Flag Flap

The Daily Telegraph reports today that NSW Premier Nathan Rees has called for a new national flag in a message for the upcoming National Flag day (I’ve never heard of it).  It is interesting that the focus is on the flag when the meat of Premier Rees suggests more of a dramatic change to the Constitution than the flag.  I think most people that follow politics and the boundaries of the current federal structure would be in favour of new federalism.  He also said to let it all naturally evolve or to use his words ‘grow organically’, so perhaps the report was taken just a little out of context.

Written Australia Day 2007

In the last five or so years it has become popular to literally wrap yourself in the flag.

I will not condemn the practice as if you cannot show pride in yourself and your country, what can you show pride in. Be aware of the cliche though, pride comes before the fall.

I’ve been a flag wrapper (not literally) for the past 15 years. I never understood why there were not more people like me.

There are those that claim these people are nationalists. Some of them may be. This mean it takes precedence over any other social and political principles. So consequently, if a perceived nationalist is against further immigration they claim it is racist. Nevermind the fact that the person may be genuinely concerned about a country’s sustainability.

How do they know these people are not patriots? Oh wait the critics wrap them up in the same rag as nationalists.

Patriotism is the ability to show pride in one’s country and to be able to criticise it. Nationalism does not allow this conceit.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, patriotism means:

One who disinterestedly or self-sacrificingly exerts himself to promote the wellbeing of his country; one whose ruling passion is the love of his country (J.); one who maintains and defends his country’s freedom or rights.

And nationalism is:

Advocacy of or support for the interests of one’s own nation, esp. to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Also: advocacy of or support for national independence or self-determination.”

The OED adds a note:

Whereas patriotism usually refers to a general sentiment, nationalism now usually refers to a specific ideology, esp. one expressed through political activism.

I have no qualms with the flag. I also do not mind if the flag is changed as long as I am happy with the end result.

Update:  I meant to include this the first time. Skepticlawyer puts the situation well.

Much as there was some idiot behaviour from various idiots at last year’s BDO, that behaviour is a function of idiocy, not the Australian flag.

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