's motto that "the only thing that is required for evil to prevail is for good people to remain silent." And a terrific thing about this country is that nobody can silence you. And that as long as you can have a voice and struggle to make things better, you really have life. And in this country you have that. No matter how bad things get, there's always an opportunity that they will get better at the next turn if you keep on going with that faith.
And, yes, a country which engenders that kind of faith is a country in which you surely can be patriotic.
I’ll cut it there. That entire web page is worth reading, imo. Well, patriotism is said to be a mysterious word. Between Bok and Menand agrees there is talk of skepticism about patriotism and its usage in the United States among intellectuals and in the universities...
Interestingly, the question of patriotism being about loyalty to a set of ideals was not answered by Wilkins with a “yes, ideals are what patriotism is all about…”. Instead, he states more to the effect that patriotism can exist in such a climate. I would suspect this is because patriotism does not have to be spelled i-d-e-a-l-s.
Boulderhead, your argument here appears to be that you can look at the different definitions of the constituent words and pick the mixture you like best. Is that what you are claiming?
Indeed that you can, yes, but more germane is the fact such has occurred, even tying patriotism directly to the soil (as that Congressman I quote related, among other things). What do you think is wrong with these statements of yours that I have been attacking;
“Nowhere in any definition of Patriotism I posted does it say anything about loving a chunk of land”
And
“I reject his quote because it bears no resemblence whatsoever to the definition of patriotism. Even if you want to leave the definition open for interpretation, nothing even suggested allows for that interpretation.”
Nowhere in ANY definition?
Nothing even to suggest?
Does historical fact play any part in your reasoning?
You deny with these bold-*** statements not only any actuality but even the very possibility of what in fact is known to be otherwise. These statements cannot even be excused by proclaiming that different interpretations exist in this day and age and therefore you are right, because such wouldn’t make one whit of difference even if true. It takes only a single example to falsify those statements and I have shown more than enough to do same.
BoulderHead
#101
Aug23-04, 01:20 AM
P: n/a
Something I alluded to before but didn’t fully develop: Clearly, people who think patriotism is a good thing and people who think it’s a bad thing are using two different definitions.
Consider this; Clearly, people who think Christianity is a good thing and people who think it’s a bad thing are using two different definitions.

I’d like to know why?
It doesn’t matter how it is defined, people can and will think what they want, even about those ideals you cherish. That you have trouble with this suggests to me a depth of emotional attachment you have to this word, and little more. Yes, I define it with ideals, but it still has a disgusting nationalist element about it. I prefer to be cosmopolitan.


I can’t ask Vonnegut, but I can ask you: why is it that you choose to use this definition?
I don’t ‘use’ this definition, I merely challenge you to show why Vonnegut cannot hold a valid definition, and why it must be true the only possible way to logically derive an understanding must equate it to ideals when in fact this has historically not always been the case.

When someone tells you “I am a patriot,” what do you assume that person means?
You mean a total stranger? The statement would mean nothing conclusive except to suggest this individual has an emotional attachment to something they likely feel is greater than self and noble. As such, it is likely safe to assume they are emotional 'clubbers’.

Do you assume s/he is using your definition?
At no time would I assume that.

Does it tell you anything that the definition you choose conflicts with the definition an avowed patriot probably uses?
It tells me meanings abound.

Thinking about it more, perhaps like love itself, patriotism is something only a patriot understands?
In the sense that patriotism involves the love word, it is emotional and personal, yes.
BoulderHead
#102
Aug23-04, 10:37 AM
P: n/a
We see the problem in the controversy surrounding the word “patriotism.” It’s a bad word in academic circles nowadays. Patriotism implies “a false air of moral weight and glory,” writes University of Chicago professor Martha Nussbaum. Rather than developing preferences for any particular nation-state, students should be taught that they are citizens of the world that “happen to be situated in the United States.”
Taken from; http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed040303a.cfm

Perhaps patriotism differs for each citizen, what he or she regards as the quintessential aspects of the country: one man's hero may be another woman's traitor. Or is patriotism the mean of the country's sensibility, our societal norms?

