It's Independence Day, the day in history when the United States declared independence from the Crown of England.
It's a day steeped in patriotism, with a little nationalism and some jingoism mixed in.
There are some very lengthy debates about what patriotism is vs. nationalism (which is widely credited for things like Nazi Germany). I'm not a philosopher, so I'll let that debate be, save for a couple of sage perspective:
"Loyalty to my country, always. Loyalty to the government, only when it deserves it." - Mark Twain
This to me is the essence of patriotism.
We are supposed to disagree. We are supposed to think freely, to question authority, to debate. We are supposed to have similar common goals - the good of a people, of a nation - with different approaches as to the best way of getting there. Patriotism means wanting less of things like crime, poverty, and misery, wanting more safety, prosperity, and happiness for all, even the people you disagree with most, and working with them towards these common goals. Patriotism means when someone says, "This is the way it's always been done" having the freedom to ask, "Yes, but it is the best way?" and the courage to abandon a position when you've been proven wrong.
On this Independence Day, ask yourself this: how can you declare your independence from the sleepwalking state of blind loyalty to consensus? How can you find true freedom to always think for yourself?
Oh, and patriotism also means that if you disagree with this blog post, that's more than okay too. Frankly, I'd be happy if you did.
Happy Independence Day.
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