Good Citizenship. Not Patriotism

Categories Opinion

Let me say it clearly in the beginning itself. Patriotism is an outdated concept that is quite out of place in current era of global citizenship. The sentiment to passionately and, if need be, violently defend one’s motherland is a eighteenth and nineteenth century concept, at best, applicable to the first half of twentieth. But in this century, it is only an ideological baggage that encourages divisiveness.

The stress on patriotism in our times is misplaced. The discourse should be about good citizenship. But as someone said we are obsessed with patriotism as all it takes is a truckload of emotions. Being a good citizen takes a lot more. A good citizen has to respect a fellow citizen, has to respect the law of the land (any land that he lives on) and has to fulfill the duties that a particular nationality brings.

A patriot, on the other hand, has to love the country of his birth, vocally, visibly and in a forever biased manner. Patriotism as a concept is like a stiff collar in today’s fluid world with porous borders.

Let’s say you are an Indian educated in US, working and settled in Singapore and married to a Malaysian. Very possible in today’s days and age. Which country can make the most forceful demands on his patriotism pie?

Patriotism is a hypernational negative emotion. Love your country more than any other, love your version of nation over other’s, maintain geographical and ideological integrity etc etc. Good citizenship, on the other hand, has only one premise – positive action.

Let’s change the discourse.