Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel In related news, David Niose questions attempts to “instill” patriotism. A snippet:
Knowing that group loyalty is a natural human inclination, we should consider why certain sectors of American society are so obsessed with trying to “instill” patriotism in us. Lawmakers in Missouri, for example, enacted a new law last week requiring recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at least once each day in public schools. (Note the “at least” in that last sentence—as if mere once-a-day pledge recitation might be insufficient!) Missouri is following the cue of other states around the country, believing that government (and sometimes private institutions) must take affirmative steps to condition citizens, via a steady flow of patriotic exercises, into the mental state of national allegiance.
Such conditioning is neither necessary nor healthy, and as a society we should rethink it. Just ask Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who unleashed a public outcry after respectfully dissenting from the national anthem. For doing nothing more than sitting out a ceremonial song at the start of a football game, Kaepernick has been called a traitor and worse. Or ask Bradford Campeau-Laurion, who was once ejected from Yankee Stadium for having the audacity to use the seventh-inning stretch to visit the men’s room rather than sing “God Bless America.” Such hostile responses to mild gestures of dissent show not a healthy patriotism but an aggressive, chauvinistic nationalism.