Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Patriotism is Useless

Posted by Jerry on September 7, 2006

Some time ago, Sascha over at Heroic Dreams discussed “patriotism” as a virtue. He made some bold assertions like, “being a patriot requires courage, independence, justice, honesty and many more of man’s virtues. Thus, only a fully virtuous person can be a genuine patriot, and only a genuine patriot can be a fully virtuous person.”

Sascha defines patriotism as such:

patriotism [is] that specific virtue which concerns the proper relationship of the individual to that aspect of reality which is society. More specifically, patriotism is a constitutive part of the virtue of integrity; it is loyalty to rational moral-political-economic principles and the moral ambition to modify the social order of the society one lives in according to these principles. [italics in original; bold mine.]

Further, he states: He, who advocates and strives to put into practice rational principles that work to keep integrated the society he lives in, is a patriot. [bold mine.]

At the time when I read Sascha’s article, I was critical of it for various reasons–all of which, I still believe, are right and legitimate. Of course, for a better context of this discussion, it might help the reader to actually read his orginal post and my criticisms of it in its comments section.

My main criticism of Sascha’s article, I stated in the following terms:

The moral rules, Objective rules, that apply to individuals can consistently be extended to society of individuals at large. Thus, all one needs to know is a basic understanding of what works morally and rationally for an *individual*; a society of such individuals will invariably take care of itself.

Further, it should be clear that any definition of patriotism must include (implicitly atleast) the object at the receiving end of the patriotic allegience, i.e., a country, a region, or a society.

Like Sascha defines it, patriotism is essentially loyalty to the society one lives in. And according to him, this loyalty obligates the individual to strive to establish and maintain a rational order suitable to his standard of life in the society he lives in. Even though Sascha’s definition is narrow in that it does not include non-resident patriots, for example, it suffices in pointing out what patriotism basically is.

But notice that any definition of patriotism invariably burdens the individual with an obligation toward a society he is in someway connected to–either he lives in that society, or lives elsewhere but is a citizen of that society, or is ethnically/biologically linked to that society.

This burden or obligation to be preoccupied with the betterment of one’s society–whether one lives there or not–robs the individual of his freedom to choose his values, i.e., his freedom to choose which society or country he wishes to value and express his loyalty toward, regardless of where he lives or what his ethnicity is or which country he is a citizen of.

Patriotism–as its definition implies–does not afford the individual the freedom to choose any country or society to express his patriotism toward; that would render the concept of patriotism meaningless and useless (which is precisely what it should be to an Objectivist). Patriotism demands that the individual remain loyal to a specific society, culture, country; one that he is in some way connected to–either by accidentally being born there, or living there, or having ancestral lineage from that society.

Therefore, for instance, I cannot claim to be an American patriot because first, I am not an American; I was not born there; I am not an American citizen; I have no familial or ethnic roots there; I have no direct and regular contact with the societal institutions in America, nor do I live there.
Thus, the concept of patriotism is useless to me even if I choose to value America because the concept affords me no legitimacy to make the claim. If, however, I insisted that I am an American patriot because I choose to value America, then the concept of patriotism is rendered meaningless: anyone can be a patriot of any society, region, or country even if they have absolutely no connection to it save an emotional or philosophical connection. By this logic, a Cuban man could claim to be a patriot of China and an Iranian could claim to be a patriot of North Korea.

In order that the concept of patriotism have a specific identity, it’s scope needs to be delineated and differentiated from other expressions of loyalty and allegiance. Patriotism is an allegiance to a specific society or country that is in some manner closely connected or relevant to the individual.

Further, if you elevate patriotism to a virtue and insist that it be integrated with all other virtues, then you would essentially be burdening a man to value a society that he may consider irrational and detrimental to his values, toward which he may have no interest, and that which he may actually despise, thereby instilling a sense of guilt and moral failure for being unable to practice the “virtue” of patriotism toward his society. This, from an Objectivist perspective, is an unearned guilt, and therefore, the source of it, i.e., patriotism, is a vice.

