A good post by Brett McCracken on the virtue of simple patriotism:
Patriotism is more existential than ideological, I think. It’s less about propagandistic justification for “exceptionalism-oriented” foreign policy (though it can be this) than it is a natural feeling of admiration and nostalgia for the place we call home.
It’s the thankfulness we feel for the particular nuances of the world that reared us: the culture (in America: jazz, baseball, the national parks, pretty much everything Ken Burns has documented in his films), the history (1776, Abraham Lincoln, Buzz Aldrin and so on), the landscape (for me: the windswept prairies and thunderstorms of Middle America), and the people (our parents, our teachers, the kids we played with in the street).
Patriotism is a good thing. It’s the natural emotional connection we have with place. We’re wired to ache for this notion of “home.” It’s what the Israelites longed for in the Sinai. It’s what the Hobbits longed for (the Shire) during their Middle Earth adventures. It’s what constitutes part of C.S. Lewis’s Sehnsucht: a nostalgic longing for the “Green Hills” of his Belfast childhood, “the low line of the Castlereagh Hills which we saw from the nursery windows.”
I’ve been reading Eric Metaxes’ excellent biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich. One of the things I appreciate about Bonhoeffer’s large family of origin was their healthy love for Germany, which never conflated with a love of war or an approval of the Nazi elements which rose to power in the ashes of WWI, and would wreak havoc in WWII.