I've never ever, even since I was a small child, understood the idea that we're supposed to have some special reverence for people who were born in our own country.  I simply can't figure out any way that patriotism is any better than racism.  It seems to me to be nothing more than discrimination.  I also find it a bit ironic that the whole supposed theme of christianity is brotherly love, yet it seems that the more christian a person is, the more they are likely to be patriotic.  Am I missing something?  Is there an aspect of patriotism that is in fact morally noble?

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but how do you draw boundaries? Political boundaries are imaginary when it comes to morality IMO. It seems to me that the only way to justify patriotism is to consider the entire planet your country.
“Patriotism is the belief your country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.” George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is not xenophobia, although xenophobic people will often use patriotism or god to further their agenda or spread their fears. The reason these seem so connected, in my lay opinion, is because they often all rely on in-group versus out-group mentalities. Religion, race, and patriotism all rely on putting the emphasis on those within. Often, an easy way to do that and promote group cohesion is by vilifying those without.

I think there are plenty of examples of noble patriotism. The problem is that the label "Patriot" has been hijacked by these other forces that fly fear and hate as their flag. But that is not the only way to be patriotic.
With one exception: I don't think noble patriotism is any more noble than doing something noble for any other people or group of people; it's all part of being a social animal as part of a group, of acting altruistically.

Totally agree!
I don't believe it is purely altruistic, it generally has some sort of expected reciprocity.
"I'm pretty proud of the fact that..."

That's what I don't get. Why are you proud of something you are not responsible for? It's no one's merit that they've been born in a country or another. I understand being happy to have been born in one of the most civilized corners of the world, but to actually be proud of this... I really don't get it. It's like being proud that you're tall. Maybe I'm missing something.
Lingustics. Have to love it.
I'd rather be Norwegian. The increasing religiosity of America is starting to frighten me.
"Perhaps words fail us and "proud" is not a good word to describe that sort of feeling."

That's probably it. We might have different understandings of what pride is.
Maybe it is because being proud of something is different then taking pride in. "I am proud of so and so nation because of this" is different than "I am proud to be 'tall'". ;)
I cannot say it is a nice word for xenophobia, but I can say I find it pretty damn meaningless.
patriotism isn't thinking that we have special reverence for our own people. Patriotism is thinking that we need to do what we can to make sure that our government works the way we think it should.
Hmm ... interesting subject which I've just Wiki'd ... like most concepts, it depends what you mean by them : patriotism can be positive in terms of being prepared to contribute, question and if necessary defend your country. Especially if you live in a democracy where you have (in theory) some input into how it's governed and rights and benefits which people have fought for? Allied with a genuine fondness for the place, 'warts n all' ? You might say, as Virginia Woolf did that '[as a woman] my country is the whole world' and we can identify with particular groups worldwide but it's a bit like saying we should 'love everybody' ...for most people, their real connections are more limited and their country, or at least their local part of it, its traditions, its language etc, is what they really know and is part of who they are ... hence people 'living in exile' often yearn for 'home' don't they? Even if the home they left is no longer there ... I suppose many people now have dual/multiple nationalities/patriotic feelings/ identities ... anyway this is my way of thinking ...

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