Rand loathed and despised Russia. I loathe and despise India. I recognize no obligation to work toward the betterment of this irrational society or stay loyal to it in any manner. I choose to abandon this country at the first opportunity I get. Rand chose to do the same to Russia. She valued and admired America even before she set foot on American soil and became an American citizen. She could not, at that time, have been properly regarded as an American patriot; though, she certainly was the most American woman that has ever lived in America.

Additional Comments:

I wish to clarify one point. A rational man living in a rational society has every reason to value his society and the institutions thereof. In that case, yes, his valuation and loyalty to the rational society can be termed “patriotism.” However, that does not make a virtue out of patriotism. The virtue is of pursuing the rational values, i.e., the rational society. Thus, as I pointed out Rand’s argument–whatever moral code is applicable to the life of a man qua man, can also be extended to apply to a society made up of such men.

The problem with the concept of patriotism is that it places a boundary (almost in a literal, geographic sense) on the object of one’s loyalty or allegiance. This problem can easily slip into becoming an immoral vice when patriotism actualizes as jingoism. Therefore, if one were to get rid of bounded limitation, i.e., get rid of the notion that patriotism is a virtue, then all that is required of a virtuous man is pursue his rational values–whatever and wherever they may be.

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11 Responses to “Patriotism is Useless”

  1. Hiren said

    The most important thing is what you feel in your heart. If you have a great revulsion for your country for whatever reason- there is no point in making a show of patriotism just for the heck of it.

  2. Wolfgang said

    Just one remark: Sascha is not “she”.

  3. Ergo said

    ha ha! I am so sorry about that presumption! I have corrected the error. Thanks, Wolfgang.

  4. Sascha said

    You have entirely misrepresented my position, Ergo, and I am quite indignant about it. I never postulated an incomprehensible duty to strive for the betterment of a society because one was born there or accidentally lives in it. I am not a disciple of duty, but of causality. My point is: If you want to live a good live, flourish and be happy, a rational society is of immense importance and value. Therefore you should undertake the actions necessary and possible to you in order to create such a society. But it is a misunderstanding that this society necessarily has to be the society you are born in or currently live in. I do not impose any kind of duty on anyone just because of his “ethnicity” — I am _not_ a racist! –, or because he accidentally is born there, has ancestors from there or is a citizen of that country. I never stated that and it is not included in my conception of patriotism. Patriotism, how I understand and use the term, simply means that you should care about your social surrounding, your society, and try to encourage people to adopt rational principles, institutions and policies. It does not forbid you to choose in _what_ society to live. Of course you may decide that the society you currently live in is so irrational and vicious, that it would be very detrimental to your life and happiness to remain here any longer, and that therefore you do wish to switch your country. That is absolutely legitimate, and it clearly does not contradict what I have been saying about patriotism. My statement that you should act in order to better the society you live in does not mean that you may not choose in what society you want to live. To think so would indeed destroy my entire conception of patriotism and render it absurd.

    Honestly, I am completely confused about how you could come to such an interpretation of my post. I never stated something like that anywhere in it.

  5. Ergo said

    Sascha,

    Everything you said in the comment serves to corroborate my contention that the concept “patriotism” is a useless concept at best.

    Nowhere in my post do I misattribute your position. The exposition of the concept of patriotism–as necessarily including a bounded geographic region that is in some real way connected to the invididual–is original to me and I never attribute my orignal idea to you. I use that idea to debunk the notion that patriotism is meaningful as a concept, much less, as a virtue.

    Ask yourself, if the object (country or region) of one’s allegiance is irrelevant to “patriotism,” then I suppose anyone could be a “patriot” of any country or region regardless of where they are, where they currently live, whether or not they have any relation to that country. It’s a meaningless concept because there are no clear demarcations or boundaries that specify who is a patriot and who is not.
    Thus, a cuban man could be a Chinese patriot and vice versa.

