RANGER AGAINST WAR: Define Patriotism <

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Define Patriotism

~~NOTE (8.3.10): Contest extended an additional week~~

Sometimes you feel like a nut,
sometimes you don't

--Mounds/Almond Joy candy bar commercial

I'm a stranger in paradise

All lost in a wonderland

A stranger in paradise

--Stranger in Paradise,

Europeans, you must open this book

and enter into it. After a few steps in the darkness
you will see strangers gathered around a fire;
come close, and listen, for they are talking of the destiny
they will mete out to your trading-centres
and to the hired soldiers who defend them

--Wretched of the Earth,
preface (Jean-Paul Sartre)

Short human words were like

trying to lift water with a knife

--Stranger in a Strange Land,

Robert Heinlein


Today's contest should be a meaningful one for every American, and really, every citizen anywhere.

Patriotism: How do you define it?
This may be as personal or as objective as you wish it to be. Contest ends Wednesday (8.4.10). Talk amongst yourselves.

The idea came from a recent Schott's Vocab -- a Miscellany of Modern Words & Phrases at the New York Times on defining "courage". Many of the responses were most impressive, and can be seen HERE. Maybe we will have our own contest later for the definition of courage. RAW has a rarefied group of readers well-qualified to tackle that topic.

The contest will be co-adjudicated by Ranger Andy, and the winner may choose an item from Ranger Andy's International Society of Dysfunctional Veterans site. We are not affiliated in any way, but he is a good guy who has come to some hard lessons in life. His website begins, "In 1976, when I left the Army and the 75th Infantry Rangers, I felt like an astronaut on a weird, alien planet. ..."

Ranger Andy and his lovely wife are good people, and we are pleased to have him aboard for this contest.

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Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'll kick off.
To me patriotism is throwing down your rifle when everybody else is loading and locking.
It could also be picking up your rifle when everybody is throwing theirs down.
That's the 2 headed coin.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 1:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


O.k. -- but we also have some overlap in your answer with a future contest on the definition of "Freedom".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 2:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous James said...

From Websters Dictionary of 1828. I think it still stands as truth.

PAT'RIOTISM ,n.Is the love of one's country and the passion which aims to serve one's country, either in defending it from invasion, or protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions in vigor and purity.

Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man in the character of a citizen.

A patriot is a person who loves his country, and zealously supports and defends it and its interests.

Let's get patriotic, and defend the rights, the laws, the interests, and the principals of this incredible country.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 7:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Patriotism is a product of our innate, primal herd instinct.

Its love for one's homeland and its people, miraculously limited by randomly drawn borders, or in the words of George Jean Nathan, an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

Friday, July 30, 2010 at 9:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

I'll have to go with Ambrose Bierce's definition from the Devils Dictionary.

Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

Friday, July 30, 2010 at 9:17:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

To me true Patriotism is the Sermon on The Mount or the St Francis Prayer or the Bodhisattva Way...

I am a patriot because I protect the weak Feed the hungry Speak the Truth to Power and have the conviction to die for my brothers and sisters if it means they have a chance at a decent life free of hardship pain and suffering...

We are nothing but a speck on a dust mote in the middle of a vast emptiness and yet we have a chance to live and experience this life. A Patriot is one who lives to give everyone that chance.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 2:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I like your worldview.

If more people came to your understanding -- were brave enough to care -- we would see many problems dissipate.

Monday, August 2, 2010 at 10:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

I do not have a definition of patriotism. But my dark side subscribes to the 'Circle' theory that may shed some light on patriotism. See below:

1] I hold my family and neighbors more dear than the people in the next town over.

2] I like the people in the next town more than the yahoos in the next state across the big river (fdchief excluded).

3] Even the yahoos in the next state deserve more respect than those idiots in the middle and on the other ends of the country.

4] Even my idiots (see #3 above) are closer to me than the idiots outside our borders, with the possible exception of some very-very distant cousins in the old countries.

My brighter side analyzes this and says that patriotism - or a better description - 'extreme' patriotism equals xenophobia. I do try to overcome those circles and think globally. But no matter, like every American, every European, every Asian, and every African, local people and local events are a thousand times more important to me than those that are on the other side of the globe. Human nature?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM GMT-5  

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