The liberal elites of whom I speak witness public displays of patriotism amongst the masses and fear that that kind of patriotism is tantamount to nationalism, and it leads to war and totalitarianism because it persuades the benighted masses to defend their country and support their leaders without question. Flags and lapel pins and the pledge of allegiance, not to mention Memorial Day and Independence Day, are just so many pieces of propaganda that serve to raise children in automatic loyalty to the machinery of the state.
In fact, many of my ultra-liberal colleagues wondered whether the time had come to leave behind national loyalties altogether and cultivate a more global consciousness. Aren’t national loyalties behind so many of the conflicts we have fought? Aren’t they behind the countless ways in which strong countries exploit the weak? Aren’t they relics of a less interconnected age, an age when we knew nothing and imagined the worst of people who lived on the other side of the world? Now we reside in the global village. The problems we face are global in scope, and require global solutions. If we do not see ourselves first and foremost as “citizens of the world,” then we’ll never to put aside our short-term provincial interests and pursue what’s ultimately best for all.
This is an important conversation to have.