UKC

/ Patriotism - how come?

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CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018

I have always been keen to support the underdog. I'm not sure why this is, but I'm pretty sure it's something to do with my upbringing/social status etc.

I'm very proud to be a northerner, probably because it feels like we are in the shadow of the south at times.

However, I'm not particularly proud to be English, and don't consider myself remotely patriotic. And if I'm honest I don't really understand why people would be proud of being English, given our history of colonial rule, murder and theft of other people's lands etc. The whole historic superiority thing.

This isn't meant to be offensive to anyone and I'd like to be as neutral as possible. I'm not saying it is wrong to be patriotic, Just asking why....

Why would you choose/consider yourself to be a patriot?

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deepsoup - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

> Why would you choose/consider yourself to be a patriot?

Last refuge of a scoundrel mate. ;-)

Our history isn't *all* colonial rule, theft, murder and oppression - there are also things to take pride in. Honestly though, the attitudes and behaviour of many of those who have an excess of national pride are precisely the reason it's hard for me to feel the same.

Tell you what though.  If I were patriotic to the point that I want to hang up a Union Jack in my front garden, I would take the time to make sure I know which way up you're supposed to hang it!
(One big advantage of the St George's cross - even if your tattoos aren't spelled right you can't go wrong with that one.)

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The Wild Scallion on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

That's a very good question, and one that I ask routinely in life when faced with lots of situations.

Unfortunately I am in the same boat as you ?

Why indeed ? 

It is just quite bizarre that people feel they should be / have to be defending of, or show allegiance to things that more often than not are holding them back or have not done anything to further their personal circumstance , and in some instances just plain harmed their standing.

 

 

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dread-i - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

>Why would you choose/consider yourself to be a patriot?

As a tool for status enhancement?

It is very easy for someone to be more patriotic than another. In the same way that they can be more religious than someone else. It requires no extra expense, no tricky exams, cannot be challenged or measured and gives one a sense of moral superiority.

Or, they could just like the country.

Bob Kemp - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

There are many things in British history that one can't be proud of, as with most countries. As a counter to this and a basis for a kind of patriotism you could start at what E.P. Thomson identified in English history as a tradition of independence, rebellion, and self-realisation, one that existed in opposition to conventional patriotic ideas around flag and religion. 

 Although Thomson was a leftie he didn't see this as a purely left-wing tradition but one that came from a wider Whiggish way of thinking that has influenced elements of both left and right.

1
henwardian - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

People like to feel tethered to something, to know their place in the world, to have roots, to call something "home". Patriotism is an obvious and effective way of achieving that feeling. It's more complex than that ofc, other people chose patriotism because their peers do, or because it helps to have something to follow, to feel part of a group or a sense of belonging and not to feel alone. There are loads of more obnoxious reasons too of course - some people do it to feel superior to others.

Personally I'm not interested in being Patriotic but I'd by lying if I didn't confess to feeling a bit like Scotland is my home country despite having spent a lot of time travelling. I'd like to think I strive to feel more like a citizen of the world than of one country.

Dave Garnett - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> There are many things in British history that one can't be proud of, as with most countries.

Yes, although this doesn't bother me overly since I don't consider them my fault!

By the same token, though, I have a problem with being 'proud' of all the good things that are also not my doing...

 

Bob Kemp - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Yes, always struck me as a bit big-headed! Find being proud of things I have done hard enough... that's very traditionally British isn't it?

Bob Kemp - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

That should have been Thompson with a 'p' btw... 

MG - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I (increasingly rarely just now) sometimes feel proud of living in a country that has organised itself to be broadly law abiding, affluent, stable, democratic etc., which I suppose is patriotic but not in an exclusive way.

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GrahamD - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

>Tell you what though.  If I were patriotic to the point that I want to hang up a Union Jack in my front garden, I would take the time to make sure I know which way up you're supposed to hang it!

 

I'm in no way a flag waver but this is one thing that really irritates me out of all proportion to its real significance.

 

Stichtplate on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

> I'm very proud to be a northerner, probably because it feels like we are in the shadow of the south at times.

very proud to be a Northerner but only because you’re considered lesser somehow?

Strikes me as just as much a product of cultural conditioning as any flag waving little Englander. I’m glad to be a Northerner, I’m glad to be British (glad, not proud). I like living here, l like the culture, the sense of a link to my ancestors, the people and even our islands geography. I just like the place. I love traveling but also love that feeling of coming home when I touch down again in Britain. 

I suppose some would call this patriotism but I don’t own any flags and I abhor the sentiment ‘my country right or wrong’. Yet many on here would seek to sneer at the mere fact that I like the place I live.

 

 

Post edited at 15:15
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CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

Some brilliant responses. Thanks for your thoughts.

They all seem to be from non-patriots though. Be keen to hear from those who do consider themselves patriots. Interestingly there have been almost as many dislikes on the post as likes, so there must be some people reading this who don't agree with me - what do you guys think?

CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

Yep, I'm pretty sure my northern pride is to do with social conditioning. It's pretty difficult to be free from that given that it starts from the moment you are born.

Sounds like you like where you live, and I do too. I think there's a difference between being happy with where you live and being patriotic though surely?

Perhaps it gets lost in the semantics somewhat.

Stuart en Écosse - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> Last refuge of a scoundrel mate. ;-)

and the first refuge of an idiot.

