My Country Right or Wrong
The Society of G.K. Chesterton
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My Country Right or Wrong

QUESTION: I am looking for the origin of or Chesterton reference to the idea that someone saying “My Country, right or wrong,” is like saying “My mother, drunk or sober.”

ANSWER: The line is from Chesterton’s first book of essays, The Defendant (1901) from the chapter, “A Defence of Patriotism”:

“‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.'”