Patriotism commonly is understood as “love for the fatherland”. From this point of view patriotism mainly is an emotional disposition. It consists in feeling somehow “proud” of the country you live in. Tragically, most people today have no sufficient idea of their country’s history, ideological makeup, and other things that could lead one to be legitimately proud of it. Instead, their pride is a seemingly causeless sense of “belonging”. Ask people in the street why exactly they are proud of their country. If you can get any answer out of them at all, it will be insignificant. What these people evade is the fact that patriotism is not merely an emotional, but primarily an intellectual issue. It does not merely consist in feeling “good” about one’s country without giving reasons. One should know what is good about one’s country, and reversely, one also should know what is bad about it–and why. Since “good” and “bad” are value judgments, patriotism thus concerns itself with values, and especially–but not exclusively–with political values.
I haven’t thought much about patriotism, so I can’t say much other than (1) that I like that approach and (2) that the whole post is an intriguing foray into the topic.