Post edited at 15:38
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Bjartur i Sumarhus on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I'm reasonably patriotic. Guess I have been brought up that way. Of course I fully understand that I have not contributed to any of the great things the people of the UK or England has done in the past (or either the bad) but that doesn't preclude me from being proud of what my forebears achieved and being glad and fortunate that I come from the same land and can say I am British (however meaningless that is) 

I think a bit of it is also that people who appear ashamed to be British/English often give the impression of sanctimoniously looking down their noses at the embarrassing ignorant flag wavers. This is obviously a generalisation but I find that attitude unattractive on the whole when it appears. This country has been brilliant for me, so I will broadly support and defend it on a macro level.

GridNorth - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I would be interested to know what people who do not have a sense of patriotism would have felt back in the late 1930's and 1940's. Was that British patriotism misplaced?

Al

tistimetogo on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I have long accepted that this is an issue I will never understand.

Every time I walk down my street (a quiet residential area of Belfast) I am bombarded with Union Jack flags staking out the territory as being a "British" area. In reality it is extremely mixed (about half of the residents are from either the Republic of Ireland or mainland Europe). 

Being born in Northern Ireland I have both British and Irish passports and will claim either nationality depending on who is paying me/where I'm travelling.

To quote Einstein (yes he did say it).

"Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."

And on another occasion.

"I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult."

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CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Really interesting to hear your side. I hope you don't think I'm trying to be sanctimonious about patriotism, just trying to understand it more really.

It strikes me that you come from a more positive place when you consider British history and achievements, and for whatever reason I come from a more negative place.

Perhaps that's what makes you more patriotic? Being more inclined to look at the things we can be proud, rather than the less positive parts of our history?

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tistimetogo on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

You don't need to be a patriot to have a sense of morality.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to tistimetogo:

Do you think there is a difference between patriotism and nationalism? I do, although I can see how one can lead to the other in extreme circumstances.

CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Is nationalism more driven by politics?

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11: here is a definition, others are available

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/nationalism-vs-patriotism/2014/02/23/9129d43a-9afc-11e3-8112-52fdf646027b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0a7dd76a8fad

"Patriotism is fundamental to liberty because pride in one’s nation-state, and a willingness to defend it if necessary, is the basis of national independence. Patriotism is the courage of national self-determination.

By contrast, nationalism is patriotism transformed into a sentiment of superiority and aggression toward other countries. Nationalism is the poisonous idea that one’s country is superior to somebody else’s. Nationalism is intrinsically a cause of war and imperialism."

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GridNorth - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to tistimetogo:

Never said or thought otherwise but the implication of your statement is that people who fought in WW2 did so out of moral principles rather than patriotism.  I don't really know but suspect the latter.

Al

Post edited at 16:25
arch - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

 

"Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life". (Cecil Rhodes, 1902).

 

The New NickB - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

Do you honestly think that people on here would sneer at you because “you like where you live”?

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Stichtplate on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to The New NickB:

Some, yes, but only if you live in England.

john arran - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I think it's only natural to have a soft spot for the place where you were born, where you live, or from where your cultural roots originated. Fundamentally this is the heart of patriotism and in general it can be a positive thing. It helps with our sense of identity and encourages us to do right by those from a similar place.

Then borders get in the way; it doesn't matter if they're regional (North London rather than South?), national (Scottish/English?) or even larger (European?). People on the other side of such borders are almost invariably pretty much identical to ourselves but a strong sense of patriotism can lead us to think less highly of them compared to our geographic fellows. Combine this with the inevitable politics of international relations and it's easy to see how a generally positive and supportive sense of brotherhood can also lead to a very negative sense of hatred for others.

pasbury on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to john arran:

And then some misguided politicians decide to drive a further wedge between us by holding an unnecessary referendum which splits the nation almost 50:50 on an issue that draws out our differences like pus from a boil.

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tistimetogo on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Yes there is a defined difference. Sadly not everyone knows it and as you say one can all to easily lead to another. 

As to where patriotism comes from? Maybe it is a reasoned and considerate look at where you come from and an associated sense of shame/pride. But I suspect it has more in common with tribalism and the considerable evolutionary advantage that came from including some and excluding others. 

But dammit Jim I'm an engineer not a sociologist.

Post edited at 20:56
Wingeing Old Git - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> Never said or thought otherwise but the implication of your statement is that people who fought in WW2 did so out of moral principles rather than patriotism.  I don't really know but suspect the latter.

> Al

I suspect that most people who fought in WW2 did so because they were conscripted to fight. I'm not sure that moral principles or patriotism came into it. Of course, I could be totally wrong.

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marsbar - on 26 Jun 2018
Rampikino - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

Yes, I would say I am a patriot.  The real debate comes with how to define that.

There is no shortage of people queuing up to decry my response as an idiotic, xenophobic, flag-wearing, Little England attitude that belongs in the past.

That's why it's difficult to have the debate as my perception of patriotism is not about these things.  It is more about my family history, a sense of belonging to this land and culture (even as it evolves and changes).  I am proud of the many things that we have "given" to the world from industry to literature, from music to a model for governments.  I am also deeply conscious of our past crimes and acknowledge them as being stains on our past.

Ultimately I feel that there is enough about this country and what it offers that is unique and is worth holding onto.  Perhaps in many centuries time we will have reached the stage of being able to homogenise the whole planet into one enormous country where everyone is equal and has the same opportunities.  Until then we, as humans, will have our preferences and will be prepared to shout about them.

For me, patriotism is not exclusive but inclusive.  The sense of belonging is not restricted to white Anglo-Saxons.  You can be a patriot and not own a flag.

CragRat11 - on 26 Jun 2018
In reply to Rampikino:

It certainly makes more sense to me when you put it like that.

Thanks.

didntcomelast on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11: It’s a curious thing, but whilst you open this discussion with comments about being English, many of the responding comments relate to being British, are they one and the same? Does being British not relate to being part of four separate ‘countries’ amalgamated into Great Britain. 

