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Unformatted text preview: 60 Williams, “Internal and External Reasons”, 103 36 neutral among different teleological concepts its citizens might have, and it must not partial to
the goals of any specific national or cultural community. That is why it is unfit to be the
bearer of the national project. To deem it such would mean to hold a false belief that dying for
it is important for our having a meaningful life. Therefore, our ground project of having a
meaningful life will not give us reason to die for the state, even if we see this meaningful life
as essentially bound up with national-cultural project (indeed, it could even be argued that the
opposite is true – having such a ground project could explicitly give us reason not to die for
the state, since dying for the state will prevent us from investing our lives into actions and
institutions which actually can be dedicated to furthering the national-cultural project – local
communities, NGO-s, heritage associations and the similar).
On the other interpretation it is the very existence and well-being of the state itself that
is at the core of the nationalist ground project, and nationalist ideology only enables one to see
the state as worthy to be acquired as such a ground project. In this we could say that the wellbeing of the state as ground project is itself based on false belief about the state, and for that
reason can not provide a reason for one to sacrifice her life for the country. So, it turns out that
on both interpretations of the nationalist ground project it fails to provide this reason, either
because the very existence of this ground project is based on false belief, or because the CEU eTD Collection relevance that dying for the state has this project is based on false belief.
To this objection, Tamir could answer in the following way: what nationalist imagery
is offering is a certain way of seeing, or imagining the state, not a set of factual statements
which could be true or false. Imagination plays an important part in how we look at all
relationships that matter to us, those with our spouses, lovers, relatives, and friends. One
could see her marriage as a union of souls, or as a business venture, as founded on romantic
conection or on common interest. Neither of these can be either true or false in any definitely 37 decidable sense, although the institution of marriage is clearly and unambiguously defined by
The images of a nation as a family, community, or a historical contract “between those
who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”61 are obviously not meant
to be taken literally and cannot be accused of falsity any more than love poetry or television
commercials. No one really thinks that love is based on a “match made in heaven”, or that
there is a fairy-kingdom in every Coca-Cola machine, but still these images can give us a
motive to, respectively, put in extra-effort into our love-relationships, or simply have a can of
Coca-Cola. These images are inviting one to accept a certain way of viewing the world, not
convincing her of any factual claim. Thus, they can not be true or false, only persuasive or
not, believable or not.
Just like most people...
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