6/04/2006

Patriotism

I saw this quote at Fred Bieling's blog, one of my favorites. Fred is very interesting to me because he is in the military- but for the most part,progressive. (Maybe a tad libertarian?) There seems to be this pervasive black-white thinking in many of the things I read. And yet, we are not readily categorized into good or evil, hippie or wingnut, liberal or conservative, right or wrong. Most of the time issues, like us, have many shades of gray.
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
- Mark Twain

19 comments:

Ron Nasty said...

Patriotism is like a NASCAR race on a nice sunny day. And sometimes, the government acts like a three car pile up on an inside turn.

tp said...

I think one important thing about America that makes us different is that patriotism can have different meanings for different people and only propagandists say otherwise.

ironic that people telling others what to think are not really getting it.

No Blood for Hubris said...

Good one.

Frederick said...

Purple, that's the color, a little Red, a little Blue...

Omnipotent Poobah said...

Anyone who sees the world in black or white must be color blind.

Hhana&Dhana said...

Hhana: Well spoke, Mr. Poobah!
Dhana: We believe we have located another SLF!

Kathy said...

Excellent point. I can't actually say I've met a single person who is completely right or left. Most of us are definitely a blend of ideologies.

Cartledge said...

Putting people in boxes is often fun, but pointless. I don’t recall ever meeting an normal sane person who could be classified by any simple description.
As to patriotism, where I come from it is considered to be the last resort of the scoundrel.

Kvatch said...

Nice quote. Goes well with James Baldwin's:

"I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."

Frederick said...

Relation of Alec Baldwin? LOL

That Damned Jezebel said...

There are so many baldwins...


Good thoughts though Kvatch.

GraemeAnfinson said...

i am not too big on patriotism. It is too close to nationalism for me.

podvizhnik said...

As long as we are on Twain, I rather like this one. (It seems prescient about blogging:) "We say we have public opinion in America. We have none. We only think second hand. How many of us are there to-day who know whether it is better for the country to have a tariff or free trade? The only opinions most of us have on this subject are the opinions derived second hand from certain men who seek to influence us to their way of thinking, and their way of thinking is generally in a direction that will subserve their own private ends or the ends of the party which they represent. So, you see, we have no citizenship, and our so-called patriotism is a patriotism that is employed for the benefit of political parties and is made a party cry."

tp said...

Very interesting, podvizhnik.

There is no real incentive for the parties to answer to us. And they won't.

podvizhnik said...

Of course not--unless you are speaking as a contributor. Parties were designed from the very first (17th-century England) to answer to their contributors alone, and politicians of that period were quite open about that. Anyone who thinks parties answer to voters, or are supposed to answer to voters, is naive in the extreme. The very existence of political parties presupposes elitist consciousness. The failure of attempts to create lasting mass parties in the twentieth century (Communism, Fascism, National Socialism) proves it. From a purely logical viewpoint, the only possibility I see for a viable mass party lies in the fusion of politics with religion. (Alex, I'll take "Islamism" for $200!)

That Damned Jezebel said...

"the only possibility I see for a viable mass party lies in the fusion of politics with religion. (Alex, I'll take "Islamism" for $200!)"

That would not be representing the people either unless the people were all of the same religion and dissent was suppressed.

Instead of answering to special interests, politicians would answer to theocratic leaders. That would not help.

podvizhnik said...

You are quite right, Jezebel. It is not desirable. But my point was that it is logical.

Whether people would all have to profess the same religious creed to belong to a religion-based party is an interesting question. The Centre Party in 1920s Germany, which was based on Catholicism, had many non-Catholic members and supporters; and it was not known for repression of anyone's viewpoint. (There were other parties in Germany at that time that were better known for that.)

Today, Turkey and Israel, both democracies--albeit not American-style democracies--have any number of religion-based parties. Iraq will be an interesting testing-ground; of course, there, sect goes hand-in-hand with ethnic and family affiliation so that is an even more different case. Finally there is the case of India, which is rather closer to the US in size (and contains even more voters); India has its problems, but so do we. In all these countries, there is no inherent barrier to being really patriotic--in the sense of working toward what is good for your country--and being a person of religious persuasion. And none of them have, so far as I am aware, been led by raving theocrats. For that you have to look to one-party states such as Iran; but there we leave the realm of party politics and enter that of monolithic absolutism, which precludes politics altogether. I 'blogged about this yesterday.

BTW, I liked your comment about Baldwins. I can only keep them straight by naming them after their movies, e.g., Gigli Baldwin, Bio-Dome Baldwin, etc. There are almost as many Baldwin actors as there were Baldwin Crusader kinglets.

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