Patriotic Anarchists Unite!


There's a debate raging elsewhere in the blogosphere about whether there's a difference between nationalism and patriotism. It seems clear to me that there is, for reasons that should be obvious if you attach each word to a region that isn't a nation-state. If you describe someone as a "Missouri patriot," you're saying she has a strong affection for the place she lives in. If you call her a "Missouri nationalist," you're implying she's some sort of secessionist, perhaps with a stash of arms hidden just west of St. Joe. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the majority of Missouri patriots are not Missouri nationalists.

It is just as possible, though not as overwhelmingly common, to be an American patriot without being an American nationalist. Granted, this might uncover dueling definitions of America. True patriotism is defined by the boundaries of your affection, not the boundaries of a real or potential political unit: Your country can extend just 20 miles from your home or all the way to Ottawa, depending on your roots, mood, and experiences. Nationalism can transcend borders as well, but it does so in a much bloodier manner.