We all have our different beliefs on what it is, we all consider its importance differently, it's an imbalance of belief varying from each person to the next; but what exactly can it do? Even the debate whether it is good or bad exists with both sides having irrefutable evidence as to what it can end up doing, but is patriotism inherently good or bad?
While negative effects, many of the for that matter, can come from strong patriotism, history has shown that it has a far more positive importance. We can count this anywhere from the American Revolution which granted us our freedom (including the one to write this article), the unification of America during wartime, and a prideful set of individuals who mimic the state of our founding fathers. Patriotism in its positive sense can unify and encourage, even foster the strength for the most daring feats (for example, practically rushing machine guns to a likely death on the beaches of Normandy on D Day). On an even deeper level however, patriotism holds an ability of preservation. Countries around the world, especially in central and western Europe, are continuously losing their national identity to a point where they’re more commonly just considering themselves European (even drawing resistance such as from regions like Catalonia for a national identity). History tends to become a thing of the past in this case; the world modernizes and forgets its roots, practically becoming something else. America, a country built on revolution for freedom, holds patriotism close to the heart and over 200 years old still holds strongly onto its roots. Though politics nowadays restrict this, it’s a value that would never be wiped from our country; It unified us, and even in a time of unrest it stays uniting us.
While saying that patriotism has no good effects is completely inaccurate, it would be just as reckless to call it flawless. National identity, in its most notable negative forms, contributed to Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and similar conditions. While the patriotism/national identity of Americans fueled us to free ourselves at all costs and defend our country down to the last man, it also served as a foundation of the “pure aryan race” and “rebuilding of the Roman Empire” during World War Two for the Axis Powers. While to some extent the term “brainwashing” is better fit, even North Korea can be seen as running on a platform of national identity at least to some extent, as they continually act hostily toward the world to try to “get a seat at the table.”
While we can’t necessarily conclude which it is, to most people there is conclusive evidence that it is neither inherently good or bad. Conditions, government, social structure, economics, location, and a countless number of other factors and context play a role in how national identity and patriotism plays its role and what its end result can be. However one important thing to consider is how it affects us today. As it is an impossible analysis to make without severe bias and inconclusive statements without evidence, it serves a better form in a question meant for the reader to interpret for theirself. With places like Europe becoming so linked that their national identity is fading along with divisions in America pushing half of the country away from their roots, while places like Catalonia and patriotic Americans fight for national identity and pride in their roots, which will occur and which is better? Is it better to be wiped completely of national identity and live without it under other constructs, or should a patriotic country exist where it prides itself and unites its people under the banner of what they stand for? While a person has to make this decision for themselves, it’s clear which made the most economically opportunistic, strongest, and (considered by those who hold its roots valuable) greatest country in the world.
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