Patriotism – worth its weight

It is almost contrived to say that history can educate the leaders and key thinkers of the present, yet the phrase "learn from the past" appears in nearly every history book's introduction.With all the historians and well-read politicians in this society, hasn't anyone been able to understand one vital thing: patriotism is lethal?Nationalism has proven itself a potentially dangerous force in the past.Even today, as politics unfold in their sinister manner, patriotism finds itself waiting to erupt on both sides of the coin.Patriotism strips people of their identities, of their names, and of their ideas, rolling them into a homogenous and mindless demographic buried under the emotions catalyzed by flags and emblems.And yet, if children have flipped through their textbooks for generations and have been taught to learn from historical mistakes, why hasn't anybody?
In the past, nationalist movements have only resulted in the ugliest possible conclusions.It ripped apart the Balkans in a series of bloody wars because of multigenerational feuds.Citizens tie themselves to their countries and communities and disregard what is wrong and right.Take, for example, fascist Italy or Nazi Germany: the line between ethics and politics become blurred; if the Fatherland needs something, is it morally right to provide for it? Is it right to ostracize racial or ethnic groups, take an aggressive military stance, or even wage mass murder? While conventional logic would answer "no," history proves, once again, that nation-worship gets the best of citizens.This dilemma occurs again and again and has begun to resurface in recent times.
The United States is a relatively young country, so when two airplanes found their way to New York on September 11th, patriotic emotions were fired up.One week later, nearly every car held a "united we stand" bumper sticker, every window flew a flag and every…

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