The Meaning of ‘Patriotism’

Posted by 2 on September 18, 2006
Culture, Politics

Since we are well into another tedious election cycle and are subjected to non-stop political propaganda some wisdom concerning an overused and often misused word is refreshing.

 “My country, right or wrong” is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying “My mother, drunk or sober.”

– G.K. Chesterton

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

– H. L. Mencken

Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

– Hermann Göring

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.

– Bertrand Russell

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

– Samuel Johnson

7 Comments to The Meaning of ‘Patriotism’

  • This is truly an awesome blog, a refreshing breath of fresh air amidst the Wilsonistas and namby-pamby Reformed folk.

    I will link to it.

    Only thing….what’s with the movie reviews?

  • I think the movie reviews would be great… except I really was never interested in a lot of the movies you review. Though, I love the rating system, it only has relative value depending on if your movie taste is a ‘Harris’ or a ‘Butler’. Anyway, keep up the good work.

  • No, perhaps I didn’t explain this very well. The Harris and Butler indicies don’t pertain to Harris and Butler. Think of them as Type I and Type II ratings; one or the other apply to every movie: for everyone. That is, JonathanB would give some rating of Type (I or II) to every movie, and so would everyone else.

    Yes, everyone’s taste is going to vary. There’s nothing wrong with that. Me and one of my siblings agree on just about everything in the world, but have exactly opposite tastes in movies.

    All we can do is put it out there, and some subculture will find high correlation. Hopefully even those that are uncorrelated might find a comment here or there useful.

    On the other hand, stick with us… we may still find there are movies we are all interested in.

  • Well, I’m sure they’re fine reviews, I just don’t see what continuity it has with any of the rather important matters you write about elsewhere on this website.

    Call me a guy in love with continuity, lol.

  • Hmmm… The Harris and Butler indicies must pertain to Harris or Butler respectively, since you haven’t done a survey or correlational study before rating the movies on the HI(x)or BI(x). That is why I don’t see your method of movie rating as superior to say IMDB’s or Blockbuster’s online rating system.

    Granted each of these systems have the problem in correlational studies of restriction of range. That is, people who like Samurai movies are more likely to view Akira Kurosowa’s Kagemusha and then go to IMDB to rate the movie. However, a person who does not like that genre would probably never view the movie and if they did would probably not rate it very high. Thus you have a restrictred range and subsequently a relative rating.

    Still the rating system allows you to see that the average person who likes this genre would like or dislike this movie.

    I see this as more valuable than the Harris index because it has a greater sampling of viewers.

    If you really want to come up with a superior rating system you should do a correlational survey of some movie with a random sampling using the the Pearson r coefficient. On a scale of 10 how much they liked the movie could be the abscissa and maybe the ordinate would be how many movies they have viewed in that particular genre.

    Anyway, this isn’t that big of a deal to me.

    I would support the idea of having movie reviews, Mark, because this a “reformed christian critique of culture,” and movies are a big part of our culture… even a window into our culture.

  • Re: Patriotism. Here is another relevant Mencken quote:

    “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under”