The most effective weapon that politicians use to control you isn’t the police or the military they own. It’s not the jails they run. It’s not the laws they write. Their most effective weapon is what you believe in your own mind about your alleged obligation to obey them.
Most people would agree that “patriotism” is a good thing. Most people would also agree that “nationalism” is a bad thing. I have yet to find anyone, though, who can come up with any significant difference between the two. They’re just positive and negative spins on the same thing — the idea that people have a duty to love, obey and be loyal to the governing structure of wherever they happened to be born.
I happen to love the place where I live. I identify strongly with Alabama. Despite the fact that I’ve lived in six other states, I was born in Birmingham and have spent most of my adult life here. The land is beautiful. The lifestyle is enjoyable. The people are no better or worse than anywhere else. But I have no special loyalty to any government that rules my home. That’s true of all the governments that claim power over me, ranging from my local mayor and city council all the way up to the federal government. They have the power to coerce me to obey. Nothing more. Unfortunately, most people obey because they feel obligated, both because of childhood indoctrination and because of blind obedience to authority figures.