Essay On Patriotism And Nation Building Games

In scholarly literature and common language, patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, which is associated with an exclusive, intolerant, and irrational attachment to one's nation. As the history of Fascism and Nazism shows, patriotism understood as nationalism can have disastrous consequences. Nevertheless, this book argues that the language of patriotism must be distinguished from that of nationalism. While nationalism values the cultural, religious, and ethnic unity of a people, patriotism is the love of a people's common liberty, which gives us the strength to resist oppression by th ... More

In scholarly literature and common language, patriotism is often conflated with nationalism, which is associated with an exclusive, intolerant, and irrational attachment to one's nation. As the history of Fascism and Nazism shows, patriotism understood as nationalism can have disastrous consequences. Nevertheless, this book argues that the language of patriotism must be distinguished from that of nationalism. While nationalism values the cultural, religious, and ethnic unity of a people, patriotism is the love of a people's common liberty, which gives us the strength to resist oppression by the selfish ambitions of particular individuals. In addition, patriotism is a rational love, since civic virtue is instrumental to the preservation of law and order, which is the prerequisite of our liberty. The question we must address is how to make our particular love of one's own country compatible with the universal principles of liberty and justice. Through a historical interpretation of patriotism from classical antiquity to contemporary debates, Viroli explores the possibility of patriotism without nationalism; i.e. one that emphasizes political unity based on the republican commitment to the common good, rather than cultural, religious, or ethnic homogeneity.

Keywords: civic virtue, common good, fascism, justice, liberty, nationalism, nazism, patriotism, rationality, republicanism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1997Print ISBN-13: 9780198293583
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003DOI:10.1093/0198293585.001.0001

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