Liberalism Essay

2451 words - 10 pages

This understanding of state security is underpinned by the perception that the national community and its political order is valuable, in and of itself, since it is only within the natural encompassing framework of various cultural traditions that important meanings and values are produced and transmitted. The members of such communities may share special cultural proximity to each other. By speaking the same language and sharing various customs and traditions, the members of these communities may be typically closer to one another in various ways than they are to those who don’t share the culture. The community, thereby, becomes a network of morally connected agents with strong ties of obligation. Thus, it is often claimed that the national community is essential for each of its members to flourish. Given that an individual’s sense of identity depends, at least in part, on the notion that he is part of an organic community, the communal conditions which foster the development of such personal identity should be preserved and encouraged. Such thinking may be associated with the ideals of patriotism.

The definition of patriotism found in a dictionary reads ‘love of ones country’. Whilst this captures the core meaning of the term in its ordinary use, it might well need to be fleshed out. Stephen Nathanson defines patriotism as involving: special affection for one’s own country; a sense of personal identification with the country; special concern for the well-being of the country; and willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good. It seems then that patriotism involves pride in, or endorsement of, ones country’s virtues. However, Keller has argued that the patriots love and loyalty are not focused on her country simply because it initiates a set of virtues. If that were the case, and if a neighbouring country turned out to have such virtues to an even higher degree, the patriots love and loyalty would be redirected accordingly. However, it is argued that the patriot loves that country, and only that country, because it is her country; hers is a love and loyalty in the first instance. Thus, the patriot may be motivated to see her country as blessed by all manner of virtues and achievements, whether the evidence, interpreted objectively, warrants this or not. Accordingly, the patriot may form beliefs about the country in ways that are different from the ways in which she forms beliefs about other countries.

One of the implications of a strong sense of national identity is that nationalism may become more prominent, and even aggressive, when the sense of national identity is felt to be threatened or in danger of being lost. Indeed, academics from the Peace and Conflict Research Centre in Copenhagen have identified ‘societal identity’ as a new focus of insecurity in Europe. According to these thinkers, since the middle of the 1980’s, Europe has been increasingly subject to the interplay of several enormous political...

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