Reading and Writing in an Academic Context 76-100
Paper 2 (Connections)
Patriotism and Cosmopolitism
Imagine yourself reading a newspaper or an article that has the words cosmopolitanism and patriotism, what would come to your mind? in another words, how would you define them? Well, I agree that is not an easy question since many philosophers and politicians have argued and still arguing about the right definition. For example, Martha Nussbaum, an American philosopher, has discussed both terms in her writings of 1994 and 2008, as many other authors and philosophers. She has an incomplete and unchanged definitions for both Cosmopolitanism and Patriotism, yet they are overlapping. The problem is, which definition is more effective and most relevant for our time. In this paper I shall argue that we should combine several ideas from Nussbaum’s 1994 and 2008 definitions to reach to an acceptable and clear answer for the question.
The problem with Nussbaum’s definitions of patriotism and cosmopolitanism in both (1994) and (2008) is, that the completeness of defining the notion is missing for some. Let me at first, present a brief concept of what patriotism means. As we all know, and by the nature of human beings, people attend to share their emotions that expresses love, with their relative people, national identity and allegiance to their country, places they were raised in and adhering to their beliefs and cultures. This kind of connection and allegiance is about Patriotism. In “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism “which was published in 1994, although Nussbaum did not mention a clear definition of patriotism, she claimed that “the emphasis on patriotic pride is both morally dangerous and, ultimately, subversive of some of the worthy goals patriotism sets out to serve” (Nussbaum,1994, p.1). She was unsupportable with the idea of the attachment with a national identity. She participated with Richard Rorty, which urges patriotism, for it’s essential and extremely importance value for Americans, in an early phase of a project that encouraged the sense of national pride to a specific nation, rather than linking America with other global nations. Yet she was aware that “what we share as both rational and mutually dependent human beings” (Nussbaum, 1994, p.2) was not one of the aspects of the project, furthermore, she argued that the project was “between a politics based on ethnic and racial and religious differences and politics based on shared national identity”( Nussbaum, 1994, p.2) which diverge an emphasis on what we are, but where we belong to and what we believe in. despite that Nussbaum has not mentioned a direct definition of patriotism, she did define a Cosmopolitan person clearly and directly as ” the person whose primary allegiance is to the community of human beings in the entire world”( Nussbaum, 1994, p.1), ensuring justice and equality among the world, is what Nussbaum thinks that cosmopolitanism would achieve. In 1994, Nussbaum encouraged being cosmopolitan, she agreed with Tagore – cosmopolitan Hindu – that nationalism “substitutes a colorful idol for the substantive universal values of justice and right” (Nussbaum, 1994, p.2) which supports her claim calling patriotism as a dangerous notion.
Supporting a notion or a belief can be easily changed through life experience. Every day is a new story that carries different values and ethical actions, making us think twice of what we believe in or what we stand for. From 1994 to 2008, Nussbaum wrote again about patriotism and cosmopolitanism. However, the difference is, she was elaborating with nationalism more and giving it more attention in her article “Toward a globally sensitive patriotism” in 2008. From a vivid definition, to one that carries real emotions with clear and stated meaning, she defines patriotism as “A species of love that, by definition is bounded more rather than global, particularistic rather than universal.” (Nussbaum, 2008, p.79). In other words, Nussbaum believes that patriotism is, not about connecting to the whole world, but more specifically into a nation, its more “bounded” (79) forming a strong connection by nature as they share common history as well as common future, and memories with specific people, and “common hopes” (81). She claims that national sentiment “can play a valuable role in creating decent culture” (Nussbaum, 2008, p.81) through nations, and that these sentiments must be allegiant to the nations rather that families or as she calls it” small units” (81) in order to protect the rights of citizens within a state that takes “liberal, democratic form” (81). In 1994 Nussbaum concluded that cosmopolitanism “offers only reason and love of humanity” (7), yet in 2008 she has not mentioned a new definition for cosmopolitanism but, does not recommend it as a comprehensive doctrine that we should follow. Nussbaum believes that citizens commit with insistence a special form of love and connection to their religion either for their personal sake or for-some religions- commitment to God duties. Hence her agreement to the cosmopolitanism to be her “comprehensive ethical position” (80) would not support a globally ethical political principle.
After defining patriotism and cosmopolitanism according to Nussbaum in 1994 and 2008. It is obvious that Nussbaum’s definition of patriotism has completely changed. In 1994, she was against the attachment of a specific nation considering it dangerous, whereas in 2008, she expresses it as “species of love”, encouraging the individuals to be patriotically pride in order to ensure a global justice within their allegiance to their nations. For cosmopolitanism, Nussbaum defined it in 1994, showing that it is to be a citizen of the entire world, and the commitment in scarifying for the sake of the justice and equality. Yet in 2008. Nussbaum simply stated her disapproval toward cosmopolitanism to be a comprehensive doctrine. As we can see, patriotism definition is changed, where cosmopolitanism is not. Nussbaum’s definitions are offering us the choice between our countries and the entire world. leaving us wonder about the right definition and the right choice that we should have for our current time.
After reading and searching wisely through Nussbaum definitions of cosmopolitanism and patriotism. Finding a solution to our problem is now much easier. Joining separate blocks will definitely create a stronger coherent one basic block. In our case, I argue that combining Nussbaum’s definitions will be the best choice to come up with what we need as a community. Our love and -let me call it- magical connection to our country cannot be vanished, moreover we cannot love the entire world nations, yet show respect and treat equally and morally. Arguing and claiming that patriotism disregards injustice societies with unequal rights, as a solution, is totally wrong. I am proud of being Palestinian. My country is facing one of the biggest if not the biggest political wars ever. Even though this controversy
lasted for seven decades and is still ongoing, the Palestinian citizens are holding their country by the love and their allegiance to the land that carries their history and culture. Steadfast in front of the Zionist enemy. Except that love, Palestine would have gone a long time ago. Therefore, I shall agree with Nussbaum’s 2008 definition of patriotism. In 1994, Nussbaum mentioned the Stoics visualizing cosmopolitanism as circles that we live in and in somehow connected to the center of the earth. In my perspective, our relation-we the human- is more than circles, we are all siblings, brothers or sisters as we all the sons of Eve and Adam. We all share the same planet, rather than different places or cultures we came from, scarifying and thinking about others, not only a specific nation, hence Nussbaum’s 1994 definition of cosmopolitanism in my opinion is what we need except that our “primary allegiance” should be to our nation first and, “secondly” to the world. Hence, both patriotism and cosmopolitanism are important, we cannot endorse one of them only.
To summarize, I wish I could merge both patriotism and cosmopolitanism into a new notion that holds both definitions together to make a stronger union. what we ought to do is to respect all humans’ differences, religion, color, beliefs, cultures. Being proud to our national identity, love our country without fanaticism, to ensure justice and equality among the world. Contribute with all the nations, thinking about the others as well as our people. I believe that the emotions that ensure global peace are “love” and “caring”. if u think about it, patriotism includes love, where cosmopolitanism includes caring to others and scarifying. If we want to live in peace, despite our intellectual differences and personal beliefs. We should learn how to love and care nationally and globally.
Martha C. Nussbaum (1994) “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” in The Global Justice Reader, Thom Brooks eds. (Blackwell Pub., 2008).
Martha C. Nussbaum (2008) ” Toward a Globally Sensitive Patriotism” in Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts ; Sciences, James Miller ( American Academy of Arts and Sciences.,2008)