Proud to Be American

(Photo: The U.S. Army)

(Photo: The U.S. Army)

Watching the Olympics in a foreign country (the U.K.) brings out the super-patriot in me.  I’m cheering for the U.S. athletes in each event, and I don’t even care about the games!

Is this patriotism unusual?  Actually, we Americans are outliers in this regard.  In a recent set of World Values Surveys, 71 percent of Americans responded positively when asked if they were very proud of their country. Among 16 other rich countries in the surveys, the average was only 45 percent.  And only Australians and Irish were as proud as we seem to be. The jingoism of the networks in the U.S. during the Olympics caters to, and perhaps reinforces, our attitudes.


I wonder if in the case of Ireland, it's because they had to fight for their independence from the Crown like the United States did.

I also wonder if Australia's patriotism is a result of US influence.

Voice of Reason

It might reflect our nation's obsession with sports, and in particular, a broad diversity of sports, not just one sport like in most countries. We have baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer, autosport, golf, etc. that all have to be followed, so we're used to switching our athletic interests as the ball changes, but the uniform stays the same. Think about it, if you live in NY, you have so many different pro teams that you have to follow, but you still do, and you root for each team as faithfully and fervently as the other. In many Hispanic and European countries, you root for your local soccer team, and only your soccer team.


The article didn't explore the merits of a high or low percentage patriot score. My take is the higher the percentage of people who feel patriotic in a given country the more it creates distances between us and hench their readiness to engage in conflicts with other people in the world. And I posit the opposite to be true.