Unformatted text preview: han the one she could have led if she lived to be 80 and spend CEU eTD Collection all her years eating chips and watching TV. One of the points of nationalist rhetoric is to
convince individuals that military service, with all the danger that it entails, is one of these
“meaning generating” acts, so that there is no reason to fear it. On the contrary, one should
pursue it if she wants her life to be meaningful. “Combat soldiers are thus seen not only as
best citizens, but also as finest people”, says Tamir. “The meaning and worthiness of their
lives are defined by their readiness to face death.”12 11
Ibidem, 238. 6 Finally, Tamir notes that in order to alleviate the worries that soldiers have about what
might happen to their loved ones after they are gone, the state offers generous material
rewards and benefits to those who act courageously in its defense. Moreover, the military
service presents a way to acquire a stabile and respected position in society and access to
important social networks. On the other hand, refusing military service, even when it is not
punishable by law, is still frowned upon and stigmatized by the society. All this taken into
account, one may ensure a much better future for his family if he joins the army, than if he
refuses to do so.
To conclude, Tamir’s opinion is that liberal democracies must depend on some form
of nationalism in order to justify the obligation to military service. Like she says in her book
“Liberal Nationalism”, “there is a long-standing, though much denied alliance between liberal
and national ideas that might explain the incosistencies pervading modern liberal theory.”13
There is an asociative account of political obligations, which goes beyond the purely
contractual one in that it explains these obligations not only the on formal fact of belonging to
a state, but also on the feeling of belonging to it. And it is this feeling of belonging that the
obligation to die for the state may be based upon. One is so obliged if she feels herself so
obliged, and this would mean that she accepts, at least to a certain extent, the nationalist view CEU eTD Collection of the state.\ 1.2 ALASDAIR MACINTYRE: IS PATRIOTISM A VIRTUE?
MacIntyre’s opinion on this subject is in many ways similar to Tamir’s. He too
believes that liberalism is incapable to provide justification for the obligation to die for the
state, and he too believes that the modern liberal state relies on nationalism (that is,
patriotism), to justify this obligation. However, where MacIntyre would disagree with Tamir
is in assessing whether this “alliance” between liberalism and nationalism can be upheld.
13 Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.), 117 7 According to MacIntyre liberal morality which is based on neutral and universal
principles, and patriotism, which is based on loyalty to a particular community are mutually
incompatible. What is a vice for one is a virtue for another. A patriot cannot be a liberal, and
vice versa, without falling into inconsistency. And since the modern stat...
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