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for me, patriotism is a loyalty to ideals that unites a country, regardless of individual differences.

Ideals that unite -- that's only the US version of patriotism (also the French); a form of nationalism where the (or rather, one) myth of unity is a (myth of) an assemblage of ideals. Loyalty to a country (or wished-for country of a separatist or uniting nationalism) doesn't depend on the particulars of that country's unity myth.

You also shouldn't confuse your own idea of patriotism with that of all other Americans. There are (still) plenty of believers in a White America, even more in an English-speaking America.

Benjamin Franklin even said he wasn't loyal to any country, not even America, but rather the ideals it represented

Did he say that as a definition of "patriotism"? Maybe not. At any rate, you shouldn't confuse a particular version of the patriotism of one particular country with the general term.

The mid 19th century was enough time to corrupt the thought of the 18th century Enlightenment thought, which has certainly happened and sadly the most in the US - the great experiment.

In my view, the system of Enlightement ideals got 'corrupted' due to its own imperfection -- the concepts of patriotism and nation included.

The Enlightement sought to replace the King with the People as the source of power and legitimacy over a State. The problem is, without a king, what defines the People and the territory of the State? Some US Founding Fathers may have thought that their country is based solely on ideas, but the Civil War showed that some subsets of the People have different ideas about who else is in their own group of People; not to mention the territorial expansion by arms West and Southwest.

In Europe, the same conflicts over defining the People and the territory of the State usually 'ended' with ethnic cleansings and wars to secede or redraw borders otherwise.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 04:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Enlightement sought to replace the King with the People as the source of power and legitimacy over a State. The problem is, without a king, what defines the People and the territory of the State? Some US Founding Fathers may have thought that their country is based solely on ideas, but the Civil War showed that some subsets of the People have different ideas about who else is in their own group of People; not to mention the territorial expansion by arms West and Southwest.

In the version of history I was taught, patriotism wasn't really an enlightenment idea. It was more the name that the people who resisted the rise of nationalism gave themselves.

That may be a local Danish peculiarity, but in our case, the patriots defined the country as the land that happened to be under the sovereignty of the Crown at this particular point in time. Why it was under the sovereignty of the Crown and how it had gotten that way didn't really matter.

Of course, the Danish case is peculiar in the sense that the nationalists wanted to both move the borders outwards and inwards: Schleswig-Holstein was kinda sorta a part of Denmark, but not quite, and they wanted to split it in two, let Denmark annex Schleswig and send Holstein on its way (and/or keep ruling it as a colony).

That created some rather - ah - peculiar political constellations.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 04:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, interesting. Royalist patriots vs. nationalists, that does appear peculiarly Danish, at least in that historicised form.

I would say that both concepts, "patriot" and "nation", well pre-date Enlightement, but the Enlightement changed both. You'll find "PRO PATRIA" inscriptions on the tombs of both 17th-18th-century Habsburg generals and revolutionaries who fought their 19th-century successors. While the "nation" used to be the aristocratic class that had its autonomy under (some) European kings.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 05:10:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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