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Big Patriotism vs. Small Patriotism

Bonnie Kristian writes about how Big Patriotism is poisoning America.


Small patriotism is humble and open to constructive critique. Just as we would welcome an exterminator telling us our house has termites, so in small patriotism we can give a hearing to those who see some problem with our home. Big patriotism cannot hear a word against country, however gentle or wise. The best, by definition, cannot be wrong.

Small patriotism recognizes that there are many things more important than patriotism. It is a servant, not a master. It does not ask to be valued above more significant loyalties, like those to God or family or concrete community. Big patriotism demands pre-eminence. It fixates on symbols, ceremonies, and correct language, undermining honest debate. It polices allegiance to the state, sacralizing things that are very much mundane. Big patriotism is incessantly self-serious and therefore always on the brink of offense.

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