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Unformatted text preview: deceitful.
In this paper I will argue that both Macintyre’s objections (of immorality and of
deceitfulness) are correct, and will show that even Tamir’s conception must succumb to them.
In the first chapter I will summarise the argument that Yale Tamir makes in her text “Pro
Patria Mori”, and then the one made by Macintyre in his Lindley Lecture, “Is Patriotism a
Virtue?”. In the second chapter I will propose that the authors’ differences should be looked
for in their different stands on Bernard Williams’ conception of a ground project and internal
and external reasons for action, give a short summary of Williams’ internalist argument and
Macintyre’s criticism of it argument.
In the third chapter I will show that the way that persuading citizens to adopt the
nationalist ground project, the way Tamir defines it, is bound to conflict with liberal morality. CEU eTD Collection Also, I argue that if the adoption of this ground project is based of nationalist imagery, which
seems to be Tamir’s main thesis, then it is either based on false beliefs, or must be treated as
irrational. In either case, such a ground project fails to provide a reason for the citizen to
sacrifice her life for the state.
Finaly, I conclude that due both to its incompatibility with the liberal morality and its
failure to provide valid reason for a citizen to sacrifice her life for the state, Tamir’s account
fails in justifying nationalism as a legitimate means for a liberal state to attain the legitimate
end of self-defense. 2 CHAPTER 1: PRO PATRIA MORI 1.1 YAEL TAMIR ON THE NATIONALIST GROUND PROJECT
There is a common argument in political theory that nations need states to survive. In
her text “Pro Patria Mori! Death and the State”2, Tamir turns this argument on its head,
claiming that the opposite is also true – nations are necessary for the states to survive. When
the state is asking of its citizens to risk or even sacrifice their lives for it, it must offer
something in return. But what could be a valid reimbursement for a loss of life? Something
bigger than life, or at least bigger than individual life, and that is the life of a nation as a
According to Tamir, it is exactly the states which “foster a contractual ethos”3, that is –
liberal democracies, which most often have to resort to nationalist discourse in situations
which require personal sacrifice on behalf of their citizens. Says Tamir:
“Nationalism should therefore be seen not as the pathology infecting modern liberal
states but as an answer to their legitimate needs of self-defense or, to put it in even more
dramatic terms, as a remedy to their malaise – namely, the atomism, neurosis, and alienation
that inflict liberal states and may leave them defenseless.”4 CEU eTD Collection But how can nationalism help “remedy the liberal malaise”? Or, more precisely, how
can nationalism motivate the atomistic liberal citizens to willingly risk their lives for the state?
First, nationalism is able to provide a reason for citizens to sacrifice their...
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