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Patriotism: Trash or Treasure?

 
 
dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 09:57 am
Did you mean to say empherical, or was it an inspired Freudian slip? - it seems to me to be a cross between empirical and ephemeral!
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roger
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 10:00 am
I have never been able to respect a person who could only think of one way to spell a word. So There!
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 10:11 am
= : >- p
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yeahman
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 11:20 am
part of what contributed to nazi patriotism was not only nationalism but the love for their culture and race.
sure i love america partly because of the cultural diversity but that plus usually isn't as strong as one's affinity for the land of their ancestors.
any immigrant in the US would root for the soccer team of his mother country over the US. that favoritism weakens during the 2nd generation and is probably reversed by the 3rd generation.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 11:35 am
ye, I think your thesis on the change of patriotism of individuals dependent upon how many generations have lived in a country has much merit. However, we'd like to hear why you think that dynamic works beginning with the first generation.
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fresco
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 01:46 pm
dlowan

I share your general views reflected in the well known quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" (whose source I've forgotten).

We seem to have inherited our tribal instincts from the primates and these reify divisive world views under the various labels such "nation" and "religion". It seems to be we cannot claim such worldviews are "morally justified" because they usually involve some degree "dehumanization" of the outsider with respect to the insiders view of himself as the paragon of humanity.

This is not to say that we can ever escape from these instincts. Dlowans "healthy sporting rivalry" is witness to this. But we perhaps we should realize this is substitute warfare and has no intrinsic moral superiority except for the avoidance of the more bloody alternative.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 03:52 pm
Yes Fresco - I know. Except tennis, of course...
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Butrflynet
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 04:34 pm
I think I am just as much a patriot as anyone else when I question authority and speak up when I feel the people's rights are being infringed upon.

I think there is more then one brand of patriotism and we need a balance of both to keep our countries healthy.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 04:38 pm
Care to delineate the two types more, Butrflynet?
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Sofia
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 04:59 pm
I think there may be as many 'brands of patriotism' as there are people. Lots of opinions on what love of country is--and what anti-patriotism is...
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 05:15 pm
roger wrote:
my personal experience is that the more recently a group has immigrated to the US, the more patriotism they exhibit. Ahhh, even there, it may be social or economic position that relates to patriotism, instead of date of arrival. It sometimes becomes hard to control all the variables.

Digressing - I mentioned personal experience. Does that seem to represent suspect anectdotal evidence, or good, solid empherical data?


Anecdotal is only anecdotal as long as it hasn't been qualified by broad samplings.

Your anecdotal evidence is supported broadly. In modern America and in history.

Think of the Japansese fighters in WW2. They were quite determined to prove their patriotism because the US was locking them up.

Immigrants tend to be very patriotic when their patriotism is questioned and when they become sucessful here. But even the less successful ones generally give birth to very patriotic kids, who want an identity that fits in.
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Craven de Kere
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 05:17 pm
Sofia wrote:
I think there may be as many 'brands of patriotism' as there are people. Lots of opinions on what love of country is--and what anti-patriotism is...


There are certainly as many brands of patriotism as there are opinions about what is good for the country.

E.g.

If you support the war in Iraq you are more likely to label dissent as unpatriotic.

If you despise the war and think America is making a mistake you are more likely to consider your dissent patriotic.
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Sofia
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 05:26 pm
Agreed.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 05:39 pm
So - Sofia - care to speak about your brand of patriotism - and your definition of anti-patriotism?
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Sofia
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 06:10 pm
Sure.

Definitions... Since patriotism is such an individualised emotion-- each action/statement should be judged individually, for those compelled to make such judgements... I would have to be inside someone's head to make a definitive decision...

Patriotism-- Wishing for and working for the best for your country...?
Anti-Patriotism-- Wishing for and working for the destruction of your country...?

Trying to establish a 'rule' of behavior for patriots or anti-patriots, IMO, would be a mistake, and misleading.

I will say when I see an American, in another country speaking against this country--I take a very negative view of it. Protesting here for change or in dissent of a policy, I have no problem with-- The ability to do this is something I celebrate. But, burning flags pisses me off personally. However, I don't automatically brand someone anti-American, when they piss me off, though they may be...?

