| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
“”Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
|—George Bernard Shaw|
“”Patriotism, n : combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
Patriotism is a love and/or devotion to one's own country or nation. It is a form of collectivism at a national level, and that's why it shares close similarities to nationalism. A patriot, therefore, is someone who supports his country; sometimes unquestioningly, possibly ignoring his country's faults while doing so. As you can pick a fault or two with pretty much any country, those who describe themselves as patriots usually use emotion rather than logic when defending their positions. According to Samuel Johnson, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Annoyingly, on the internet, it frequently results in pointless arguments between people of different nationalities. Common themes involved are about whose country is better, would win in a war, invented more stuff, etc. With the latter it is a convenient way of giving one a feeling of pride despite not actually doing anything.
Its more sinister form is jingoism, a warlike nationalism.
Improve, not defend
It can be argued that true patriotism means concentrating on the faults of your country in order to improve them. Someone who truly loves his or her country will not turn a blind eye to the actions of the national government. As was the case with the ironically-named PATRIOT Act, the word "patriot" can often be applied in contexts that are the antithesis of love and respect for national traditions: in a country ostensibly founded on revolution against tyranny, a true patriot might well be someone who would speak up against the actions of the government. If one is a patriot of a democratic country, then that person will not condone his or her country doing such things as overthrowing other democratic nations, invading other countries on trumped-up charges, or ignoring problems such as global warming and world hunger.
A patriot is likely to define anyone who disagrees with him/her on any point of their definition of patriotism as a traitor who wants to sell the country to the highest (lowest?) bidder.
Often, opinions that someone doesn't like are described as "unpatriotic" in order to poison the well.
Nationalism (and not)
Patriotism is the ultimate appeal to national unity in times of crisis. Politicians in the USA have been adept at manipulating the electorate's patriotic appeal to (at times) comic effect. Sadly, for all the miniature American flags waved at election rallies, the ability of politicians to say one thing to get elected and do another to climb the greasy political ladder is unabated.
While some tend to conflate patriotism with nationalism as if they mean the same thing, George Orwell offered one particular difference patriots have from nationalists: a "devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people".
In the US
American patriots are notable due to the yellow magnets on their SUVs, and their support of whomever seems to be the most anti-terrorist. Also, they believe, reflecting Michael Savage's motto "borders, language, [and] culture," are important to preserve a nation.
In the UK
British patriots are noted for not accepting the replacement of the Empire with the Commonwealth and being pitted in a life or death struggle with the Brussels bureaucrats trying to wipe their French arses on British culture, raise taxes OMG!, and usher in a dystopian future where everyone speaks Polish and the country is renamed Britistan.
British patriots have largely disappeared, to be replaced by "Nationalists": (in alphabetical order):
- (Cornish) Who cares?
- English - would-be thugs who are too pissweak to join the BNP.
- (Catholic Northern) Irish - In fact, the only true British patriots are probably the Protestant inhabitants of Northern Ireland. Just don't blow us up?!
- Scottish - we make Scotch Whisky. And invented, and play, golf!
- Welsh - we talk funny, and don't use vowels. Our great-grandfathers were all coal miners. The flag has a mythical beast prominently displayed. When a Welshman says he is "going to take a leak", he might mean a leek.
- Jingoism (Appeal to Patriotism), Bruce Thompson
- Patriotism and Christianity, Leo Tolstoy
- Patriotism and Government, Leo Tolstoy