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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Friday, May 30, 2008

Can You Really Love Your Country?

Why do people get upset with Barack Obama for not wearing a flag pin on his lapel or with Michelle Obama for suggesting she’s not been proud of her country until now? Why is failing to “support the troops” regarded as a sin?

Because it’s a secular blasphemy to do or say anything that suggests you don’t love your country. But why should you love your country? Most people would say our country has done so much for us that we should show our gratitude.

But what has “our country” done for us? An even better question is: what is “our country”?

The rest of this week's op-ed, "Can You Really Love Your Country?" is at The Future of Freedom Foundation website.


Anonymous said...

"Nationalism is a secular religion — and a collectivist one at that."

Indeed. Thank you, Sheldon.

Balls of Steel said...

One issue to consider is what we mean by "country" in this context. Strictly speaking, "country" refers to a geographic area defined by some lines drawn by government cartographers. I see no reason to love such a geographic area, certainly not just because some guys got paid to draw lines around it. I may love the land itself contained within a country (indeed, I love the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Pacific coast, and the Champlain Valley, to name a few examples), or I may love the people or culture contained within a country, but that is entirely coincidental and has nothing to do with the "country."

However, people often use the term to refer to a nation-state, which is something related by different. People often feel like they have a part in the maintenance of their nation-state, like a garden tended with special care. People truly do believe in the so-called "democratic" republic; they believe that by voting, petitioning one's representatives, etc., they have played a role in self-government. Of course, this can be disputed, but I still think it's valid reasoning (if we can call it reasoning)...just not sound. If I lived in a community organized along libertarian socialist principles, I would probably love it.

I hope my little analysis provides some insight.

Sheldon Richman said...

Your point about boundaries is excellent. They have been the result of a political process, usually conquest or intrigue.

Anonymous said...

It's all just old tribalist thinking..possibly wired into the DNA somewhere.

AzraelsJudgement said...

Come on our slave masters have done wonders for us. Without them we would all be cannibals and running around naked.