    Further, you say: “If you want to live a good live [sic], flourish and be happy, a rational society is of immense importance and value. Therefore you should undertake the actions necessary and possible to you in order to create such a society. But it is a misunderstanding that this society necessarily has to be the society you are born in or currently live in.”

    Frankly, that’s a contradiction. You first state that I “SHOULD undertake the actions necessary… to create such a society [rational society].” Then, you say, this society does not necessarily have to be the one I currently live in. So, with regard to WHICH society “should” I be undertaking “the actions necssary??”
    So, applying it to reality, as I am living in India (and according to you, the society I live in is not relevant), the virtue of “patriotism” is practiced only when I “undertake the actions necessary” to create a rational society in America?? Or say, in China? Since, where I live in irrelevant, I am still burdened by the obligation of practicing the virtue of “patriotism” in any region or country (presumably, one that I value) because you have used the word “should” and have rendered the practice of patriotism as a “virtue.” Therefore, I my integrity would demand that I practice the virtue, but practice it toward what country, region, or society?? Since you claim that where I live in irrelevant, I would have to necessarily practice this virtue toward some random society anywhere in the world! Is that even possible?!!? It is wholly meaningless.

    Hopefully, Sascha, you see the absurdity of rendering the concept of “patriotism” as such.

  6. Sascha said

    Ergo,

    what you do is attacking a straw man. First, you took my theory, then you amended it with some ideas of your own, namely that patriotism necessarily implies some sort of unchosen obligation, and then you dismiss my conception as being absurd. I am very thankful that you conceded that this

    “But notice that any definition of patriotism invariably burdens the individual with an obligation toward a society he is in someway connected to–either he lives in that society, or lives elsewhere but is a citizen of that society, or is ethnically/biologically linked to that society.”

    is not my position but your amendment to it which was not clear from your blog post. That actually is the reason for my indignation, because I had the impression you were trying to allege that I were advocating the imposition of an unchosen moral duty on possibly racist grounds.

    But please bear in mind that the conception of patriotism you criticize in your blog post is not my conception but yours. I agree that the object of patriotism is not any country, but a certain country _in any given moment_. This does not mean that this country needs to be the same all the time. Therefore, I do not see a contradiction. A society has boundaries and it has certain relationships with other societies. As a member of your society you first of all care about the state of your society. Concerning other society you only care about them insofar as they affect your society, and thereby affect your own life. Patriotism says that you should care about the society you generally live in. It does not say that you are obliged always to live in the same society. So of course a Cuban may become an American patriot if he leaves Cuba and moves to America. This is what Ayn Rand did: She left Russia, moved to America and became an American patriot. Your home is not where you were born or where your ancestors came from, but where you yourself choose to live.

    Just because you may choose where you want to live, what your home country is to be, doesn’t mean that the society you live in is irrelevant. That is not what I have said. In fact you are making up a false alternative between “when it is relevant for being patriotic in which society I live, then necessarily it must be the society I was born in/my ancestors came from, and I have no choice about it” (intrinsicism) and “When I do have a choice where to live, then it is irrelevant to me where I live and patriotism is futile” (subjectivism). But that is wrong; it’s a false alternative. My position is: “Where-ever I choose to live, it is important to me that it is a good and rational society. Therefore, as far as is possible to me, I should undertake the actions necessary to further such a society. It is the country I choose, it is my home, and I will fight for it as any good patriot would.” Remember, patriotism is a species of integrity and thus concerns itself with man’s relationship to reality. Thus its object is not something that possibly is utterly disconnected from his life, nor is its object arbitrary (or non-existent): Its object is determined by the conditions of a given man’s life. Patriotism object is the society a man lives in and chooses to live in. (Note that a mere wish does not switch your moral obligation from one country to another; in order that the Cuban may become an American patriot he first has to _actually_ move to America.)

