For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

Synopsis

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 have developed widely different connotations. Nationalism is increasingly seen as destructive, and at the root of the world's bloodiest conflicts;patriotism seems something more benign, a political virtue. How are we to mark the distinction between these two phenomena? How can we rescue patriotism from the tainted grasp of nationalism? Reconstructing the historical the meaning of the terms, Maurizio Viroli shows how the two concepts have been used within specific cultural and ideological contexts. He reviews the political though of Italy, England, and Germany and shows how patriotism and nationalism have fundamentally different roots. Professor Viroli concludes that it is morally unacceptable, and indeed unnecessary, to be a nationalist to defend the values that nationalists hold dear. Patriotism, however, is a valuable source of civic responsibility.

Excerpt

In scholarly literature and common language, 'love of country' and 'loyalty to the nation', patriotism and nationalism, are used as synonyms. And yet, as I hope to show in this study, they can and must be distinguished. The language of patriotism has been used over the centuries to strengthen or invoke love of the political institutions and the way of life that sustain the common liberty of a people, that is love of the republic; the language of nationalism was forged in late eighteenth-century Europe to defend or reinforce the cultural, linguistic, and ethnic oneness and homogeneity of a people. Whereas the enemies of republican patriotism are tyranny, despotism, oppression, and corruption, the enemies of nationalism are cultural contamination,

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