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ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Loathing one's own country: is it immature?

Asked by ParaParaYukiko (6103 points ) October 20th, 2009

Some time ago I had a conversation with a teenage guy who held great feelings of hostility against his home country (the US). He could not believe that his foreign friends would want to live in the USA, because it was such a terrible place. He went on to talk about how stupid Americans are and how all other countries were better than the USA.

At the time, I tried to argue that the United States has just as many problems as other countries, but he wouldn’t listen, so I dropped the issue.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of this in people, especially young people. It may have reduced a little bit since Bush left office, but there is still a lot of hatred in some Americans to their own country and government. Criticizing the government is one thing; this is different.

My question to you all is this: is this hatred something that is related to being a brash, unruly youth? Or is it just as possible for mature, educated people to harbor such loathing?

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32 Answers

asmonet's avatar

His opinion is immature, due to it’s naivete and ignorance. And can occur in the educated or uneducated – young or old.
However, disliking your country’s policies and culture is fine. You have a right to think for yourself.

jackm's avatar

If you hate America just because its become the cool thing to do today, then yes, its immature.

If you have valid, well though out reasons then no. It seems your friend falls into the former category.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

This is likely the perspective of a young person who has not lived outside the US.

jamielynn2328's avatar

It’s hard to be patriotic when you feel as though your country does not represent how you feel inside. With that being said, it is immature to not want to think outside of the box. All I would have to do is look at other cultures, and I can see the good and also the bad within my own country. I don’t agree with the way that America looks to outsiders. I don’t agree with the idea that we are better than everyone else. I wish that we were more tolerant as a whole of other people’s cultures. But I still love this country.

Bush was a hard pill to swallow though. And I don’t judge those who have lost hope.

airowDee's avatar

It depends on his reason. I can’t tell you if he is immature or not. The way you characterize him seems to suggest his immaturity. It is probably just as immature to tell someone to leave the country if they don’t like it.

timothykinney's avatar

I think that young men have an innate tendency to disapprove of the established world around them. That said, he has every reason to believe that the USA is heading into the crapper, both socially and economically. Other countries certainly have problems, but this doesn’t mean the USA is any better off because of it.

I encourage you to look at OECD in 2008 in Gapminder Graphs You can look at a lot of interesting metrics that prove that the U.S. is not the best country in the world. Neither is it the worst.

benjaminlevi's avatar

My disagreement with the majority of the action my government takes is often seen as a loathing of my own country.
I don’t love or loathe any countries, but I do see hatred of a country as immature.

DominicX's avatar

All I know is, the U.S. has the best geography. I don’t want to live in some cold country that gets less sunlight a day like Sweden or Iceland even if they are more utopic than the U.S. Where else can I go mountain biking in pine forests, visit the desert, then hop down to the palm-tree lined beach in less than a day?

Actually, that’s really just California. We should be our own country.

As for the question: I do think it’s pretty common for teenagers to go through a phase like that. I’m a teenager and I certainly don’t hate this country (and I never have—but we’ve already established that I am a weird kid). Does that mean I agree with everything that this country’s government does and that I feel we are perfect and need no problems fixed? Of course not. But I don’t think it’s the “worst country in the world”. That’s classic overreacting and I don’t want to sound smug, but they will probably grow out of it. Hopefully instead they will work to make things better rather than sit around complaining, exaggerating, and doing nothing.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it hurts people when they live with a lot of dislike for their country. I was just talking about this with someone in regards to minorities. That some minorities grow up with the message that their country, the people in it, have been against them in the past and still are. This generalization I feel inhibits ones ability to prosper in America. I grew up with a love of America. The ideal of America. That we are all created equal, have a right to pursue life liberty and happiness. We don’t always live up to it as a country, but we continue to strive for it I believe. America still has incredible opportunity and as mentioned by @DominicX our country is so vast, all types of geography and communities to choose from. The country is open to us, you just have to find your own niche.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

I couldn’t say if it is immature or not. I feel very frustrated sometimes because it seems like I have no power over the way my government is run, and thus no say in my world views by proxy. But my feeling is that if you don’t like the place you live, support it and make it a better place. To just bitch about it and want to abandon it is immature.

ratboy's avatar

Not if the country is loathsome.

judochop's avatar

I feel it is a little immature to loath a place yet I understand it if it is coming from a young teenager. America is not a bad place and it is easy to realize that once you have been to many other places around the world.
Kids just tend to hate because it is all the angst they have caught up in themselves.
I will not argue that there are downsides to the USA however there are many really, really kickass sides to this country as well.

DarkScribe's avatar

When your government does things that make you feel shame or embarrassment for their actions, when it denigrates the your country’s international reputation, this might translate as hatred or dislike of your own country, but it would really be hatred or dislike of the government – in this case in all likelihood the Bush Government.

Obama, support him or not, has made some major changes in the way that the US is regarded internationally. Given time he might manage to restore both America’s reputation and the national pride of Americans like the one who prompted this question.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I don’t know, I can kind of relate to your friends frustrations. I look at some of the issues going on today and then I look at other countries and I get angry because I wonder why My country can’t have the best health care in the world, and why does my country have blood on its hands and why does my country let the poor and unfortunate die in the streets when the banks are getting paid billions in taxes while taking away their homes. I struggle with what I want to do about it. I try to remember, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Oh well, it doesn’t make someone immature to hate their country, as long as they can back it up with something other than garbage.

tb1570's avatar

Perhaps, but blind patriotism, nationalism and the “love it or leave it” attitude are all at least just as immature.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Maybe there’s a lot of anti-US indoctrination at his school. He’s not likely to have a healthy view of the US if he relies on the blame-America media, on TV or on the web. And when even the President of the US confirms lies about the US and paints a dreadful picture of his country’s historiy it’s no surprise that people lower down the ladder could be confused.

