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Discussion Starter #1
When love for your country turns into hatred of other people's
by Joseph Sobran

War always seems to bring out a certain kind of patriotism we?d be better off without: the 'love it or leave it' variety. A lot of people assume that patriotism means supporting any war your government chooses to get into ? or, in this case, any war your president even wants to get into. Some people took it even further, hoping for an even bigger war than President Bush had in mind.

One reader wrote to me that if he had his way, we'd have nuked Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, and, for good measure, Paris. He also called the Iraq war the best thing that has happened for world peace since Hiroshima?!

This is, fortunately, an extreme example. But it does illustrate a common deformity of patriotism, the way love for your own country can turn into hatred of other people's countries.

Naturally, opponents of the war found their patriotism questioned. Wanting peace was called 'anti-American.' It seems to me that equating loving America with desiring war might be rather unpatriotic, but I won?t insist on the point.

My own view is that people are naturally patriotic. It?s normal to love your homeland. You almost can?t help it, in the same way you almost can't help loving your family.

I was recently rereading one of my favorite books, The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis. Lewis discusses patriotism in his chapter on affection, the love of the familiar just for being familiar. Affection is the humblest form of love: you feel it for your dog, your old neighbor, your home, just because they are yours, not because they are particularly excellent. You are apt to feel affection without realizing it; it sneaks up on you over time and grows gradually. You may become aware of it only with loss or separation.

You can love your country without approving of its government. This is the hardest part for some people to understand. Bill Clinton once told us, "You can't love your country and hate your government." You most certainly can. Many perfectly patriotic Americans found Clinton himself loathsome, disgusting, and shameful. It was because they loved their country that they hated having him symbolize it to the world. Some people feel the same way about President Bush.

Patriotism shouldn't be confused with national pride. Loving your country is like loving your mother. You needn?t feel she is the greatest mother in the world in order to love her; the fact that she is your mother is sufficient. And insulting other people's mothers won?t earn you much of a reputation for loving your own.

And you keep loving your father even when you come to realize that maybe he can't beat up all the other fathers in the neighborhood; or that even if he could, you might not love him any better for that.

America is as preeminent in the world today as Rome was in her day. This may be a matter of pride for Americans, but it is no reason for patriotism. We would love our country even if she were weak and insignificant on the world stage. We love her for many things, but is her power really one of them? I hope not.

That's why the recent jeering at France for losing so many wars was so unbecoming. French defeats might be a topic of comedy and good-natured raillery, but they are hardly grounds for contempt, except in the minds of bullies. And too many Americans have shown such minds lately. They were really admitting that they wouldn?t love their own country if she?d had the misfortune to lose wars.

Our slogan should be not 'My country, right or wrong,' but 'My country, win or lose.' That's real loyalty. It was shown by the New Yorkers who rooted for the Dodgers, their beloved Bums, through the long years when the Yankees were always winning the World Series and the Dodgers were taunted for losing. Remember Brooklyn? Is Brooklyn still in the league??

When the Dodgers finally won their first Series in 1955, their fans felt a joy inconceivable to those who had always rooted for the Yanks. And even today, aging baseball lovers admire the old Dodger fans.

There's a lesson there for all of us.


Copyright © 2003 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
http://www.sobran.com/columns/2003/030515.shtml
 

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How enlightening. Every American should be made to read that and those that jeered at the French players in the recent US tennis tournaments should hang their heads in shame. Thanks for posting this.

Being from Europe I feel sorry for the Americans a lot of the time - a big isolated power often fuelled by fear and ignorance of the rest of the world (which there is quite a lot of!!).

Charming people on a one to one basis though, based on my experience during a recent trip to Texas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i did not know of the jeering of French tennis players...but that is sad--just as it was imo the jeering of Hingis back in '99 in Paris, which frankly i'll never forgive the Paris crowd for...being from America the warmongers are making me more appreciative of other countries--not less
 

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Yes, Europeans could certainly teach Americans a lot when it comes to 'free speach'.
 

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fifiricci said:
How enlightening. Every American should be made to read that and those that jeered at the French players in the recent US tennis tournaments should hang their heads in shame. Thanks for posting this.

Being from Europe I feel sorry for the Americans a lot of the time - a big isolated power often fuelled by fear and ignorance of the rest of the world (which there is quite a lot of!!).

Charming people on a one to one basis though, based on my experience during a recent trip to Texas.
being from europe i'm sure you do feel sorry for americans a lot of the time--

but to say that we're a big, isolated power often fueled by fear and ignorance is most definitely a blanket statement that one trip to texas most certainly cannot help. your statement is inexcusably arrogant for someone who hasn't visited every state or travelled here enough to truly feel the pulse of a people.

not all americans are patriotic to the point of madness. the world saw that with the constant anti-war rallies that literally doused this country from coast to coast. please spare us your haughty indignations and your arrogant "we're more civilized" schpiels! and while i'm at it...fuck you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Colin B said:
Yes, Europeans could certainly teach Americans a lot when it comes to 'free speach'.
well not all sure about that but I hope someone teaches the political correct fascist crowd and the multiculturalist wackos that free speech also means free to freely speak out against their (real anti-American) dogma...

and no, a trip to Texas is not enough to see America b/c Texas is a land unto itself :rolleyes: ...and if anyone sees what goes on with all those soccer matches in Europe can hardly believe there is any civility over there...
 

