I am under an impression that most National Anthems have a religious connotation on them. I am a South African, the first part of the National Anthem, loosley translated, says god bless Afrika help to stop wars and suffering. It is written in two major Indeginous language groups. Now I am concerned about the fact that I will be saying those words, when I know their meaninglessness. What does that say to me, as a Freethinker should I be patriotic, where do I draw the line in my patriotism? Do I belong to one geographically stationed group of humans or to all of them as they are scattered all over the globe? Should Free thinking soldiers go out there in the name of their country and fight wars that smell some religious defending?
Surprisingly enough, I'm an American, and our Anthem, at least the part we actually sing, doesn't mention god at all. Just how beautiful war is, so a little bummer there, but no god, so there's hope.
Just look at the immigration system in the US. A lot of people have been mistreated just because they were born a few miles south. I think that is stupid patriotism.
In our defense, The group that is so hateful towards immigrants is actually a minority in our country. They just happen to also be really popular on other topics, which is what makes them such a problem.
I here you,
I hear you Elon, I want to be Human, but have a sense of belonging to a certain geographical terrain.
muthwa-I think you can be patriotic and a free thinker. To me, doing what is best for my country is patriotism. I often find that doing what is best is not in line with what seemingly hyper-patriotic people think is what is best for the country. I use my values and world view to evaluate whether something is good and whether it is good for my country (sometimes it is not both).
For example, after Muslim terrorists attacked America on 9-11-01, there was a great patriotic fervor and we wanted to do something to support the victims and to avenge the dead. Everywhere you went there were American flags and blue, red, and white ribbons and we started to sing our anthem and say our pledge of allegiance to the American flag at any semi-official occasion. We were united. We invaded Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and Al-Quaeda. Later, our President pushed for the invasion of Iraq, based on misinformation, some would even say lies. By this time, the idea of patriotism had grown out of control. Our politicians had declared that you were either with America or against America in the "war on terrorism." Disagreeing with the government was considered unpatriotic. Many Americans were unable to distinguish between the threat posed by Al-Quaeda and by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. For many Americans, all Muslims were suspect. The average person did not realize (fooled by poor media coverage and pro-war government propaganda, perhaps blinded by patriotism) that Al-Quaeda was NOT in Iraq. Despite a minority of voices questioning and some out right decrying the rally to war, we went to war in Iraq. Unquestioning patriotism is part of what enabled the Iraq war to happen. The war has been terrible for Iraqis and Americans. How much death and pain and loss will America and Iraq suffer before the dust settles? We now know that the people who questioned the Bush "party line" were right to do so. We now know that those demonized, "unpatriotic" people who were against going to war had legitimate concerns. These people tried to stop a horrible thing that didn't need to happen from happening. What does patriotism mean in this situation? What is more patriotic, to gladly go to war with the flag held high, or to march in protest with the flag held high?
You should draw the line with patriotism when your mind tells you patriotism has become polluted by lust for war, occluded by fear, co-opted by nationalism, or hi-jacked by religious extremism. When your gut cannot settle and your heart aches because you instinctively know something is wrong.
It is up to you to decide if you are more loyal to the cause of your country or the cause of humanity. I would not want to fight in a religious war, but what if there are other reasons to fight alongside of religiously motivated countrymen? It depends on the situation. What is good for bongani muthwa? What is good for the religious South Africans? What is good for all of South Africa? What is good for humanity? What is good for free thought? Sometimes free-thinking seems to oppose patriotism. Sometimes free thinking is patriotism...but when your nation has strayed from what is humane, decent, and righteous, in these cases, free thinking is in the service of the humanity.
@Kairan... You have put it clearly. My apologies for reply after some days. Was hospitalised.
Usually, in the States, patriotism is equated to "freedom." If that's so, then it's also the freedom to burn the flag, to refrain from pledging allegiance, and freedom to draw lines wherever you please. Preferably horizontally across the middle of an anarchist symbol.
Patriotism is NO different than theism - the worship of something that doesn't exist. And patriotism should be rooted out with the same vigor we root out theism.
