Patriotism is a plague on humanity: Pride in country makes no sense
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 13:02
The phrase “proud to be an American” is stupid, but so is burning the American flag. America can stand for capitalism or liberty, but passionately hailing or condemning it is a real waste of time.
Patriotism is founded on the idea that a nation can be summarized under a banner of ideals. By standing by those ideals, patriots can tell the rest of the world that the place where they live is the best place to live. This is wrong.
A nation is a diverse mix of people—it is a soup of culture, attitude, creativity, and relationships. Sure, there are laws and dominant religions, but by pigeonholing a given nation into a definable sentence, like, “America is the home of the free,” the worth of all of its citizens is significantly undermined. Such a summary dehumanizes every citizen, stripping away his or her individuality to make way for the nation.
And dehumanizing a nation’s people is counterproductive. After all, what is a nation without its people? It is just a chunk of land, arbitrarily drawn on a map, complete with lumps of outdated documents.
If patriots were to somehow justify their overreacting statement, claiming that they had adequately captured the essence of millions into a small idea, they would still be wrong to have pride in it.
What gives somebody the right to say that his country is better than other peoples’ country? That’s what patriotism is: a statement of supremacy. Since a nation is the sum of its people, patriotism is, frankly, quite offensive to a majority of the world.
In fact, it’s offensive to all of it; the people of the nation itself get dehumanized while the rest of the world is undermined and insulted.
But it gets even worse, because patriotism also offends the only person left to offend: the very patriot enacting the patriotism.
Patriotism is a way for people to define themselves. People feel the need to be part of something bigger, and so incorporate their country into their identity. But there is so much more to a person than that.
The idea of pride in one’s country distances the pride that can be held about one’s self, which is the only pride worth holding. Being impassioned about the overreaching ideal of America will only get a patriot to take up mental room that they can use for unique ways to describe themselves. And those are the things that matter.
Humans are only capable of so much passion, and passion for the self is worth a heck of a lot more—in everyday life and in achieving life-long satisfaction—than passion for an abstract entity like a country.
What will do more for the betterment of an individual’s life: looking into his own mind, becoming passionate about his desires and curiosities, or projecting this gaze outwardly onto the nation in which he lives?
The self, as unique from everything else, is more important than a nation. Patriotism is an excuse for the lazy who aren’t up to the challenge of self-reflection.