A patriot is defined as:
“a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion”
On the surface this concept is innocuous. If the country you live has given you the freedom and opportunity to secure meaningful employment and build a life for you and your family, then why wouldn’t you feel some kind of gratitude? If that’s all patriotism means then patriotism is a good thing, but in practice, patriotism is rarely so blase. More often than not a patriot takes a more fanatical tone; the tendency is to support and defend your government unobjectively against all forms of criticism.
Blind patriotism is the definition of insanity.
“Sane” is defined as :
“having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense”
Insanity is the lack of use of reason and judgment. Patriotism throws reason and judgment out the window in favor of blind faith, and the effects are catastrophic. The patriot sees their country like a parent who has put a roof over their child’s head, sent him to school and bought him lots of toys. However, the parent also beats his child, and any time the child complains about being beaten, the patriot defends the parent’s actions by focusing entirely on the positive things the parent has done for the child. We should give credit where credit is due, but that doesn’t justify or excuse the harmful behavior… especially because if the child grows up crippled by their abuse, then all the positives are wasted.
The more unconditionally one supports their government, the more their patriotism defeats its own purpose. If you’re truly devoted to your country, you’ll want it to fulfill its potential. Refusing to acknowledge its flaws will only cripple it. Sincere patriotism necessitates hunting down the flaws in your government relentlessly and then rigorously addressing those issues through open conversation and political change. If you view the desire to change your government as treason, then you cripple its ability to ever improve. The only thing that kind of patriotism can accomplish is defending tyranny.
Patriotism misses the whole point of government existing, which is to serve its citizens. People don’t exist to serve their governments. If a person feels, perceives, or understands their government is not serving them, then it’s their right and responsibility to change it. If people lose their ability to change their government, then their servant becomes their master, and they literally become slaves to their own creation.
What end can blind servitude to the random government someone happened to be born under serve? If you want the answer, ask any German. Germans today are possibly the least patriotic people in the entire world. To them, it’s taboo to even say you’re proud to be German because they know all too well where the path of patriotism leads. Let me spell this out loud and clear. The Holocaust would not have been possible were it not for blind obedience to the state. Patriotism enables atrocity under the guise of appreciation. Blind, fanatic patriotism enables tyrants. Tyranny cannot exist without fanatic patriotism. Thus the truest form of patriotism is the most critical of government.
Finally, patriotism undermines humanism. Why would anyone value the good things its government does? Because they value people. Whatever value a government has is derived completely from the value it places on people. But if you value the people who just happened to be born in the same geographical area as you, then why not value all the people who were born in the same universe as you? Are we not all equal? If so, then why pledge allegiance to one bureaucratic system? Why not pledge allegiance to humanity? If you truly value humanity, then why pledge allegiance to one system that cares for a relatively small portion of humanity, especially if it does so at the exclusion or expense of others?
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