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Tony Grist

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The Difference [Nov. 15th, 2010|08:16 pm]
Tony Grist
Here's the difference. You think love of country means "my country right or wrong", whereas I think it means holding my country to a high standard and objecting when it does something stupid or mean. 
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[User Picture]From: airstrip
2010-11-15 08:32 pm (UTC)
But we do that to people we hate, too.
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[User Picture]From: wlotus
2010-11-15 08:35 pm (UTC)
And as a fellow human being, that is the most loving thing we can do...even if we dislike the person. :-)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-15 08:39 pm (UTC)
In both cases it's because we care...
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[User Picture]From: airstrip
2010-11-15 08:58 pm (UTC)
...possibly about our own status relative to theirs.

It's worth pointing out that "my country, right or wrong" means that you're not jumping ship; you're not going to simply abandon your country because you disagree with something, you're going to work to change that.

From Wikipedia's entry on Commodore Stephen Decatur:

At one of his social gatherings, Decatur uttered an after-dinner toast that would become famous: "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!" Carl Schurz would later distill this phrase more famously as, "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-16 08:29 am (UTC)
I like Schurz. That last bit doesn't get quoted so often. In fact I'm not sure I've read it before.

We all recognise limits to patriotism. If a country goes really off the rails- like Nazi Germany for instance- we applaud those who desert her.
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[User Picture]From: wlotus
2010-11-15 08:34 pm (UTC)
I'm with you.

The same goes for family and friends. This has cost me some relationships.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-15 08:43 pm (UTC)
It's natural to want to feel good about those we love.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-11-15 10:12 pm (UTC)
To me it means caring enough about my country to want it to be worthy of love and pride.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-16 08:32 am (UTC)
It's of the essence of democracy that the citizen should have the right to oppose the actions of his or her government. Only authoritarian regimes demand unwavering loyalty.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-11-16 08:29 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. I also avoid conflating the government with the nation/country, because I'm too well aware that the government isn't always (or even, necessarily, often) representative of what the people --- as a whole or in part --- want. It may act in the name of the people, but that doesn't make it an actual instrument of the people. I often find it necessary to say "I love my country but I fear my government." I truly love the US and feel great pride in what the American people have accomplished, but that doesn't mean that I trust or feel pride in the collection of dishonest, opportunistic gits who run the place.
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[User Picture]From: baritonejeff
2010-11-15 11:18 pm (UTC)
Absolutely.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-16 08:36 am (UTC)
"Patriotism," said Dr Johnson- who was not a man of the left- "is the last refuge of a scoundrel".
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-11-16 11:18 am (UTC)
Well, you are not an authoritarian, are you?

Like you, I think liberal democracy is a grand idea. I am probably in the minority, here in the US, and not just because I actually know what "liberal democracy" means.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-16 11:32 am (UTC)
Democracy means accepting that there can be (at least) two views about your country's policies- and that expressing opposition to those policies does not make a person a "traitor".
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-11-17 11:22 am (UTC)
I have an extrememly difficult time with this issue. I agree, obviously, but when a plurality of citizens, most of them old and potty, base their political opinion on deliberately falsified and distorted information, is that still a view to be respected?

Are the people that create this distorted and falsified information merely fulfilling their role in a liberal democracy or are their activities approaching treachery, especially when some of those activities are done to benefit a foreign power?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-17 03:58 pm (UTC)
Democracy works if both sides are equally rambunctious and equally unscrupulous.

I'm reading a book that deals with the beginnings of parliamentary democracy in early 18th century England. You've got Swift in one camp and Addison and Steele in the other. Those boys knew how to dish it out.

Your problem in the States is the Right is being allowed to make all the running- and define the terms of the debate. What you need is some powerful, populist, left-wing leaders who can give as good as they get.
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2010-11-18 11:33 am (UTC)
On our pressing need for effective left-wing populists, you are absolutely right. Our most effective left-wing leader today is the comedian Jon Stewart, who to all appearances is far too smart to involve himself directly in American politics.

Part of the problem is that our baby boomers still dominate the political discourse, as they continue to dominate every discourse, seems like. They had their leftist fling, back in their youth, and have been running away from those halcyon hippy days ever since. Instead of assuming meaningful leadership roles, climbing the barricades and whipping the mob, they are instead still explaining how they didn't really spit on thoes Viet Nam vets, that the drugs were just youthful experimentation, and they really do love capitalism and their country. Honestly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-11-18 05:36 pm (UTC)
The way my generation has betrayed its youthful ideals is lamentable.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2010-11-22 10:54 pm (UTC)
My assessment exactly!
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