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Post Thoughts on Patriotism, Nationalism: "God is Brazilian"
Created by John Eipper on 04/02/18 1:32 AM

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Thoughts on Patriotism, Nationalism: "God is Brazilian" (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 04/02/18 1:32 am)

Ric Mauricio wrote on March 31st: "If I could be called nationalistic, that nation would be planet Earth. What a rich fabric of culture our planet holds."

This statement is totally agreeable to me.

Since childhood I noticed that so-called grown-ups reserve the right to go insane once in a while. Growing up in Brazil, I witnessed well-respected grown men behaving like lunatics "torcendo" for their favorite soccer team. Brazilian patriots believe that God is Brazilian.  In China patriots believe it is the "center of the world," even though they did nickname America the Beautiful Country. In Japan they think they are superior because they have Bushido and other BS. The religious Jews and Christians think the former are God's chosen people, even though the Christians believe the Jews will all go to hell if they don't convert. It is enough craziness to give God a headache.

I love America, my adopted country. I do not appreciate it when anyone burns my flag. I love the American flag.  It gives me a great feeling anytime I see it waiving in the wind. If one has a decent job, the quality of life in this nation can be very good. But I think it is very stupid for people to talk American Exceptionalism, since we as a nation are not that good along some important dimensions.

My big gripe about patriotism is that a lot of big-mouth "patriots" neglect to include whole segments of the American population, just like Christians who condoned slavery, massacres of American natives, or crimes against humanity all over the world.

My biggest gripe about patriotism is reserved for those false patriots very excited about sending young people to war only to neglect them when they return physically or emotionally handicapped.

JE comments:  There's even a film called Deus é Brazileiro (God is Brazilian).  I haven't seen it, but one of the actors is Wagner Moura, who gained world fame as Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series Narcos.  Not to be outdone, consider the French documentary Dieu est américain, about a remote Polynesian people who worship an American prophet.  Haven't seen that one either.

Or how about God is Polish?  We could assemble an impressive list of this genre, both the earnest and the tongue-in-cheek types.  (I think the Polish entry is earnest.)


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  • Patriotism, Nationalism, and Scoundrels (John Heelan, -UK 04/03/18 11:05 AM)
    Tor Guimaraes (2 April) might like to recall Samuel Johnson's dictum that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

    Perhaps WAISers might like to compile a list of those who currently fall (or fell in the past) into this category.

    JE comments:  This Samuel Johnson quote, which may be apocryphal, has received a lot of WAIS airplay over the years.  See, for example, David Krieger in 2013.  David wondered if patriotism is often not the first refuge of a scoundrel.  Click and decide for yourself:


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    • Nationalism vs Patriotism (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela 04/04/18 3:26 AM)
      The concept of nationalism has come up in recent WAIS posts. Some of the posts have argued that nationalism and patriotism are the very same thing. I could be mistaken in this interpretation, but the question is to me of some importance.

      Although patriotism and nationalism might appear to be the same concepts, they are commonly used to express the same idea perhaps because they are inspired by a sense of belonging to a place. Both terms are sentiments related to one's nation; however they are very different. Why?

      I have argued before when referring to the Scotland referendum, Brexit or the Catolonia issue, that I understand nationalism to be a feeling inspired by a sense of supremacy often disguised as ideology, which regards one's own nation better or superior to others in some ways--culturally, racially, religiously, intellectually, economically, etc. It is a feeling mostly based on or inspired in a deeply entrenched parochial sentiment, old or atavistic rivalries, and often based on resentment. Nationalism usually means being exclusive, chauvinistic and supremacist. It is a differentiating factor of dominance and, more often than not, it is belligerent and confrontational.

      Of course there are many definitions of nationalism, but I deeply reject the idea in the general sense, because nationalism has been the origin of borders among societies, invasions, racial and religious persecutions, humanitarian crimes, massacres.  Moreover, it is likely the main cause of most wars and conflicts in human history.

      Patriotism on the other hand, is more a positive feeling that an individual has for her or her own country, nation or community. Patriotism is inclusive and not necessarily inspired by supremacy feelings. It is generally a pride and lovely feeling of belonging to a place, a family, a culture. Patriotism is not chauvinist or supremacist.  However, and unfortunately when manipulated by political interests, it might turn into a nationalist ideology.

      Just to finish this brief dissertation, I would like to include some notable quotes on nationalism:

      "Patriotism is a generous sense of collective responsibility. Nationalism is the boastful rooster in its own farmyard." --Richard Aldington

      "Patriotism is when the love for your own people is first; nationalism is when hatred for other people is first." --Charles de Gaulle

      "I love my country to much to be a nationalist." --Albert Camus

      "Nationalism is the rare belief that a society is better than another by virtue of your being born there." --George Bernard Shaw

      And finally, the nail-to-the cross phrase by Stefan Zweig:

      "... the worst of all pests is Nationalism, which poisons our European culture."

      I consider myself to be a good and fortunate patriot, of the several places I have lived in, but I never could be a nationalist.

      JE comments:  Close to home for José Ignacio Soler, the great Bolívar was a patriot without being a nationalist.  Indeed, he struggled against the fragmentation of Spanish America into the individual nations it became.  On the other hand, in Johnson's day (18th century), "patriot" was a term of ridicule.  It certainly was used in this way by the British during the American rebellion.

      Can anyone supply the context for the De Gaulle quote?

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