Tuesday, June 05, 2007


“Patriot”, the word

A pointer: Jason Kuznicki, of Positive Liberty, has a good post on the change in meaning of the word “patriot”:

Enlightenment thinkers distinguished between the rulers and the ruled for several reasons, all of which helped color their “patriotism,” a sense of life that few today would appreciate. Today, the word “patriot” can scarcely be distinguished from the word “nationalist;” a patriot is above all one who is loyal to his government, his country, and his fellow citizens.

But back then — well, government was one thing. Country and citizens were quite another.

For most Enlightenment thinkers, to be a patriot was to favor the people of the country rather than the country’s rulers. [...]

Have a look.

1 comment:

Dr. Momentum said...

As it should still be.

But I guess no one wants to be thought of as the party of nationalism these days...

Thanks for pointing this out.