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Patriotism: Something to be proud of or just crowd control?

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
~ Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

“War does not determine who is right — only who is left.”
~ Anonymous

“A sea of red coats and white trousers, in perfect step, the airs of the Republic blasted with particular gusto, the kind of sing-along oom pah pah of which patriotism is made.”
~ Anonymous

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
~ James Baldwin

“Patriotism is fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone, and as irrational as a headless hen.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

“Patriotism: combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

“God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed.”
~ Louis Buñuel

“Patriotism is the religion of hell.”
~ James Branch Cabell

“I found out why war is hell — army authority is absolute. You are defended and judged by the same kind of people who accuse and prosecute you.”
~ Michael Caine, Playboy, 1996

“The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
~ Pablo Casals

“'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'”
~ G. K. Chesterton

“Many a bum show has been saved by the flag.”
~ George M. Cohan

“Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.”
~ Henry Steele Commager

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”
~ William O. Douglas

“Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.”
~ John Dryden

“Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!”
~ Albert Einstein

“I find it difficult to believe that I belong to such an idiotic, rotten species — the species that actually boasts of its freedom of will, heroism on command, senseless violence, and all of the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism.”
~ Albert Einstein

“No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
~ Barbara Ehrenreich

“When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, 1824

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.”
~ Bergen Evans

“That kind of patriotism which consists in hating all other nations.”
~ Elizabeth Gaskell

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”
~ General Charles de Gaulle

“Patriotism ruins history.”
~ Goethe

“Patriotism… is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.”
~ Emma Goldman

“Patriotism: noun, a nationalistic cheerleading that causes a peculiar form of blindness that magnifies the faults of your rivals and makes your own country's faults invisible.”
~ Roedy Green

“Patriotism tugs at the heartstrings. It is matter of loyalty. This goes right back to our hunter-gatherer past. You must support your chief no matter what a bastard he is. The alternative is being clobbered by the neighbouring tribe. My tribe right or wrong.”
~ Roedy Green

“Patriotism is like the ring in the nose of a pig. It lets somebody else lead you around by the nose. If you are super patriotic, most of your critical faculties are turned off. You are a patsy.”
~ Roedy Green

“I am a citizen of planet Earth first, Canada second.”
~ Roedy Green

“Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, 'the greatest,' but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.”
~ Sydney J. Harris

“Treason doth never prosper. What's the reason? Why, when it prospers, none dare call it treason.”
~ Sir John Harrington

“ A politician will do anything to keep his job even become a patriot.”
~ William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) US newspaper publisher, Recalled on his death 14 Aug 1951

“The U.S. public is depoliticized, poorly informed on foreign affairs… and strongly patriotic in the face of a struggle with ‘another Hitler’. Even though the public is normally averse to war, even with modest propaganda efforts… the public can be quickly transformed into enthusiastic supporters of war.”
~ Edward S. Herman

“The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy.”
~ David Hume

“One of the great attractions of patriotism — it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.”
~ Aldous Huxley

“At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”
~ Aldous Huxley

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

“Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.”
~ Samuel Johnson

“When a dog barks at the moon, then it is religion; but when he barks at strangers, it is patriotism!”
~ David Starr Jordan

“Patriotism does not oblige us to acquiesce in the destruction of liberty. Patriotism obliges us to question it, at least.”
~ Wendy Kaminer

“Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.”
~ Guy de Maupassant

“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.”
~ George McGovern

“In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.”
~ H. L. Mencken

“Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.”
~ H. L. Mencken

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
~ H. L. Mencken

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”
~ Edward R. Murrow

“Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.”
~ George Jean Nathan

“Patriotism is usually stronger than class hatred, and always stronger than internationalism.”
~ George Orwell

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
~ George Orwell

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
~ George Orwell

“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
~ George Orwell

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
~ George Orwell

“If patriotism is 'the last refuge of a scoundrel,' it is not merely because evil deeds may be performed in the name of patriotism, but because patriotic fervor can obliterate moral distinctions altogether.”
~ Ralph B. Perry

“Socrates said he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
~ Plutarch, On Banishment

“To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.”
~ George Santayana

“A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”
~ George Santayana

“Men love their country, not because it is great, but because it is their own.”
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: 'Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.'”
~ Carl Schurz

“You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

“Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

“A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

“I can train a monkey to wave an American flag. That does not make the monkey patriotic.”
~ Scott Ritter

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.”
~ Bertrand Russell

“Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”
~ Bertrand Russell

“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”
~ Margaret Chase Smith

“Patriotism means unqualified and unwavering love for the nation, which implies not uncritical eagerness to serve, not support for unjust claims, but frank assessment of its vices and sins, and penitence for them.”
~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”
~ Adlai Stevenson

“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.”
~ Howard Thurman

“The time is fast approaching when to call a man a patriot will be the deepest insult you can offer him. Patriotism now means advocating plunder in the interest of the privileged classes of the particular State system into which we have happened to be born.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.”
~ Thomas Tusser

“The government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.”
~ Mark Twain

“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let me label you as they may.”
~ Mark Twain

“Man is the only Patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood of his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' — with his mouth.”
~ Mark Twain

“Born in iniquity and conceived in sin, the spirit of nationalism has never ceased to bend human institutions to the service of dissension and distress.”
~ Thorstein Veblen

“It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”
~ Voltaire

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
~ George Washington

“Beer commercials are so patriotic: 'Made the American Way.' What does that have to do with America? Is that what America stands for? Feeling sluggish and urinating frequently?”
~ Evelyn Waugh

“Patriotism has become a mere national self assertion, a sentimentality of flag-cheering with no constructive duties.”
~ H. G. Wells

“Our true nationality is mankind.”
~ H. G. Wells

“Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
~ Malcolm X

“There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.

The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.

This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.”
~ Rabbi Sherwin Wine

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