Patriotism is a very complex feeling, built up out of primitive instincts and highly intellectual convictions. There is love of home and family and friends, making us peculiarly anxious to preserve our own country from invasion. There is the mild instinctive liking for compatriots against foreigners. There is pride, which is bound up with the success of the community to which we feel that we belong. There is a belief, suggested by pride, but reinforced by history, that one’s own nation represents a great tradition and stands for ideals that are important to the human race. But besides all these, there is another element, at once nobler and more open to attack, an element of worship, of willing sacrifice, of joyful merging of the individual life in the life of the nation. This religious element in patriotism is essential to the strength of the State, since it enlists the best that is in most men on the side of national sacrifice.
(Note: This passage appears in Bertrand Russell's Why Men Fight; however, this should not be necessary to understand the passage, which was quoted by itself in the example question linked above.)
The example question asks
What does the author imply by using the phrase “open to attack” for the element of worship in patriotism?
- This element is unnecessary in some instances of patriotic behaviour
- This element will call for various acts of national sacrifice
- This element has no historical basis yet it is important
- This element can cannot (sic) be justified on rational grounds
The answer key indicates that the last option (the element cannot be justified on rational grounds) is correct.
The analysis is not quite clear to me. I want to know what this sentence actually implies:
here is another element, at once nobler and more open to attack, an element of worship,