Sunday, January 11, 2015
Worldwide, the Left are critical of patriotism. They hate the world they live in and that includes their own country. Most Americans, however, are very patriotic. So Democrat politicians are very defensive about patriotism. Like Leftists everywhere they are not patriotic but in America they dare not admit it. "Are you questioning my patriotism?" Democrat politicians sometimes huff. The correct answer to that would generally be: "Yes". But conservatives are usually too polite to say that.
In England, patriotism has been under elite attack for around a century but it still hangs on. Below is a very patriotic hymn from Britain which is still frequently sung. Note that both the Queen and the (Conservative) Prime Minister are present at the recent performance below in the Royal Albert Hall..
The sentiments are definitely of the "my country right or wrong" sort, which is an uncommon view today. The hymn was written around the time of WWI. One reason why that view no longer prevails is that such a defence was disallowed at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals immediately after WWII. It was held that German soldiers had a duty to disobey immoral or unethical orders. Just because the orders came from your country's high command was not good enough justification for obeying them. That disobedience to an order in the WWII German armed forces would get you promptly shot did not seem to be considered.
The Nuremberg rules are not however entirely blue sky. The Israeli Defence Force has a "black flag" system. If an officer gives a man what seems an inhumane order, the soldier is duty bound to report that and not to obey the order. It seems to work -- but only because it is taught as part of their military law.
So these days loyalty to your country is mostly based on your country being in the right. And given the chronic feelings of alienation among the Left, it is mainly a conservative virtue.
Leftists, Leftist psychologists particularly, do of course sometimes try to equate patriotism with racism but I carried out an extensive and international research program on exactly that question in the '70s and 80's and found no association between the two attitudes among general populations samples. I know of no subsequent research that has contradicted that. See e.g. here and here and here
Patriotism is of course to be distinguished from nationalism: The feeling that your country has a right to dominate others. You can love your own country while also respecting that other people love theirs. Nationalism seems to have died with Hitler and Tojo's Japan. We do however have a closely related problem: Religious supremacism from Muslims. White and Bushido supremacism may be dead but religious supremacism is very much alive and kicking. It too may eventually need nuclear weapons aimed at selected targets to kill it.
I myself don't much feel great loyalty to one country. I am delighted to have been born and bred in the "Lucky country" but I think the Anglosphere generally has characteristics that I would fight for. Whether I am in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Canada or the USA I feel I am largely among my own people -- people like me in many ways and whom I readily understand -- and that those people have a good balance in values and in what they collectively regard as important.
Just a small footnote: The name "Lucky country" for Australia, was intended as derogatory by Donald Horne, who invented it. He thought Australia became well-off just out of luck. Australia is however roughly at the centre of Anglospheric variation so by that criterion the whole Anglospere is lucky, which would be lucky indeed, considering their considerable differences in history and geographical location. But that is nonsense. The Anglospheric countries are certainly good places to live -- witness the flood of migration toward them -- but they are good places to live because of the people who live in them -- people who generally have respect for others, who are substantially honest, who tolerate diversity, who respect the rule of law and who are generally peaceful in nature. We make our luck.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).