Atticus is the author of the progressive-right political and lifestyle blog BlogTruth. His experience spans almost a decade providing business and consulting services to firms across the globe. Stop by his blog and say hello.
*It should be noted that the ideas in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the blog owner, John Barron.
Patriotism, in any form, always runs the risk of becoming a subtle form of selfishness and ego driven elitism. Usually its affects are subtle, subconscious, but no less sinister. And in many ways I believe that is the form of Patriotism that has taken hold in America.
To understand what I’m talking about I want to define the good and bad forms of patriotism. The good form of patriotism is like a sports fan. The sports fan takes pride in his “team”, maybe donates to their cause in exchange for a event ticket, chants their anthem, and proudly wears their colors. At the end of the day the Sport fan has no delusion that he is more valuable than the other team.
The bad kind of patriotism, the kind often present in America, has taken on a particular and perhaps dangerous form of psychological elitism. It is highlighted by a subtle, yet ever present belief that we are entitled to more because were born in a rich country rather than a poor one. It is a feeling that because we were born here that the advantages of said birth are ours alone – and to be protected. Let me provide two examples I would like to hear about in the comments.
1. Why do we find it morally acceptable to border a 3rd world country where people live in unacceptable conditions and at the same time refuse them entry into America to find a better life – to escape poverty, oppression, and corruption? Do they not deserve the same advantages we were granted by birth? Why not have an open border? Are their lives less valuable than ours?
2. Why are we okay with buying iPhones and the latest gadgets when we are well aware that they were made with slave-like labor. How can we claim moral superiority when we merely turn a blind eye (and perpetuate with our purchases) to the moral atrocities that occur across the world?
I would like to end with a quote:
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
**Without Googling who said it ask yourself if you agree with that quote. Does it make it any less true?