In scholarly literature and common language, patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, which is associated with an exclusive, intolerant, and irrational attachment to one's nation. As the history of Fascism and Nazism shows, patriotism understood as nationalism can have disastrous consequences. Nevertheless, this book argues that the language of patriotism must be distinguished from that of nationalism. While nationalism values the cultural, religious, and ethnic unity of a people, patriotism is the love of a people's common liberty, which gives us the strength to resist oppression by th ... More
In scholarly literature and common language, patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, which is associated with an exclusive, intolerant, and irrational attachment to one's nation. As the history of Fascism and Nazism shows, patriotism understood as nationalism can have disastrous consequences. Nevertheless, this book argues that the language of patriotism must be distinguished from that of nationalism. While nationalism values the cultural, religious, and ethnic unity of a people, patriotism is the love of a people's common liberty, which gives us the strength to resist oppression by the selfish ambitions of particular individuals. In addition, patriotism is a rational love, since civic virtue is instrumental to the preservation of law and order, which is the prerequisite of our liberty. The question we must address is how to make our particular love of one's own country compatible with the universal principles of liberty and justice. Through a historical interpretation of patriotism from classical antiquity to contemporary debates, Viroli explores the possibility of patriotism without nationalism; i.e. one that emphasizes political unity based on the republican commitment to the common good, rather than cultural, religious, or ethnic homogeneity.
Keywords: civic virtue, common good, fascism, justice, liberty, nationalism, nazism, patriotism, rationality, republicanism
|Print publication date: 1997||Print ISBN-13: 9780198293583|
|Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003||DOI:10.1093/0198293585.001.0001|
Patriotism—Its Merits and Limitations
Patriotism Versus Internationalism
Patriotism Alone is not Enough
“Who is here so vile that will not love his country?”
“You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”
Patriotism means love of one’s native land. Just as we love our father and mother, so we love land of our birth. This feeling is called patriotism.
Water Scott has rightly said:
Breather there the man with soul so dead,
Who to himself hath never said:
“This is my own, my native land.”
But we find some people who love themselves more than they love their parents. They think of their own happiness and comforts before the comforts and happiness of their father and mother. Similarly, some people love their country less and love themselves more. Such people are selfish.
This should not be the case. It shows an unfeeling heart and a selfish nature. Just as it is the first duty of a child to love his home, so also it is the first duty of every one to love the land of his birth. A man owes much to the land of his birth. Just as he grows up in the lap of his mother, he is brought from making any sacrifice for his mother land when he is called upon to do so. Who can forget the great sacrifices of Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chander Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gandhi, Nehru and other freedom fighters who sacrificed their all for the freedom of their motherland? Such patriots are honoured very where in all ages.
Patriotism is of two kinds: the first is a healthy one and should be encouraged while the second one is of an undesirable kind and should be condemned. Healthy patriotism teaches us to love out county with all our heart and to do everything in our power to make our country happy, great and glorious. IT tells us to build our glory on the ruins and suffering of other nations. The first kind of patriotism is good for our country and for the world The second kind of patriotism is bad for the world and will, sooner or later, be bad for the country that oppresses others.
It is our duty to love the land of our birth. It is also our duty not to hate other nations. We must try to cultivate a healthy type of patriotism and to devote ourselves whole heartedly to the uplift and prosperity of our own country. We must not have the perverted notion of patriotism that believes in the dictum : “My country, right or wrong.” Most of the crimes against humanity have been committed by people having this type of fanatic patriotism. Patriotism must go hand in hand with internationalism. One should never forget one’s duty towards humanity in general. Such patriotism as encourages narrow, parochial fanaticism is a bad type of patriotism which has no place in a fastly progressing civilization of today.
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