Patriotism seems to me akin to allegiance: one can plausibly profess allegiance to vague or specific principles; but why on earth would one pledge allegiance to a piece of colored cloth?

In the end, the word "patriotism" differentiates one people from another, selects one group as being more deserving of special treatment at the expense of others, and encourages indifference to the plight of others' condition for the benefit of our own. It is yet one more obstacle to our species' learning to include all its kind under the umbrella of human need, right and frailty, a term full of "sound and fury, signifying nothing".

*John N. Cooper, Ph.D. (UC Berkeley) has been Professor of Chemistry at Bucknell University, since 1967 (retired 6/30/03).
Taken from; http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/pu...le_10790.shtml


Should we not begin to redefine patriotism? We need to expand it beyond that narrow nationalism which has caused so much death and suffering. If national boundaries should not be obstacles to trade - we call it globalization - should they also not be obstacles to compassion and generosity?
Tom Paine used the word "patriot" to describe the rebels resisting imperial rule. He also enlarged the idea of patriotism when he said: "My country is the world. My countrymen are mankind."
Howard Zinn is a professor emeritus at Boston University and author of "The People's History of the United States."
Taken from; http://www.veteransforpeace.org/A_ki...ism_041303.htm
russ_watters
#103
Aug24-04, 07:09 PM
Mentor
P: 22,286
First off, the issue of the US vs other countries:
Quote Quote by BoulderHead
Try to account for Non-Americans if you can, please.
Patriotism is a word that can apply to other countries, but the word is an American English word, regardless of its entemology. Its meaning comes from the American usage. I can't speak to how an Australian might use the word - I can't even say for sure they use the word at all.
I know it is difficult for many nationalists to see beyond their own territory, but judging the world so one dimensionally can come across as bigoted.
Do you see the irony in that implication? Since I consider you to be misunderstanding the difference between the two words, implying that I'm a nationalist only strenghtens that view.

In any case, I only skimmed that page with the transcript discussing patriotism, but it seemed to fit my definition quite well. Could you just please quote for me the section of the discussion where they talk about patriotism being defined as 'love of a chunk of land?'
Nowhere in ANY definition?
Nothing even to suggest?
You've been harping on this for a while now, and quite frankly, I've let it go because I simply didn't know how to respond. After thinking about it, I must concede to one thing: I have never before considered the possibility that an American would define "The United States of America" as 'a chunk of land in North America.' Yes, the dictionary definition of "country" does allow that possibility. Having now (apparently) seen two people who would define the USA in these terms, I stick by my initial assesment, with a minor modification: neither you, nor Vonnegut understands what makes the USA the USA and as a result (edit: actually, I'm not sure if thats really the cause or the effect), neither of you understand what patriotism is.
Consider this; Clearly, people who think Christianity is a good thing and people who think it’s a bad thing are using two different definitions.
What? "Christianity" has a quite simple, objective definition. Its a religion/group of religions that believe that Jesus was the son of God and the savior of mankind. Do you also consider "The People's Republic of China" to be an allowable usage of the word "republic?"

I guess in light of your views on patriotism, this shouldn't surprise me, but it is clear to me now that your biases are affecting the way you define and use words. Worse, it actually seems that you are saying that its right that people should choose definitions based on their personal biases instead of on some objective basis. I'm not sure if its coscious or not, but that's horrid misuse of language. A month ago, I probably would have assumed it was intellectual dishonesty (that's why the word "nefarious" kept coming up). Now I'm not sure. It may simply be a complete misunderstanding of the concept of "definition."

Again, science isn't somehow special in this regard: definitions are specific and not a matter of personal choice. In science as in life, the words you use are decided on by consensus and usage is restricted to the agreed-upon definition. Making up your own definitions means you are making up your own language: you're not speaking Enlish anymore, you're speaking "Boulderese." In "Boulderese," "patriotism" can mean whatever you want it to - in American English, it can't.
BoulderHead
#104
Aug26-04, 12:57 PM
P: n/a
Patriotism is a word that can apply to other countries, but the word is an American English word, regardless of its entemology. Its meaning comes from the American usage. I can't speak to how an Australian might use the word - I can't even say for sure they use the word at all.
An American monopoly?

