Why are people proud of their country

Germany reading

About the use and abuse of a word

The word “proud” comes from the Middle Low German “stolt” and originally means magnificent or stately. It is used in many ways today, including civic or national pride, a proud homeowner, husband, winner, or proud parent. It can also serve as a reproach if someone is held up against a lack of a sense of honor. Then it says: “Don't you have any pride?”.

In Christian ethics (Thomas Aquinas, among others), pride is considered the highest vice. However, it is understood here in the sense of vanity, arrogance or presumption. The enlightener and sociologist Adolf Freiherr von Knigge, famous for his work “On dealing with people”, makes the following suggestion: “I would like to see pride as a noble quality of the soul, as an awareness of true inner sublimity and Dignity, as a feeling of inability to act wickedly. ”In this understanding, pride makes sense and is often necessary. A person, a society or a state that is not self-confident but rather depressed and ruled by feelings of inferiority is at risk, prone to crises and threatened by failure. Whoever hides cannot act.

Right-wing extremists in Germany have tried again and again to abuse the phrase “Proud to be a German”. On the other hand, it is important to give pride the role that is factually founded, embedded in its linguistic, social and historical significance, which helps to live independently and responsibly and, as Knigge says, to feel incapable of acting wickedly.

"Germans, we can be proud of our country" - Advertising slogan by Willy Brandt, German Chancellor (1969-1974) in the 1972 federal election campaign

»There isn't too much national pride in Germany. Anyone who wants to delete the phrase "I am proud to be a German" from our vocabulary leaves national pride to the right-wing extremists. " - Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister, one of the main architects of the reunification of Germany.

"Germany has to be jolted." - Roman Herzog * Federal President (1994-1999)

»You can't be proud of something that you haven't achieved yourself, but you can be happy or grateful that you are German. But you can't be proud of it, after my reflection. One is proud of what one is supposed to do ways brought. " - Johannes Rau, Federal President (1999-2004)

»Wouldn't it be good if everyone in Germany came together Verto speak, a promise that everyone can trust and that is: We trust you to do something ... " - Horst Köhler, Federal President (2004-2010)

"It's about our Country. France has the French Leitkultur, Italy the Italian, why shouldn't we have the Germans in our home country? ... I am proud to be a German «. - Laurenz Meyer, former CDU general secretary

"We have no problem being proud of the country." - Franz Müntefering, former SPD party and parliamentary group chairman

"We can do everything except High German" - Advertising slogan of the state of Baden-Württemberg

»Schiller and Hegel, Schelling and Hauff, that's the rule with us, we don't notice that " - Swabian proverb

"Un do druff, do druff I'm a bit proud" - Refrain of the unofficial Saarland anthem (Wolfgang de Benki / Bert Berger)

"We should be a little more proud of our corporations" - Heinrich von Pierer, former Siemens supervisory board chairman

"Stupidity and pride grow on one wood" - German proverb

"Only the rascals are modest, braves are indeed happy" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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