There was an old Latin motto, "Dulce et decorum est, pro partria morii," which roughly translates into: "It is a sweet and beautiful thing to die for one's country." I used to think that this was a piece of misguided patriotism.
That is, until the other night when a friend of mine said, "I would rather be a dead American than a live Ethiopian." (He was referring to the fact that the American standard of living is 100 times better than the Ethiopian.)
That got me to thinking, could the Roman proverb mean that Rome stood like a Colossus over her (Mediterranean world), so that a person would rationally choose death (or maybe take a 50-50 chance of death) as a Roman, than to be a live, and probably enslaved Carthaginian/Gaul/Greek/"pick your poison").
Examining the notion of patriotism a little deeper.
Can the notion of being willing to die for one's country, be construed as a person's desire to choose death under regime A over a chance to live under regime B, just because the disparity in standards of living was too great to bear?