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Patriotism And Nationalism Essay

Nationalism and patriotism are two of the most powerful forces shaping world history. Though seen by many as two sides of the same coin, they can and must be distinguished. Reconstructing the historical meaning of the terms, Maurizio Viroli shows that the two concepts have been used for very different political and ideological goals. Over the centuries, the language of patriotism has been used to strengthen or invoke a generous and caring love of the political institutions and the way of life that sustain the common liberty of a people, whereas the language of nationalism was forged in late 18th century Europe to defend or reinforce the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic oneness, and homogeneity of a people. He brings to the surface the existence of an intellectual tradition in modern and early modern political thought which has been using the language of patriotism as a language of liberty and civic commitment and argues that it is to the intellectual tradition of republican patriotism that we ought to refer to find a powerful antidote to nationalism and a valuable source of civic responsibility for multicultural democratic societies. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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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