My brand of patriotism is closely related to loyalty--but not blind loyalty--and not loyalty in the face of any and everything. It includes voting, community service, hopefulness and appreciation.
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rufio
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 06:23 pm
Patriotism is like law, or government, or communication, or division of labor - it's necessary to keep large numbers of people together. I would assume that it appeared around the time when cities started appearing, in order to keep them from desintegrating. The idea was much like the division of labor - the people all give something of their own, and receive something else in return. In this case, they give their loyalty in the form of patriotism (as well as any applicable income tax) and receive in return the protection of walls, public services, and an army of some sort.

There was definitely another sort of loyalty associated with tribal societies (and which continues to be associated with currently existing tribal societies) that works for the same purpose. However, in a smaller tribe, obediance and respect would be directed at individual members of the tribe (usually important ones like the cheif, or personal friends, or blood relatives) rather than the abstract idea of the tribe as a whole. Two people fighting in a tribe could cause it to split, whereas, in America, there are plenty of people who hate all the government officials who are currently in charge, and yet still have a healthy amount of patriotism. It's not so much about the country itself as it is about what it is supposed to stand for.

Edit: I might add that patriotism is better for a country than loyalty, since with so many more people, there is much more of a chance that they are going to fight with one another. As long as you can get people to all believe in an abstract concept like Freedom, or Justice, or God, they will stay together on that point no matter how much they fight.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 07:03 pm
Hmmm - I think there are accepted definitions of patriotism that we can work with, Sofia - I gave one in the beginning of this thread. I know there is contention about this definitional stuff - and definitions differ to some extent. However, if we do not accept a reasonably common meaning for words, it is difficult to discuss at all, no?

I would argue that what you describe as your patriotism does not fully meet the normal working definition - however - I can sort of see why you get cross when people criticise it, since your definition is different from, for instance, mine.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 07:08 pm
(Rufio - it is a digression, really - but I am wondering whee you get the idea that conflict between members in tribal societies would split the tribe? My limited knowledge suggests that tribal societies often have very elaborate customs to limit, and deal with conflict - Australian Aboriginal society certainly did - and does, where culture has been maintained.)

Do you think the sentimental aspects of patriotism are necessary, Rufio?
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Sofia
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 07:21 pm
Quote:
Patriotism: "Love and support of one's country - devotion to one's nation."

Quote:
Patriotism-- Wishing for and working for the best for your country...?

I don't think our definitions are very different at all, and I wouldn't be cross in the least if someone had a different opinion of a word. I think mine (wishing for and working for) is evidence of yours (love and support).
Devotion is the slippery word. Some are blindly devoted, others are hopeful, but wary in devotion...
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rufio
 
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2003 07:23 pm
What I mean, is that if there were fights in between the rulers or important citizens of any group of people, it would only take a small amount of chaos to cause a large problem, if people were only linked by a congeniality between friends or superiors. For example, let's look at a tribal society that's closer to home - a movie theater or a fast food outlet that employs a certain number of minimum-wage workers. The employers and the employees are connected by a tribal, stratified relationship much like a very small community - the workers provide work, and the employers provide money. But there is no sentimental connection - that is, the workers may like each other, and may even like their boss, but they believe in the message of the movie theater or the restaurant or have a more-than-personal interest in seeing it survive. In that sort of a community, mid-level managers and workers are thrown out and replaced like the daily newspaper. If that doesn't happen, workers organize into unions, strike, and render the enterprise unable to function for weeks. There's nothing that keeps it cohesive, and without constant monitoring, the whole thing would collapse. A lot of tribal societies have strict rules like that to prevent such a collapse. It's hard to make rules like that in the US, since there's so many people.

Sentimental aspects are very necessary. What else is going to bring together Rockefeller Jr. and poor people living in trailor parks in Kentucky? Or rebellious liberal college students and Rush Limbaugh? What else is going to convince everyone to live in the same country with each other? You see people protesting, to make the country better, but you don't see people threatening to make a mass exodus to Cuba unless the Patriot Act is revoked.
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