Patriotism and nationalism

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Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby SleepyDragon » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:34 pm

I know my topic is a bit different from those posted before :?
I want to ask you what do you think about those who do not like their own country (not in terms of culture and history, but in terms of contemporary politics and people's behaviour).
For example, I come from Italy. Politics here is getting worse and worse in the latest years. Everybody is disillusioned and starts to hate Italy. They say that it would be better if Italy had never been united, life will be impossible one day because of no work, no money, lots of taxes and so on. Politicians care for their own sake and nobody trusts them any more (and I distrust them, too). Furthermore, there will be no future for young people and lots of them (including me) is considering the idea to study and work abroad.
With all problems it has become impossible to love (or at least to appreciate) Italy. What I feel about the place I live is only distrust and I think my country will never improve if things do not change...
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby James » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:17 pm

On one hand, I think it is important for people to question and challenge their government. If they are to be a voice which has an impact in a government—a voice beyond the leadership whatever form it may take—they must be willing to think for themselves and recognize that their government can, in fact, do wrong. Here in the US there's a good chunk of the population who would view such a thing as despicable and unpatriotic, but I think a country should earn someone's patriotism.

That said, in many cases it is very easy to get the wrong idea of what is happening in one's own government/country—especially when those actions don't help people out. Much of that can be born of corruption, greed, or other evils, but sometimes it can also be born of necessity. A government about to go bankrupt, for example, doesn't get to make popular choices. It's a tricky slope. All we can do is learn as much as we can, but ultimately we can only act on what we know and believe.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby SunXia » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:10 pm

I also agree with Jame on this!! I think it is entirely possible to be loyal to your own country and love it without having to be loyal to those who are currently in power!! Those in power are there to serve you, as they were voted in by the people!! Of course they aren't there to do everything that you singularly want as a person but their actions should also be in the benefit of the people who voted them in and others in the country!!

It is very important for the people to challenge their Government and hold them accountable for their decisions as without anyone to answer, it becomes an Authoritarian state that appears to be a democracy because the absolute power is divided between a few rather than one person!!

Jame also highlights another point that it is important to learn about the state of ones Government for yourself, as like he said, some unpopular choices are made out of necessity but other politicians who want your vote will present it in a different way!! It is important to learn for yourself about things so that you can make informed choices!!

Now, for example, the reason I dislike my little Government, aka the Northern Ireland Assembly, is because of the bitter division that ha to come with every single decision!! In fact an MLA and MP I think, recently stood up and completely mocked the Irish language, during a speech or question, just because he could!! There's too much bitterness of Republicans trying to gain more ground and the Unionists feeling their British identity is being threatened by the Irish identity of others, its ridiculous really!! The Green and Orange politics of Northern Ireland is tiring I tell you!! But there are some politicians not concerned with Unionism and Nationalism, like Naomi Long of the Alliance and others but they are often forced out of office by bigotry of others, its sad really!!
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:14 pm

It has always been possible to love your country but dislike aspects of it. To love the country and all that it does is dangerous, each country has very dark flaws, problems and an ability to descend into horror. Nothing wrong with sceptical patriotism and a country's leadership must be held to account.

It is easy to blame the political class as some uncaring, corrupt lot who make things worse and don't care. It is quite popular attitude across Europe and yes, some of the reason for that is the political class fault. In hard times, turning to the past is also popular and so anti-politics and "back to the old days" parties rise. We have that here in England with UKIP, appealing to those uncomfortable with the way the world and country has gone and tapping into anti-Westminster sentiment. The Tea Party in the US does something similar as I understand it.

It is very understandable why the people of Italy fear the future. Most of Europe fears for Italy's future when they think of Italy. Partly becuase we fear Italy will suck the rest of us down with it as well.

I don't think hating elected officials as a whole is helpful or fair. Some will be idealists, perhaps most are at some point, others will be pragmatic, some will be bad people. Like most groups. They have a lot of pressures and conflicting pulls (including the voters) which plays into the decisions they make and running the country is usually complicated in ways voters don't always seem to like or wish to bother to try to understand. I don't think most politicians go out with the wish to screw people over, their job (if done properly) tends to be difficult.

