This extensive Editorial—provided in this issue by the Executive Editor rather than the Chief Editor Dr. Babak Rezvani, due to the latter’s current commitments abroad— first discusses the challenge of how best to define patriotism and distinguish it from nationalism, ethnicism and other related, often overlapping concepts and phenomena. This is followed by, and intimately related to, my proposed principles on how best to defne any concepts and phenomena in time and space. Suffice to say here now, is that proper, workable conceptualisation should be based on a tripartite distinction between action, actor and motive or human drive.

I then propose normative, i.e. moral and ethical, principles regarding the distinction between ‘good’ i.e. decent and defensible and ‘bad’ i.e. brutal and indefensible forms—that is to say, actions, norms and any other manifestations—of patriotism, based on the exemplary triad of conscience, empathy (or at least tolerance) and honour or self-respect. These principles are closely related to my ongoing research on brutality in armed conflict and other forms of political violence. Thus I will also say something about my Brutalisation theory and its constituent variables, and how forms of patriotism could either prevent, counter and combat brutality or rather, unfortunately, fan its flames.

I subsequently apply, in a very preliminary fashion, my main relevant concepts of patriotism, decency and brutality on a number of cases, often regarding contentious and sensitive events happening now or having transpired in the recent past, specifically from Poland, Ukraine and the Netherlands. I also address an unfortunately widespread phenomenon that is closely related to tendencies of brutality in general and ‘bad patriotism’ in particular: intolerance, which all too often leads to zero-sum politics and consequent violence against the ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘alien’ other.

Finally, I offer some normative and practical advice, to scholars, teachers, decisionmakers and citizens in general, on how to encourage, nurture and uphold the best, most decent and noble kinds of patriotism i.e. loyalty to one’s home, community, people and state—which in the end amounts to loyalty to mankind and all other sentient beings within and beyond one’s home.



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