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What is the difference between patriotism and nationalism? For example, how would you classify the rightwing groups and lawmakers who visited Yasukuni Shrine on Monday to mark the 71st anniversary of


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I personally don't see much of a difference between the 2 or value of either in the end. Similar to the terms prejudice and racism.

I would classify lawmakers who visited Yasukuni as possibly expressing thanks and regret to all of the innocent soldiers who died for nothing but at the same time, because they are all lumped together as soldiers according to Shinto, expressing thanks to the war criminals who are housed there and indirectly condoning the actions as representatives of the state. We may never know what is in the hearts of those who visit and what they really think of the war criminals and/or their justification of the dreadful disgusting acts they committed. Unfortunately we can't classify them so simply as nationalists because of this, although many or most probably are. A great example of how sticky mixing politics and religion can get, even in a country that is relatively secular.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nationalism, jingoism and nationalist extremism are all unhealthy manifestations of patriotism, along the same continuum. Patriotism itself can be positive or negative. One dictionary defines nationalism as, "an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries."

Nationalism usually means that one whitewashes or denies his or her country's atrocities and other wrongdoings. A healthy form of patriotism, on the other hand, requires that one fully recognize and admit his or her country's current/past atrocities and other wrongdoings with the aim of making the nation a better global citizen. Doing so is a source of pride and national strength, while not doing so is a source of shame and national weakness.

So, I would classify any event sanctioned by Yasukuni Shrine as a nationalistic expression of patriotism.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To the first question, patriotism is a love of country that is non-judgmental and non-comparative with regards to other countries - you do not use your love of country to criticize and judge others. Nationalism is the opposite of this, and used by political leaders to suppress free thought and choice.

As to the second question, interestingly, it is asking us to be judgmental - I could not judge or label someone visiting Yasukuni as being either a patriot or a nationalist without knowing their specific views and motivations.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd say patriotism is simple pride in one's country held by anyone. There's also a positive sense of exceptionalism implied in someone who is a "patriot." Nationalism is patriotism taken to it's extreme, doesn't require exceptionalism in the individual, and is often pushed and used by governments as a tool to manipulate their populace.

As far as how I would classify the lawmaker visits, it's the later. Sure we don't know what's in their heads, but we know of the comments they make, the timing of their visits, and the memorial sites they don't visit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

George Orwell's description of a nationalist is very apt here:

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

For me, patriotism is something potentially dangerous which can be turned into something as ugly as what Orwell described in the right circumstances.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most nationalists are cowards who spit vitriol but are not willing to actually go out and work for change or risk their necks to help the country. A patriot will willing give his or her life in defense of their nation. Not a book definition, just based on over 50 decades of observing many different people in quite a few countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"A patriot will willing give his or her life in defense of their nation"

Patriotism is a very good thing for the warmongers to appeal to if you want to start a war in the first place.

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Yup, most definitions here look pretty accurate. Patriotism is a love of one's country, Nationalism is a competitive drive to see one's country as superior to all others.

I'm no ESPer so I couldn't pretend to know the mindset of people visiting Yasukuni, but the institution itself is unabashedly, aggressively, and deceptively nationalist. I would have to think it unlikely that a person could visit such a nationalistic institution without being a nationalist themselves.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Patriotism is helping the home economy (that's my excuse) by treating myself to a nice bottle of 25-year-old Scotch for my birthday, or treating a friend to a bottle.

Nationalism is insisting everyone else do the same. And pay for my share while they're at it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Patriotism is helping the home economy...."

Well somebody's got to keep those Chorley and Pendle distilleries in business... : )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Patriotism is usually confused with militarism!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Patriotism is helping the home economy (that's my excuse) by treating myself to a nice bottle of 25-year-old Scotch for my birthday, or treating a friend to a bottle."

I'm just wondering if your partner came home rotten after a session on his favourite drink from his home country you'd accept his excuse that he was just being patriotic.

I'm thinking of adding that arrow to my quiver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Patriotism is loving one's country; Nationalism is hating everyone else's.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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