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Thread: Patriotism

  1. #1
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    Patriotism

    Stemming from a brief exchange with this on IM, LT and I got in to a debate about the merits (or lack thereof of patriotism). It is my opinion that not only is patriotism not something worth having; it is an inherently negative philosophy to hold in order to get the most benefit out of the state.

    Now my main objection to patriotism is the simple grounds that it doesn't have any. So I will start here by dispelling a few things that are potential benefits to patriotism and then move on to the problems it creates. So let's have a look at few of its supposed benefits:

    LT brought up the fact that without patriotism people would neglect civic duties. Now these civic duties are presumably meant as things like paying taxes obeying the law etc. However, there are three other things which make people do these things amply well. Apathy, it’s effort to refuse to do these things and go against the state on this. People will simply do so because they do not think about the alternative of doing so. Punitive measures are also in place should you fail to perform your civic duties and maintain the state’s authority. And finally my preferred reason, altruism. Many of these civic duties are there because they aid the state in helping other people and if you act in such a way that you are beneficial to others. Others are more likely to reciprocate such behaviour.

    Secondly we have the matter of treason. Without patriotism presumably men and women would go against their state and work towards its destruction. Well, no, not really, or certainly if it does indeed happen, it won’t necessarily be a bad thing. Now treason is defined as follows by dictionary.com :

    1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
    2. a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
    3. the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

    If one is acting to overthrow or is violating the allegiance to one’s state then presumably one sees a problem with that state. And to get to a dangerous level of treason against the state, the problem must be perceived as a fairly big one for the people to risk themselves in that way. If this is the case, if you see a monumental problem with the state, why on earth should you be defending it simply because it happens to be where you were born? You should rebel against it and rightly so. Apathy and ignoring of even defending the problem is simply not progressive.
    As such patriotism could only be a blinding force in the matter of treason when it may indeed be necessary. Holding your nation and by extension it’s state in a higher position than any other nation or its state, simply because it is your own nation and not off the basis of its successes and failures. The allegiance that drives people to not betray one another’s confidence and faith, should be one to humanity and not whatever governing body happens to rule the place one is living in or was born in. This was not only are the ideals upheld to help one another and live in an efficient society, but should that society turn sour the people will be in a better place to recognise that and act accordingly without simply defending the society because of their patriotism.

    Now we come on to the problems patriotism can lead to created. These problems mean that patriotism could only be a virtue in a utopian society.

    Patriotism, is ever so easy to exploit and push on to an enemy, imagined or otherwise. Take the Kulak persecution during Stalinist Russia. Stalin used the patriotism in his new state and in the communist regime to have peasants denounce anyone with anything worth taking, simply because the state wanted it. He made the Kulaks out to be the enemy of the state when often enough they were the driving force of the economy.
    The shambles that was collectivisation was a testament to the repercussions this persecution for patriotism brought about.

    If you need other examples of patriotism being easily twisted in to hate of a certain group Nazi Germany is another prime example. Hitler’s comments to those he spoke of reveal clearly that he saw and used the German patriotism not only for him to gain power but to further his ends and exasperate the hatred of the Jews in Germany. Observe for example this comment:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitler
    I ask Roosevelt, I ask the American people: Are you prepared to receive in your midst these well-poisoners of the German people
    He is quite clearly appealing to German national pride and hence German patriotism to create a distrustful and opposing atmosphere against Jews, not only in his own country but around the world.

    Secondly we get on to the negative side of international tension it creates. Before the world wars it is undeniable that mainland Europe was more patriotic than it is now. And it is also the case that this patriotism and international tension it caused, was a key factor in the breakout of WWI.
    The Prussian-France war had lead to an inflated sense of patriotism in Germany before WWI with their decisive victory over France that had in fact caused Germany to unite in to the second Reich under the Prussian Kaiser. This meant people expected more achievements in a similar vein and the Kaisers sought to meet the patriotism calling for this. Likewise British people had prided themselves on their empire and their leading the way in industrial progress across the world, leading to British patriotism.

    Each nation considered itself invincible at this point which meant that each nation had great popular support to go in to a war that would ultimately inflate in to WWI. If patriotism is allowed to flourish too greatly, this type of national pride could easily arise once again.

    And now to my final point. This leads me to ask the question, what is the point of the state that we should be patriotic towards? Well I personally feel that C.S. Lewis gives quite a good answer to that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mere Christianity
    the State has a lot of different objects-military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden-that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time.
    So when Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” He entirely defeated the point of the state. Man should only serve the state to preserve it so that it can keep supporting him and his fellow man. In that sense the state should only be supported if you think it is effective in serving you and the other people it sets out to serve. But if it is not furthering the strive for a better lifestyle for all men then not only should patriotism be avoided but the state should be outright opposed.

