Essay on Patriotism: Use with Caution

Essay on Patriotism: Use with Caution

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Patriotism: Use with Caution


Patriotism has a different face for everyone. Some follow it blindly, some reject and oppose it, some stand indifferent, and others choose to follow it cautiously. Patriotism is also now a challenge for multi-cultural societies because the back bone of social unity can no longer be merely similarities in ethnicity, culture, or religion. In this essay, I shall state the risks of following patriotism blindly and the risks involved in rejecting patriotism completely. I will also show the practicality and correct motives for following moderate patriotism.

Patriotism is the love, commitment, and loyalty an individual feels for his or her country. In the U.S. , patriotism started after English, Scottish, and Dutch settlers achieved their independence from England (Hibben 2). Later, a migration of multi ethnic people came to aid with the development of the country, adopting it as their own (3). Psychologically, patriotism is a result of people's definition of themselves according to the groups they love and belong to (Bar-Tal 216). I shall proceed to argue the limits of this love.

Blind patriotism is most popularly seen as harmless, or even a goal worthy of effort. How is it possible that blind patriotism, something that strengthens communal unity, be harmful by any means? In Patriotism, Morality and Peace , Stephen Nathanson writes, “Most people think of patriotism as a trait that is valuable and worth encouraging. … They expect other citizens to care about and support the country and assume that patriotism is a virtue… No society can endure and flourish without some degree of commitment to its overall good” (Nathanson 3). Thus, patriotism is often viewed as a commitment necessary for the stre...


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...nc., 1997.

Gross, Feliks. Citizenship and Ethnicity: The Growth and Development of a Democratic Multiethnic Institution. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999

Hansen, Jonathan M. The Lost Promise of Patriotism: Debating American Identity, 1890-1929. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Hibben, John Grier. The Higher Patriotism. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915.

Nathanson, Stephen. Patriotism, Morality, and Peace. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1993.

O'Leary, Cecilia Elizabeth. To Die For: the Paradox of American Patriotism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Renshon, Stanley A., and John Duckitt, ed. Political Psychology: Cultural and Crosscultural Foundations. New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Viroli, Maurizio. For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.

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