On patriotism

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Originally posted by Dissident Dan

The recent wave of patriotism has only stressed our relationships with Europeans.
It's a mistake to start thinking of a billion people as an individual, any more than you might think of a multi-national corporation as an individual. Europian politics and sentiments have been diverging from the US for years and have become more unified with the creation of the EU. The US's relationship with China and other powerful nations is notably the same, a love/hate one that is expedient for propoganda purposes when either opportunity knocks or the stuff hits the fan.
 
Originally posted by wuliheron
It's a mistake to start thinking of a billion people as an individual, any more than you might think of a multi-national corporation as an individual.


When did I do this? I purpose used plurals: relationships with Europeans

Europian politics and sentiments have been diverging from the US for years and have become more unified with the creation of the EU. The US's relationship with China and other powerful nations is notably the same, a love/hate one that is expedient for propoganda purposes when either opportunity knocks or the stuff hits the fan.
Regardless of whether or not Europe and the US were already diverging, the nationalism that has swept the USA has only helped to sever our relationships.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by Zero
Right...but how far separated from the 'team' should you be before youb stop having such extreme feelings? America, for instance, is way too big to identify with it as a whole. I'm proud of teh things I do, in my little corner of the world, and maybe the things my friends do. I don't feel any pride for thing that complete strangers do all over the country.
Wrong. America is all one team. We're all in this together. We all get to share a piece of the American Dream. And patriotism is not "extreme feelings."
Humanitarianism? Definitely not. I think that patriotism blinded people believing the BS that the war was necessary for self defense.
When I said take your pick, I meant it. Whatever reason you choose, patriotism vs. nationalism isn't an issue - unless you think the US is going to turn Iraq into a colony like Puetro-Rico. Colonialism/imperialism is an extension of nationalism.
Why be patriotic if you don't think that your country is better than all others? How do you express that patriotism without exhalting that perceived superiority?
Do you love your parents (children)? Do they have to be the best to be worthy of your love? Not being blind to the faults in your country is another aspect of patriotism. And America DOES happen to be the best at many things, but that is not relevant to patriotism. The English and French and Lithuanians can be patriotic too.
Regardless of whether or not Europe and the US were already diverging, the nationalism that has swept the USA has only helped to sever our relationships.
The recent wave of patriotism has only stressed our relationships with Europeans.
You are STILL using those two words interchangeably and they are NOT interchangeable. The European opinion of the US could be harmed by percieved nationalism. Certainly. But that is *NOT* patriotism.

Dissident Dan, we could go around in circles forever here and you won't believe me. Do a google search for "patriotism versus nationalism" or a search for the causes of WWI and WWII and read a few links. Patriotism and nationalism are NOT the same thing.
 
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Originally posted by Dissident Dan
When did I do this? I purpose used plurals: relationships with Europeans

Originally posted by wuliheron
It's a mistake to start thinking of a billion people as an individual, any more than you might think of a multi-national corporation as an individual.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regardless of whether or not Europe and the US were already diverging, the nationalism that has swept the USA has only helped to sever our relationships.
You did this when you said the US war has gotten Europe angry at us. Europe is not an individual or even a family, it is a huge and diverse place and exactly how "angry" its people might be is difficult to ascertain. Like the US, their governments spin their own propoganda and sometimes outright defy the wishes of the people.

Regardless of whether or not Europe and the US were already diverging, the nationalism that has swept the USA has only helped to sever our relationships.
Gore Vidal compares the US to a corporation, and Europe's struggle to unify its diverse cultures and governments into a more powerful union is clearly an attempt to compete with that corporation. US relations have not been severed with europe, we are overwhelmingly their best market and their economy could not survive without us. Among other things France has lost its sweetheart oil deal with Iraq because of the war and is understandably upset, but they know what competition is about. Likewise, the euro is about to loose some its value against the dollar.

Some are just more vocal about such things than others, and almost always for good reasons. In France's case, as one of the underdogs in the modern corporate world by loudly complaining and dragging their feet they gain alies and sweetheart deals from other underdogs. If they are successful enough they will gain some concessions from the bigger corporations.

The US is no longer the bastion of capitalism, but the home of regulated monopolies that are spanning the globe. Europe is too crowded, environmentally stressed, and diverse to be a corporate headquarters, but the monopolies are expanding their business into europe anyway. Several years ago the EU publically complained that the US was using submarines to tap trans-atlantic phone lines, monitoring cell phones, and using voice recognition software to gather industrial secrets.

The US is becoming more nationalistic, but it is a form of multi-national corporate nationalism the likes of which the world has never seen. Like walmart and mcdonald's driving all the small towm mom and pop stores out of business in the US, the same is now occuring internationally. Today Buddweiser is the number one selling beer in Germany despite protected market practices and some of the finest micro-breweres in the world. Like a lot of corporations, corporate headquarters (ie the US) is assuming a kind of mythological statis with all its branches.

It's hard to take someone seriously when they complain loudly about the quality of the stuff they buy and environmental destruction, but continue to shop at walmart, drive an SUV, and vote republican. Likewise, its even more difficult to take nationalism seriously when it is focused on multi-national corporations controling a military equal to the next seven largest in the world combined. The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with classical nationalism, it was just business as usual.
 
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First point: a country is an abstract entity comprising of people interacting with each other in a certain way.

There are several aspects of 'patriotism' raised by earlier posts:

1)pride in one's country

2) loyalty to one's country

3) feeling that one's country is superior to that of others, and by extension, that things belonging to one's own country are superior to those same things belonging to that of other countries

4) and by corollary of 3), judging something to be superior simply because it belongs to one's own country.

I'll deal with 3 and 4 first: 4 is blatantly irrational, but unfortunately many 'patriots' are simply prejudiced against anything foreign. This sort of 'patriotism' engenders other kinds of prejudices such as racism.

