Monday, June 11, 2012

Stages of patriotism?

After reading this piece by Jonathan Haidt (whose work I admire), I must say I disagree with his conclusion about patriotism being clearly positive. Here's my stab at progressively increasing views on it:

1) The Curmudgeon: doesn't take pride in being American, but that's because he hates everyone else. Displays an American flag: no.

2) The Patriot: doesn't particularly dislike non-Americans, per se... but okay with them losing out a bit, particularly if it means more of the pie for us. Displays an American flag: hell yes.

3) The Budding But Misguided Empath: feels that preferring fellow Americans necessarily demotes others. Decides that this is not the way to true empathy. Displays an American flag: no.

4) The True Empath: does not prefer the wellbeing of any one person or group over another, but recognizes that displays of camaraderie can be healthy for communities -- and can be a net positive even if it does foster the unhealthy some-more-equal-than-other mindset of The Patriot. Displays an American flag: depends on the environment.

Perhaps most people who love their country also love all other countries and their citizens just as much, but that sounds a tad optimistic.

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