Patriotism isn’t uncivilised – it’s what makes civilisation possible

Is it racist to be patriotic? Is patriotism, by definition, small-minded and exclusive? When you strip away the onion layers of sentiment about history and hymns, Shakespeare and lawn clippings, does it have a hateful heart? I ask because, as I’ve written before, I feel patriotic, and until recently I’ve considered this to be a good thing.

I felt particularly patriotic at a service in Ravenstonedale, Cumbria, last week. I slid in late and guilty, amid snippy Sunday stares. After the sermon we trooped outside and in the suddenly sunlit graveyard the vicar whipped a trumpet from his cassock and began to play. A pair of starlings began their electric warble, the motes and midges were bright against the dark church wall. Men stood suited, four-square, and everybody tried not to tread on the grass. My heart lifted with affection for this country, it lifted and then it paused, punctured mid-rise with doubt.

  • Dana Garcia

    “You cannot have democratic accountability in anything bigger than a nation state.”
    — Vaclav Klaus

    • He’s right and multiculturalism weakens the rule of law and with it the nation state.

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    When it coming from a party then people should not follow such a mantra because that party could use it in their own version. It is better for people to be patriotic on their own. But the real question is like Mulroney said you can’t tell me what patriotism is or you don’t define patriotism. Patriotism means whatever you wish. The only people preaching patriotism are warmongers that follow the mantra of Churchill was right. The truth is that is not history but using ideology to justify war for everything. It is making ideology into religion. The truth is the war in Libya ruined that nation. The my way or the highway mentality does not work.

    • Billy Bob Thornton

      And for governments that call themselves libertarian conservative like Harper’s regime it is a bit rich to have that libertarian aspect of it when they have built up the police state, the surveillance state, and Canada is now in 3 wars. I don’t think Canada has ever been in 3 wars ever in its history, at the same time. Nationalism in its truest form is non-interventionist because a state would want the peaceful nationalist approach more than the militarist one. Domestic policies at this time should be most focused on rather than the rampant spending done in Oliver’s current budget.

    • Frau Katze

      No disagreement on Libya. Not clear what it had to do with patriotism. It was sold as a humanitarian intervention. The story went that Gaddafi would slaughter the residents of Beghazi if he wasn’t stopped.

      In retrospect, that was a big mistake. But the arguments I heard had nothing whatsoever to do with patriotism.

    • Minicapt
  • Billy Bob Thornton

    The modern Conservatives so-called patriots come from the Reagan revolution of which were formed by traditional left wingers and the main people that formed that movement are Trotskyists:

    • Billy Bob Thornton

      So yes the neoconservative movement was always about Empire, authoritarianism and war and that is what New Conservatism was all about and is still about. Goldberg’s comment in the article illustrates it all.

      • Frau Katze

        I think you’ll find most people have zero appetite for interventions, especially in the Middle East.

        On this blog we don’t agree with Harper getting involved in Syria.

    • Frau Katze

      Times change. That outlook has no followers anymore.