Patriotism is a praiseworthy competition with one's ancestors.
- Tacitus (55 - 120) Roman historian

“…Canadians have historically been quiet patriots, says Jedwab. The very word "patriotism" seems more appropriate to describe the louder, more boisterous American variety of nationalism.”
Taken from; http://www.angelfire.com/celeb/rickmercer/molson.html

“Nietzsche wrote that words with a history cannot be defined. Their meanings are in their stories, their biographies. That is surely the case with "patriotism." Patriotism is as patriots have done. And in relatively recent times--say, since the American and French revolutions--those who have called themselves patriots or who have called others to the banner of patriotism have largely fallen into two camps.”
Taken from; http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3...15&c=1&s=forum

Do you see the irony in that implication? Since I consider you to be misunderstanding the difference between the two words, implying that I'm a nationalist only strenghtens that view.
No irony, I understand full well that scratching the surface of patriotism generally reveals a narrow minded nationalism.

In any case, I only skimmed that page with the transcript discussing patriotism, but it seemed to fit my definition quite well. Could you just please quote for me the section of the discussion where they talk about patriotism being defined as 'love of a chunk of land?'
The point to the exercise was to demonstrate the difference of opinion which prevails. It is clear that different people ascribe different meanings to the definition of patriotism. You have quite wrongly argued your meaning is the definition when in fact it may very well not be. As to land being involved enough has been quoted previously to establish it, but here is more;

“The other company of patriots does not march to military time. It prefers the gentle strains of "America the Beautiful" to the strident cadences of "Hail to the Chief" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever." This patriotism is rooted in the love of one's own land and people, love too of the best ideals of one's own culture and tradition. This company of patriots finds no glory in puffing their country up by pulling others' down. This patriotism is profoundly municipal, even domestic. Its pleasures are quiet, its services steady and unpretentious.”
Taken from; http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3...15&c=1&s=forum



Quote:
Nowhere in ANY definition?
Nothing even to suggest?
You've been harping on this for a while now, and quite frankly, I've let it go because I simply didn't know how to respond. After thinking about it, I must concede to one thing: I have never before considered the possibility that an American would define "The United States of America" as 'a chunk of land in North America.'
Which demonstrates two things; your view is rigidly Americentric, and you haven’t been exposed to what many actual Americans have had to say with regard to the subject matter. In other words, your opinionated views are supported predominately by mere opinion.


Yes, the dictionary definition of "country" does allow that possibility.
Thank you, I appreciate the concession.

Having now (apparently) seen two people who would define the USA in these terms, I stick by my initial assesment, with a minor modification: neither you, nor Vonnegut understands what makes the USA the USA and as a result (edit: actually, I'm not sure if thats really the cause or the effect), neither of you understand what patriotism is.
Well, of course I would expect you to have this opinion, but you really should remain politely silent on this point. You have already granted the dictionary definition allows the possibility and the fact Vonnegut is an American means his view should have as much determination on the point as your own. So all you’re actually arguing is that your opinion means more to you than another’s, which is not the same thing as saying anything substantial. Additionally, it is quite possible for either of us (V. or BH) to understand your meaning of what patriotism and still not accept it is essentially ‘good’.

Quote:
Consider this; Clearly, people who think Christianity is a good thing and people who think it’s a bad thing are using two different definitions.
What? "Christianity" has a quite simple, objective definition.
Patriotism also has a quite simple, objective definition. I was complaining about the application of moral terminology. In other words; anyone can look at your interpretation and call it either bad or good, so drawing such distinctions isn’t helpful.

