Patriotism

Liberal friends claiming not to like this country and to much prefer other countries…

Hmmph. This has become more widespread after Brexit. I don’t like it. A lot of funny stuff going on, it seems to me, in those kinds of claims. A lot of idealisation of the foreign other. A lot of taking your least favourite Brits (or more usually, your least favourite English people, since there’s been a certain amount of idealisation of Scotland too), and comparing them, not with their equivalents in other countries, but with the foreign equivalents of the English people you do like.

A fair amount of ‘classism’ in the mix too: Middle-class folk trying to distance themselves from their ‘own’ plebs in order to ingratiate themselves (if only in their imaginations) with middle class folk in other countries.

Jingoistic patriotism is unattractive, but equally so, I think, is the affectation of despising your own country.

Parents who are always bragging about how much better their own kids are than anyone else’s are not appealing, and nor are parents who willing to shove other people’s kids aside to get the best for their own. But the opposite is surely worse: people who put their own kids down and say other people’s kids are better.

My subjective feeling is that my children and grandchildren are the best in the world. I know this is subjective and that other parents and grandparents quite naturally feel the same about their own, but it still seems natural and appropriate to feel that way.

Not an exact parallel, obviously, but to have a special feeling for my own country seems natural and appropriate in the same kind of way, while similarly recognizing that it is subjective and personal. A special contempt for my own country would no less subjective, but also feels mean spirited and perverse.

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