England itself is a beautiful country, a different beauty to say Wales or Scotland, I for one am proud of that diverse beauty in the landscape, not so proud perhaps of some of the people living within it, but proud of the land as a whole and I suspect therefore I am a patriot, though many will say otherwise. 

 

Rampikino - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to didntcomelast:

> I suspect therefore I am a patriot, though many will say otherwise. 

Personally I believe this is due to the modern connotation of the word "patriot" and it having an association with many negative things (as per my other post).  Actually, for me, you can be a patriot without having to resort to actions that generate ridicule.

 

Stichtplate on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to didntcomelast:

> It’s a curious thing, but whilst you open this discussion with comments about being English, many of the responding comments relate to being British, are they one and the same? Does being British not relate to being part of four separate ‘countries’ amalgamated into Great Britain. 

Britain has been in effect one state for over 300 years. In terms of land mass we're a small country and if you go back just a few generations many (most?) family trees will contain people from all over the UK. Certainly my own family, while mainly English and Welsh, also has Scottish and Irish roots and present day family scattered between Devon, Gwynedd, Cheshire, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire.

Understandable then that when asked my nationality on forms my first thought is British.

Edit:typo.

Post edited at 09:22
Pids - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I am Scottish, British, and (still) European - and wish to remain so.

I am patriotic in that I claim, to be Scottish, British and European.

I have never considered myself N.Irish/Welsh or English.

Or "northern", which, when coming from Scotland, is laughable as it is really "southern". 

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ClimberEd - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

Humans naturally form groups. So you have the in group vs the out group. You should (as a normal functioning human, not all are ) support the in group over the out group. 

This works at many levels in many ways, town vs town, north vs south, country vs country, football vs rugby. Less palatably it is part of the origins of racism. 

At a country level it is particularly important though as your country provides the framework (laws etc) within which you live your life. 

Patriotism arrives from all of that. 

Wingeing Old Git - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Pids:

> I am Scottish, British, and (still) European - and wish to remain so.

Me too!

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Clarence on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I am a patriotic citizen of the Danelaw and Greater Scandinavia. I fly the raven banner with pride! England is just a passing fad, people will get bored with it eventually.

jkarran - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> "Patriotism is fundamental to liberty because pride in one’s nation-state, and a willingness to defend it if necessary, is the basis of national independence. Patriotism is the courage of national self-determination.

Surely one can be free while belonging to something bigger or smaller than the rather arbitrary 'nation state', equally one can be constrained by that 'nation state'? Nation states deny liberty as readily as they confer it. I'm not convinced by that description but then I'm probably not much of a patriot, I'm not at all sure which nation or bloc I'd owe my patriotism to anyway.

jk

marsbar - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Pids:

The North of England is culturally different to the South of England.  It’s not just Geography.

Paul King - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

You do understand patriotism because you said you're a proud Northerner. Humans are social animals and social animals are tribal. Politics can be hard to grasp because it exists on such a large, abstract level, so bring it down to it's root, the level of the individual. People care about themselves first, their family second, then their friends, town, region, nation. 

Post edited at 23:25
Bob Kemp - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

> I suspect that most people who fought in WW2 did so because they were conscripted to fight. I'm not sure that moral principles or patriotism came into it. Of course, I could be totally wrong.

I suspect you'd be half-wrong. Patriotism was a much stronger force then, and there was a major government propaganda initiative designed to harness patriotic feeling. And there were many people who were very vehemently anti-fascist too. I'm sure there would have been many people who weren't particularly patriotic or anti-fascist too. There were well over three million men in the armed forces by the end of the war, and I'm sure they weren't all equally committed. 

captain paranoia - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> "Patriotism is fundamental to liberty because pride in one’s nation-state, and a willingness to defend it if necessary, is the basis of national independence. Patriotism is the courage of national self-determination."

That's a very American definition (unsurprisingly...).

I'd suggest most people would want to preserve their way of life, and that is what they would fight to protect (in answer to the WWII question).

I'd be happy to live in most of western Europe, since the way of life is pretty similar to Britain. I guess that makes me a European. And why I'm unhappy about the direction the UK is going in.

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Wingeing Old Git - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

I was thinking of my dad. I always had the impression that he resented the 6 years he served in WW2. However I was only 19 when he died so my memory might be playing tricks on me. I also remember the respect he had for Churchill even though he was a Labour voter so you might have a point about propaganda.

There were also the soldiers who deserted the Irish army to join the British army, not out of patriotism to Britain but out of a desire to fight Fascism so you might have a point there as well. [They were treated appallingly by the Irish government when they returned. Denied work in any government job and not allowed any social security. - The "Starvation Law." Had their children taken from them and put into orphanages because they couldn't feed them. I'm going off piste here but it's a terrible story which is not all that well known.]

Post edited at 05:49
didntcomelast on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:Ask a person born and bred in Scotland and 99% chance they’ll say they’re Scottish. Ask the same of a person born and bred in wales and it’ll probably be a similar level of response. Yet they too are part of the British isles but they would rather identify with their individual country first. I personally have no knowledge of my family history but as I was born an Englishman that is the country I associate with.  Also most forms either paper or online don’t differentiate the individual countries and state United Kingdom. 

 

Stichtplate on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to didntcomelast:

> Ask a person born and bred in Scotland and 99% chance they’ll say they’re Scottish. Ask the same of a person born and bred in wales and it’ll probably be a similar level of response. Yet they too are part of the British isles but they would rather identify with their individual country first. I personally have no knowledge of my family history but as I was born an Englishman that is the country I associate with.  Also most forms either paper or online don’t differentiate the individual countries and state United Kingdom. 

