Patriotism is basically an expression of one´s love towards her/his homeland taking into consideration all the circumstances like people and culture related thereto. It is characterized by a deep attachment a citizen of a country feels obliged to consciously acknowledge as a reality that cannot be dispensed with. Generally, it is considered as an inherent spirit that connects a human individual not only to her/his immediate family but to the socio-cultural roots that have sustained for generations the community life where s/he is meaningfully located now and the communal values that have shaped the core of her/his humanity as well. Patriotism is the leading factor that goads people to pull their acts together and face imminent threats to the very institution that has given them social character and cultural identity as a nation. Patriotism strengthens the national fibre of a country and gives its denizens a sense of integrity, self-esteem and cohesive dignity.
In certain instances of historic significance, patriotism is concretely tested and aggressively realized in courageous acts aimed to defend an embattled motherland. It is essentially a persistent power that transcends and overcomes one´s fear of death for it endows her/him with a selfless foresight of ideals that might not be fully realizable at this point of time but more feasibly in the generations to come. Patriotism has therefore created heroes both exultant and tragic. What uniquely stands out though is the fact that its inspiring strength has moulded warriors of impeccable characters—noble defenders of their most cherished patrimony. It is the solid wall that constantly prevents the erosion of a people´s will to defend their sacred sovereignty against aggressors and colonizers.
Patriotism is the primal factor—the most fundamental cornerstone—in the formation and reinforcement of a stable nation. Furthermore, patriotism is a matter of zealous and hence non-negotiable commitment to the preservation of a national culture. In this sense, it is not only in the battlefield that patriotism is witnessed but in every act of fortification directed to institutions that promote and instil in the minds of the present and the next generations the pre-eminence of the socio-cultural condition that has provided and will continually provide them with a kind of national pride and dignity unassailable in the international front.
Nevertheless, in the deep ¨winter¨ of national impoverishment, fragility and economic uncertainty, patriotism hibernates. It is not something that is always awake, alert and enthusiastic. Patriotism is simply set aside and ignored when in the depth of severe destitution and scarcity, a powerful and wealthy nation turns up and offers its resources as an act of salvation that promises a life of comfort, contentment and leisure. Patriotism is effortlessly blown away in Faustian capitulation to a trouble-free and painless achievement of one´s heart´s desire. At the end of the day, it could be plainly perceived that the grand design of the powerful is really to extinguish the fire of patriotism in the heart of the subservient nation now utterly subdued.
But patriotism is not without its fault; an overdose of which results to an impediment of progress. At its most extreme limits, it is a key that credulously locks the gate of a nation and prevents the inroads of new concepts and initiatives in varied fields facilitative of a better, finer and more creative advancements in the human condition. North Korea, in its ultra-patriotic posture has missed and even been deprived of so much of the new technologies the modern world offers–high-tech gadgets, instruments and equipment which surprisingly are being profusely enjoyed by its paramount leader who is taunted as one of the twenty richest leaders in the world today.
Ultra-patriotism is anathema to open-mindedness and spawns fanatical dogmatism and uncritical mind-frame. It is not therefore astonishing to find it an ally of both religious and political fundamentalism. In this event, what we have is a rabid adversary of rationality at least and at most of scientific analysis and investigation. Ultra-patriotism is a defeatist stance that underestimates and stamps off the natural flow of the human creative power; it is only for those who have chosen not to think. Soldiers in the armed forces are generally programmed to achieve this level of stupidity by initially letting them swallow hook-line-and-sinker the motto: ¨Obey first before you complain.¨ And in the performance of their duties as ¨patriotic¨ vanguards of national interests, they instead turned into subservient minions of manipulative and exploitative leaders in government whose interests they bigotedly defend at the expense of the common people´s security and well-being.
© Ruel F. Pepa, 4 December 2013