On Faith and Patriotism

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The main character in Miguel de Unamuno’s San Manuel Bueno, Mártir explains that for him faith is not blindly believing in God, but rather desiring that He exist. In other words, faith is not about accepting God’s existence as a given, but wanting more than anything else that it were true.

I take a similar position on patriotism. I am not one of the tribalists who will blindly and unconditionally support my country/government simply because it is my country. Rather, I believe that we must demand, at all times, that our country meet the expectations we have of it. For at the end of the day, the government is nothing more than the reflection of the people it represents. As such, I believe we should be even stricter in scrutinizing the politicians we vote for than those we do not. For that very reason, for example, I am so critical of the Obama Administration. Precisely because I supported Obama, I am responsible for holding him accountable as my President.

Finally, in Grave Error, I am almost exclusively critical the U.S. and Spain (the two countries where I consider a part of society). For example, I often criticize the U.S. foreign policy toward certain nations, but rarely criticize those nations’ policies toward the U.S. The reason is simple: I am American. I understand my country and feel that as such, I have a right to judge its actions. On the other hand, I know very little about those nations (other than what the tribalistic American press tells me), nor do I vote for their politicians. I am unqualified to speak.

Moreover, just as I cannot stand those non-Americans who freely bash the U.S. government and culture — almost always from the standpoint of ignorance or half-truths – I particularly cautious not to fall into the same easy trap with regards to others. Just as it is dangerous to take the sola fide position — typical of Christian and Muslim fundamentalists — that faith justifies almost anything, patriotism based on pure tribalism leads us no where. True patriotism is about expecting more and accepting less.

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5 Comments

Filed under Digressions, Essays

5 responses to “On Faith and Patriotism

  1. ReWrite

    Nice post

  2. James

    Faith is tantamount to stupidity … scratch that, it is stupidity, subjective idiocy pushed forward into the concrete.

    True patriotism is about what? You getting into Rere’s stash or something?

    Patriotism is the best of all possible faiths if it maintains its rational underpinning; i.e. that the blood sacrifice ends in a greater nation. The problem with Amurikastan today is, 95% of the populace falls into the Third Class Machiavellian intellect set … and well, no good ever came from MO-rons, MO-rons thinking or MO-rons making themselves heard. Abject stupidity has become genetically viable because of over-population.

    Support Environmentalism, kill your TV. Support humanitarianism, shoot your neighbor. Save the whales, burn the cities. Stop animal abuse, start human sacrifice. Stop abortion, boycott bollox. Save the bovines, eat more poultry. Save the children, hang the parents. Make love … wait … what? Pay a prostitute and love can go to hell along with Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Mohammed. Oh, and Tom Cruise.

    Stop the f*n planet, I want off ~ permanently. Which reminds me, it’s time for another steak dinner.

    Everything on this planet feeds off of something else; but humanity is the greatest parasite ever known.

    Now tie my shoe, tosser.

  3. eric

    As a virtue, I wouldn’t argue that the standard notion of patriotism is that high. How much have “your people” really done for you? But, I think that it is more patriotic to demand high standards from your country that it is to simply defend its low performance simply because it represents “your people”. That is what being a die hard sports fan is all about.

  4. James

    I wouldn’t argue that at all.

    But, what you require demands a populace that puts the nation before its own sectarian agendas … OH YEAH, I think Madison talked about that all the f*n time.

    The problem is, every society decays, and this society has hit enough mass, with enough cultural dilution, it’s rife for the fall. Fall, and fall hard it will … the cruel mistress of Fate has already turned her hand against us; stupidity has consequences.

  5. James

    Oh, and tutti grandine la Coppa del Mondo!!!

    Azzurri per la vita!!!!

    Azzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiii!!!

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