Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Patriotism Is Not A Virtue

Well, at least not inherently. Let's begin with a quote from Oscar Wilde:
Patriotism is the virtue of the wicked.
Allow me to explain what I think Mr. Wilde meant. Patriotism is generally defined as a love for one's country. However, patriotism can be used to promote separatism and xenophobia. It can also be used to silence opposition and blind people to the corruption of government.

You can see this tactic being employed by the McCain campaign when they accuse their opposition of being un-American. Republicans are appealing to the patriotism of the ignorant and stupid to build an "us vs. them" mentality.

My favorite philosopher, Socrates, has an excellent explanation of what it means to be a true patriot:
Patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does and would actually promote analytical questioning in a quest to make the country the best it possibly can be.
So the moral of the story here is that it takes more than just loving your country to be a patriot. You must question your leaders and work hard to make it a better place to live.

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