Nader on patriotism…

“Highly charged exchanges take place between those who believe patriotism is automatically possessed by those in authority and those who assert that patriotism is not a pattern imposed but a condition earned by the quality of an individual’s or a people’s behavior…It is time to talk of patriotism not as an abstraction steeped in nostalgia, but as behavior that can be judged by the standard of “liberty and justice for all.” Patriotism can be a great asset for any organized society, but it can also be a tool manipulated by unscrupulous or cowardly leaders and elites.”

Ralph Nader, “We Need a New Kind of Patriotism,” in The Ralph Nader Reader.
Originally published in Life magazine in 1971


2 thoughts on “Nader on patriotism…

  1. Citizen of the kingdom of heaven, which allows no dual citizenships for friendship with the world is enmity with God. Thus, patriotism is inherently a non-Christian concept. The Anabaptists were right, although they did take it too far.

  2. Job,

    Patriotism is ok, I think, only if rigorously placed under the umbrella of God’s kingdom. In that sense, concern for America’s poor, for the dignity of decent wages for decent work, reconciliation in America’s neighborhoods, peace in our cities, safe products in use, etc all would be considered patriotic issues.

    As an Anabaptist, I don’t think they took it too far. They lived under totalitarian monarchic and church rule, and thus their simple commitment to God’s kingdom first and the teachings of Christ and the New Testament on a different pattern of living made them offensive to those who wanted to keep the status quo. This included kings, Catholic popes and bishops, and Lutheran and Calvinists too.

    We live in a different society today, which changes the nature of our involvement in governance, etc. But still, as you say, there is no such thing as dual citizenship for God’s people.


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