When it comes to our species, we tend to categorize and divide the various groups into subgroups, with whom we establish closer links and develop a shared ethos. As a result, we tend to characterize our actions to protect this particular sub-sect as patriotism. That’s only natural and is more of an offshoot of our shared genetic heritage. In simple terms, we are hardwired to be patriotic towards our particular grouping or in most cases, towards the singular identity with which we seek to tag ourselves, as in American, English, Italian, etc. But this feeling of patriotism has undergone a change ever since the terrorist attacks on US, China, Russia, India over the course of the last few years. That’s why it is time that we took a closer look at some of the positive and negative effects of patriotism.
Positive impact of patriotism:
- Identity: It enables us to identify closely with the group to which we belong to the point that we soon seek to develop closer ties with this particular grouping. And by displaying patriotic thoughts, actions in defense of this grouping may enable you to develop closer ties with others who belong to the same subset. Moreover, being patriotic towards, say your nation can embolden you and make you more confident enough to do all you can to both protect and serve your nation.
- Loyalty: The one trait that underscores any act of patriotism is the act of loyalty. While no one is mandatorily forced to take any loyalty pledge to their nation, their acts in the defense of the said nation are deemed patriotic. Loyalty is the most singular trait that underscores all patriotic acts and one that can help us develop a better relationship with our country and bond with others.
- Self-esteem: It should also be pointed out that patriotic acts often require acts of courage, valor and even sacrifice and as such, those performing these acts are acknowledged as patriots. The very fact that you have been patriotic towards your nation should help build your sense of self-worth and esteem.
Negative impact of patriotism:
- Exclusivity: Patriotism or nationalism can seek to divide people; the exclusivity principle is what defines patriotism to the point where you are required to put the interests of your group above all else. For example, let’s assume that you are an American and you would naturally want to put the interests of your country above that of, say Russia – that’s the exclusivity principle.
- Violence: when one grouping is attacked, this can result in others belonging to that group, attacking innocent bystanders who share a similar racial profile with that of the terrorist. Recently, an Indian software worker was shot dead at a bar by a local because he had a similar demographic appearance to those from the Middle East. Patriotism if not checked and regulated, can lead to unnecessary violence and bloodshed.
- Racial profiling: Ever since the terrorist attacks on US soil, the US government in order to crackdown on terrorists, had started racial profiling. In other words, if you are in the US and are traveling by flight, then chances are high that you will be forced to undergo checks and even additional security protocols before you are allowed back on the plane. And all of this is done because you share a similar racial profile with those terrorists. Recently, news of profiling on the basis of the last name has also been identified as a trigger for extra security checks.
- Racist attacks: While patriotism as a whole is a positive emotion as it can help you bond with your nation, it can also soon degenerate into an of control racial attack. Hitter and Germany before the beginning of the Second World War is the perfect example of the same. As a result, if his animosity towards Jews, Hitler designed the final solution and holocaust was born.
These are some of the positive and negative effects of patriotism, and it should be pointed out that most nations face great challenges and they all need a healthy dose of patriotism to survive; it is essential and a trait that all citizens must share equally. But it should also be pointed out that patriotism or its acts, comes with its own baggage and that you need to take care that your love for your nation does not cause you to commit inhuman acts a Hitler did.
- positive and negative effects of nationalism