Are You a Patriot or a Nationalist?

(Posted 10/26/2006) - I stumbled across an old Newsweek Op-Ed by Christopher Dickey that struck me as a cogent litmus test each American should apply when evaluating our foreign policy. It comes down to determining whether our tactics are promoting patriotic ends or nationalistic ends -- the operational definitions are supplied by none other than George Orwell!

Politicians and opinion makers are experts at manipulating our emotions and exploiting our latent nationalist desires. I think Dickey's short article makes a clear distinction between patriotism (a good thing) and nationalism (a potentially bad thing). Anyone who has wondered at the root cause of the Middle East debacles that have led our nation straight into the crapper should include the following in their readings.

Ask yourself, "Have I been thinking like a patriot or like a nationalist"? Maybe it's time for a lot of us to wake up and start moving to the patriot side of the aisle!

My belief is that much of nationalism revolves around a sort of self-deception (there was an allusion to this phenomena in Dickey's op-ed). I recently read a journalist's transcipt of two well known academics / authors, Noam Chomsky and Robert Trivers discussing human deception and some of its presentations in our society. Their observations help explain why nations make such foolish decisions at times. The article can be viewed by clicking here .