this is a common, but nonsensical phrase amongst newly-minted libertarians. they're starting to get it, but they don't quite got it.
i'll just get to the point(s - there are many):
first, let's define what a "country" really is. a country is nothing more than an area of land dominated by a particular government. countries aren't natural occurrences. they aren't denoted by mountain ranges or oceans or rivers or deserts, etc. they are only the "turf" of the criminal gang controlling people and resources through a monopoly on the use of force. the united states of america was not formed in the aftermath of an earthquake. china was not the result of a tsunami. russia was not formed out of volcanic activity. some very arrogant people got together, looked out at the land and decided that whatever they saw, whether yours, mine, or no one's, was, in fact, theirs. they called themselves many things, but we know them mostly as "governments".
unfortunately for them, other crap people were doing the same thing from other vantage points. where their views met, they fought for control in some way. when the dust settled, lines were drawn and the god-like people, calling themselves Government, named these imaginary lines "borders".
the u.s. government said, "within these silly lines that cannot be seen except when drawn on a map, all land, resources and people, not like us, but some lower form of human more similar to a monkey, are under our beneficent control and we will bid them do as we please, lest they perish 'neath our merciful sword".
that's paraphrased, but it was something similar.
the canadian government said, "within these silly lines that cannot be seen except when drawn on a map,
all land, resources and people, not like us, but some lower form of
human more similar to a monkey, are under our beneficent control and we
will bid them do as we please, lest they perish 'neath our merciful
(they're all pretty much the same)
the mexican government said, "something like the above, but in spanish".
and, through the wonders of violence, "countries" were born.
without a government, there is no "country".
i guess it's possible to "love" the area of land violently dominated by a government, but it seems unlikely. for the most part, i like the area where i live (i'm not sure i'd say i love it), but this area is in the same "country" as boise, idaho. i've never been to boise. i don't love it. i don't even like it. i have virtually no knowledge of it.
the bahamas are much closer to me than boise. they seem nicer, too. i've never been there, but how should i feel about them? they aren't in the same "country", so should i not love them? what about someone living within one foot of the canadian "border (map-line, pretendy thing)" in washington? should he LOVE miami, but be ambivalent about vancouver?
washington resident: "i love miami, even though i don't know anyone from there and i've never been there, because i get kicked in the balls by the same people who kick miamians in the balls! i work in vancouver, have many friends there, go there every day, but i have no feelings towards them at all, because they get kicked in the balls by some other group of nasty people."
next (and this should be obvious), it's not your country. not any more than the place where you got mugged is your crime scene. it's like the slave calling the plantation "his". you don't own it. you have no control over it. it ain't yours.
likewise, it's not your government. except in very rare instances where someone let something slip through the cracks, you don't have any say in it. you have no power. it's like a cow referring to the shepherd as "my shepherd". "on your way to the slaughterhouse"? "yep, me and my shepherd".
i understand the temptation to say that - my government - but have some self-respect! it isn't "ours", it's "theirs". it isn't "us". it's "them".
"i love my country but i hate my government" is like saying, "i love the fact that the land, resources and people in this more-or-less random area, only visible on a map, are violently dominated by a select group of morally deficient individuals, but i wish they were different individuals". that's pretty weak. it's kind of pathetic, really. oh boy, so rebellious!
if i had to put a phrase on a bumper sticker, i'd prefer, "there's no government like no government".
no rulers. no countries. that's what i'm about.