    Concerning your case, it is perfectly legitimate for you to leave India and move somewhere else if you have good reasons for it, i.e. if you think that Indian society is bad for or that anpther society is better for you. You may choose to move and make another country your home, to become a patriot of another society. As long as you live in India, however, you have to be concerned with Indian society in a certain way: You have to overlook its development in order to be able to identify any threats for your life and happiness. You are morally obliged not to further the evil you see in Indian society. As long as you live in India, you should care about what is going on in India, beause being indifferent to it could become a massive threat to your life and happiness. This does not mean that you should sacrifice yourself for the betterment of Indian society. You should only undertake such actions as are in the realm of your possibility: stay informed, advocate the right ideas and principles whenever necessary, do not sanction evil, vote for those politicians which are least worse. It does not mean that you should start a grand political campaign or get involved in politics in any other manner. It only means that you should care about what is going on around you, because where you live affects your life.

  7. Sascha said

    Sorry for the typos and other mistakes. 🙂

  8. Ergo said

    Sascha, your concept of patriotism is incompatible with Objectivism and with all of Rand’s writings–both in her novels and nonfiction works. I am now able to understand more clearly that the argument you put forward with regard to patriotism is infact very immoral (I presume this is because of an error of judgment and not a moral failure).

    Let me explain:

    One can only practice a virtue in pursuit of a value. “Virtue” signifies that the value is consistent with life, i.e., that which is virtuous necessarily implies that its object of desire is rational, moral, and life-supporting. Similarly, that which is unvirtuous, or evil, necessarily implies that its object of desire is immoral, irrational, and life-negating.

    In practicing the virtue of patriotism, the implication is that I value the society I live in. You demand that since I live in India, I am OBLIGATED (I use that word because by rendering patriotism as a virtue, you elevate it to an obligation) to practice the virtue of patriotism; this implies that I am also OBLIGATED to value India regardless of the fact that practically everything about this country disgusts me and I find its institutions and culture highly irrational and harmful to my life and mind. You say that my obligation in India is to stay informed of this country, not further evil, etc. Thus, your implication is, regardless of the fact that I have a strong feeling of hatred toward everything that this country represents, I must be “concerned about it” and stay informed, invest my time and energies and mental resources toward it, i.e, I must be patriotic. And if I don’t express my patriotism as such, then by implication, I must be unvirtuous and lacking of integrity.
    I hope you can see the glaring evil of your proposition: you ask that I suppress my VALUATION of an object and still offer it my efforts, my attention, my concerns. Your implication is, I should disregard my assessment of the country as lacking in any value to me, and still display “patriotism” toward it. Not to mention the blatant anti-Objectivist implication of demanding that I practice a virtue toward something I do not value–certainly reeking of altruism!

    Further, you say that a Cuban must MOVE to America inorder to be an American patriot. I’m sure you are well aware that not everyone has the luxury to CHOOSE where they can live and which society they can call their own. Some are lucky. Presently, I am not. Thus, all who are unable to “choose” to move to a society that they can properly value (and thereby, properly invest time and effort in improving the society or criticizing its weaker aspects) are unvirtuous and immoral?

    Along those same lines, would you consider Andrei Taganov a great patriot of Russia but not Leo and Kira? Consequently, would your logic lead you to believe that Andrei was more virtuous and of integrity because he was patriotic to Russia than Leo and Kira who intensely conveyed their hatred for Russia? Are you implying that Kira and Leo, so long as they were living in the Soviet, were OBLIGATED to “vote of the lesser evil politician,” “not sanction evil,” “stay informed about the country,” etc. even though in the novel it is clear that Leo is wantonly ignorant of the happenings in his country out of his disdain, and Kira, more than once, “sanctions” the evil system by working in it, joining its rallys and marches, etc.

