The Patriot in Amateur Radio
It's been a while since I looked up the word "patriotic". Depending on which dictionary definition you use it could be: "showing love for your country and being proud of it", or it could mean: "having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support of one's country".
Synonyms for the word patriotic include "nationalist" and "nationalistic" and it relates to words such as "chauvinist", "jingoist" and "fervent". Jingoist means having or showing excessive favouritism towards one's own country.
That said, the original Amateur's Code published in 1927 says that:
The Amateur is Patriotic. His knowledge and his station are always ready for the service of his country and his community.
The 2022 ARRL handbook says:
The Radio Amateur is PATRIOTIC...station and skill always ready for service to country and community.
The ARRL website is slightly different:
The Radio Amateur is PATRIOTIC...His/[Her] station and skills are always ready for service to country and community.
Based on the meaning and connotations of the word "patriotic", I think that the sixth clause of the Amateur's Code is a political statement. It came at the close of World War One and in that context it makes sense.
I will also note that the word "patriotic" means different things to different people. For some it's a positive concept, for others it's the opposite and I think as a result it's a problematic concept in the world today.
If that's not clear to you, consider the notion of patriotic to a person living in the United States of America versus a person living in Ukraine, or a person living in North Korea, Sudan, China or Japan. Each of these countries have different concepts of the idea of patriotic which might not actually be compatible with each other.
Should we as a global community encourage cohesion or encourage incompatibility?
A more inclusive word might be "loyal", but we've already covered that. I've offered the following revision of the original loyalty clause to be:
The Radio Amateur is LOYAL...offering encouragement and participation to the global amateur community.
We could add the word country to that and dispense with the patriotic clause altogether, but I think that detracts from what the sixth clause is attempting to achieve, the sharing of station and skill to country and community.
What if we replace the word "patriotic" with "supportive" instead? I also think that the lost word "knowledge" is separate from station and skill and I think it has a place in this clause.
The clause would read:
The Radio Amateur is SUPPORTIVE...knowledge, station and skills always ready for service to country and community.
I'm aware that, given the wide range of meanings for the word "patriotic" across Earth, this is likely to be controversial, but in considering this version, please consider the level of emotion included in your feeling of the word "patriotic" versus the emotion for the word "supportive". It seems to me that reducing the level of emotion in a code of conduct is a positive evolution.
What are your thoughts on the matter?