Machiavelli

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Machiavelli And as I speak here of mixed bodies, such as republics or religious sects, I say that those changes are beneficial that bring them back to their original principles. And those are the best-constituted bodies, and have the longest existence, which possess the intrinsic means of frequently renewing themselves, or such as obtain this renovation in consequence of some extrinsic accidents. And it is a truth clearer than light that, without such renovation, these bodies cannot continue to exist; and the means of renewing them is to bring them back to their original principles. Machiavelli, The Discourses Introduction. Communitarian theorists, following Machiavelli, have argued that patriotic sentiment—a deep emotional identification with one’s fellow citizens—is vitally necessary to support, defend, and sustain liberal democratic institutions.[1] Without patriotic virtue, the institutions of liberal democracy are likely to decay under the weight of self-interest, greed, and corruption. Theorists rooted in the tradition of liberal individualism, however, have been a good deal more skeptical about the moral value of patriotic feeling. Strong emotional attachment to the community tends to overshadow and eclipse the independence and freedom of individuals. As George Kateb argues, "If groups are imagined too vividly, individuals lose sight of themselves and are lost sight of."[2] There is, no doubt, some justification for the liberal's skepticism: patriotism too often results in the exclusion and repression of people in the name of preserving group integrity. On the other hand, it is likely true that some sort of civic obligation needs to be observed in order to sust... ... middle of paper ... ...es," op. cit., p. 165. [6] Ibid., p. 165. [7] Tocqueville, op. cit., in note 4, p. 103. [8] Taylor, "Cross-Purposes," p. 175. [9] Ibid., p. 170 (emphasis added). [10] MacIntyre, "Is Patriotism a Virtue?," op. cit., p. 16. [11] Ibid., p. 13. [12] This is not to say that this is necessarily MacIntyre's personal conception of "the nation." This is simply his account of the way that strong nationalists conceive of the nation with which he may or may not himself identify. [13] Ibid., p. 19. [14] See, ibid., pp. 10-11. [15] Charles Taylor, "Why Do Nations Have to Become States?," Guy Laforest, ed., Reconciling the Solitudes: Essays on Canadian Federalism and Nationalism (Montreal: McGill-Queems University Press, 1993), p. 45. [16] Michael Walzer, "The Idea of Civil Society: A Path to Social Reconstruction," Dissent (1991), p. 300.

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