Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Voice from the Past - Lewis

Of course patriotism of this type is not in the least aggressive. It asks only to be left alone.It becomes militant only to protect what it loves. In any mind which has a pennyworth of imagination it produces a good attitude toward foreigners. How can I love my home without coming to realize that other men, no less rightly, love theirs? Once you realize that the Frenchmen like cafe complet just as you like bacon and eggs - why, good luck to them and let them have it. The last thing we want is to make everywhere else just like our own home. It would not be home unless it were different.

C. S, Lewis, 1898-1963, The Four Loves, Likings and Loves for the Sub-human (Harcourt Inc., 1988, p. 24)

Is this the right root of patriotism? How should it affect our behavior?


  1. Pretty superficial for Lewis. What if it read "Chinese like their communism and Americans likes their democracy"? Would it be wrong for Americans to want people in China to be free?

    1. This is of course one statement out of a much longer section on patriotism. It does not consider at this point the deeper issues of form of government. I do not think he is regarding all such things as equal. But I think he does in my opinion make the legitimate point that that there is a patriotism that stems from love of home and the place you grew up and the things that are familiar and can understand how other people can love their home to. I do not think it prevents us from looking at real differences of philosophy and political structure at a more fundamental level.