United States and Authoritarian Patriotism

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In the article Politics and Patriotism in Education, Joel Westheimer made a clear distinction of what it means to follow “authoritarian patriotism” and “democratic patriotism.” The author defines authoritarian patriotism as the belief that one’s country is inherently superior to others and nonquestioning loyalty to ones country, leaders and support them unconditionally. On the opposing side Westheimer defines democratic patriotism as the belief that a nation’s ideals are worthy of respect and admiration and the questioning deliberative overall care for the people of society based on particular principles. Westheimer felt the need to clarify the distinction of the two forms of patriotism because it seems as though patriotism is beginning to be forced upon the people and primarily the students, and if people even second guess the government’s decisions they will be condemned by his or her peers and colleagues. Throughout the article there were several examples of the wrongful punishment subjected upon teachers for giving their children a different perspective and each time they were treated like outcast and forced to reinstate everything if they wanted to keep their job. It is clear to say that Westheimer placed these examples in the article to show how this is no longer the land of the free if people are being forced to present themselves as patriotic and believe that America can do no wrong. It seems as if once 9/11 happened, it was like a gateway event for governmental officials to introduce the practice of patriotism to students. There were multiple bills passed in multiple states designating patriotic practices and allocating funding for courses specifically designed to inform students of why it is good to be an American. It seems as if the author believes the authoritarian patriotism is becoming more popularly practiced in schools is because the government made it mandatory to learn about how “good” America is, and if you choose to believe otherwise you...
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