Britishness and patriotism

Everybody seems to be talking about it at the moment, and today (via Dead Men Left) comes another interesting piece, this time from George Monbiot.

I don’t hate Britain, and I am not ashamed of my nationality, but I have no idea why I should love this country more than any other. There are some things I like about it and some things I don’t, and the same goes for everywhere else I’ve visited. To become a patriot is to lie to yourself, to tell yourself that whatever good you might perceive abroad, your own country is, on balance, better than the others. It is impossible to reconcile this with either the evidence of your own eyes or a belief in the equality of humankind.

Update: John at The England Project has also written about this.

Patriotism is not as simple as that. To be a patriot you do not have to believe that your country is, on balance, better than the others (I certainly don’t believe that to be the case). To want to make it better than it is and to take pride in the good things is a perfectly realistic patriotic position.

Which I suppose is fair enough, but then you get to the point where you wonder, why stop at just making the country better? Why not do something to make humanity, or the world better than it is?

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