I must be part of the 1% then.

 I've filled in lots of forms asking for my nationality but I've never seen a form asking my nationality and providing the response 'United Kingdom'.

 

Trevers - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

It's probably been written before, but there's a big difference (in my view) between patriotism and nationalism.

Patriotism means loving one's country while having a balanced view of its history and acknowledging its crimes and failures along with its triumphs. And wanting the best for one's country and citizens but not at the expense of anybody else.

Nationalism is a blind love of one's country, refusing to acknowledge its faults, believing it to be better than other countries and therefore that it has a right to be better off than other countries. It's arrogant, unreasoning and can lead to aggression.

I consider myself patriotic, although like yourself I don't particularly identify with Englishness at all, even though I'm probably very English. That feeling has been exacerbated by recent politics.

PeakDJ on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

Given the fact that a nation state is a totally fictional entity designed to facilitate mass co-operation, I too find it hard to be particularly proud of my nationality or to feel very patriotic.  The British state and those following its orders have done some terrible things, but also some good things in the past.  These things were the actions of those who made up the country at the time (or, more often the actions of large numbers of everyday people following the orders of those who "ran" the country).  The people making up a nation state change over time, and hence a nation state is not a fixed entity but an organisational structure whose parts are in a state of constant change and flux. 

One can be proud or ashamed of the actions of our ancestors without necessarily attributing these actions to the country as a whole.  Attributing events of the past to the nation as a whole ignores the fact that the nation is simply an organisational structure made up of those who live within it.   Through the rights and wrongs of the past, there will have been those who acted honorably and those who did not - I think it is increasingly important to acknowledge the individuals.  It's especially complex in democracies where one might assume (wrongly!) that the actions of a government or military always reflect the views or thinking of the majority of citizens. 

 

In terms of loving one's country I love the landscapes of Britain and many of the family and friends I love live there, so I have an affinity for the place, but I wouldn't say "I love my country" or "I am proud to be British."  I recognise very well the privilege of just having been born in a developed Western country as I have lived and worked among people who will never have the same opportunities that gives me, but this isn't something to thank the "nation" for - it is simply chance.,   I think Yuval Noah Harare's book "Sapiens" makes some very valid points on this subject.

 

As an aside, I lived in the Gulf region a few years ago and had many Syrian and Iraqi friends.  I think my thinking was influenced by this, as in a few discussions that touched on British foreign policy, I had to point out that certain actions might have been the will of the government, but I (and many others) maybe didn't fully support those actions.  So when one says "Britain did x..." or "Germany did y..." it can sometimes lead to people overlooking the roles of individuals and the "fictional" narrative behind nation states.

Post edited at 14:26
Bob Kemp - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

It's worth distinguishing nations, states and nation-states. For one thing, there are many more nations than there are nation-states. The UK is a nation-state containing four nations for example. But the point about the fictional aspect of nation-states is a good one. 

PeakDJ on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> It's worth distinguishing nations, states and nation-states. For one thing, there are many more nations than there are nation-states. The UK is a nation-state containing four nations for example. But the point about the fictional aspect of nation-states is a good one. 

Good point - thanks.  To my mind all those entities are incapable of acting with any will themselves, so actions and privileges can't be attributed to any of them...they only exist because we all believe the "story" and that allows us to collaborate on a large scale.  I think it'd be more valid to be proud of our species' ability to collaborate and weave such intricate fictions than it would be to be proud to be of a certain nationality etc...but that's possibly just me.

Eric9Points - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I'm Edinburgh, Scottish, British and European and a white anglo saxon protestant (culturally).

Like being proud of being 5' 10" being proud of where you're born makes no sense to me. Conversely being ashamed of where you come from makes no sense either. What is important is that you do the best you can to make whatever geographical region you identify with, which can change depending upon context, the best it can be.

Paul King - on 28 Jun 2018

> Given the fact that a nation state is a totally fictional entity designed to facilitate mass co-operation, I too find it hard to be particularly proud of my nationality or to feel very patriotic. 

A nation state is a totally fictional entity?? Rather, it is the only natural political entity, and all empires revert back to their constituent nation states, the Roman Empire, Ottoman, British, and, watch this space, the EU. According to a dictionary:

a sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent.

Let's get real, this thread is about nationalist politics vs internationalist politics. The reason it is unfashionable to be patriotic in England is because patriotism got in the way of postwar internationalist projects like multiculturalism and the EU.  In the process, the terms were obfuscated so the desired conclusion would be drawn by the public.

A country is just a line on a map, and may change through war and colonisation. A nation refers to the people and comprises an ethnic group, a people of the same blood and the same ancestors who have a shared history, heritage, culture, language etc. Each nation has a country named after it, the English live in Eng-land(Land of the Angles), the Germans live in German-y, the Italians in Ital-y, the Afghans in Afghani-stan (Stan meaning Land of). So you can see, if the Chinese left China it would no longer be China anymore than if a cake shop on the high street was taken over by a newsagent it would still be called a cake shop. You are right, it doesn't matter where you are born, but in the sense when a dog is born in a stable it makes it a horse.

When you correctly define patriotism: the interests, survival, prosperity and propagation of yourself, your relatives and extended family and nation, theirs and your entire history and future, culture, language, and the rest of it, you can see why it is important. 

Post edited at 23:15
Bob Kemp - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

My father was rather the opposite, in that he couldn't stand Churchill! He wasn't conventionally patriotic, something of a refusenik really. I never really did find out much about his attitudes to the war, although he was implacably anti-fascist. Like many of his generation he just didn't talk about it. Too painful - he lost most of his family. He joined the RAF before the war started but that was out of a love of flying and a difficult family situation.

