Is Patriotism Irrational? This article makes a compelling point.

Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 8 months ago to Culture
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"According to Aristotle, humanity in full flourishing requires the goods that a political community affords—the materials goods of sustenance, shelter, protection by an organized defense, and the less quantifiable goods of education, the bonds of friendship, the opportunity for contemplation. Patriotism is the recognition of a debt.”

"Thus, patriotism is an expression of gratitude toward the country that provides these goods, much like the filial affection one should have toward one’s parents."

"Now, that said, Deneen is most assuredly an advocate of what might be called a “prudential patriotism.” He warns against an unreflective loyalty to one’s country that can result in support for “ignoble acts… at odds with virtue.” Patriotism certainly does not require that U.S. students should be taught to turn a blind eye to the evils that flow from their country with a shrug and a drawl of “Murica.”"

"The other extreme, however, is the ungrateful cosmopolitan—from the Greek for “citizen of nowhere”—who enjoys the benefits of a political community while returning the favors with only hostility and mistrust."

Does the above paragraph sound familiar?

I think in America, we definitely owe a debt to our forefathers, the idea and ideal inwhich created this country and we owe a debt to those that have stayed true to these principles; but, in no way, should we patronize those in government, in our name, that do unlawful harm to us and others...it is they that have betrayed our founding principles and therefore owe US a debt in the commission of their crimes...but, in spite of them, I still will gladly pay allegiance to our flag and to that which it stands.
SOURCE URL: http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/patriotism-irrational


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  • Posted by  $  DrZarkov99 8 months ago
    Critics make the same mistake about American patriots that they do about our military. They assume our dedication is to territory and political hierarchy, blind and unthinking. The military takes an oath to defend the Constitution, not any political figure, and patriotism is a belief in the principles ingrained in that document. The Constitution is the distillation of the finest, most ethically principled beliefs the Founders could instantiate in workable form, and has been the foundation of our success. People make mistakes, and commit criminal acts, and those are blots on our history, but they don't reflect the intent of our Constitution. Real patriotism is a passionate belief that our republic represents the most demonstrably successful path to individual freedom in history.
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    • Posted by strugatsky 8 months ago
      I would suggest testing the principle of an oath to the Constitution vs to a political hierarchy - what is judgement (of each individual here) on Snowden? He has clearly defended the Constitution and has clearly went against the political hierarchy? Half the country wants him executed. Where does this issue puts each of you?
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      • Posted by  $  DrZarkov99 8 months ago
        It's ironic that many in the intelligence community that self righteously condemn Snowden for betraying his duty to protect the nations secrets are "leaking" classified information like a sieve for their own political purposes. Snowden acted out of principle, horrified that the NSA was invading people's lives without legal cause. I believe he deserves a fair, impartial hearing, so people can decide if he acted in the spirit of the Constitution. I believe he did.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 8 months ago
    "Thus, patriotism is an expression of gratitude toward the country that provides these goods,"
    Where does the country get anything to provide except by looting?
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    • Posted by lrshultis 8 months ago
      It is more like, patriotism is the recognition that the country that one lives in is primarily good. Pretend patriotism is irrational. Forcing children to be patriotic is just evil and will get the USA nothing better than did the Nazi and Communist countries in the long run. All the pretend patriotism for sports events are irrational though some feel a real patriotic emotion but need not the ritual. Force or threat of force will not produce a country of patriots, only liberty has the possibility of doing so.
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    • Posted by  $  8 months ago
      I think the premise was that the "Country" enabled and encouraged the creation, production and behaviors necessary for those "goods" to exist.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 8 months ago
        That would have been valid in 1776, but today it is not. The country created by the founders barely exists today and although we have it much better than in many other regimes, people are the creators of the goods and the "country" today gets zero credit. We should however honor the founders for their part in creating a place that once encouraged free market production and individual liberty. Giving credit to the "country" is an insult to the productive and allows statists to take credit for the efforts of individuals.
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        • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 8 months ago
          Hello freedomforall,
          Those words ("Thus, patriotism...") are translations from Aristotle. In his time that was also more true, just as it was for us in 1776. Aristotle could not have imagined the government largess... I am with you. I honor the founding principles and those fighters and Founders that gave their all, so that they might be made manifest and govern. That is patriotism to me. There is a point where excessive patriotism turns to jingoistic nationalism.
          Respectfully,
          O.A.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 8 months ago
    I think that one of the points the article is trying to make is simply to call into question what one is loyal to. Is one loyal to the principles upon which one operates, or is one loyal to specific people? If one is patriotic (and loyal) to the principles of the Founding of this Nation, I would argue that those are intellectually and logically defensible because they are unchanging. If one is patriotic (and loyal) to say political parties or individual members (Trump/Obama), then I would argue that this is not an intellectual patriotism, but rather a fairly impassioned and personal connection to the individual or party. I think we see a lot of that in today's world and I think it is driving much of the ideological divide in this nation.
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    • Posted by  $  8 months ago
      Exactly Blarman...the latter is a lot like "worship"..
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 8 months ago
        Worship - similar to loyalty - can be ideas-based, person-based or even object-based. I would suggest that all the same caveats which apply as above to patriotism/loyalty also apply to worship. I would also suggest that this is one of the true problems with many religious organizations in today's world - an ideological adherence to an organization without true adherence to fundamental principles.
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        • Posted by  $  8 months ago
          Dead on...The ideas, concepts and principles inherent in the teachings worthy of profound appreciation...that's how I would explain "worship" in a conscious way.
          Loyalty, perhaps, would include the practice of those ideas, concepts and principles.
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  • Posted by mminnick 8 months ago
    We owe a debt to all who came before us and built this reat nation. Does it have problems -- Yex. Does it make mistakes -- Yes Are their things that need correction - again YES.
    The wonder of the USA is that all of the missteps and mistakes are generally correctable and out for the world to see (for the most part).
    No other country has the same freedoms secured by a fragile set of pages.
    Patriotism may be old fashioned and our country may be worse than I think, but even at it's worst, it is far better than any other on the tired old world.
    Just my two cents.
    BTW +12
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 8 months ago
    Totally wrong on many fronts. We can discuss the many virtues that make Americans and therefore America exceptional. Before that, we need to get past an obvious error:
    The other extreme, however, is the ungrateful cosmopolitan—from the Greek for “citizen of nowhere”—who enjoys the benefits of a political community while returning the favors with only hostility and mistrust.

