December 18, 2009

Nationalism is the evil cousin of Patriotism

The title of this blog is a quote I heard at a recent ethnic affairs conference in Shepparton, Victoria. I sometimes think that people collapse these concepts to be the same.

Patriotism is a good thing. Patriotism means that you are committed to your nation and the welfare of your fellow citizens. Being proud of your nation is critical if we are to address our shared challenges for you don’t invest time and effort on projects about which you don’t care.

Nationalism is the chauvinistic and insular cousin of patriotism. Its premise is the superiority of a select group to the exclusion of others. Blind pride allows for no self-reflection and therefore provides no opportunity to grow and develop.

Australia Day is a day for inclusive patriotism. It is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of our fellow citizens with our fellow citizens. It is a day to celebrate all that is great about Australia and being Australian. It is a day for patriotism – it is not day for nationalism.

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