What IS "your country". In EVERY case it is a completely arbitrary line drawn on a map by the latest conquerors of any particular area. You give love and loyalty to a piece of dirt? Or maybe "your country" is the cranky old lady behind window 4 at the Post Office (or Any other employee or group). Or maybe it's the current set of laws - some of which you agree with, some you don't but you adhere to as a participant in a society. Or maybe "your country" is the self-absorbed politicians you benefit from your patriotism. Or perhaps you claim to love "your country's" heritage (whatever that means - because your neighbour's heritage is undoubtedly different from yours). Or maybe you love your country's history - that is unless you happen to be native American or African American, in which case your country's history is one of enslaving and slaughtering your ancestors.
Like any religion, patriotism is a religion of exclusion. "WE are cool - YOU suck" even though you may live only one step away over this imaginary line called a border.
We, the people of an area, form a government in order to do things we can't do as individuals. For that government, who are nothing but our employees, to turn around and demand or expect any more respect that we give anyone else who provides a service for payment is ludicrous.
Patriotism is every bit as illogical as God - more so, I should say, because God is intangible but patriotism deals with REAL things and REAL people in a way that makes NO sense.
Having a sense of pride for the positive accomplishments of one's country is not unwarranted.
Let's see, as for Americans, it would be unfair to belittle these :
1. Assisting Europe in World War 2.
2. Landing a man on the moon. All humans can be proud of that feat.
3. Sending monies & resources to countries struck by natural disaster. No one comes close to us in that department.
4. Being instrumental in the formation of the United Nations. There effectiveness is certainly questionable.
5. Leading the way in technological development, especially in the area of medical research.
6. The Internet. Started by Americans ???? And I consider the world wide web the greatest tool ever devised by man.
So there is legitimate reason to feel a sense of pride. And I know we also have many reasons to hang our heads in shame. We are not a perfect society and hopefully we can make change for the better and not repeat our mistakes.
And there are certainly valid reasons for other citizens of other countries to harbor patriotism in their heart for their own country.
"pride for the positive accomplishments of one's country is not unwarranted"
Certainly not unusual, but I'll stand by "unwarranted".
A digressive little anecdote: in a conversation, my friend said something about Jews being "stingy". I replied saying that was bigoted. He replied with, "yes, I should have said 'good with money'". "Wrong again", I said. Bigotry is applying human characteristics to any named group, any individual of which may or may not possess that attribute.
What part did YOU play in the moon landing (aside from paying your taxes under penalty). Assuming the answer is zero, how can YOU feel pride. It makes no sense. "All humans can be proud of that feat." Closer, but no cigar.
"1. Assisting Europe in World War 2."
Through your taxes you paid government officials to make those decisions. You didn't save Europe. I would contend that, if Pearl Harbor hadn't happened, you would be "proud" of America for keeping OUT of a huge, deadly war. It would make just as much sense - NONE.
"3. Sending monies & resources to countries struck by natural disaster. No one comes close to us in that department."
You may be proud of YOUR donation to the Red Cross or whatever.
But YOU taking personal "Pride" in your country simply because the officials that were elected and appointed did (part of) the job they were PAID to do, makes no sense.
etc. etc. I won't bother going all the way through your list with the same point.
It is that you, as an American (could be anywhere), were brainwashed from early childhood to LOVE your country. But, just like God, the fact that the concept of "country" is completely empty hasn't made it through this indoctrination. Unfortunately you're not alone.
You've managed to shake off God - now keep working at defeating irrational motivators.
"Through your taxes you paid government officials to make those decisions. You didn't save Europe. I would contend that, if Pearl Harbor hadn't happened, you would be "proud" of America for keeping OUT of a huge, deadly war. It would make just as much sense - NONE."
Mike, not sure which country you reside in presently. But if you live in Europe the Germanic language may of been the required language had tens of thousands of Americans opted to stay out of the war.
I truly despise war as it the one true scourge of mankind. Unfortunately situations arise where morally/ethically it is necessary for the greater good of democratic societies to become involved. WWII was just such an incident.