Clarification of the issues dividing those who see patriotism as a virtue and those who see it as a vice.
Patriotism is not:
1. Defending a nation's cause because it is a champion of a great moral ideal.
-It is the ideal and not the nation that is the primary object of regard.
(If this is the case, then the support of other nations is not a case of patriotism. Theirs is support of an ideal and there is something distinctly different about patriotism - it is something more than the ideal itself.)
-The ideal provides good reasons for ANYONE to uphold that cause.
2. Mindless loyalty to one's own nation having
no regard for the characteristics of that nation.
(A patriot doesn't value those merits and achievements of other nations in the same way. They are not JUST merits, they are OF this PARTICULAR nation.
Then what is patriotism?
A loyalty to a particular nation which only those possessing that nationality can have.
The Position that Patriotism is not a virtue:
1. Patriotism is anot a virtue because it is not to judge form an impersonal standpoint. An impersonal standpoint is to judge independently of one's own interests, affections, and social position. In this, one must abstract oneself from particularity and partiality.
(Like the point of view of a Rawlsian Original Position under the Veil of Ignorance.)
Because patriotism requires partiality and particularity, it requires considering hwere i was born, who parents and grandparents are or were, and this decides for the patriot what moral action is.
So patriotism and the moral point of view are incompatible.
A way around this is to say that patriotism is devotion to a country that is never allowed to violate the impersonal point of view. But what happens when 2 nations require the same resources that they can't both have? The impersonal moral point of view requires no preferences, whereas patriotism requires furthering the interests of one's own country.
What of cases in which there are differences between communities about hte right way for each to live? This may require violation of the views of one group for the views of another.
5 Central elements of liberal moral theory:
a. Raitonal rules are given assent by rational people.
b. Rules are neutral andprovide constraints - not an expression of any particular interest.
c. Rules are neutral between sets of beliefs.
d. Each individual counts as much as any other.
e. Allegiance to the rules is the same for all moral agents.
From the liberal perspective, learning morality is as impersonal as learning math - it doesn't matter from whom it is learned.
In the alternative account of morality, these things are essential for content and nature of moral commitment.
-Learned in and from a community.
-May be shared texts or history with other nations, but there is some distinctive way of it. For example, honoring one's parents may manifest itself in different ways in different countries.
-It is in THIS particular social group that life is actually lived - my goods are found here with these people, etc.
-I find my justification in my community - otherwise, I would have no reason to be moral.
THE CASE FOR TREATING PATRIOTISM AS A VIRTUE:
1. If I can apprehend rules of morality only in a specific community
2. If morality's justification is in particular goods of particular communities
3. If I am created and maintained as a moral being IN a community
4. Deprived of this community, I am unlikely to flourish as a moral aent. Without community, there are no standards of judgment. Patriotism gives those standards.
RULES OF MORALITY
Liberal- Abstract, artificial stance
Communitarian - concrete stance as a member of a community - one knows what is required in that community
Liberal - there are no limits on the criticism of the status quo
Communitarian - Rational criticism is ruled out in some cases, at least.
The communitarian claims that the liberal theory is too open to criticism; the liberal theorist claims that the other is not open enough to criticism.
According to the communitarian, the liberal morality of impartiality and impersonality is morally dangerous - we can't see ourselves as part of a narrative of an individual life embedded in a history of one's own country. Without that, there is no understanding of what I owe to others or they to me, or for what I owe reparation, and for what to feel gratitude.
According to the liberal moral theorist, and even the communitarian admits this, those things that are exempt from criticism are 1) the nation conceived as a project - not a loyalty to leaders and 2) the project may require that I work toward the success of a project that may not be in the interests of humanity as a whole -- and this for the liberal moral theorist, is dangerous, too.