The difference between patriotism and nationalism

Over at the Denver Post, University of Colorado historian Patricia Limerick and army veteran and U of Colorado student Bob Draughon make the distinction between patriotism and nationalism.

Here is a taste:

As an alternative to fear, we offer a different vision entirely: we ask our fellow citizens to consider joining us in a preference for patriotism over nationalism…

Here are the features that we believe characterize patriotism in contrast to nationalism:

  • Patriots do not abandon critical appraisal, and in fact believe that honest criticism is the necessary first step to demanding better of their nation; nationalists are susceptible to thinking that criticism approaches — and crosses — the borders of disloyalty.  
  • When they encounter people who hold differing convictions and principles, patriots commit to continuing to work collaboratively. Patriots refuse to throw in the towel; nationalists can feel fully justified in taking a “my way or the highway” stance.
  • Patriotism is dynamically inclusive; nationalism can be prey to intended and unintended exclusion on the basis of race and nationality.
  • Patriots embrace the ideals in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and recognize that the nation has an undeniable record of failed promises — to Indian peoples, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews, Catholics, Muslims, members of the white working class, and people of varying gender identities. And yet letting the failures define our nation discounts the complexity of American history and surrenders to a sense of inevitability and fatalism. Patriots seethe failures as achallenge to do better; nationalists are inclined to dismiss the failures as exaggerated and dismissible grievances

Read the entire piece here.