Nationality: What’s Wrong With Patriotism?

What’s wrong with patriotism is that it’s simply a term used to replace nationalism within ones own national borders. In other words irrational bias towards ones own country is called patriotism, however irrational bias of others towards theirs is called nationalism. Patriotism isn’t just an irrational bias towards the country one lives in it’s also an irrational bias towards the citizens of that country which translates into a relatively increased value placed upon their lives, and a relatively decreased value placed upon the lives of those elsewhere. All lives are not equal in value, however the value of a life can not be based upon citizenship or any birth ascribed characteristic, but instead must be based upon the net positive or negative effect it has on the world. Therefore when governments and citizens consider taking military action instead of calculating human costs in terms of foreign casualties they must do so in terms of how many of their friends and family they’re willing to sacrifice or put in harms way in order to achieve an objective.

Patriotism is also a potent distraction from a nations internal problems which inevitably impedes it’s progress in addressing them by directing national focus at problems elsewhere and at the harm others have done to a nation, and away from its own problems and the harm it has done to itself. This sets the stage for a poor historical understanding of a nations past crimes committed against those outside as well as within its borders and results in national identities significantly based on the dislike or hatred of others. Although patriotism has an ability to bring about temporary unity and stability within a nation it has an even greater ability to bring about division and instability among nations. Moreover any domestic unity and stability generally doesn’t last for long because people soon use this type of irrationally biased team oriented collective thinking to create new lines of division and designate new adversaries within their own borders which can result in partisan politics and civil wars.

Instead of viewing nations as isolated planets floating in their own distant and autonomous regions of space and inhabited by radically different forms of life they should be seen as huts in a cramped village on a small island inhabited by one family. Each hut should have a degree of autonomy to run its affairs provided the way it does so falls under a set of basic island rules consensually drafted and designed to ensure human rights and environmental protection. For instance, just because someone is a member of one hut doesn’t give others in that hut the right to persecute them, and just because a patch of land is under, a patch of water is beside, or a patch of air is above one huts jurisdiction doesn’t give that huts members the right to spoil it. If the future of our species is to be a bright one we must view nations in this way and see our global society as a collection of freethinking individuals rather than as a collection of collectives all faithful to their own forms of dogma.