    Maybe you haven’t read We The Living, I don’t know. But certainly, Leo and Kira’s disposition toward the Soviet Union (where they both lived most of their life, and Kira even died there) can hardly be characterized as “patriotic.” Infact, quite the opposite, I would argue that their intense hatred for the country they lived in, their absolute lack of concern for evil looters and moochers around them, is the proper virtuous response to an irrational and evil environment. Roark properly conveys my point here when he responds to Toohey “but I don’t think of you.” Roark properly refused to invest even one ounce of his mental resources toward something that he did not value and despised.

    If you begin to stretch the concept of patriotism to include even the criticisms of a country that one rabidly hates, then you have simply made the concept so flexible so as to render it meaningless.

    Further, Rand states insightfully and correctly that practicing integrity, i.e, being virtuous, is impossible without freedom, and might plausibly even result in serious physical harm, injury, or death [search for my recent post “Apathy and Evasion” for more in this topic]. Irrational and statist societies make it impossible to live a consistently virtuous life. A foolish adherence to “virtue” and “integrity” in a society lacking the basic freedoms is infact intrincism because it disregards the necessary contexts of reality.

    Thus, if you say that so long as I live in India, I should be patriotic toward it, that I should be concerned about improving its institutions, you are implying that this so-called virtue can be practiced consistently regardless of what society one lives in–irrational or rational, statist or free. This, Sascha, is intrincism.

  9. Sascha said

    Ergo; since you are still attacking a straw man, I am still in disagreement with you. Let me give you the reasons why:

    The value patriotism aims at gaining and keeping is _not_ the society you live in as it presently _is_. That would make no sense at all. The value to be gained and kept by practicing patriotism is a rational society, a society as it _ought_ to be. I did not define patriotism as loyalty to your country, however the character of your country might be. No. I defined patriotism as loyalty to rational moral-economic-political principles, i.e. as loyalty to a rational society and that which makes a rational society possible. And these principles, the idea of that ideal rational society, is the standard by which you judge the society you live in as it actually is. It is the standard by which you decide whether your society and its specific institutions are good or bad, i.e. good or bad for your life and happiness. Patriotism, as I understand it, does _not_ tell you to value the society you live in as it actually is, no matter how its character might be. As a German, I certainly disvalue most aspects of German society because they are harmful to my life. But that does not mean that I cannot be a patriot, in the sense that I want the society I live in (be it because I choose to or because I don’t have the means to go anywhere else) to conform to the demands of reality and rationality. Patriotism does not demand that you sacrifice yourself in favour of something you disvalue; it demands that you act in order to create and maintain a value, which in the case of patriotism is a rational society. It simply says that being indifferent towards your society is bad (i.e. bad for you), because your society affects, and in the worst case destroys, your life.

    Maybe there was some confusion with my last comment, because I spoke of the society you presently live in as being the “objective of patriotism”. Now, by that I didn’t mean to say that patriotism concerns itself with keeping the society you live in, although it is an irrational society, as it is. That indeed would be evil. But that was not what I intended to say. I just wanted to say that patriotism as a virtue does not _apply_ to any society, but to the society you live in, which need not be the society you were born in. I am not a native English speaker, so I am sorry if I sometimes use words that are improper to the meaning I wish to convey.

    On the other hand I am nonetheless slightly astonished about your last comment, since, my last comment on your blog aside, I never wrote anything that could have been interpreted in that way. You may wish to reread my original blog post on the topic over at Heroic Dreams, where I explicitly stated that “[…] patriotism is a certain attitude towards the social order, an attitude aiming at improving, replacing or abolishing bad institutions and defending good ones. It is a critical attitude and has nothing to do with the ‘my country right or wrong’ approach of chauvinists, who regard as intrinsically good those institutions their society may just happen to have. […] On the contrary, patriotism is about defending that which is objectively good about one’s society, and it is about criticizing and improving that which is objectively bad. Patriotism is value-orientedness in regards to the society one lives in.”

    I really wonder why you put up the criticism that you did, since obviously that has never been my position.


