Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Response to A Blog About Patriotism

Photo: Ashkelon, re-found Roman statue, standing along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea

Always wanted to say something like this.  On a fellow's blog, about patriotism, July 4th, etc., I finally got my chance:

"Patriotism" is a huge turnoff to me, and in reality--not to mention existentially--it does not exist.  In essence, it's nothing more than kids at a high school raising their index finger at football games and shouting, "We're number one!"  (Or fans at baseball games, etc.) It insinuates competition and divisiveness where there isn't any, and shouldn't be any.  Am I proud to be an American?  I guess.  Though if I was born in Canada, I guess I'd be proud to be a Canadian, and if I was born in Romania, I'd be proud to be Romanian.  I was born in New England, so I watch all the Red Sox games, and so I guess that makes me a Sox fan.  But if I was born in Cleveland, I'd watch all the Indians' games, and I guess I'd be an Indians fan.  It comes down to me being a baseball fan, more than a team's fan, bigger picture versus smaller picture, and I suppose also that means I'm a fan of being alive, more than I am to be alive in a particular nation.  Or, the whole planet is one whole nation, and we're all one big team.  Or, at least, I think we're supposed to be.

I tried to explain this to someone this week and failed miserably.  At one point I mentioned the word "philosophy" and he asked me, with self-righteousness, if I had a degree in it.  I actually do, and said so, and said that I focused mainly on existentialism, at which point I lost him.  I tried the baseball metaphor again and that went nowhere.

Mark my words, in 20-50 years, most of the world will essentially be one country, and we'll all be using the euro, or the dollar, or whatever.  And the United Nations will have more power, and actually be able to use it, and it'll probably be called something else.  And a few generations after that, after everyone is from Godwanaland, or Pangea, or whatever that super-country will be called, people will wonder what the heck all the favoritism was all about, and the hatred.

Okay, maybe more than 20-50 years, and maybe more than a few generations, but still...


  1. When I was a college student in Kenya I wrote a paper for an old school history professor at the University of Nairobi about Nationalism not existing (existentially-- come on, read the book "Imagined Communities"). I thought it was a very clever paper with "out of the box" creative thinking. But I had the wrong audience-- he was alive and active during Kenya's independence movement. I got the paper back with "Nationalism exists" scrawled across the top, and a bad grade :(

  2. Hey, Colleen. How's the new life treatin' ya?

    My philosophy degree is a mixed blessing. It allows me to see the core of a matter without bias or emotion getting in the way--but it also makes me see things without bias or emotion getting in the way. The boundary lines aren't visible from space, is all I really need to say about that. Of course, the Great Wall of China supposedly is visible from space, but, really, what ultimate good did that do?