Thanks for the 'Starvation Law' story by the way - never heard about that. Good Beeb piece on it here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16287211

Eric9Points - on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to PaulKing:

You overstate your case.

For one thing, we are interbreeding far more than we did. Think of where your patents came from and think of how far apart you and your partner came from. Increased travel, communication across the globe leading to a spreading of ideas and values have all weakened these " blood ties" you speak of. Our pools of genes and ideas are deepening with each decade and allegiances to clans and tribes becoming less relevant.

jonnie3430 - on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to MG:

> I (increasingly rarely just now) sometimes feel proud of living in a country that has organised itself to be broadly law abiding, affluent, stable, democratic etc., which I suppose is patriotic but not in an exclusive way.

I've lived in India for 9 months, South America for nearly a year and traveled a fair bit which has allowed me to see how others manage and am now glad to be British and living in the UK.  There's better ways of doing things here, but it's still much better than the majority around the world. Is it patriotic that I like this and want to preserve it? I suppose so?

I don't agree with the op's opinion on British legacy, there are a lot of positives that came from it, abolition of slave trade in 1807 being one of them, and don't feel it's fair to judge actions in history from a 2018 perspective. It is fair to judge actions in recent times against it, so Russia and Crimea, international business exploiting corruption, modern slavery, etc. are to be condemned and shouldn't happen.

 

Post edited at 11:56
PeakDJ on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> I've lived in India for 9 months, South America for nearly a year and traveled a fair bit which has allowed me to see how others manage and am now glad to be British and living in the UK.  There's better ways of doing things here, but it's still much better than the majority around the world.

In what way do you think it is much better here?  Is our government "better" and if so by what measures?   Do you mean that we are generally a lot more privileged in terms of access to education and healthcare etc?  Do you mean that your own standards of living are better? If so, who should you thank for that?  Who is responsible for preserving that status quo?

As a slight aside:  I am no longer sure whether it is possible to preserve (as you wish to) our own higher standards of living while also allowing those in developing countries to improve their lot significantly.  

>  It is fair to judge actions in recent times against it, so Russia and Crimea, international business exploiting corruption

Yes, plenty of that going on currently with arms sales from Britain and other countries to known corrupt or tyrannic governments.  The oil industry or banking sectors are also about as corrupt and ruthless as one could imagine, and the Uk has plenty of involvement (some would say more than most) in the shady sides of those sectors.

>  modern slavery, etc. are to be condemned and shouldn't happen.

Playing devil's advocate, it happens in a lot of places that our government likes to schmooze.  They don't condemn it.

In summary, yes we are - on average - immensely privileged in so many ways when we compare ourselves with people in some other areas of the world.  For me, acknowledging one's own privileges and good luck in terms of country of birth, doesn't have to be linked to patriotism or nationalism.  It's just luck, chance where one was born.  

As for wanting to preserve one's own high standard of living - I am sure we all want to do that, rather than trade places with someone in sub-Saharan Africa or parts of rural India.

As you say - people from the UK have done some wonderful things for themselves and others.  They have also done terrible things.  But "the country" has done nothing - it doesn't exist except in the stories we weave.  I think there is often confusion that preserving a way of life has to mean blind commitment to a nation state or patriotism.  

 

2
RomTheBear on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

The way I see it, it makes more sense to take pride in what one accomplishes in life, instead of the pure chance of being born somewhere.

Ridge - on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

> The way I see it, it makes more sense to take pride in what one accomplishes in life, instead of the pure chance of being born somewhere.

It could be argued that what you accomplish in life is inextricably linked to where you are born and the environment you are born into.

I'm doing OK, but luck has as much to play in that as anything intrisic in myself I should feel 'proud' about. Everyone is born and makes the best of the cards life deals them. One you're dead your pride and acheivements die with you.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

To be proud of oneself synonyms

arrogant, boastful, conceited, disdainful, egotistical, haughty, high and mighty (informal) imperious, lordly, narcissistic, orgulous (archaic) overbearing, presumptuous, self-important, self-satisfied, snobbish, snooty (informal) stuck-up (informal) supercilious, toffee-nosed

;-)

2
Eric9Points - on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

> In what way do you think it is much better here?  Is our government "better" and if so by what measures?   Do you mean that we are generally a lot more privileged in terms of access to education and healthcare etc?  Do you mean that your own standards of living are better? If so, who should you thank for that?  Who is responsible for preserving that status quo?

We are where we are because we have governments and a civil service that is mainly free from corruption and nepotism. It may be that we are where we are by a series of happy accidents but there you have it.

The fact that UK companies may or may not pay bribes to foreign politicians should not be a source of breast beating. They wouldn't get the business if they didn't because someone else would just pay up instead. Blame the politicians and officials in those countries who go into politics simply to enrich themselves at the expense of the common people. Or, if you like, blame those people for allowing themselves to be exploited by voting a bunch of crooks into office.

Whose fault is it that in the country that I'm currently posting this from, that you need to choose your chemist carefully in order to ensure that you don't buy counterfeit drugs, that despite huge amounts of foreign aid that the roads in the capital city are on the verge of unusable, that half of the population of that city lives on less than 1 USD a day while those more comfortably off live in compounds surrounded by electric fences and razor wire. I could go on but need to go. People get the leaders they voted for.

PeakDJ on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

> We are where we are because we have governments and a civil service that is mainly free from corruption and nepotism. It may be that we are where we are by a series of happy accidents but there you have it.

