Patriotism, Ingredient Four

CS Lewis’ treatise on “Patriotism” continues (from The Four Loves)

This brings us to the fourth ingredient. If our nation is really so much better than others it may be held to have either the duties or the rights of a superior being towards them

He clarifies by stating “white man’s burden” as an example of this. This rings familiar to someone living in these United States. Back in 1990-91 when the First Gulf War took place I made an observation even at my 13 years on this earth. Why does the US go to help out the tiny nation of Kuwait when there’s plenty of turmoil in Africa yet not a hand was raised (and I suppose it still isn’t) to aid people there?

Acting like the government’s motives for doing a good deed were altruistic when in fact they often have to do with the acquisition or preservation of material goods, or to use a politician’s words: “for our national interest”.

Lewis examines this ingredient in light of his nation’s history (Great Britain). He calls this ingredient a “sure mark of evil: only by being terrible does [it] avoid being comic.”

He cites the broken treaties with the Native Americans, the near extermination of the Tasmanians, Apartheid and other injustices as examples of this ingredient gone awry.


One Response to Patriotism, Ingredient Four

  1. healtheland says:

    I have mixed views about patriotism. Loving your country too much is clearly idolatry. But hating your country is rebellion, because you thereby reject where God placed you and his purpose for placing you there. Sort of like Job cursing the day that he was born. So, my definition isn’t about thinking that I, my people, or my culture are superior to those of anyplace else. It is just embracing the fact that an Almighty All Knowing All Righteous God put me in a specific place for a specific reason. I suppose that it is more so about embracing the reason that God put you in a place rather than the place itself. With that in mind, having a strong emotional attachment, comfort level and familiarity, with the place that you grew up and the people that you know, is OK. God did not ask us to renounce our humanity. And looking at the Jews: they LOVED Israel. The prophets tried to warn them of their sins because they did not want their people and nation to be destroyed. That is a good thing, not a bad thing, so long as your “love of country” does not take the place beside or above God and cause you to sin. But a way to look at this is our debate over immigration. You can say that God put us in a particular place and time to do good and resist evil. Well, you have certain people who wish to open the border so that they can change the demographic calculus of this nation because doing so would give them long term political power and social and cultural dominance. Is that a good thing, especially when you consider all of the chaos and disorder that would result? Of course not. It is an evil thing! Therefore, one can support closing the border with Mexico (and if one wants to start talking about Canada, I am amenable so long as one isn’t playing racial red herring games) without hating Mexicans or regarding one’s nation or culture as being superior to that of Mexico and thereby sinning or even being a bigot in that context.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: