Two Types of Patriotism
The Good and Bad
To be proud of your country is a good thing. Who said it wasn't? After all, when you are born and raised in that country or born elsewhere and immigrated to the next one, pride in your home has a profound psychological impact on your psyche. You contribute by paying your taxes, work, and build up a life that can be a positive addition to the community on a big scale. But one question remains: how much patriotism is too much? To answer this, I find there are two different types of patriotism that must be looked at to determine how much is too much and can be seen as detrimental.
Let's take a look at the good form of patriotism. Like I mentioned earlier, being proud of your country is good. You are part of something big, you help contribute to the country's grand master plan of future development and interaction in global affairs. There are different types of good patriotism. For example, if your share ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic traits with fellow citizens, your sense of belonging is incredibly strong. This is particularly noticeable in homogenous countries. In newer countries with an extensive background in immigration, the fact that you have this background with millions of others is another reason to be patriotic. People have left their homeland for a variety of reasons. The one aspect that dominates all is the notion of finding a better place to raise your family and ensure stability for future generations. Your new home can instill a sense of patriotism in you and help you make the transition easier to manage.
In democratic nations, we have institutions and agencies that safeguard sacred inalienable rights thanks to the monumental and groundbreaking movement of the enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries that gave birth to revolutionary beliefs. In democratic countries, we determine who runs the country, province and local/municipal governments and who are allowed to make critical decisions for our benefit. We, as citizens, have, indeed, lots of power to make these moves because our constitution and institutions deem them as essential to our livelihoods. We can be proud of that. This is what makes a country strong and powerful. It is also important to be accepting, equal, and tolerant so more people can have a share of the bounty. The more that people contribute, the more powerful and united the country becomes. We can be proud of this too. As citizens, we must see the bigger picture and look after each other. Making charitable donations, volunteering, and being proactive are good examples. There are people who aren't as fortunate as others for many reasons, and for some, tragic accidents have brought them into despair and sadness. Helping them to get back on their feet is a key instrument for the betterment of ourselves and imperative for the community's everyday routine.
To criticize your own country is good too. If something is wrong and needs reform, it must be undertaken until the problem disappears. We have the right to rise up, demonstrate and take part in grassroots and mass protests to weed out the issue until it's no longer there. Massive social, economic and political problems must be handled cohesively and directly so it doesn't cause massive problems with our society. If it doesn't get taken care of or it is ignored, everybody will feel the pinch sooner or later. That's why we must not settle for being satisfactory. Always strive for the bigger goal for the wellbeing of all communities. Raising your voice, critiquing and opposing in a fair and just manner can and will move mountains.
Let's take a good look at bad patriotism, shall we? Bad patriotism is a scary, long and dark rabbit hole. It can lead and had led people to become more dangerously nationalistic and even jingoistic (yellow journalism and war-mongering) where in the beginning of the twentieth century and before, many European and world nations believed one was superior over the other and to prove it, they will demonstrate their ferocity on the battlefield. Nationalism can lead to warfare, not only internationally but also domestically. Nationalism is a toxic tool that can lead to painful racism, inequality, discrimination and pure hatred towards people who don't fit in to the nation's long-term plans according to radical and extremist groups. Saying, "you don't belong here," or "go back to where you came from," are pristine examples of volatile behavior that must be stamped out before it becomes a raging wildfire. These are intimidation tactics that can escalate quickly if not dealt with appropriately. Spreading lies and conspiracy theories are other toxic tools that are used often by disgruntled people to assert dominance due to false thinking. In essence, fear is their greatest enemy that corrupted their minds and forced them to think about certain things that others don't. Examples of this is the belief that immigrants are here to steal their jobs, take away their culture and language, eliminate the white race or any race for that matter. Another reason can be envy. It can grow in a person like a fungus who isn't economically well off as opposed to an immigrant who was more successful within a short period of time. Troubling groups use nationalism to also make claims of genetic purity and superiority to push their agendas and gather more support from others who feel similar. They exclude others they deem to be unfit due to their skin color, cultural, linguistic and ethnic heritage which has happened for centuries in many parts of the world. This kind of overwhelming patriotism is a sick and vicious cancer that has costed the lives of countless people and plunged the country into darkness.
Bad patriotism has seen a rise in popularity across the world. Its cousin of populism has been the desired choice of many questionable and controversial world leaders in the past ten years. They used their agendas to discredit, intimidate and even disenfranchise their opposition to get the upper hand. They rally their forces and spread falsehoods to trick their forces into believing they're fighting a noble cause. In essence, they use fear to manipulate the population. This has been happening all over the world and it seems to be getting worse as far as I can see it.
I can safely say that almost every country has good and bad patriotism. Why? I find that people are biased, everyone is actually. Even me. Bias can develop into a ferocious monster if it isn't checked. Having control over it will give you inner-peace which will not only help you, but also others around you. If you know the difference between good and bad patriotism, then you are in a good spot. If you don't, it isn't too late to correct yourself.
About the author
I think expressing yourself in fundamental and categorical topics help create a more transparent, concise, and educational environment. For me, I like to explain key issues that dominate current events in society and encourage dialogue.