Monday, July 7, 2014

Patriotism or Chauvinism?
Whats the difference?


  1. The words of Sir Walter Scott and one of the most famous of all patriotism-related passages in English Literature:

    Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
    Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
    As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
    From wandering on a foreign strand!
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
    For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.

  2. Let us also remember Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man without a Country."

  3. I've always considered chauvinism to be very similar to the belief in exceptionalism.

  4. Duck,
    Some who believe in exceptionalism don't tip over into chauvinism.

    It is my opinion that the Internet has contributed to the tipping over that I just mentioned.

    The 24/7 news cycle is also a factor.

  5. Treason is the opposite of patriotism.

    What is the opposite of chauvinism? Apathy, perhaps.

  6. The origin of the word chauvinism:

    1865-70; < French chauvinisme, equivalent to chauvin jingo (named after N. Chauvin, a soldier in Napoleon's army noted for loud-mouthed patriotism).

    I also remember from my childhood the definition of a true patriot (the exact opposite the above etymology of the word chauvanism):

    "A true patriot is one who loves her country quietly."

    Here are some other definitions of patriotism:

    “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious”
    ― Oscar Wilde

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." --Samuel Johnson

    “But you know as well as I, patriotism is a word; and one that generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile.”
    ― Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander

  7. Patriotism is the "Virtuous" name and Chauvanism the "Vice" name for the exact same actions, much as "Courage" is a virtuous name and "Brashness/Reckless" is a vice name for the exact same action.

    The difference lay in the "results" achieved. A successful result is "patriotic" and unsuccessful one, chauvanistic (the same as with courage/rash).

    In the outcome of the action lay all the difference (always viewed retrospectively).

    Now the "opposite" VIRTUE which opposes COURAGE is "temperance". Temperance applies when an "absence" of action leads to a successful result, courage, when ACTION leads to a successful result.

  8. I'm one of Oscar's fans, but if, as he averred, "Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious," what does that make Alienation, Sedition and Treason?

    Somehow, I doubt those evil things deserve to be characterized as "the Vices of the Virtuous," don't you? §;-D

  9. If Achilles challenges a foe and succeeds in defeating him, he was "proud". If Achilles loses the battle, he has shown "hubris". The outcome (success/failure) when viewed in hindsight is "the truth". Any predictions before the outcome has been demonstrated are merely attempts at prophesy. Successful prophesies are 'wise' and unsuccessful ones 'foolish'.

    So call me a male chauvanist if you like, but until women prove themselves to be men's equal in combat through "results" on the field of Mars, any disparaging remarks upon their abilties that I might make will very likely be proven to be "patriotic", NOT 'chauvanistic". :P

  10. I agree with FT, there is NO trace of Vice in Virtue. There are only failures in the application of Virtue in the "practice" of it.

    For as Plato said, "Laches"

    SOCRATES: But then, my dear friend, if a man knew all good and evil, and how they are, and have been, and will be produced, would he not be perfect, and wanting in no virtue, whether justice, or temperance, or holiness? He would possess them all, and he would know which were dangers and which were not, and guard against them whether they were supernatural or natural; and he would provide the good, as he would know how to deal both with gods or men.

    NICIAS: I think, Socrates, that there is a great deal of truth in what you say.

    SOCRATES: But then, Nicias, courage, according to this new definition of yours, instead of being a part of virtue only, will be all virtue?

    NICIAS: It would seem so.

  11. Thanks, AOW, for posting Dr Walter Scott's famous verse. It's still very stirring, even though high-flown, unabashed sentiment has long been out of fashion.

    It might be useful in this discussion to contrast Sir Walter's sententious verse with Paul McCartney's (or is it John Lennon's) IF. Mark Steyn did a magnificent job skewering, roasting and ultimately incinerating that anthem to the nutless, gutless, spineless, limp-wristed "Blue Smurf" mentality that threatens to turn the population of formerly proud western nations into jellyfish rotting on the beaches, stinking up the atmosphere in England's formerly green and pleasant land.

  12. Please pardon me. The Paean to Pusillanimity mentioned in my last statement is called "IMAGINE" and it is by Lennon no McCartney. I can' imagine how I confused it with Kipling's "IT." A Senior Moment," perhaps? At any rate, here it is in all its effete lack of guts and glory.

    _____ "IMAGINE"_____

    Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace...

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world...

    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    ~ John Lennon

    I'm sorry, but those wimpy, downright creepy sentiments make me feel like throwing up.

  13. I think Wilde's quote simply means that "the vicious" who perpetrate evil use "patriotism" as an excuse to do that evil, thereby turning evil into a virtuous act.

    Didn't Hitler use that method? Exterminating millions of people for the Vaterland?

  14. "Imagine no possessions..."

    A lot of this applies to North Korea.

  15. I would be surprised if Lennon's aims were straightforward advocacy. He might just be saying that imagining no possessions or no countries etc. is a useful exercise. Or those things might have seemed, momentarily, to get in his way, and he might be expressing his temporary frustration.