    As such Patriotism could only be a virtue in a perfect state.

    And so I leave you with a comment from Caesar (well technically not but it’s traditionally attributed to him and the effect is the same)

    Quote Originally Posted by Caesar
    patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    Now we come on to the problems patriotism can lead to created. These problems mean that patriotism could only be a virtue in a utopian society.

    Patriotism, is ever so easy to exploit and push on to an enemy, imagined or otherwise. Take the Kulak persecution during Stalinist Russia. Stalin used the patriotism in his new state and in the communist regime to have peasants denounce anyone with anything worth taking, simply because the state wanted it. He made the Kulaks out to be the enemy of the state when often enough they were the driving force of the economy.
    The shambles that was collectivisation was a testament to the repercussions this persecution for patriotism brought about.

    If you need other examples of patriotism being easily twisted in to hate of a certain group Nazi Germany is another prime example. Hitler’s comments to those he spoke of reveal clearly that he saw and used the German patriotism not only for him to gain power but to further his ends and exasperate the hatred of the Jews in Germany.
    Your argument here could be applied to anything to "disprove" it's worth. Essentially what you are saying is because Patriotism can be twisted or used to rouse the masses to commiting evil acts, patriotism can't be a virtue in our world. Following from that logic, because media outlets can be used to influence people in the same way, just as Hitler did during his regime, media outlets are bad. Or to give a more real example, just because religion has in the past been the direct cause of many wars, doesn't mean that this undesirable result of religion makes it worthless or a "negative philosophy". It merely means that it has the potential for negative effects.

    Regarding the benefits of patriotism, it has a clear one: Unity. Loyalty to one's nation is the glue which binds every person in that nation together, despite the ethnic, religious, or other ideological differences which would otherwise divide and fragment a people lack national pride and identity. Although in the past patriotism may have been used to incite mass hatred, it has also had the effect of unifying people together to fight against that hatred. Love of country inspired countless people during World War II to contribute to the war effort in every way imaginable; ranging from giving and donating foods, money, and goods to risking their lives in service to their country. Patriotism and faith in their nation resulted in millions of people signing up to protect and serve; or in states which had been conquered, to join the resistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    Secondly we get on to the negative side of international tension it creates. Before the world wars it is undeniable that mainland Europe was more patriotic than it is now. And it is also the case that this patriotism and international tension it caused, was a key factor in the breakout of WWI.
    The Prussian-France war had lead to an inflated sense of patriotism in Germany before WWI with their decisive victory over France that had in fact caused Germany to unite in to the second Reich under the Prussian Kaiser. This meant people expected more achievements in a similar vein and the Kaisers sought to meet the patriotism calling for this. Likewise British people had prided themselves on their empire and their leading the way in industrial progress across the world, leading to British patriotism.

    Each nation considered itself invincible at this point which meant that each nation had great popular support to go in to a war that would ultimately inflate in to WWI. If patriotism is allowed to flourish too greatly, this type of national pride could easily arise once again.
    Here you make the same mistake as above, except that you go one step further. You contend that "If patriotism is allowed to flourish too greatly, this type of national pride could easily arise once again." This supposed possibility of a damaging, feverish nationalism among nations and their people happening once again doesn't prove the undesirability of patriotism. Just as the possibility of religion causing friction and starting wars doesn't prove it's undesirability.
    Last edited by Dela Cruz; August 12th, 2008 at 08:57 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Your argument here could be applied to anything to "disprove" it's worth. Essentially what you are saying is because Patriotism can be twisted or used to rouse the masses to commiting evil acts, patriotism can't be a virtue in our world.
    Having already gone over patriotisms benefits and showed them to be faultily founded. If something has the potential for harm but has excessivley limited or even non-existant benefits, why can it be deemed a virtue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Following from that logic, because media outlets can be used to influence people in the same way, just as Hitler did during his regime, media outlets are bad.
    To the contrary media outlets are a horrible comparison because it required their utmost limitations for Hitler to use them effectivley. Patriotism however he encouraged at every turn.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Although in the past patriotism may have been used to incite mass hatred, it has also had the effect of unifying people together to fight against that hatred.
    Everyone thinks they're fighting against that hatred or they wouldn't be fighting. It makes people sheep to the leaders regardless of the cause. By contrast what I suggest is a loyalty to humanity which means that there will be no natural bias to side with your "countrymen".

