When I was a young boy, I assumed, very naturally, that I was extremely patriotic. Singing the national song and national anthem gave me goose bumps (it does even now), and the very idea of dying for one’s country was a heroic and romantic notion, something I thought I would do without hesitating for a moment. But then I ‘grew up’.
The unfortunate consequence of ‘growing up’ is that you are no longer innocent. You know more than what normally appears. [I put 'growing up' in quotes because not everyone who lives longer actually grows up. Most people, I realize, stop growing at around 16 or 17. They carry their prejudices from then on defending them for the rest of their lives.]
Now, I realize that there are two versions of patriotism. The first is the love of one’s homeland, which is natural to most people. We are nostalgic and have an attachment towards one’s origins; either it is a place of birth, or the times when we were young. We reminisce the moments of the past with longing and feel attached to them.
Almost every human being will try to protect one’s home against onslaught of the invaders. One’s home could be just one’s house, one’s street, one’s village, one’s district, one’s region, one’s state, one’s country, or one’s planet. The definition of home itself changes depending on who the invader is. If the neighbor tried to encroach upon what rightfully belongs to you, your home is just your house and you fight for it. But when aliens invade us, then our home is our planet and we fight for the planet.
If the definition of patriotism is love of one’s home and feeling to defend it from the invaders, then it is completely natural to most human beings to be patriotic. I think I am a patriot from this definition. I take pride in fighting for my people as long as I think it is a fight for justice. I also feel that I should express solidarity with those who fight for their people as long as I think it is a fight for justice.
However, if patriotism is the feeling that my country is the greatest and that it can never do anything wrong, then it is based in sheer arrogance coming out of absolute ignorance. It is this arrogance based in ignorance that makes me think that my nation, my religion, my race is the greatest just because I am born into it. I am NOT this kind of a patriot.