Unfortunately it’s not necessarily a sign of immaturity. Bill Ayers and his wife, Jeremiah Wright, pastor Pflegel, as well as many hollywood celebrities show that you can be old and still have a lot of hatred for the American way.

The best way to combat it is with information. There are quite a few respectable publications that will allow you to open his eyes on a lot of things that are casually being spread around. Off the top of my head, there’s National Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer’s columns in the Washington Post, Ross Douthat’s columns in the NYT, Newsbusters, Newsmax, Townhall.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Jack_Haas when even the President of the US confirms lies about the US and paints a dreadful picture of his country’s historiy

What lies did Obama confirm? I must have missed that.

mattbrowne's avatar

Be the change you want to see.

Judi's avatar

My daughter was born in 1980 and grew up hearing me bash Regan quite a bit. I was appalled when she told me, “I’m not proud to be an American.” I realized that in all my griping and complaining, I forgot to emphasize how amazing it is to live in a country where you can disagree with the government relatively free of fear.
It wasn’t until she was grown, and became a missionary to Vietnam, and lived a short time in Europe that she began to appreciate her home country.
I’m glad she learned from my mistakes. She is still raising her kids to question authority (like I raised her,) but she is being careful to add, “respect, but question authority.”

RedPowerLady's avatar

I think it depends on the circumstances. Hate is a harsh word. But would you say that it is immature for a refugee to hate their country? I would not.

rasputin6xc's avatar

Yes, I think this person’s hatred was immature. It seems like he was just regurgitating generalized “information” about America. America does have its problems, just like every other country, but to say that Americans as a whole are stupid and that all other countries are better is just completely ridiculous. I’m not particularly patriotic, but at least I don’t generalize about the population that I’m a member of and completely blot out the good things that America offers.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think loving or hating a country is stupid. All of them have some good, all of them have some bad.

tb1570's avatar

@DarkScribe Yeah, I missed those “lies” too, and would like to hear what they are…

Leanne1986's avatar

You haven’t mentioned his reasons for hating the US, did he give you any? It would completely depend on his reasons as to whether I considered him immature. I know that I often feel ashamed of my culture and the people of my country (England) and this feeling is especially strong when I visit other countries and meet people from different cultures. I am often disgusted at the attitude of a large number of the people in my country and the way they treat others (especially if those others are of a different culture or have a different way of thinking). I don’t think this is immature and there is plenty that I appreciate about my country.

However, as others have said, if he has only experienced life in one country then the chances are he is jumping on the “I hate my country” bandwagon. If that’a the case then, yes he’s immature!

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yes, the guy gave some reasons. But those reasons were why I thought he was being incredibly mature. He was saying things like “People are starving and all we care about is the quality of our toilet paper!” Which didn’t make much sense to me…

At the same time, he was also idolizing other countries like Japan, which he thought of as far superior to the US. A lot of people interested in Japanese culture tend to do this, without realizing that Japan has some of the highest rates of suicide, alcoholism, and rape of all industrial countries. The US has its problems, but that certainly doesn’t warrant hating it outright, as this country has plenty of good things going for it.

I was mostly curious because sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between those who hate their country to “jump on the bandwagon” as you said, and those who are disgusted but have an educated understanding of their own country.

Judi's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko ; It’s imaturity. He needs to travel.

Leanne1986's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko It seems to be a trend in young people to be fascinated with Japan (to the point of obsession) at the moment. Many of my friends/aquaintences over here and in the States are and yet they have never been. I wonder why that is? I’m obviously missing something because, while I am interested in most cultures (Japan included) I don’t know where this current obsession has come from.

If your friend has never been to Japan and he seems to be romanticising is that a word? then I would say that, yes, he is being immature about it. I’m sure if he moved to ANY country from America he would probably find fault and start to see the good things about America. It sounds like a perfect case of “the grass is greener”.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yes, this fascination with Japan is definitely a growing trend. I am also very interested in Japanese language and culture (I have been for years). I think it’s because of the growing popularity of anime; more and more has been imported to the United States. When someone becomes a fan of anime, they often want to know more about Japan, and often want to learn Japanese so they can watch anime in Japanese or read Japanese graphic novels. Popular culture in Japan is very interesting, with a lot of fashion and music that is quite different from what we find in the West. This, as well as the refined historical culture of Japan, make it a pretty cool place to an outsider.

This often leads to an obsession with everything Japanese. Unfortunately, Japanese society is very secretive, so they do all they can to hide the darker sides of their culture (like the suicide, alcoholism and rape I mentioned earlier, not to mention a corrupt government and other political issues). People tend to think life in Japan is the same as what they see in anime, with cute girls in sailor uniforms and dreamy-looking “pretty boys” with cool clothes and hair. This is not to say that those things don’t exist in Japan to some extent, but it’s extremely overemphasized in anime, giving Western fans a sugar-coated view of the country, perfect for idolizing.

I was a bit guilty of this obsession when I was in high school. But as I grew up and did more research about what Japan is really like, I grew to appreciate it as a culturally rich place that has just as many flaws as any other country out there, not a mecca of all things awesome.

Judi's avatar

@Leanne1986 . the current obcession is coming from the latest obcession of Anime

timothykinney's avatar

I think we would be hard pressed to find anybody who believed that Japan was really like anime.

Judi's avatar

I really don’t know much about Anime except that some people seem to be obsessed and it comes from Japan. I don’t think people think it is “Like” it, I just think it could spark cultural interest.

snowberry's avatar

Hating your country sounds a bit like shooting yourself in the foot. If you hate your country, LEAVE! Go somewhere where that’s better, if you can find it.

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