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November 13, 2016 / Congau

Is Patriotism Rational?

A country is a piece of land cut off from the rest of the earth by an imaginary line. This border runs oddly through the landscape, sometimes coinciding with a river or a mountain range, but often it reveals no reason for its peculiar track. Chance has drawn it as arbitrary incidents in relatively recent history have led faulty map makers to spoil the topography with red ink.

Luckily you cannot see it if you happen to be standing on that line. Looking at the scenery, you probably notice no difference between what you see on the right and on the left. Yet you know that on one side your own country is stretching out and on the other there is a completely different one. Therefore you love what you see when turning one way, but the other view leaves you cold. You are a patriot, and that is all there is to it. One side of the artificial border is right and the other one is wrong and what decides it is your having been born on the one and not the other. This doesn’t sound particularly rational and it isn’t.

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