Andy, your post reminds me of a great professor I once knew. As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, I was a TA in a course he was teaching, and in one class session a student—looking very proud of himself—said that “love of one’s own,” which was the subject under discussion, and especially patriotism, was either false or unnecessary. If what you love is loveable, that should be obvious to all and it shouldn’t matter if it’s your own. And if it’s not, then you shouldn’t love it just because it’s yours. People ought to be united by a love of general truths, not divided by particularities.
The professor, with a smile, pointed to the Boston Red Sox cap on the student’s desk (he had been made to remove it when the class began) and said: “Next week, I expect you to come into class with a cap that just says ‘baseball.’ ”