So if the state is doing this kind of persuading it

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Unformatted text preview: e can come a point at which it is quite unreasonable for a man to give up, in the name of impartial ordering of the world of moral agents, something which is a condition of his having any interest in being around in that world at all.” 58 The implications of this claim for Tamir’s position are obvious. If 1) ground projects may come in conflict with impartial morality, and those which are based on partial loyalties are obviously more likely to come into this conflict than others, and if 2) impersonal morality 57 58 Tamir, “Pro Patria Mori”, 233 Williams, “Persons, Characters, Morality”, 14 33 is often likely to come out of this conflict as the loser, and finally if 3) nationalism is seen as this kind of ground project, with a particularly partial “bend”, then it directly follows that to purposefully persuade people to accept nationalism as their ground project is in conflict with liberal morality as impartial morality. So if the state is doing this kind of persuading, it is behaving irrationally and even immorally in the light of the same liberal morality that it is allegedly founded upon. Of course, to this line of argumentation it may be answered that nationalism does not necessarily have to come in conflict with liberal morality, and that even when such a conflict arises, liberal morality may often come out as a winner. However, it is exactly the point of Williams’ claim that once the ground project is acquired, there is no reasonable guarantee that impersonal morality will prevail over it, or in which cases it will prevail. More precisely, once that a soldier has accepted nationalism as his ground project, it can no longer be reasonably requested of him not to show nationalist bias in such situations as diminishing civilian casualties, or treating prisoners of war in a civil and moral way. Although it is more likely that a soldier with a nationalist ground project will be prepared to sacrifice his life for the state, than the one without such a project, it is also more likely that he will break norms of impersonal morality if he believes that would be in the interest of his nation. That is why CEU eTD Collection accepting nationalism as a ground project increases the risk that the rules of liberal morality will be broken. Consequently, the liberal state is endangering liberal morality when it is persuading its citizens/soldiers to accept the nationalistic ground project. This threat sounds particularly sinister if we take into account the following remark Tamir makes in an attempt of resolving a paradox of dying in order to lead a meaningful life: One way to confront this issue is to proclaim a close link between readiness to die for a cause and the belief that one’s life is meaningful. According to Williams, the readiness to die for specific projects reaffirms the self-image of the person not as someone to whom all 34 projects are equally eternal or contingent but as someone who has some constitutive commitments that makes his or her life meaningful. (...) By expressing readiness to risk their lives in the pursuit of some of their projects, liberal ag...
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2013 for the course ENGLISH LI 21 taught by Professor Han during the Fall '13 term at Tsinghua University.

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