Patriotism is not a choice but a feeling, and like any other feeling it must come from within. Just as the feeling of love cannot be forced in a person, so the flames of patriotism cannot be set ablaze from outside; they must like every noble sentiment arise from within. I, therefore, believe that patriotism is indeed a feeling of an individual, a noble sentiment that we don’t realize we have until the hour of reckoning comes.
But should we carry patriotism too far, so far that we become zealots or fanatics, entirely insensitive to the higher and yet nobler sentiment called humanity. Just as we belong first to our country, then to our family, so, based on similar analogy, I can say that we belong first to the world, to the human race in general, and then to our country. My duty towards my county and my countrymen shouldn’t make me turn a blind eye to my duties as a global citizen.
It was this turning of the blind eye that made the leaders of Nazi Germany so full of hatred for the Jews that they forgot about their duty as a member of the human race. So patriotism is indeed a feeling, and a choice of an individual, and we must leave it to the individual to decide whether he wants to be patriotic or not, for I believe that no patriotism is better than fake patriotism. Moreover, not to be patriotic doesn’t mean to be treacherous or seditious. My love for my country is my own concern, and the state of which I am a part has nothing to do with my concern.
Just as you can never imprison a man for not loving his wife, so you can never persecute a man for not loving his country.
And so long as the lack of love for one’s country does not become the cause of betrayal or treason, the country, the state, or the people of that state must respect the lack of feelings of that person.
Thus I conclude that feelings of patriotism are like the call of religion; just as not being religious will not make me wicked, so not being patriotic will not make me disloyal. Without any feelings of patriotism I may still be a noble and conscientious citizen, scrupulously paying taxes and honestly carrying out my duties as a citizen. On the other hand, with all the feelings of patriotism, I may still be corrupt and unprincipled, hostile to my neighbor and envious of my friends. We must first try to become a good human being, and he who is good to his fellow beings, will always be loyal to his country.