Friday 9 April 2021

Patriotism no, flags perhaps

A dictionary definition of patriotism is “the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it”. I suppose one could just about accept that if we lived in a democracy, but as we don’t, we have absolutely nothing to be proud of. And why does it have to be oh so competitive anyway? 

I have always subscribed to Samuel Johnson's, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." In my book patriotism is just a form of fascism. And of course no sane person wants to entertain fascism. 

I’ve always struggled with the concept of flags, nationhood, nationalism and patriotism. I’ve always seen them as symbols and concepts built around hate and tribalism. I would dearly love to be able to wear a badge to proclaim my sympathies but have always felt uneasy about such things. But perhaps I should totally separate my political beliefs from the disdain I have for flags that are so beloved by the parochial fascists 

Is identity important, and in turn national identity? I have always thought not. But perhaps I’m wrong? And why are specific plots of land so important? I do struggle to comprehend that. 

There are more questions than answers. 

I am changing my view slightly on flags though. Whilst I could never accept or understand the reactionary stance of the flag-shagging fascist, when a flag represents a set of worthy principles, then I think it's fine to wave one. But not going overboard. The red flag is the obvious acceptable flag. International socialism is a very worthy cause. The EU flag too is a worthy one. A flag that represents harmony and union. Then there are the flags of nations that represent a struggle for self determination. The Palestinian flag being the obvious one, the Saltire and the Catalonian flag being two more. I could go on. 

Of course if we lived in an English Socialist Republic with a different flag (perhaps was a red circle on a white background for example) then I’d happily celebrate that. Flags are nothing without the intellect. 

The jury is out.

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