    I think it's a mistake to treat a pop song like a thesis. It has a different job.

    As for "lack of guts and glory", in the macho context of rock 'n roll that comes as something of a relief.

    Lyrically, I prefer the Beatles' Revolution. (And in every other way).

  16. Patriotism:Chauvanism::Dissent:Subversion

  17. "May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." - Dwight D. Eisenhower.

  18. "You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet." - Hal Borland

    "It is standard practice for corrupt leaders who are seeking a certain political outcome to hype or manipulate a terror threat or a threat of violent domestic subversion. While sometimes the threat is manufactured, frequently the hyped threat is based upon a real danger." - Naomi Wolf

  19. Patriotism is stupid. Love your fellow man, not some abstract national identity.


  20. Jersey...if you love your fellow man so much, why not move to Pakistan as a good will ambassador? I'd gladly donate funds towards your relocation.

  21. I wonder what the context is for the photo in this blog post.

  22. Hello. AOW,

    What might the context be for the photo in this post?.

    I thought that would be obvious.

    "Flag waving" is most often considered a sign either of sincere patriotism or mindless chauvinism.

    Frankly, I just thought it an exceptionally attractive picture among hundreds of available images of the flag, when I was rummaging around looking for possible illustrations related to the Fourth of July.

    The American Impressionist Childe Hassam made several vibrant cityscapes of cheering throngs enjoying parades on holidays calling for prominent displays of our flag. The photo displayed here reminded me of his imagery with theit great sense of movement, excitement and an underlying mood of joy and gladness in the spirit of the occasion.

    The photo would make a wonderful painting.

  23. Jez, frankly I don't care what Lennon's motivation might have been for producing Imagine. The point of quoting the lyrics was to show in Lennon's own words the childish naiveté and vapidity of their content.

    That kind of vague, dreamy, utterly impractical, wishful thinking may sound "nice" on the surface, but it betrays a frankly dangerous, lackadaisical attitude inimical to self-preservation and constructive endeavour.

    It is the MEEK who are destined to inherit the earth, not the WEAK, the PUERILE and the FATUOUS.

    Pop culture, as it has developed since the advent of our Elvis and your precious Beatles. has had a destabilizing, enervating, degenerativem nearly devastating effect on Civilization.

    If the generation who fought World War Two had been subjected to such dissolute influences, the Allied Forces would never have been able to prevail against Hitler, the Axis powers.

  24. Oddly enough, FT, Hassan painted the flag series to celebrate America's entry into WW I and the potential salvation of French culture.

    American culture, not so much.

  25. Sorry, Ducky, this painting (below) is clearly labelled in celebration of The Fourth of July, 1916 -- not that the USA might not have felt a certain empathy for France since our Founding was inextricably intertwined with representatives from that country. But again the external motivation for creating any work of art is nothing compared to the response it ultimately evokes. Franz Schubert for instance composed many of his Laendler for the moral equivalent of beer and skittles, but that takes nothing away from the charm, grace and intense lyricism of those small works.,_1916_Childe_Hassam.jpg

    And by the way the artist's name was HASSAM spelled with an M not HASSAN spelled with an N. He lived from 1859-1935. I happen to be a great admirer of his work.

  26. April 6, 1917

    On April 6, 1917, the U.S. joined its allies -- Britain, France, and Russia -- to fight in World War I.
    Under the command of Major General John J. Pershing, more than 2 million U.S. soldiers fought on battlefields in France. Many Americans were not in favor of the U.S. entering the war and wanted to remain neutral.

  27. The Progressive Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, a notorious racist, was largely responsible for manipulating our country into joining the tragic struggle in Europe.

    Wilson was president from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. During his tenure in office the Federal Reserve was created, the income tax was initiated and 2,000,000 American men were sent to France to suffer and die for a cause that properly was none of our business.

    In my opinion Wilson was a thoroughly ROTTEN president whose name llke those of Lincoln, FDR, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama should live in infamy.

  28. I wouldn't say that "childish naiveté" was incompatible with art, nor vapidity. Remember, irony was one of Lennon's sharpest tools -- if he seems vapid, it's probably on purpose. It doesn't matter if you care about the author's intentions, it would still be wrong to take a surface reading of eg. Swift's modest proposal, wouldn't it?

    I don't like Imagine, by the way. There are many valid criticisms we could make of it, just not sure this one holds up.

  29. McCartney or McCarthy?

  30. Wilson's INTERNATIONALIST ambitions put us on the wrong track -- probably till Kingdom Come.

    My country and yours we were doing very well, indeed, until the progressives entered the picture.

    "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." So let it be with Wilson.

  31. Fr the record: I'll take McCarthy over MCartney any day, but I must commend you for a quick display of genuine wir, Jez. That's very rare in these here parts. ;-)



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