3) can be interpreted in 2 ways: perhaps there are good reasons to think that one's own country is better than another in many ways. I don't have any problems with that. What I disagree with is the sentiment 'my country is the best . . . because it is my country.'

What about pride in one's country? I think the problem with this is that there are no reasons to be 'proud' of things in which one isn't personally involved. eg take some sporting event, like the Olympic games. Why should you be 'proud' that your country won so many medals, unless you are an athelete or someone partially responsible for the athelete's success (including coach, family and friends etc)? Simply living or being born in a place doesn't count as grounds of 'pride'. In anycase, most people don't have much of a choice about where to live, and nobody chooses where to be born. So what's there to be proud about? Your country may have produced all the best things in the world and may have the richest culture and history, but did you contribute to any of those things?

Zero said that it doesn't make sense to have pride in anything other than ourselves. I pretty much agree with that . . .

I can be proud of myself for something I have done - that's fair enough (depending what the achievement actually is!). I can be proud of the achievements of my immediate family members - as long as I know I have been supportive. Same goes for being proud of my friends - same reason as that for family (that I have been supportive), but also proud for my own 'foresight' in choosing them :wink:. Notice that in each case, there's something I have done to merit pride. This is a far cry from being 'proud' of a large institution such as a country.

Finally, loyalty and gratefulness. Most people who criticises 'anti-nationalists' do so on the grounds that the latter are ungrateful for everything their country did for them. My objections: firstly it's not the 'country' that does anything, but the people who make individual effort, coordinated under an institution. So gratefulness should primarily extend to the people rather than the institution. Secondly, most of the things the country have 'done for the people' are done under a contract - the social contract - people obey the laws, pay their taxes etc., and in return they can expect a certain standard of living, health care etc. I argue that it is the citizens' right, not priviledge, to expect the best possible service from the government.

And how far should loyalty go? Does being grateful to one's country mean that one should subscribe unthinkingly, automatically to any view the government expresses? It is too easy to brand people with opposing views as 'traitors', but shouldn't people instead be having an honest and open debate about what really is the best course of action for the people of the country and people worldwide? Could something be good for the country and bad for the world? Clearly yes. So what's wrong in expressing the opinion that one's own country is wrong, when one really thinks so?

As wuli pointed out, it's a mistake to think of a billion people as an individual. We only know our countries through contact with people. eg in war, the only sensible reason why we should want our country to win, and not the enemy (forget about US vs Iraq, think back on France vs Germany in WWI), is the welfare of ourselves and of those people personally known to us and whom we care about. (Assuming that the overral humanitarian cost is roughly similar regardless of which side wins.) Of course there would have been other 'non-personal' reasons to want a particular side to win eg. the brutality of the Nazis in WWII, but this is a case of primarily wanting one side to lose rather than wanting your own country to win.

I will leave you with a memorable quote, unfortunately I forgot where I got it from or who said it:

'If I ever have to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friends, I only wish I have the courage to betray my country.'
 
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Originally posted by Zero
I still don't understand the idea of having pride for things outside yourself. I find the same lack of understanding for supporting a sports team, and having pride when they win. I personally do not identify with any group larger than ME.
It's all just extended forms of tribalism. It ensures that our tribe of naked monkies will survive longer than that axis of evil naked monkies across the river.

Wasn't it George Washington who said something to the effect of "patriotism is the last refuge of the idiot" ?
 

Zero

Wrong. America is all one team. We're all in this together. We all get to share a piece of the American Dream. And patriotism is not "extreme feelings."
That's simply not true...look at how one political party accuses the other of being 'traitors' because of differing views. Look at the differing lifestyles between different socioeconomic groups. Watch how people start screaming Communism if anyone suggests that we should actually behave like we are all in it together. A thousand religions, dozens of ethnic groups, and a million different opinions on everything. To suggest that America is a single 'team' is absurd.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by zimbo
First point: a country is an abstract entity comprising of people interacting with each other in a certain way.

There are several aspects of 'patriotism' raised by earlier posts:

1)pride in one's country

2) loyalty to one's country

3) feeling that one's country is superior to that of others, and by extension, that things belonging to one's own country are superior to those same things belonging to that of other countries

4) and by corollary of 3), judging something to be superior simply because it belongs to one's own country.
I'll keep repeating it: 3 and 4 are nationalism, not patriotism. The words are not interchangeable.

That's simply not true...look at how one political party accuses the other of being 'traitors' because of differing views. [/quote.] You don't think there is infighting in sports teams too?
To suggest that Amererica is a single 'team' is absurd.
Zero, I still like the analogy, but here's another way to think of it - if you go to another country and tell them you are an American, will they wait for you to explain your political afiliation and personal beliefs before judging you? NO. Like it or not, you are part of a group as others would identify it. The actions of people you have never met reflect on you personally and there isn't anything you can do about it.

And the questions: "Do you have pride in the fact that you are an American?" or "Are you patriotic?" do not ask anything about your political afiliation. There are certainly other groups you can identify with in ADDITION to being identified with the group "Americans," but "Americans" is not a group you can choose to not be afiliated with. If you answer that first question with no, then the second question must also be answered no.
 

Locutus

russ waters is right. What zimbo describes as:

3) feeling that one's country is superior to that of others, and by extension, that things belonging to one's own country are superior to those same things belonging to that of other countries

4) and by corollary of 3), judging something to be superior simply because it belongs to one's own country.

This is not pure patriotism--this is patriotism mixed with militarism. Unfortunately, the sad truth in this world today is that militarism and patriotism are often linked with one another, when they shouldn't be. One should still be able to love his country without thinking that it is superior to other countries of the world.
 

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