Agreed, mostly.  But it all depends on one's definition of corruption.  Yes - sure, our government is - at least at face value - free of some of the types of corruption that are glaringly evident in some other parts of the world.  But we are also "where we are", at least in part, due to a plundering of resources and people in other countries long in the past and (fortunately less frequently) in the present, exporting things we should not to people we should not and being willing to slaughter or stand back and watch the slaughter of  people in their thousands if there's a chance something might get in the way of economic growth or the interests of large corporate entities in our countries.  It's not all doom and gloom and I'm the first to admit that our governments have done some wonderful things, but our higher standard of living in the West compared with some of the poorer nations is not simply down to the factors you describe.   We have benefited from some things in the past that were just "not cricket".

> The fact that UK companies may or may not pay bribes to foreign politicians should not be a source of breast beating. They wouldn't get the business if they didn't because someone else would just pay up instead. Blame the politicians and officials in those countries who go into politics simply to enrich themselves at the expense of the common people. Or, if you like, blame those people for allowing themselves to be exploited by voting a bunch of crooks into office.

Who was talking about bribing foreign politicians?  Not something I know anything about but I'll take your word for it that our politicians, if involved in such goings-on, aren't to be blamed.  But the whole "if they didn't do it then someone else would" is a non-starter for me.  I still wouldn't want them to do it and wouldn't knowingly vote for someone who put it as an intended action on their manifesto ;)

> Whose fault is it that in the country that I'm currently posting this from, that you need to choose your chemist carefully in order to ensure that you don't buy counterfeit drugs, that despite huge amounts of foreign aid that the roads in the capital city are on the verge of unusable, that half of the population of that city lives on less than 1 USD a day while those more comfortably off live in compounds surrounded by electric fences and razor wire. I could go on but need to go.

I'm not sure what your point is, exactly.  There are lots of places like that in the world (I have lived in a few too) and it is the fault only of the individuals who might willingly bring about those sort of situations.  Not necessarily the fault of the individual citizens and certainly not the fault of "the nation" as a whole.  In some circumstances it can sometimes be partly the fault of foreign governments for plundering resources in partnership with the country's government, all in the interest of their people's "safety" and standards of living, obviously.

>  People get the leaders they voted for.

Not everyone does, obviously...that is how voting works.  A majority of people should get the leaders they voted for, but even that isn't always true in all places.  Nevertheless, your post implies that when bad things happen the "people" have themselves to blame for voting in the decision-makers and that our relatively non-corrupt government got us to "where we are"...even if they did have to bribe a few people along the way.  OK. 

Can you not think of many examples in recent history where decisions were taken that not everyone in a country agreed with?  But yes - we have to live with the will of a majority in a democracy, even if the majority aren't voting very wisely, or in some countries, aren't educated to a degree that they could make any sort of informed choice.  Which is partly why I'm in favour of less patriotism/nationalism and more recognition that we are born where we are born through sheer chance, and that most of the things that happen in our lives are beyond our control...and that whole "nations" can rarely be held accountable for anything, good or bad, because the actions of a government often does not refect the will of a huge number of people in that country.

 

1
jonnie3430 - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

> Who is responsible for preserving that status quo?

We are, the British people, the ones that kick up a sinks about arms sales overseas, the ones that make sure that corruption is fought, that make sure that education is good and available to all, that keep the police in check, it's a kind of publicly accepted morality that isn't present in other countries and does us well.

Timmd on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

I'm 60% a patriot perhaps? I like how racially tolerant the UK is, on the whole, how it's a melting pot of different cultures, I like the irony and the self depreciation and the weird sarcasm, the countryside, the pubs, and a lot of the 'native culture' as well as that which has been imported or absorbed.  No country is 'great', or doesn't have dark chapters in it's history, but our country isn't so bad. It could be a lot better in certain ways, but people who emigrate can here talk about the sense of being able to be who one wishes to be, to be an individual on the quiet while seeming to conform is one description I came across ( from a French or German person I think).  

I'm perhaps not patriotic, but I like the isles I come from in the sense of valuing certain things.

Post edited at 13:18
Timmd on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> We are, the British people, the ones that kick up a sinks about arms sales overseas, the ones that make sure that corruption is fought, that make sure that education is good and available to all, that keep the police in check, it's a kind of publicly accepted morality that isn't present in other countries and does us well.

We sell arms to oppressive regimes, we have overseas territories which are tax havens in which corruption can be fostered, and we have double standards globally, in talking about morality and goodness, while trading and having quiet deals with shady or unpleasant regimes. We 'do' have something of a history of (moral) duplicity - but many countries do.

Post edited at 13:01
jonnie3430 - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to Timmd:

That is the greedy ones, but the everyday punters, as you see in the news aren't happy about any of the issues you mention and we raise a stink when we do hear about them and try to close them down, fairly successfully.

jonnie3430 - on 03 Jul 2018
In reply to Timmd:

Maybe you have an opression obsession as described by Johnathan Pie here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9_bI789Gog 

Timmd on 03 Jul 2018
PeakDJ on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> We are, the British people, the ones that kick up a sinks about arms sales overseas,

And yet the arms sales continue despite all the stink-kicking...hmmmm.  Can we really do much back patting for our efforts there, as our government continues to sell arms to known despots and corrupt governments?  If the majority of us are so honourable why has it been going on so long and why does it continue?

> the ones that make sure that corruption is fought,

Do we/you do much?  If so, what do we do?  Are we free of corruption?  How about the banks and their behaviour in recent decades and taxpayers bailing them out - outright criminality with nobody punished apart from taxpayers who foot the bill?  MPs claiming ridiculous expenses and cheating while funding is ripped away from almost all public services?  Dodgy dossiers and lies to send us to war in the Middle East on more than one occasion?  For a people who make sure corruption is fought we aint doing too well.  Yes - there is always somewhere worse, but the isn't cause for any sort of national pride, surely!

