Quotation by Johan Huizinga

It becomes clear at once that patriotism undoubtedly belongs to the positive realm. The very word says as much: love of fatherland. Or is that perhaps giving too lofty an appraisal of the concept in the course of translating it? If the characteristic of true love is that it gives more than it asks, then the good patriot should examine his own sentiment. An inborn attachment to what is one's own does not of itself deserve the name of love. If the state is at peace and is as well-governed as a human community can be, then the citizen's loyalty to his country, his services to it in the forms of energy, devotion, and funds, in general coincide with his own vital interests. The fatherland repays his loyalty by giving him safety, justice, and sometimes even freedom. In fulfilling his patriotic duties he is not performing an act of love. Only when the fatherland is in danger does his giving become a sacrifice, his serving a suffering, his loyalty a love.
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