    “Thus, all who are unable to “choose” to move to a society that they can properly value […] are unvirtuous and immoral?”

    No.


    “If you begin to stretch the concept of patriotism to include even the criticisms of a country that one rabidly hates, then you have simply made the concept so flexible so as to render it meaningless.”

    1. Of course criticizing your country for that which is bad about it is a proper aspect of the virtue of patriotism. I explicitly argued that this is the case in my original blog post on the topic over at Heroic Dreams.
    2. I don’t think that this renders the concept meaningless. Patriotism is not chauvinism. It has nothing to do with the chauvinists’ “my country right or wrong” approach.

    This is what Ayn Rand did: She came to Amercia, and what she exhibited wasn’t loyalty to the US as it actually was, but to the principles it was founded upon, i.e. to the principles of a rational and moral society. And she fought for these principles and heavily critized American society for what it had become. If she wasn’t a patriot, then no-one ever was.

    “Irrational and statist societies make it impossible to live a consistently virtuous life. A foolish adherence to “virtue” and “integrity” in a society lacking the basic freedoms is infact intrincism because it disregards the necessary contexts of reality.”

    I never argued that you should always act “patriotic” no matter what the context is. The things I said about India are not acontextual rules to be followed no matter what. I just tried to implement the principle of patriotism and derive some ways of acting in the present context of Indian society as far as I know it. I don’t think that India is a totalitarian society.

    I know perfectly well that it is impossible and inappropriate to practice the virtues in a totalitarian dictatorship, because it can cost you your life. A totalitarian dictatorship is something like a constant state of emergency; it creates conditions under which proper human life is impossible. Of course, the virtues are not applicable here. And I don’t think that citing a context in which virtue generally is inapplicable in order to disprove that patriotism is a virtue is a proper argument. When I am talking about practicing patriotism, then I am talking about practicing it in a context that is not an emergency situation.


    Overall, I am quite displeased that you are about to morally condemn my position without actually understanding it, without taking into account all the relevant facts. The criticism you exhibited in your last comment is unjust and absolutely unjustified, which should have been clear even from reading my original blog post on the topic over at Heroic Dreams.

  10. Ergo said

    Sascha,

    If you say you’re not a native English speaker, certainly your written English does not seem to betray that fact. You write as well as I have seen other native English writers write.

    Anyway, frankly, if this discussion has merely been an exercize in debate for you, I am bored. I have pretty much said all that I had to say. I have also understood all your points very well and stand in full disagreement with them; and more, I believe Objectivism is not compatible with your demand that individuals practice the virtue of patriotism toward their societies.

    Infact, I find it clear that you have not fully understood my critiques or carefully read my comments. For example, in this one instance, I say: “If you begin to stretch the concept of patriotism to include even the criticisms of a country that one rabidly hates, then you have simply made the concept so flexible so as to render it meaningless.”

    To that you replied: “Of course criticizing your country for that which is bad about it is a proper aspect of the virtue of patriotism.”

    Not only did you misunderstand the gravity of my statement, you also reduced the impact of it by characterizing it as “criticizing” your country. There is a difference between “criticizing” your country and HATING your country. I criticize America abundantly. Rand HATED Russia. Thus, to claim that criticizing the country one HATES is a “proper aspect of the virtue of patriotism” is rendering the concept meaningless at best, and immoral at worst. Meaningless because the concept of patriotism (as I discussed in my original post) must imply atleast a predominantly favorable assessment of valuation toward a society which one seeks to make better by criticizm; further, the concept also requires that the society be specifically identified. Therefore, if that favorable sentiment is entirely absent in one’s assessment of one’s specific society as it exists, then characterizing that unfavorable sentiment as subsumed under the concept of patriotism in pursuit of a valuation of a society as “it ought to be, ” renders the concept itself vastly flexible and therefore meaningless.