>  that make sure that education is good and available to all

Do you think we rank as one of the best in terms of quality of education?  What, in your view is so good about our system (Is it affordable for all?  Do we better prepare our kids for the future than other developed countries?)  How much do you know about the education systems in other countries (or our own, apart from once going to school/uni yourself) to make proper comparisons?  It's a genuine question rather than casting any doubt on the validity of your statement. How many other countries have better systems, even if we look only at other European countries? What measures are you using to judge our education system or is it simply a subjective judgement?

> it's a kind of publicly accepted morality that isn't present in other countries and does us well.

Just out of interest - are you sure a "publicly accepted morality" is not present in other countries?  Where have you lived other than as a tourist or a short-term visitor to allow you a proper comparison?  To my mind, there are people who behave well and people who behave badly everywhere.  We have our fair share of both types of people and behaviours, as do other countries.  I remember you have spent time abroad, but when I have done the same I have found that there are lots of good people in other places too and I don't think we have a monopoly on good, honourable citizens.

In summary, we aren't collectively the "worst" by many measures, but we aren't the best (in fact far from it) by many measures either.  In fact, we are fairly middle of the road on average.  Funny that.

Post edited at 19:11
Stichtplate on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

> Just out of interest - are you a "publicly accepted morality" is not present in other countries?  Where have you lived other than as a tourist or a short-term visitor to allow you a proper comparison?  To my mind, there are people who behave well and people who behave badly everywhere.  We have our fair share of both types of people and behaviours, as do other countries.

To look at just a couple of (rather major) indices, google national murder rates and then google the global slavery index. You will see some countries have 40 times more slaves and 150 times more murders per capita than others. It's a mystifyingly popular misconception that people are the same the world over, they aren't .

> In summary, we aren't collectively the "worst" by many measures, but we aren't the best (in fact far from it) by many measures either.  In fact, we are fairly middle of the road on average.  Funny that.

Not true. In terms of how we tend to look after each other as opposed to kill, maim or enslave, we're pretty near the top.

PeakDJ on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> To look at just a couple of (rather major) indices, google national murder rates and then google the global slavery index. You will see some countries have 40 times more slaves and 150 times more murders per capita than others. It's a mystifyingly popular misconception that people are the same the world over, they aren't .

I know very little about the actual data for those indices, but in my experience people are indeed pretty much the same in much of the world, although yes - there are some places where more "bad stuff" happens.  But I am not convinced that - on average - people are better in Britain than many other places.   

In addition, there may be places where more people do very bad things, but perhaps more people in those places do very good things too.   So on average... Got some measures to disprove that?

> > In summary, we aren't collectively the "worst" by many measures, but we aren't the best (in fact far from it) by many measures either.  In fact, we are fairly middle of the road on average.  Funny that.

> Not true. In terms of how we tend to look after each other as opposed to kill, maim or enslave, we're pretty near the top.

When you say "kill/maim each other" do you mean our fellow humans worldwide or simply our fellow British citizens? Sure, on one measure we do fine but on the other...I am not convinced (if you accept that the actions of the government reflect the interests and will of the masses).  Can we count those who have died as a result of our military or foreign policy interventions in other regions of the world, and if so, how do we score then in terms of number of people killed or maimed?  Again...a genuine question if you can point me to some numbers.  Or can we simply put the deaths in our pointless wars elsewhere down to those in government so it doesn't detract from our solid moral standing as good British people? 

Either way, there are other measures where we are far from the top but yes - also far from the bottom.

 

Post edited at 19:59
Stichtplate on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

> In my experience they are.  I am not convinced that - on average - people are better in Britain than elsewhere.   There may be places where more people do very bad things, but perhaps more people in those places do very good things too.  Got some measures to disprove that?

Good deeds? Pretty hard to quantify, but number 11 out of 195 in charitable giving.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/most-generous-countries-in-the-world/

Also worth taking into account that we manage to run our blood banks on a voluntary basis and that the RNLI, mountain rescue and cave rescue are all unpaid volunteers, risking their lives on a daily basis. Oh, and our national helimed services are also funded purely on a charitable basis.

All in all a pretty good indicator that the UK isn't short of people willing to "do very good things".

Edit:typo.

Edit II: on foreign policy a handful of god awful sociopaths dragged our country into the last 30 years worth of armed misadventures despite millions of ordinary citizens marching in opposition.

Post edited at 20:09
PeakDJ on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Good deeds? Pretty hard to quantify, but number 11 out of 195 in charitable giving.

A fairly good measure - thanks.  Only objection is that charitable giving is quite probably hard to measure in some less developed countries where much of this sort of thing goes unrecorded.  

> Also worth taking into account that we manage to run our blood banks on a voluntary basis and that the RNLI, mountain rescue and cave rescue are all unpaid volunteers, risking their lives on a daily basis. Oh, and our national helimed services are also funded purely on a charitable basis.

> All in all a pretty good indicator that the UK isn't short of people willing to "do very good things".

I don't think the UK is short of good people and never said so....there are many people doing wonderful things.  I just don't think Britain has many more good people than a lot of other places - especially in developed countries. 

> Edit II: on foreign policy a handful of god awful sociopaths dragged our country into the last 30 years worth of armed misadventures despite millions of ordinary citizens marching in opposition.

I know and it is good to see those people out trying to change the course of these events.  But many more millions of people didn't march.  Can we assume they were totally against the actions of the god-awful sociopaths?  I hope they were, but it'd definitely be an assumption rather than a fact.  Of course, if we are all so against these things, then why do we let our elected "leaders" get away with it...time and time again, or is it that many are happy to let these things happen as they fear that if they do not, their own quality of life may be affected?