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Or to give a more pertinent example, just because religion has in the past been the direct cause of many wars, doesn't mean that this undesirable result of religion makes it worthless or a "negative philosophy". It merely means that it has the potential for negative effects.
    And I am challenging you to show that patriotism has positive effects that cannot be simulated by altruism in its stead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Here you make the same mistake as above, except that you go one step further. You contend that "If patriotism is allowed to flourish too greatly, this type of national pride could easily arise once again." This supposed possibility of a damaging, feverish nationalism among nations and their people happening once again doesn't prove the undesirability of patriotism. Just as the possibility of religion causing friction and starting wars doesn't prove it's undesirability.
    But if it has only or even mostly negative effects then the comparison is false. This is my challenge, make a case for the benefits of patriotism.
    -=]Eliotitus[=-
    "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future"- Oscar Wilde

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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    Having already gone over patriotisms benefits and showed them to be faultily founded. If something has the potential for harm but has excessivley limited or even non-existant benefits, why can it be deemed a virtue?
    You haven't gone over the benefits of patriotism. You've gone over the benefits of patriotism which LT named.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    To the contrary media outlets are a horrible comparison because it required their utmost limitations for Hitler to use them effectivley.
    "It required their utmost limitations"? What on earth does that mean? Anyway, you are missing my point. What I was saying was that just because something can be used or manipulated in a bad way doesn't mean that that thing itself is bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    Everyone thinks they're fighting against that hatred or they wouldn't be fighting.
    Once again, this doesn't make any sense. There were plenty of people (especially on the side of the Axis) who were fighting primarily for gain or territory, it had nothing to do with combating hatred.

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus
    And I am challenging you to show that patriotism has positive effects that cannot be simulated by altruism in its stead.
    Your argument fails here too. Just because altruism may be able to stimulate the positive effects of patriotism, doesn't mean patriotism is bad. What you are doing is like saying, "If everybody being peaceful can stimulate the positive benefits of law enforcement, law enforcement is bad." That's ludicrous.

    For the record, I edited my previous post before I saw your response to name what I believe is the primary benefit of patriotism.
    Last edited by Dela Cruz; August 12th, 2008 at 10:23 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Patriotism

    Patriotism is fine so long as it doesn't take control of your senses and emotions. It is when senses and emotions get hijacked that trouble occurs. Ethics and morality and general regard for others, including citizens of the wider world, need to be weighed together with what is genuinely best for the country you live in.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Regarding the benefits of patriotism, it has a clear one: Unity. Loyalty to one's nation is the glue which binds every person in that nation together, despite the ethnic, religious, or other ideological differences which would otherwise divide and fragment a people lack national pride and identity. Although in the past patriotism may have been used to incite mass hatred, it has also had the effect of unifying people together to fight against that hatred. Love of country inspired countless people during World War II to contribute to the war effort in every way imaginable; ranging from giving and donating foods, money, and goods to risking their lives in service to their country. Patriotism and faith in their nation resulted in millions of people signing up to protect and serve; or in states which had been conquered, to join the resistance.
    This begs the following question: What makes unity a benefit?

    Also, cannot fighting against a certain kind of hatred involve another kind of hatred (namely hatred against the first kind of hatred)?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    This begs the following question: What makes unity a benefit?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Love of country inspired countless people during World War II to contribute to the war effort in every way imaginable; ranging from giving and donating foods, money, and goods to risking their lives in service to their country. Patriotism and faith in their nation resulted in millions of people signing up to protect and serve; or in states which had been conquered, to join the resistance.
    Patriotic unity promotes a nation's goals through individual action, submission, or approval of entities deemed conducive to national ideals or policy.
    Last edited by Ubermensch; August 12th, 2008 at 09:49 PM.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Patriotism is not exclusively good or evil. It has the potential to be either.

    The original post in this thread seems to ignore the fact that patriotism is not a blanket approval of every aspect of your country. I'm an American. I'm proud of my country, but that doesn't mean I'm proud of every thing my country has done or participated in. Am I proud that my country participated in slavery for 400 years? Of course not. Am I proud of the interment of Japanese-Americans during WWII? No. Am I proud of the Tuskeegee experiment? No.

    Also cited was the role of patriotism in preventing treason. Both patriotism and treason are in the eye of the beholder. Were the participants of the Boston Tea Party treasonists or patriots?

    I think what you're railing against isn't patriotism, but blind patriotism.

