Patriotism - the Ethics of Patriotism

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Patriotism is an essentially emotional support for the nation, the homeland. It is not intended to have a rational foundation: soldiers do not fight for a country because it produces more cement than the enemy, but because it is their country. Their patriotism pre-supposes its existence — but not everyone agrees with that. Some Islamists, for instance, reject the legitimacy of the nation-state as such, and despise patriotism as un-Islamic. The loyalty of the Muslim, they say, can only be to the Ummah, the community of all Muslims. In the European Union, patriotism usually coincides with Euroscepticism, and may therefore be rejected on pro-European grounds. Obviously, if one opposes the very existence of nation-states and nations, then there is no reason to value a positive attitude to the nation. For the nationalist, patriotism is a virtue, but that judgment is made within the ethical framework of nationalist beliefs about the value of nations themselves. Among those who support the nation-state, there are often disagreements about specific patriotisms. In some countries patriotism, and especially national pride, is disputed, because a minority feels there is no reason to be proud. The Australian political conflict about the Black arm band theory of history is a classic example. It concentrates on the suffering of Indigenous Australians during the British colonisation of Australia. Conservative Prime Minister John Howard, who would undoubtedly describe himself as an Australian patriot, said of it in 1996: The ''black armband'' view of our history reflects a belief that most Australian history since 1788 has been little more than a disgraceful story of imperialism, exploitation, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. In the United States, explicitly patriotic history has been consistently criticised for its de-emphasising the post-Colombian depopulation, the Atlantic slave trade, the population expulsions and the wars of conquest against Native...
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