Some thought provoking examples on the positive side there, so thanks!

 

jonnie3430 - on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

Because the world's grey, not black and white.  Should we supply arms to Saudi with its human rights record? Should we supply arms to Saudi because they're fighting in Yemen against Iranian/ North Korean/ Hezbollah supported rebels? How much did our pressure lead towards women driving in Saudi now?

People will always be greedy, there will always be some trying to get away with corruption, but our levels of corruption are laughable when compared to some. 

It's really good to be British and to live in the UK, we are incredibly lucky to have been born here, compared to the 6 billion plus that didn't. I read this morning that over 500 million Indians still defecate outside daily. I hope you appreciate your toilets more.

jonnie3430 - on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

Pointless wars? Care to expand a wee bit?

RomTheBear on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Good deeds? Pretty hard to quantify, but number 11 out of 195 in charitable giving.

You mean guilt washing ?

 

1
jonnie3430 - on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

Describe it how you like, I wouldn't use your words, bit it's still better than most

Stichtplate on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to RomTheBear:

> You mean guilt washing ?

No I don't. Who in Britain do you think is guilty and of what?

PeakDJ on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Because the world's grey, not black and white. 

I know - but I am not sure you do, really...

>  Should we supply arms to Saudi with its human rights record? Should we supply arms to Saudi because they're fighting in Yemen against Iranian/ North Korean/ Hezbollah supported rebels?

Probably not, on both counts.  Making a tidy profit by selling weapons that one knows will be used to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians probably isn't defensible in any circumstances.

> How much did our pressure lead towards women driving in Saudi now?

We cannot much of the credit for that.  New Saudi leadership and a slow infiltration of slightly more moderate royals is the main cause.  If you think a major factor is ME leaders caving in to our pressure, you are fairly misguided.  

> People will always be greedy, there will always be some trying to get away with corruption, but our levels of corruption are laughable when compared to some. 

The corruption is fairly well hidden and not often called corruption in our little tax haven.  It is much more "visible" in other places, but that's not to say it doesn't exist here on a huge scale.  There are worse places and better places.

> It's really good to be British and to live in the UK, we are incredibly lucky to have been born here,

"It feels really good to be British"?  Maybe it does to you, but being British isn't one of the things that really makes me feel good.   But recognising that one has been "lucky" isn't necessarily a reason to be full of national pride or patriotism.  It is indeed luck and we have something in common in that we recognise we were "lucky."  That doesn't mean our fellow citizens are necessarily better than those everywhere else, as you seem to imply.

> compared to the 6 billion plus that didn't.

Plenty of people who were not born in Britain are better off on some measures.  All 6 million of them are not unlucky to have not been born here.  Again - there are those who are worse off and those who are better off.  We aren't top of the tree, but for some reason you seem to think we are.  

>  I read this morning that over 500 million Indians still defecate outside daily. I hope you appreciate your toilets more.

I read this morning that depression, anxiety, diabetes and many other lifestyle-related diseases are at record highs in many developed Western countries, including our own....including in children.  It isn't as simple as you make out, jonnie.  Indian leaders since colonial days certainly have made some mistakes, but using India as an example ignores some of our ancestors' history in that country.  Using your own words:  It is also grey - not black and white. 

 

Post edited at 16:23
2
PeakDJ on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Pointless wars? Care to expand a wee bit?

No - not really.   We hold different view points and that is fine by me.  

 

Post edited at 16:19
1
jonnie3430 - on 05 Jul 2018
In reply to PeakDJ:

I'm not surprised that depression is high, anyone that hears you moan will be off to the doctor's in the morning for a prescription...  first world problems, eh?

PeakDJ on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to jonnie3430:

I am happier than ever thanks and so are many others that recognise their fellow countrymen aren’t “special” or rather better than the other 6billion + people on the planet just because they happened to be born in Britain.  I simply don’t have the superiority complex and sense of national pride that you seem to, although as I said earlier, I do have an affiliation to the country as many of the people I love live there.   I also love some of the landscapes and, of course, the climbing.

You have rather skilfully ignored most of my questions where I have tried to find out a little more about why you hold that particular viewpoint and now start saying I am “moaning.”  I’m genuinely interested in the topic...and some others on the thread managed some intelligent debate.  They also managed to support their views with some interesting data that gave me cause for reflection.  So far, you’ve managed neither. Nobody is moaning (or in your case becoming a sudden expert on the character of everyone on Earth after a few months in India or wherever as a tourist).  I am simply saying that while I wholeheartedly agree that there are things to be proud of in life...I don’t really believe one’s nationality is one of them.  Some of the time I was simply playing devils advocate.  Where we disagree, that’s fine.  Have a good evening.

Post edited at 20:39
1
profitofdoom on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> if you go back just a few generations many (most?) family trees will contain people from all over the UK. Certainly my own family, while mainly English and Welsh, also has Scottish and Irish roots and present day family scattered between Devon, Gwynedd, Cheshire, Lancashire and Aberdeenshire.

You are probably from all the place, have a read of this article ("So You Think You're English?") about DNA studies of people in the UK:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatfeedback/4201967/So-you-think-youre-English.html

Stichtplate on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to profitofdoom:

Yeah, and there was a recent study on these DNA analysis companies that found that the same samples were throwing up wildly different data. In any case I don't think it makes that much odds whether you're black, brown or green if all your antecedents are rooted in this country as far back as living memory goes then how much more British could you get?

profitofdoom on 07 Jul 2018
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Yeah, and there was a recent study on these DNA analysis companies that found that the same samples were throwing up wildly different data

OK, and thanks a lot for the info


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