Friday, May 6, 2016

Patriotism and Nationalism Are Not Synonyms

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.  - Charles de Gaulle

Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill.  -Richard Aldington

It seems to me a lot of people are using the words “patriotism” and “nationalism,” interchangeably. I beg to differ, as these words are not synonyms. Sure, I get that some people use them as such but, given our present national conversation where so many are touting the glories of nationalism and others are hearing “patriotism” when they shouldn’t be, I think it’s time to clear up our language, as well as to ask others to define their terms.
As I understand these two mindsets:

Patriots are proud of their nation’s culture and accomplishments and, at the same time, are aware of its failures.
Nationalists only tout their nation’s glories (real and imagined) but are willfully blind or indifferent to its failures.

The antisemites who called themselves patriots introduced that new species of national feeling which consists primarily in a complete whitewash of one's own people and a sweeping condemnation of all others. – Hanna Arendt

Patriots generally respect the accomplishments and cultures of other nations.
Nationalists belittle, resent, and are belligerent toward other nations and cultures.

Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind. - Albert Einstein

Patriots are proud of their nation’s achievements, but they never, in dealing with other nations, seek to “achieve” at the expense of morality and justice.
Nationalists give no thought to right or wrong: only to what advances their nation’s interests.

Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. - George Orwell

Patriots admire and appreciate their way of life and, if needed, will fight to defend it.
Nationalists want to force other nations to adopt their nation’s way of life.

Patriots have a sense of “national responsibility.” (Adlai Stevenson)
Nationalists take no responsibility for and give no thought to the effects their nation’s actions have on other nations, as they couldn’t care less.

Nationalism is the last refuge of scoundrels.  - Winston Churchill

Patriots place duty to God, family, personal integrity, morality, and justice, high on the list of their life’s priorities, which, in turn, governs their approbation of or obedience to the state.
Nationalism is a political religion: the worship of a particular state that commands its citizens has no other gods before it.

Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery. – John Paul II

Nationalism is idolatry. It is also the hubristic whitewashing of evil, a lust for blood (metaphorically or literally), a justification for injustice, the validation of greed, and the road to destruction. Patriots hear calls for nationalism as a harbinger of evil and will do her or his all to stand against it.

Or so I believe …

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2016

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