There is a very funny column in The Sunday Standard called Loose Canon, the writer is not identified. I read the column every week. This last Sunday he wrote about Batswana who have entered the Big Brother House. His point was people like to complain that they don't represent the country well. He tried to make a case that the Botswana housemates are actually excellent reflections of us, but we just don't like what we're seeing in the mirror. I tend to agree, but that is not why I'm writing this. He says some Batswana say Big Brother must be patriotic and choose people not like us so they don't embarrass us on international TV.
Then he goes on to say, "I am not a patriot. I consider myself a citizen who just happened to be born here. I don't like the idea of patriotism it has a whiff of the irrational around it.....In other words, patriots are idiots who cannot think for themselves."
I've always been slightly scared of patriotism. It is a bit like culture, pulled out when a person wants to win an argument. If you say something another person doesn't like but they have no strong argument to counter you with, they say, "Well that's very unpatriotic." It's a good "shut-up, I win" way to argue. Depending on the country it can be very effective. Batswana are pretty patriotic folk so it can work occasionally; do it in America and you win hands down.
What do you think? Is patriotism irrational and the realm of idiots?