But perhaps the ultimate put-down for that point of view came from G.K. Chesterton, In a 1901 collection of essays, The Defendant, he includes an essay called "A Defense of Patriotism." Chesterton writes:
'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.' No doubt if a decent man's mother took to drink he would share her troubles to the last; but to talk as if he would be in a state of gay indifference as to whether his mother took to drink or not is certainly not the language of men who know the great mystery.
If faced with a situation where the government of a country has done something terribly wrong, and considering whether to betray the country as a result, even a patriot might defend an ultimate loyalty to the nation by saying "My country, right or wrong." But it's a sentiment that would only come up when the "wrong" was deeply and profoundly wrong, and the immediate options were grim. It's a statement that would arise only from a spirit torn with near-despair and great humility, and would not be made in a spirit of pride, or even defiance.