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Discussion On Whether Patriotism Is A Virtue Or Not

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There are many people who might apply virtues to their lives, in order to live a good human life. Benjamin Franklin, was a famous person, known for explaining a list of virtues to show how we can live in a healthy spirit. One of the virtues that Benjamin Franklin addressed, is Temperance meaning “eating not to dullness or drinking to elevation”. Another virtue Franklin addressed was Order meaning “let all your things have their places, and let each part of your business have its time”. There are so many more virtues that Benjamin Franklin explained.

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In fact, Franklin addressed a total of 13 virtues. They were: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility. After finding out what virtues mean and how to apply them, one term was being debated whether or not that term is a virtue. That term is known as patriotism. Patriotism, basically means, loving and protecting your country. Martha Nussbaum, Sissela Bok, Nathan Glazer, and Charles Taylor, explain their viewpoints about patriotism and cosmopolitanism, and each had their own agreements or objections.

Martha Nussbaum, was the first one in the book “For Love of Country, Debating the Limits of Patriotism” to explain her opinion about patriotism being a virtue. It is very clear that Nussbaum is against seeing patriotism as a virtue. Nussbaum explains a small novel called “The Home Of the World” written by Rabindranath Tagore. The novel talks about a wife named Bimala being concerned about her husband’s friend named Sandip because Sandip began to join the Swadeshi movement. Bande Mataram, meaning Hail Motherland, is the name of the slogan of the movement. Bimala’s husband named Nikhil, chose not to join the movement, which left his wife impressed. Nikhil said that he is willing to tend to his country but he will not worship it. According to Nussbaum, she believes that this type of patriotic act of pride is morally unhealthy. Nussbaum’s goal is to get children to be able to see themselves as world citizens and to see every human community as a whole. Nussbaum also states that, national unity is based on moral standards of equality and justice, meaning that in her opinion, patriotism is not a virtue and there is a need for cosmopolitanism.

Another author from the book “For Love of Country”, explained her opinion about patriotism. Sissela Bok stated that cosmopolitism in her terms, is pretty much something that gives everyone the same respect. According to Bok, she sees Nussbaum’s perspective as being a small part to an entire whole. Bok stated that Nussbaum addressed more than just the evil that has been seen in the name of nation or kin. She also addressed the emotional attack caused by those who play at being a moral human being. Bok also talked about Henry Sidgwick’s interpretations. Bok stated that Sidgwick’s viewpoint means that any sacrifice of anybody’s one part would be appreciated on the condition that it would bring good to others disregarding their current addresses. However, Sidgwick said that our obligations to assist other people contrast depending on the type of relationship we have with them such as: friends, family members, and citizens. Bok concludes that the universalist and bounded perspectives may interfere with the security and survival of human citizens. Bok agrees with Sidgwick that none of these perspectives are morally irrelevant.

Nathan Glazer was another author involved in Nussbaum’s book about the limits of patriotism and he explained loyalty limits. Glazer believes that there should be no such thing as any loyalty that is higher than anyone’s religious faith. Also, Glazer stated that Nussbaum’s interpretation about debating against my country’s principle as correct or incorrect, could mean that her goal is to make world citizenship substitute American citizenship. However, Nathan Glazer had a few disagreements with Nussbaum. Glazer used the example of Cuban refugees and addressed a question meaning “Should our government treat fleeing Cubans like American citizens or residents, or should the refuges who tried to escape hardship such as persecution receive that respect”? Glazer said that the presupposition policy of refugees and immigrants addresses that a state would be presupposed by that policy with rules that allow to find differences between anyone who is permitted to enter the United States and with what current status as well as rights. Glazer added to this perspective that they could assist refugees by providing them food and caring for them but providing rights to the refugees to enter the country does not apply. This means that rights lead to costs in money and living status, which are against army officials and citizens of particular countries, which are the only ones able to lay taxes and mandate army officials to follow commands. Glazer believes there are meanings to borders in both political and personal views. Finally, Glazer stated that the cosmopolitan loyalty is impossible to make it existent. It looks like Glazer doesn’t see patriotism as a virtue but he is against cosmopolitanism.

The last author I would like to address is Charles Taylor. Taylor agreed with Nussbaum view of patriotism not being a virtue but he also had one objection against her perspective. Taylor believes that the United States needs a combination of both patriots and cosmopolitans. According to Taylor, todays democratic states are very demanding enterprises in developing their own rules, meaning that they really need a large amount of their members, insisting to receive more solidarity toward compatriots than to modern humans. Taylor believes that in order for these enterprises to be successful, powerful common identification is required. Taylor also explained that even non democratic states are in need of mobilization of those involved and that mobilization happens around basic identities. Finally, Glazer stated that our selection isn’t whether or not anyone will react to mobilization around a single common identity but rather two or more identities. All in all, this means both cosmopolitans and patriots can work together to serve.

After reading about Martha Nussbaum’s opinion about the troubles of patriotism, I learned that Nussbaum does not see patriotism as a virtue. I agree with Nussbaum in this case. I don’t think that patriotism is a virtue because I as a Christian, am called to serve anybody who needs my help rather than just the people from my country or my country itself. Also, as a Christian, I believe that we don’t have to try to protect our countries to impress God, but rather to serve one another in love, disregarding race or different faith. I also agree with Nussbaum that patriotism can lead to idolatry.

I am from Mexico, and I am proud of it and love it but I will not worship my country. I should limit my worship to God only. However, after reading about Glazer’s and Taylor’s perspective, I disagree with Glazer about his opinion against cosmopolitanism. I believe that cosmopolitanism is needed for not just American but for every country. Taylor’s perspective was very nice. Taylor believes that a combination of patriotism and cosmopolitanism are needed to make a good country. However, I simply won’t be a patriot not only because I think that being in an army is just too much but that patriotism is not my calling nor my desire. I want to be known for my personality rather than my identity of authority.

01 April 2020

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