    So when Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” He entirely defeated the point of the state. Man should only serve the state to preserve it so that it can keep supporting him and his fellow man. In that sense the state should only be supported if you think it is effective in serving you and the other people it sets out to serve. But if it is not furthering the strive for a better lifestyle for all men then not only should patriotism be avoided but the state should be outright opposed.
    You completely twist the words of JFK. He used the word "country", not "government" or "state". Patriotism is a love and devotion for one's country, not necessarily its government.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    Patriotic unity promotes a nation's goals through individual action, submission, or approval of entities deemed conducive to national ideals or policy.
    Who is to say whether a "nation's" goals are benefits?
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    Who is to say whether a "nation's" goals are benefits?
    Just as whether the fulfillment of an individual's goals are benefits, this is assumed.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    Just as whether the fulfillment of an individual's goals are benefits, this is assumed.
    I don't assume that. As far as I'm concerned, there is a great difference between an individual and a "nation".
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I don't assume that.
    I doubt it.

    As far as I'm concerned, there is a great difference between an individual and a "nation".
    Did I say there was not? You questioned whether the fulfillment of national goals is favorable, and I accordingly respond by questioning whether the fulfillment of individual goals is favorable. I do not dispute differences between the two; I only leave it be that though you may not invest value in the fulfillment of national goals, others do, just as though I do not invest value in the fulfillment of individual goals, others do.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    I doubt it.
    It does not matter whether you doubt it or not. I know that I do not assume that fulfillment of "national goals" (presuming they exist in the same sense as individual goals) is a benefit.

    Did I say there was not? You questioned whether the fulfillment of national goals is favorable, and I accordingly respond by questioning whether the fulfillment of individual goals is favorable. I do not dispute differences between the two; I only leave it be that though you may not invest value in the fulfillment of national goals, others do, just as though I do not invest value in the fulfillment of individual goals, others do.
    So basically we reject each other's founding premises; thus there can be no debate between us.

    However, regarding your discounting of individual goals, you commit a performative contradiction. If you discount fulfillment of individual goals, you must necessarily discount your own goals, because you are an individual. Hence, you would not even bother to do anything, because to do anything (i.e. to act) is to satisfy, or seek to satisfy, one or more individual goals.
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    This begs the following question: What makes unity a benefit?

    Also, cannot fighting against a certain kind of hatred involve another kind of hatred (namely hatred against the first kind of hatred)?
    And your answers are?
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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    It does not matter whether you doubt it or not. I know that I do not assume that fulfillment of "national goals" (presuming they exist in the same sense as individual goals) is a benefit.
    I doubt that you do not assume the fulfillment of individual goals to be a benefit.
    I mean to say that you do assume such fulfillment to be a benefit.

    So basically we reject each other's founding premises; thus there can be no debate between us.
    That's fine.
    However, regarding your discounting of individual goals, you commit a performative contradiction. If you discount fulfillment of individual goals, you must necessarily discount your own goals, because you are an individual. Hence, you would not even bother to do anything, because to do anything (i.e. to act) is to satisfy, or seek to satisfy, one or more individual goals.
    I dismiss the fulfillment of individual goals to be a benefit because, while others hold that individuals as a category have value (and thereby their wants), I do not. Per my worldview, that any particular entity so happens to be an individual human being is inconsequential to their value.

    This does not prevent me from investing my own existence and my own wants with value, so long as I do not make that investment contingent on my being an individual.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    I doubt that you do not assume the fulfillment of individual goals to be a benefit.
    I mean to say that you do assume such fulfillment to be a benefit.
    I assume that every individual considers the fulfillment of his own goals to be a benefit. As far as I can tell, "national goals" do not exist, as nations are not acting entities.

    That's fine.
    Okay.

    I dismiss the fulfillment of individual goals to be a benefit because, while others hold that individuals as a category have value (and thereby their wants), I do not. Per my worldview, that any particular entity so happens to be an individual human being is inconsequential to their value.
    What other entities exist in your worldview? (I'm really asking this out of curiosity more than anything else.)

    This does not prevent me from investing my own existence and my own wants with value, so long as I do not make that investment contingent on my being an individual.
    There's no contingency; you are an individual. Indeed, it would seem that you cannot be otherwise.

    Also, why do you keep talking about "value"? From what I understand, I have not made any statements any such thing.
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by eliotitus View Post
    Patriotism, is ever so easy to exploit and push on to an enemy, imagined or otherwise. Take the Kulak persecution during Stalinist Russia. Stalin used the patriotism in his new state and in the communist regime to have peasants denounce anyone with anything worth taking, simply because the state wanted it. He made the Kulaks out to be the enemy of the state when often enough they were the driving force of the economy.
    The shambles that was collectivisation was a testament to the repercussions this persecution for patriotism brought about.