I guess in light of your views on patriotism, this shouldn't surprise me, but it is clear to me now that your biases are affecting the way you define and use words.
I was simply showing what others had to say on the matter in an effort to demonstrate your bias in action.

Worse, it actually seems that you are saying that its right that people should choose definitions based on their personal biases instead of on some objective basis.
Then you miss my point; You are claiming objectivity where no such thing exists. Terms such as ‘Right’ can only be given within a certain context and you have turned to Academia to define the context. I, in turn, have quoted from such sources to demonstrate the meaning of the definition of patriotism is not as black and white as you have been saying. You seem to have drawn a general law from what basically constitutes a single, or at least severely restricted, particular instance.

I'm not sure if its coscious or not, but that's horrid misuse of language.
The horrid misuse of language was put forth yourself in claiming the definition of ‘love of country’ could only be interpreted in a single way.

A month ago, I probably would have assumed it was intellectual dishonesty (that's why the word "nefarious" kept coming up). Now I'm not sure. It may simply be a complete misunderstanding of the concept of "definition."
Yes, and you are the one who has been suffering from this ‘illness’ by insisting patriotism can only mean what you believe it to mean. Additionally, the meaning may even be changing to reflect a negative view of patriotism. If such a view should be predominate (I’m beginning to suspect it may be) then your continued use of the meaning you prefer to ascribe, by your own reasoning, could then be labeled ‘nefarious’. How would you feel about that? Perhaps righteously indignant, refusing to let anyone else flesh out and dictate meaning to you?

Again, science isn't somehow special in this regard: definitions are specific and not a matter of personal choice.
If you really think definitions are specific then define ‘love’ and explain why everyone in the world must subscribe 100% to your understanding of same.

In science as in life, the words you use are decided on by consensus and usage is restricted to the agreed-upon definition.
True patriotism doesn't exclude an understanding of the patriotism of others.
- Queen Elizabeth II

With regard to the majority;

Questioning Patriotism
But since when has patriotism been defined as following along with the majoritarian view? Are people only patriotic when they agree with the majority? Are all minority views unpatriotic?
Taken from; http://www.skepticism.org/politics/t...ter_ACTA.shtml
BoulderHead
#105
Aug26-04, 01:05 PM
P: n/a
Making up your own definitions means you are making up your own language: you're not speaking Enlish anymore, you're speaking "Boulderese." In "Boulderese," "patriotism" can mean whatever you want it to - in American English, it can't.
Would you prefer ‘Clowardease’;
Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven
Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work
Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY


We take patriotism to mean love of nation and the loyalty that follows. My country right or wrong. Even as an abstract idea, it is hard to see how thinking people justify blind loyalty. And considered historically, patriotism is plainly dangerous, helping to unleash military rampages in the name of nation and obliterating the essential democratic capacity to assess concrete and particular interests.
Or perhaps ‘Falkease’;
Richard Falk
Professor of international relations, Princeton University

~ What is more difficult is to give patriotism a positive content in America at this time.
If you wish to continue arguing the majority viewpoint should prevail then you will need to begin actually to provide some evidence there is one, and that it is the same in detail as your own. I have provided more than a single example strongly suggesting there is general disagreement. Here is more of same;

The ethics of patriotism
Different people have different opinions about whether patriotism is morally good. Often, these opinions vary according to what sort of patriotism is involved.
Taken from; http://www.campusprogram.com/referen...atriotism.html

TODAY’S SCHOOLS
Since the rebellious 1960s, many traditional American virtues have been questioned by radical college students, some of whom even referred to their country as "Amerika." Other radicals blamed violence and poverty in the Third World on "American militarism, imperialism, and greed."
These "new barbarians," as former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin, called them, spawned a generation of radical professors in our colleges. And on a broader canvas a kind of "political correctness" that scoffed at Middle American virtues has permeated our universities and the elite media. For many of these cynics, patriotism seems to be "the last refuge of a scoundrel," to quote Samuel Johnson.

Taken from; http://www.eppc.org/publications/pub...pub_detail.asp
It's looking like academia is not on your side.


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