A Leftist view of patriotism
The Left can't help it. They just cannot see straight. The academic article below by Israeli academic Gal Ariely starts out by standing reality on its head. He is perfectly right in saying that in recent years in America there has been a "more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices". But who is responsible for that?
America has been undergoing quite spectacular attempts by Leftists endeavouring to squash Christianity in general and rejection of homosexuality in particular so is Dr. Ariely blaming the Left for speech suppression? Far from it. He says the guilty ones are patriots! Patriots these days are usually conservatives so Dr Arielya has got the boot on precisely the wrong foot! For a HUGE chronology of Leftist censorship activities, see here
The whole aim of his article is to discredit patriotism. But there is nothing wrong with patriotism. It is the Leftist distortion of patriotism -- nationalism -- that is the problem. Orwell understood the distinction between the two:
"There is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.
By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.
Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality"
So how does Dr Ariely demonize patriotism? He shows that in economically advanced societies, patriotism tends to be low but in impoverished and strife-ridden societies it tends to be high. In a cautious academic way, he draws from that the entirely perverse conclusion that patriotism is in general a bad thing EVEN IN COUNTRIES WHERE IT IS LOW. He does not consider that patriotism in affluent countries might be the unproblematic residuum of an often mixed phenomenon.
So the final sentence of his article makes no distinctions about patriotism: "This study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume". He clearly thinks patriotism is all the same, wherever it is found. No nuance there. I suppose all men are equal as well.
The Israeli Left are certainly a poisonous lot. Excerpt only below
Why does patriotism prevail? Contextual explanations of patriotism across countries
Addressing the normative and empirical debate regarding the nature of patriotism, this paper examines the social contexts in which patriotism – defined here as an expression of national pride – thrives. Combining diverse theoretical explanations, it investigates whether expressions of patriotism are related to globalization, state function, social fractionalization and conflict. A multilevel regression analysis of data from 93 countries led to three principal findings. First, citizens of more developed and globalized countries are less likely to be proud of their country. Second, citizens are more likely to be patriotic in countries characterized by higher levels of income inequality and religiously homogeneity. Third, citizens of countries exposed to direct conflict – that is, suffering terror and causalities from external conflict – tend to exhibit higher levels of national pride. Patriotism frequently being identified as a mandatory political commodity, these results suggest that, overall, patriotism forms part of a less attractive matrix than its advocates tend to assume.
The rise in patriotism in the United States following 9/11 has led to two trends – a stronger sense of solidarity and civic engagement, the ‘we’ becoming more important than the ‘me’ (Skocpol 2002; Sander and Putnam 2010), on the one hand, and a more pronounced tendency towards suppressing civil liberties and critical voices on the other. These different outcomes reflect the long-standing debate concerning the nature of patriotism, conventionally defined as love for and attachment to one’s nation (Bar Tal and Staub 1997; Kosterman and Feshbach 1989).
An overall pattern nonetheless emerges. By and large, higher levels of patriotism occur in countries whose citizens are worse off. In societies that form part of the globalized community, enjoy more income equality and are not subject to the threat of terror or external conflict, patriotism levels appear to be lower. Taking into account the fact that politicians, pundits and philosophers frequently describe patriotism as a mandatory political commodity, this study suggests that national pride is related to a less attractive environment than its advocates tend to assume.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).