    If you need other examples of patriotism being easily twisted in to hate of a certain group Nazi Germany is another prime example. Hitler’s comments to those he spoke of reveal clearly that he saw and used the German patriotism not only for him to gain power but to further his ends and exasperate the hatred of the Jews in Germany. Observe for example this comment:
    You (many of you) are confusing patriotism (love of one's country) with nationalism (belief that one's country is better than all others and can do no wrong). It's like confusing self-respect with megalomania.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolykos View Post
    I assume that every individual considers the fulfillment of his own goals to be a benefit. As far as I can tell, "national goals" do not exist, as nations are not acting entities.
    And therein lies a fundamental disagreement between statism and individualism. It's not a point on which we are likely to agree.
    There's no contingency; you are an individual. Indeed, it would seem that you cannot be otherwise.
    When a white man kills a black man, it cannot appropriately be labeled a hate crime simply because the victim happened to be a different race. The label "hate crime" is contingent on the motivations of the crime and not strictly on the characteristics of the victim.

    I consider the fulfillment of my own goals to be good, but not on any basis of my being a human being. That I am a human individual is all well and good, but my simply being an individual does not cause the fulfillment of my goals to be considered good. The view that the fulfillment of my goals is good is not contingent on my being an individual, just as the label of "hate crime" is not strictly contingent on the victim being black.

    Is that understood? Or do we still have discrepancies?
    Also, why do you keep talking about "value"? From what I understand, I have not made any statements any such thing.
    Most justifications for why the promotion of individual goals and happiness refer to the assumed value of the individual; that if the individual is morally valued, so are his goals. That is why I use "investment of value" in my discourse.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    I consider the fulfillment of my own goals to be good, but not on any basis of my being a human being. That I am a human individual is all well and good, but my simply being an individual does not cause the fulfillment of my goals to be considered good. The view that the fulfillment of my goals is good is not contingent on my being an individual, just as the label of "hate crime" is not strictly contingent on the victim being black.
    I understand this to mean an individual may have personal imperatives or goals, but achieving them is not automatically of positive value, either to the individual or the larger society or state. Correct?

    I would agree. Some individuals set personal goals and take actions that may be illegal or self-damaging. Although they may reach their goals and meet their personal needs, the results may be detrimental to both the individual and the state.

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    Re: Patriotism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubermensch View Post
    And therein lies a fundamental disagreement between statism and individualism. It's not a point on which we are likely to agree.
    Only one of them can be correct, as far as reality is concerned. Based on my understanding of reality, I conclude that a collection of individuals (such as an alleged nation) cannot be considered a living, breathing entity with a mind and will of its own. That is to say, collections of individuals are not also individuals themselves (sic).

    When a white man kills a black man, it cannot appropriately be labeled a hate crime simply because the victim happened to be a different race. The label "hate crime" is contingent on the motivations of the crime and not strictly on the characteristics of the victim.

    I consider the fulfillment of my own goals to be good, but not on any basis of my being a human being. That I am a human individual is all well and good, but my simply being an individual does not cause the fulfillment of my goals to be considered good. The view that the fulfillment of my goals is good is not contingent on my being an individual, just as the label of "hate crime" is not strictly contingent on the victim being black.

    Is that understood? Or do we still have discrepancies?
    We still have discrepancies. The fact that you (and everyone else) think at all is contingent on your being an individual human being. Hence, any consideration that you have about anything is contingent upon your status as an individual. (Unless you're not presuming the existence of human individuals in your discourse, which would render it detached from reality indeed.)

    On another note, I have apparently not made any arguments as to whether your status as an individual implies that you should consider your goals to be "good". As far as I can tell, I have not tried to bridge the is-ought problem. I am still very much on the "is" side of it. The fact that you are a living individual necessarily means that you have goals which you seek to fulfill. Whether you (or me, or anyone else) consider your goals to be "good", or should consider them such, is beside the point.

    Most justifications for why the promotion of individual goals and happiness refer to the assumed value of the individual; that if the individual is morally valued, so are his goals. That is why I use "investment of value" in my discourse.
    Yet I don't see how I have promoted individual goals and happiness, let alone argue some assumed value of the individual. Rather, I take the entirely descriptive point of view that morality necessarily concerns individuals and only individuals.
    “When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves."

    - Herbert Spencer

 

 

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