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Patriotism - Explain the psychology

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by WaylonJennings, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. People hate their jobs.

    They hate their local newspaper.

    They hate the food at the local cafeteria.

    They absolutely fucking hate their hometowns, at least they say so.

    But when it comes to the red, white & blue, they often act like you're talking about their momma.

    Can someone explain how otherwise cynical Americans get so caught up in who's more patriotic, who supports the troops, who repects the flag, who should either "love it or leave it," etc., etc., etc.

    It just doesn't fit to me.

    I know that this thread will probably be locked before long, but I'm really curious.
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Since before the beginning of this country, people have laid down their lives in defense of an ideal. Or a set of ideals. Maybe it meant more to them than it does to some of us today, but it seems to me the passion many of us feel about our country is bound up, a lot, in that.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are pretty stout documents that we haven't always lived up to but we've mostly been going in the right direction.

    Loving your country is great.

    Thinking all other countries suck is bad.
  4. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    For me, the U.S. is a representation of so much that actually means something. I can be who I want, what I want, how I want and when I want. And while these freedoms are exactly free, they meant enough to me to be willing to raise my hand and take an oath.

    I'm an idealist and an optimist, so my rants and raves here aren't meant necessarily as personal attacks but exhortations for us to be better and do better.

    Kind of like my pride in my ship and the Navy. The ship provided my home, my well-being, my protection, my reason for being in the Navy. As such, I have a love for it that's hard to describe. But individuals on the ship would sometimes drive me to exasperation for their petty behavior and attitudes. Kind of like a tough love, situation.

    That, unfortunately, is the best I can do to explain it.

    America, for all its faults, is still the best country and I simply cannot envision NOT being an American.
  5. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Well put, although not everyone who has that abundance of love and pride in America do it at the degredation of other nations. Canada is a cool place and I wouldn't mind living there for a time. But it's like being a Longhorn in a six-generation UT family. You simply can't envision any place being as good as home.
  6. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    Patriotism is wonderful when it inspires you to love your fellow countrymen, but it's not so wonderful when it yields to a jingoistic sort of nationalism.
  7. Understand that I don't think it's wrong to love your country.

    I just find it at odds with the distrust people look at almost every single other institution in their life with.
  8. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    Part of the reason-

    Lack of community and identity. Sense of community is a fundamental human need. We often don't like admitting this in our individualistic culture, but humans are pack animals. Post-industrial capitalism offers very little sense of community. Doing nothing with one's life but working and consuming is an awfully desultory existence unless you're lucky enough to have a fulfilling family life. Most of us are cut off from our histories and cultures. We're encouraged to define ourselves through our consumer patterns- a lunatic notion that muddles rather than solves the problem of personal identity.

    Lacking community, refusing to admit our interdependence, lacking a grounded sense of identity, people are eager to pick up on anything that will give them a sense of self and belonging. This is particularly true for those who lack the disposable income to define themselves through patterns of consumption, as the more affluent are largely content to do.

    So we're particularly vulnerable to ersatz communities and identities since so many of us lack real ones. Buying a magnetic car ribbon, for some, fills a kind of void. Not saying this is the main motivation behind superficial patriotism, but it's part of it.

    On a related point, a frustrating thing to me is that we don't distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. The above posts tell me I'm not alone in my frustration. Patriotism- love for one's country, pride, desire to improve and build a better country- is positive. Nationalism- xenophobia, militarism, hostility to internal dissent- is negative. We don't even try to make this distinction any more. Pretty frustrating, since there are instances in which patriotism and nationalism are clearly at odds with each other.
  9. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    WI....that thinking -- the need to belong -- is actually what drives an incredible number of people who join the military. So many veterans, myself included, felt like they were more cared for by their military family than in any other job they've had.
  10. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    Good post, wi. I think that our patriotism and nationalism are almost always at odds. The U.S. sees itself as a sort of world moral arbiter, which of course gets us into trouble, because we'd like to impose our values on others. I'm not much of a world traveler, but I think this sort of conflict is magnified for us because of our perceived role in the world.
  11. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.
    -- Sinclair Lewis
  12. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Which is probably why there's a lot of people who have disdain for organized religion. Our freedoms versus our religion has long been a tough fight.
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