Also you guys vote them in. Nobody forced Italians to constantly vote in Berlusconi even when the man became an international joke and he was constantly wanted by the authorities. Maybe during the relative good times across Europe, the voters could have made better choices? Whatever economic and political strategy is used now, Italy is going to go through a lot of hurt. Simply giving up on democratic system and blaming the political class for it won't help and maybe during the hard times, there can still be change for the better, a better system. Of course, there will not be easy answers however much voters seem to want them.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby IbragimSheripov » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:39 am

Nationalism and patriotism both show the relationship of an individual towards his or her nation. The two are often confused and frequently believed to mean the same thing. However, there is a vast difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:41 pm

James wrote:On one hand, I think it is important for people to question and challenge their government. If they are to be a voice which has an impact in a government—a voice beyond the leadership whatever form it may take—they must be willing to think for themselves and recognize that their government can, in fact, do wrong. Here in the US there's a good chunk of the population who would view such a thing as despicable and unpatriotic, but I think a country should earn someone's patriotism.

That said, in many cases it is very easy to get the wrong idea of what is happening in one's own government/country—especially when those actions don't help people out. Much of that can be born of corruption, greed, or other evils, but sometimes it can also be born of necessity. A government about to go bankrupt, for example, doesn't get to make popular choices. It's a tricky slope. All we can do is learn as much as we can, but ultimately we can only act on what we know and believe.


Highly agree with this, James. Couldn't have put it better myself.

With regard to SleepyDragon's OP, though, I think a lot of that is symptomatic of parliamentarianism gone sour, as happens in a lot of countries including our own. The US Congress is not trusted because its members are seen (rightly, in many cases) as venal, impotent, showboating, quarrelsome and corrupt. They don't truly represent a true sense of the nation's common good so much as they represent moneyed interests, industries, speculative sectors, ideological pressure groups and certain fashionable elite prejudices of the day. I tend to be far more sceptical of democracy than most Americans are, and having read the Federalist Papers I tend to ascribe these as features of our system rather than bugs.

All that having been said, I love America's people and land the way I love my family (and for the same reasons), and I truly don't want to see them come to harm. Most people in the US, even the most radical ones who are most critical of the government, likely feel the same way. The above attitudes are wholly consistent with this, I feel - since the greater long-term harms to the American people are more likely to come from its own elites than from any foreign threat.

IbragimSheripov wrote:Nationalism and patriotism both show the relationship of an individual towards his or her nation. The two are often confused and frequently believed to mean the same thing. However, there is a vast difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.


This is a good point, actually. Further distinctions can be made as well.

There is a distinction in OST between the nation and the state. The nation refers to the body of people bound together by a common heritage, language or geographical context; the state to the sovereign power which rules over a geographical territory. In history, the identification of the state with the nation was often accidental, and it hasn't been until very recently that having a state became the collective 'right' of any given nation of people. With the motions SunXia alluded to, and the difficulties not only NI but Scotland, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and other European countries are now facing, the tension between loyalty to state and loyalty to nation will grow more and more important in the near future.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:48 pm

I think WWD has touched on something important, there is a difference between loving the nation and your feelings towards the state. One can hate the government for a lot of reasons (idealogical differences, a really bad governmental system, tyranny) or oppose much of the state (say, the judicial system) but share the bonds, language, history and experiences of a nation.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby James » Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:04 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:I tend to be far more sceptical of democracy than most Americans are, and having read the Federalist Papers I tend to ascribe these as features of our system rather than bugs.

I imagine it is quite fair to say that every form of government has certain integral flaws. Democracy, for example, lends great voice to the people and sometimes people are idiots (incidentally, this is where Democracy building encounters problems—lend some voice to the people and they just might do something you didn't expect with that voice). Democracy is also far from immune to corruption and corruptive influence as the United States demonstrates aptly, and does not free itself from the consequences of those intoxicated by power. I think a person could very easily take individual examples and present them as bugs, but to say the system is simply excellent with only bugs remaining to be worked out ignores that Democracy is necessarily sloppy in many regards and those 'bugs', in many cases, are going to come and go—wax and wane—ad infinitum.

WeiWenDi wrote:All that having been said, I love America's people and land the way I love my family (and for the same reasons), and I truly don't want to see them come to harm. Most people in the US, even the most radical ones who are most critical of the government, likely feel the same way. The above attitudes are wholly consistent with this, I feel - since the greater long-term harms to the American people are more likely to come from its own elites than from any foreign threat.

Agreed. Wholeheartedly.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby jamesjogi08 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:07 pm

It is easy to blame the political class as some uncaring, corrupt lot who make things worse and don't care. It is quite popular attitude across Europe and yes, some of the reason for that is the political class fault. In hard times, turning to the past is also popular and so anti-politics and "back to the old days" parties rise. We have that here in England with UKIP, appealing to those uncomfortable with the way the world and country has gone and tapping into anti-Westminster sentiment. The Tea Party in the US does something similar as I understand it.
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Re: Patriotism and nationalism

Unread postby teddy_b » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:15 am

These are the topics you can never agree.
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