On patriotism What is patriotism? Let us call it by its more accurate name. It is none other than nationalism. Two words. Same meaning. Different connotations. One is meant somehow as a good thing, while the second aptly describes the bigotry involved. Why worship a political institution or a group of people that happen to share the same political boundaries? Why exclude others in order to feel that your group is better? There is no reason to think that people are “more worthy” (if such an attribute even exists) of respect or admiration because they happened to be born or located in some political region that you are also affiliated with. This is true if for no other reason than the staggering diversity present in any society. There are 3 types things that a person can bear allegiance to that I will discuss—people, institutions, and ideals. First, I shall address allegiance to nation’s people—not just allegiance, but espousing the belief that one nation’s people are “better.” Being born in one particular country does not make a person any “better” than any other. By that reasoning, one could say that my orange flashlight is better than my red one because the orange one was made in a factory that is 2 miles away from my home, while the red one was produced 670 miles from my home. Being a citizen of one particular country does not make a person any “better” than any other. A person is either a citizen by birth, which is covered above, or by living in a particular country and meeting some legislated requirements. To say that a person is better than others because he/she is living inside some political boundary is ludicrous. People living in different regions of the world do so for various reasons. Sometimes, it is because of conditions that are out of their control. Sometimes, they wish to stay with loved ones or in a place that they are used to. These are perfectly valid reasons to not live some country that is purported as the best, and don’t in any way lesson the value of anyone who doesn’t live on that specific parcel of land. Caring for the concerns of the people of one specific society is one thing, and acceptable, but to say that that group is somehow “better” than another and to pursue their interests by hurting others is not and is clear bigotry. And then there is allegiance to the government. Why should one have allegiance to a government? Is not government only a tool for people to get what they desire? Shouldn’t a government work for its people, and not the other way around? Is the allegiance because of the ideals that the government espouses? Then why not discard with the middleman symbol of the government, and bear allegiance only to ideals? What happens when the government’s actions contrast with the ideals? Shouldn’t the ideals take precedence? What reason is there to support the government, other than the ideals? It should be that the government should only be a way to manifest ideals, not that the ideals are merely justification for the government. When the symbol of the government or nation is worshipped, that sets a dangerous setting where things such as Nazi Germany appear. Should one support a government only because it controls the region in which one was born and/or lives? By this reasoning, a person born and living in China should believe that China is the best, and a person born and living in Poland should believe that Poland is the best. The person who promotes this thinking believes that two people should believe two contradictory, mutually-exclusive ideas. What is the value in saying that one country is “the best in the world”? Every country has its positives and negatives, and we should, as analytical creatures, make judgment of these attributes in order to make our societies better. However, rendering a final verdict of “this country is best” is useless, and serves only to pump egos and draw lines of separation among fellow humans.