    And immoral because placing an obligation to express allegiance or patriotism (including criticizms, not jingoism or chauvinism) toward a society that one absolutely hates is compromising on one’s self-interest and integrity.

    Nowhere has Rand even passingly mentioned the “virtues” of patriotism… nor has any other Objectivist scholars. While this line of argument could be attacked as an appeal to “authority,” I would defend it by saying that the essence of Objectivism is to identify clearly all the fundamental values and virtues necessary of a man’s life qua man on this Earth. To that end, Rand was very meticulously careful in identifying those values and virtues. Other Rand scholars have done the same, in re-evaluating and assessing Rand’s identified values and virtues. Thus, the utter silence of Rand and other Objectivist scholars with regard to this particular “virtue” of patriotism would appear to be a major and astonishing oversight, if indeed it were a virtue obligating us to practice it.

    The reason is because, as my post originally points out, the concept of patriotism is useless for rational individuals who know that their lives will be best served if they simply pursue their own rational interests, and that a society of such individuals will invariably take care of itself; insofar as a largely free and rational society wavers from its path, those directly affected and those who CHOOSE to be involved in the matter can and do raise their concerns. This is an aspect of patriotism, but it’s more fundamentally a pursuit of each individual’s own rational self-interest.

    All of Rand’s fictional hereos are properly invested selfishly only in themselves, not in society. Kira and Leo hated where they lived. Rand hated her 21 yrs in Russia. Given what we currently know, none of them engaged in the activities you ennumerated as examples of practicing patriotism in the places they lived in order to achieve a “society as it ought to be.” They all chose to HATE the entrenched irrationalism and evil of those socities, and CHOSE TO FLEE the country instead (Kira ended up dying in that pursuit…in pursuit of a value, the value of escaping a society that she properly did not wish to be invested in, in search of a free society where she could be concerned ONLY about herself).

    Anyway, there’s nothing more that needs to be said. I think both our arguments have been entirely divulged. If you need further clarification, you can simply refer back to my original post and the comments or email me in private. I hope your error in judgment is rectified soon. However, since it’s of no concern to me whether or not you change your opinion, I shall not invest any more of my time and energy on this, even though I appreciated the dialogue we had.

    P.S. I came to know that you have enrolled yourself in OAC lectures. Is that correct? Maybe, in one of your class discussion sessions, you could raise this issue of whether or not patriotism is indeed a virtue that obligates individuals to practice it. I’d be interested in learning the response of your classmates and the teacher.

  11. Ramana said

    As far as i understand the post and the comments, one has to be patriotic only if there is a reasonable chance for reason to succeed in a society.

    “patriotism must imply atleast a predominantly favorable assessment of valuation toward a society which one seeks to make better by criticizm”

    And if that element is all together absent in the society a person lives in, then the person is in no way obligated to be patriotic as such flaws were not merely abberations but what the system itself is based on.

    “if that favorable sentiment is entirely absent in one’s assessment of one’s specific society as it exists, then characterizing that unfavorable sentiment as subsumed under the concept of patriotism in pursuit of a valuation of a society as “it ought to be, ” renders the concept itself vastly flexible and therefore meaningless.”

    For example, consider the Indian scenario, what can anybody challenge in a Court of Law when provisions for tax are made explicit in the Constitution, when reasonable restrictions to individual rights are mentioned in the Constitution itself or where the Constitution itself expressly has provisions such as “to secure social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people”.

    It wouldn’t make sense championing for the full protection of individual rights in such a system. What is necessary is a major change in the whole system from collectivist approach to individualistic principles to rights and liberties. Criticisms to such a system become irrelevant because criticism to such a system are also based on principle and objectivity but the basis of the Indian Constitution is mostly socialist and collectivist in nature. The difference here is the difference at base and root.

    In my opinion, it wouldn’t make sense championing for freedoms when the basis for the country one lives in founded in irrationality and evil. Its in no way morally obligatory to champion for freedoms if one fully sees through their “dirty secret”.

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