The good sides of patriotism
One of the holy and beautiful emotion in our lives is love. Love of one’s country , namely patriotism is a kind of love which also supposed to be holy and fundamental. Most of us believed that this feeling comes from our birth and it is a feeling that you cannot seperate it from your other feelings. It means that, how you love your mother, friends unconsciously, you love your country unconsciously, too. Also the acceptable patriots are moderate patriots who leaves behind the distortions of extremism and unite us in the pursuit of a more peaceful world.
Tolstoy believes that patriotism is produced by government,it conflicts with morality and it leads to war. However I don’t agree with Tolstoy since patriotism is a natural feeling, it is not incompatible with morality and it is not supposed to be the root of war. Love of one’s country, patriotism is not a valid case of love. Firstly,it has been asserted that patriotism is an abdication of human dignity and equality. In the text written by Stephen Nathanson, Tolstoy says that, patriots aim at benefiting their own country or nation at the expense of every other (103).
Also he thinks that patriotism is the exclusive desire for the well being of one’s own people (103). It breaks down the moral principles by requiring special duties toward our own citizens. Moreover, Tolstoy argues that patriotism is incompatible with the fundamental nature of morality and so it must be condemned by any person who aspires to live a moral life (104). Secondly, today leaders and rulers use it to attain their ambitions. Tolstoy implies that patriotism is produced by the public relation efforts of the government and those who benefit from it (104).
Lastly, patriotism leads to war by its connection with aggressive attitudes. Tolstoy claims that war is the inevitable consequence of patriotism (106). If one wants to destroy war, one should destroy patriotism. On the other hand patriotism does not conflict with morality. When we think about our situation in our country, explicitly we are debtor to our country and morality requires paying off our debts. Moreover nobody even governments or leaders is able to insert this feeling into us, it is embedded in human nature. At the same time patriotism cannot be the root of war,the basic reason of wars is the ambitions of greedy leaders.
To begin with, in contrast with Tolstoy’ s ideas, there is not any incompatiblity and conflict between patriotism and morality. According to Tolstoy, patriotism is the exclusive desire for the well being of one’s own people (103). However, it does not reflect the aim and right meaning of patriotism. Patriots don’t have any desire like that the foreign people should live in worse conditions than themselves. As the writer says, moderate patriotism may differ from popular images of patriotism, but it is true to the idea that love of country is the essence of patriotism (111).
That is right, love of one’s country is actual meaning of patriotism. Tolstoy claims that patriots want their own country to benefit at the expense of other countries (103). This claim cannot be acceptable because nobody has a right to qualify all patriots like this. Furthermore, people who are really patriots don’t try to benefit their own country at the expense of other countries. Real patriots meanly who are moderate patriots are not dealing with how they can damage or harm other countries to get profit for their country.
According to writer by accepting appropriate moral constraints on the actions that are motivated by love of country, moderate patriotism defines itself as a morally legitimate and acceptable ideal (111). I agree with the writer since moderate patriotism never conflicts with moral principles unless it becomes extreme patriotism. Tolstoy says that patriotism is exactly at variance with the fundamental moral law (103). In contrast with the Tolstoy’s thoughts, the moral law requires loving your counrty and studying hard to make it developed.
It is obvious that you are debtor to your counrty since whatever condition you live in, your country and its laws provide these to you. Morality requires to pay off your debts. So if one critisizes patriotism according to moral laws, to pay off the debt everyone should try to make their countries developed and also leaders should provide better conditions to their citizens. Tolstoy implies that patriots ought to treat their own citizens better than thet treat other people (103). In fact, patriotism is not a feeling that requires to treat badly whose nationality are different from the one’s have.
For instance think about relationships with your friends. If you have a best friend, does it mean that you don’t like your other friends and treat them badly? Of course the answer is no. Your best friend just like your own country is special for you. You have different feelings for it and this is the case that makes your best friend or country special. Secondly, it is not rational that patriotism is a kind of feeling used by rulers to attain their ambitions. According to Tolstoy, patriotism is produced by the public relation efforts of the government and those who benefit from it (104).
However Tolstoy overlooks the truth that patriotism is a natural feeling which is deeply embedded in human nature. Nobody is able to insert this feeling into someone’s heart by force. Tolstoy says that the function of patriotism is to maintain the power of those who rule (105). In some cases it is logical. A part of politicians unfortunately use patriotism to get more votes from the public. In fact they don’t think about the effects of it, their only aim is to become a president or a parliamentarian. Moreover Tolstoy claims that patriotism
itself is a sham and a delusion (105). On the other hand, patriotism does not have any relation with any kind of delusion. When you look at the Independent War in Turkish history, you will see that anyone of Turkish people protects their homeland to get pleasure. In the war , every Turkish person struggle the enemies by taking the risk of death. Now it is time to think that where the delusion is, in patriotism or in Tolstoy’s thoughts. Thirdly, patriotism is not supposed to be the root of war although Tolstoy thinks that war is inevitable consequence of patriotism (105).
Wars are the most wildest way to solve the problems of two or more countries and real patriots always avoid this way when they encounter a problem. The reason of why real patriots should avoid wars can be that they care and give importance to every person’s life in the world. We know that during the wars many people die, so patriots don’t choose this way to get on with other countries. Tolstoy concludes that to destroy war, destroy patriotism (105). However, patriotism is not the reason of wars. The basic reason of wars is ambitions of greedy leaders.
They always want more and more and they try to find the way of being rich by despoiling other countries. This attitude does not have relation with patriotism. According to patriotism, the country can be developed and rich when the citizens follow and apply the last developments in the world. In conclusion, though Tolstoy does not support patriotism, I believe that patriotism is a natural feeling, it is not incompatible with morality and it is not supposed to be the root of war. In moderate patriot’s view, the important thing is human life whether the person is from different nationality.