By Madison S. Hughes (08.14.2011), Updated (09.22.2011)
Patriotism is a form of false pride for those who have nothing of their own of which they can be proud. It is little more than a tribal characteristic of banal instinct that provides a gratifying sensation of self-worth.
How can one be proud of being born within a particular geographical area of which they had absolutely no input? Clearly, reflective thought is not a part of this end. Reflective thought would require one to objectively evaluate the actions of their country, and the effect those actions have on them and the world as a whole. If one were to honestly do so, one, as I, would realize a great desire to expatriate to a less religious, more equitable country as one would find in Scandinavia and Western Europe.
In contemporary America, the Tea Baggers base their definition of what it is to be an American on geography and ignorance. They are not cosmopolitan by any stretch of the imagination, nor do they show any sign of cultural curiosity. They are simply demonstrating territorial instinct, as do others with similar cerebral deficits.
Patriotism to one’s country is understood, and need not be expressed. If one feels inclined to overtly express such, then one is expressing nationalism, not patriotism.
Religion is in decline across the Western world. Whether measured by belonging, believing, participation in services, or how important it is felt to be, religion is losing ground. Society is being transformed, and the momentum appears to be unstoppable.
You might be asking yourself two questions. Is it actually true? And even if religion is currently losing ground, could things change in the future?
David is a quantitative social scientist with a background in demography. He serves on the executive committee of the European Values Study and is co-director of British Religion in Numbers (www.brin.ac.uk), an online centre for British data on religion that has received recognition as a British Academy Research Project. He serves on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Sociology and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. With Mike Brewer, David directs the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC). He is also Deputy Director of ISER.