    KOSMOS means "order". Cosmetics are how a woman gives order to her face. The universe is the Cosmos because the universe is ordered, knowable, predictable. The word "cosmopolitan" was invented about 300 BCE in Alexandria, Egypt, home of the great library. It drew scholars from all over Hellenike, all over the Koinon or "union." They even quickly evolved their own new dialect of Koinon Greek, which is, in fact, the dialect of the New Testament. They were not citizens of some polis but citizens of the world, with a global understanding of their universal culture. About that time, the Athenian orator Isocrates noted: "The name Hellene refers not a race but to a mind." In other words, you could be born a barbarian, but learn and adopt Greek values of reason, inquiry, knowledge, and self-awareness.

    Once we get that part right, we can look at what it means to be an American.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 8 months ago
      Actually, "kosmos" means world and even universe. The better translation for cosmopolitan would be a citizen of everywhere - and therefore a citizen of no specific nation in particular. "kosmetikos" from which might be derived cosmetics is not from the same root, however, as it means artificial or contrived. Knowable is "gnostos" - the root of the word gnostic. And yes, the "koinonikos" or common Greek is a kind of Middle Greek between Ancient Greek and the demotic Greek currently in use. I have several books in Greek which give side-by-side comparisons and they are very akin to trying to read Old English and Middle English. What makes thing a little easier in Greek than in English is that the differences in Greek are mainly spelling and grammar rather than wholesale alterations to words and meanings as we see in English. So if you can recognize the what-became-what one can (tediously) go back and forth.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 8 months ago
        Nice to see that we share something that helps to bridge the many gaps in our two sets of opinions. I taught myself classical Greek from old grammars in order to work in numismatics. Mostly, I relied on the Cambridge dual language editions, but I checked their interpretations against lexicons in order to tease out meanings. For me, the deepest dive was to understand the "crime of Diogenes" who "debased" or "counterfeited" the coinage of Sinope before coming to Athens. I even have a stater of Sinope signed DIO.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 8 months ago
          I spent two years in Greece and Cyprus. While I don't consider myself an expert, Greek from a linguistic standpoint isn't very difficult to learn. The funniest question I always get about it is "So do you speak Latin?" I just have to laugh and explain to them that Latin is a dead language - noone really knows how to pronounce real Latin anymore! ;) Latin is useful to study because many words in English, Spanish, and French originated from Latin. What I have fun with is that in knowing Greek, you can speak with doctors pretty intelligently, since most medical language is Greek. Diabetes melitus is one such example. My father-in-law had been Type I since he was 16 and when I told him that melitus meant honey he wouldn't believe me until he looked it up.
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  • Posted by jdg 8 months ago
    This is just another example of the fallacy of composition. The credit for our (and our ancestors') success belongs to individual entrepreneurs, but here are idiots telling us to give that credit to government.
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    • Posted by  $  8 months ago
      No, not government...the system, laws and culture. Government has seen to it we no longer have a system, laws or culture worthy of patriotism, so we value the original idea.
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