Patriotism: "Love and support of one's country - devotion to one's nation."
A discussion about the value of patriotism broke out on this http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13290&highlight=
thread, and I promised to start a separate thread - well, I am doing so - but somewhat late.
I will give a rather extreme, and quick, version of my views on the subject, to begin debate - which I suspect it will do with a bang!
I view patriotism as a currently somewhat ridiculous, atavistic human characteristic - probably commencing with teritoriality and the bonds felt by early humans with their fellows in the smallish groups that once marked our societies - which once had more survival value than it does now.
With the rise of the nation states (where they DID rise - we see some countries where loyalties remain tribal, at most), I see this emotion/instinct, whatever it is, as having somewhat uneasily and patchily stretched itself to cover a larger physical and emotional landscape.
So - now? Well, by accident we are each born in some particular fairly arbitrarily determined state - whose imaginary (except for island nations, like Australia) boundaries are supposed, if one is a patriot, to cause one to have a strong emotional attachment to the artificial entity - to believe it (if only secretly, in one's heart) better than other arbitrarily determined segments of the earth - to honour a pretty, or not so pretty, piece of cloth.
Hmmm - all harmless enough, I suppose - if not very rational - (I DO, by the way, accept that I would MUCH rather live in some countries than others - but not because they are intrinsically better - just that history has been kinder to them, and they are wealthier and freer and such) - but what if we extend our patriotism, as I experience many folk to do, to believing that our segment is better, more moral, more just, more important, more god-blessed (funny how countries who actually share the same god tend to believe this entity favours them over their neighbours!), more correct, more human, more entitled than those who live a differently named segment of the planet?
I do not, by the way, claim to be free of this trait - I see that it IS a natural human characteristic - nor do I deny that there have been advantages for many citizens of nation-states from their adherence to each other, and that there will continue to be.
What I DO attempt to do is resist the temptation to see this trait as anything more meaningful than what I believe it to be - I attempt to counter the atavistic stirrings of misty-eyed loyalty with reason and logic. It works - sometimes - LOL.
I am happy to live where I do. I have been very lucky in the lottery of earthly landing-zones. My country does stuff that I am proud of. It also - as would be expected - does lots of really shitty stuff. I hope not to be blinded to this and not to support my country's actions where they are (to my eyes) plain wrong. I suspect your country is much the same, no? I recognize that I am likely to have been just as loyal to any other nodule of earth that I landed on. So would you.
My beliefs do not imply that I do not and cannot work to better my chunk of earth or appreciate the work that preceding generations did - good and bad - it makes sense to hoe the row that is in front of you.
I still want Australia to win in the Olympics - but I think that that is very funny!
I have lots more to say, but I will shut up for now, and let people argue.