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lakeway11 said:
and if anyone sees what goes on with all those soccer matches in Europe can hardly believe there is any civility over there...
you're very wrong, lakeway...they bludgeon the shit out of each other in a very refined, genteel manner... ;) :wavey:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DeuceDiva said:
you're very wrong, lakeway...they bludgeon the shit out of each other in a very refined, genteel manner... ;) :wavey:
oh yes, especially the Belgium riots:eek: ...maybe what they need over there is more organized youth sports to rid of the aggression--even if it is all genteel
 

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lakeway11 said:
oh yes, especially the Belgium riots:eek: ...maybe what they need over there is more organized youth sports to rid of the aggression--even if it is all genteel
or maybe they should open up a school called, "fifi's academy of gentility, etiquette & non-violence"...it's sure to be a hit. :p :wavey:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hmmm 'Diva, it seems a nerve has been struck lol
 

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lakeway11 said:
hmmm 'Diva, it seems a nerve has been struck lol
lakeway, let me tell you something. anytime someone comes out with an unfair blanket statement that shows their ignorance and bias...you're right. it gets on my absolute last nerve...:)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
...does that include all my biases toward Hingis :confused:

but the poster was wrong in calling America an isolated power...it should be more isolated in terms of politcal affairs and use of power and is truly not fueled by fear as everyone who has been here understands...but things there are a changing :(
 

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lakeway11 said:
...does that include all my biases toward Hingis :confused:

but the poster was wrong in calling America an isolated power...it should be more isolated in terms of politcal affairs and use of power and is truly not fueled by fear as everyone who has been here understands...but things there are a changing :(
lol...no, a bias toward an athlete is a personal thing. everyone has their faves. but when you're talking about a whole group of people/a country/a race/a religion...and attempt to throw a gallon of white paint onto a multi-hued canvass...and THEN have the audacity to do it while thumbing your nose! well...that calls for a tongue-lashing at the VERY least. you know? :)
 

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Thanks for the article!
Unfortunately crowds often bring out the worst in human nature. This goes for Europe as well as America and elsewhere. Of course things are worse when the country is in a strong position, but I am not concerned about proving that Europeans are more civilized than Americans, rather about how civilized Americans, civilized Europeans, civilized Israelis, Iraqis,... can prevail over blind hatred and mass stupidity. And this is about war, but not only war.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yes, at least i hope so...but isn't that is what is going on with the French-bashing in many corners? Of all the things the French can be bashed about I think being antiwar is way down the list...and again--is not that what all the feminist & multicultural movements are about? collective identity as opposed to individualism?...what is a key difference is Western & Eastern thought is the value of the individual as opposed to the value of the 'group'...it seems everywhere from both the left & right is forgetting this concept...classifying things into groups does wonders for research (i hope so cuz i do it all the time) but to extend that methodology into qualitative judgements with respect to individuals is altogether a different thing...external validity is not easy to come by
 

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gmt said:
Thanks for the article!
Unfortunately crowds often bring out the worst in human nature. This goes for Europe as well as America and elsewhere. Of course things are worse when the country is in a strong position, but I am not concerned about proving that Europeans are more civilized than Americans, rather about how civilized Americans, civilized Europeans, civilized Israelis, Iraqis,... can prevail over blind hatred and mass stupidity. And this is about war, but not only war.
:worship:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
gmt, right--that is the whole idea of the "peer crowd" mentality that causes one to do things one normally would not do--binge drinking, gang rape, violent winning celebrations on campus/stadiums, etc...not sure how to solve the "crowd" effect but surely individuals are more prone to behave badly when peers are doing so where one as 'part of the group' becomes more pronounced than one as 'oneself'
 

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fifiricci said:
Being from Europe I feel sorry for the Americans a lot of the time - a big isolated power often fuelled by fear and ignorance of the rest of the world (which there is quite a lot of!!).
yeah, i think i made up Europe's imperialistic past all in my head.
 

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I'm not from either US or Europe.
My opinion is very similar to gmt's (what a terrific post I should add. Congrats)
The problem is that NOW the USAian problems are more exposed. It's beyond me how a lot more than half of the country can support that government and it's stupid and arrogant "strategies".
And the comparison with Europe that decemberlove pointed could be valid, wasnt it for the little detail that the vast and clear imperialism in Europe happened in the past. It's happening just now in the US. It's all about circunstances...
 
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