Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Race, Nationalism and Patriotism

Scott Richert discusses the difference between patriotism and nationalism.
Patriotism, writes Pope John Paul II in the same book, “is a love for everything to do with our native land: its history, its traditions, its language, its natural features. It is a love which extends also to the works of our compatriots and the fruits of their genius.” Or, to sum it up as I have in other discussions of the works of John Lukacs, patriotism is the love of a particular people in a particular place (and the place is just as important as the people).

Nationalism, on the other hand, is, in its pure form, something different. As Pope John Paul II writes, “[N]ationalism involves recognizing and pursuing the good of one’s own nation alone, without regard for the rights of others.” It is insular, and not in a good sense; it not only assumes the superiority of one’s nation over the nations of others (which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself), but it refuses to acknowledge or understand that others might regard their nation in the same way. It can also (and often does) separate itself from a particular place, its native land. The nationalist can be rootless; the patriot cannot.


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