The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

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The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#1  Postby davidpatricklawyer » Apr 20, 2012 3:42 pm

Is it rational to be committed to one's own country above all else, and is it rational to think that your upbringing is the "correct" way? Is it rational to be loyal to one's family simply due to the bias that they themselves instilled in you?
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#2  Postby Nostalgia » Apr 20, 2012 7:28 pm

davidpatricklawyer wrote:Is it rational to be committed to one's own country above all else, and is it rational to think that your upbringing is the "correct" way?


No.

Is it rational to be loyal to one's family simply due to the bias that they themselves instilled in you?


No.

However, these blind loyalties whilst not rational are perfectly understandable. We're a tribal species after all.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#3  Postby tuco » Apr 20, 2012 7:39 pm

It does not have to be rational as long as it is beneficial.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#4  Postby Lion IRC » Apr 20, 2012 11:42 pm

davidpatricklawyer wrote:Is it rational to be committed to one's own country above all else, and is it rational to think that your upbringing is the "correct" way? Is it rational to be loyal to one's family simply due to the bias that they themselves instilled in you?


Welcome to the forum. :cheers:


It must be rational to some people but like many issues, it's reason versus reason.

On balance, I find nothing much worthwhile about nationalism/patriotism.

But I view the world through the perpective of John 3:16
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#5  Postby davidpatricklawyer » Apr 25, 2012 3:38 pm

Ok, but I know the American culture better than I know others and I find myself more comfortable supporting someone I know isn't supporting something like a totaltalitarian regime. So my comfort level and patriotism in that sense is rational, No?
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#6  Postby biscuit » Apr 25, 2012 3:52 pm

:popcorn:
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#7  Postby laxchick33 » Apr 25, 2012 4:42 pm

I feel that blindly inheriting your moral set from your parents is terribly irrational. Even just from the view of your parents, they want you to be your own person and simply copying and pasting their moral set and not stepping back and putting the world in perspective through your own eyes is definitely irrational. How will you ever be completely comfortable living with yourself knowing that you made yourself into just another clone of your parents to continue in the same exact way as them?

also, we'll get to john 3.16 later
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#8  Postby Macdoc » Apr 25, 2012 5:45 pm

OP

It becomes irrational only when those loyalties conflict with a greater benefit to the self from acting otherwise.

In other words jumping into a fire to save a loved one may be irrational but understandable.
Irrational because you risk your life.

If however you are not risking your life then it's both rational and beneficial.

A person may - often do decide that the greater benefit to them is to risk their life for love of family or country even tho they may die.

Irrational in the sense of self preservation. Rational in the context of having to live with ones conscious if you don't ask ( lesser evil )
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#9  Postby davidpatricklawyer » Apr 26, 2012 5:11 am

So taking the idea of saving lives and furthering that discussion:

Your in a building that's on fire there are two closets, one you know has your four children in it, the other 8 children whom you don't know. Is it rational to want to save your own children even though it costs more lives? You make it out alive no matter which closet you open.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#10  Postby Macdoc » Apr 26, 2012 6:01 am

Understandable for sure and rational from a genetic standpoint.
One has to accept ( as I do ) that self interest guides every decision even tho the resulting outcome may appear selfless.

We each construct a value hierarchy and in my view a lot is contextual.
For instance you won't normally eat rotted food but would if you were starving.

Ethical dilemma's like this can be very tricky to parse.

Social mores and the resulting morality often conflicts with personal ethics which each person has to construct on their own.
Some get lazy and and just pick up some gideon guide book....or a scientology bit of whackery.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#11  Postby Panderos » Apr 26, 2012 4:59 pm

I don't think you can say an action is rational or not without specifying an objective.

For example if my sole objective is to eat cheese, and a guy rides by on his horse with some, is it rational of me to spear the guy, bury him and eat his cheese? Well, sure it might be. If my objective is to make the country a safer place, then no, it would probably not be rational for me to do that.

If your objective is to get on with your countrymen, then it might be rational to be patriotic. If your objective is to determine which is the 'greatest country in the world', then you must first define greatest, then look at the evidence to see if you country fits that bill better than any other. And if so, it would then be rational to believe your country is the greatest in the world (going by your definition of greatest).

I would hazard a guess that if your objective is to make the world a better place then being patriotic is probably not rational, and that applies to your own country as well (I think believing your country is best is not conducive to improving it). Then again nationalistic fervour can provide useful in war, much like religious zeal.

So it really depends on your aim.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#12  Postby davidpatricklawyer » Apr 26, 2012 9:31 pm

I would argue that only rational people pick up on patterns, and those who pick up in patterns are rational. Also, only people who pick up on pattern can be socialized, Therefore being socialized is a sign of rationality. And we are patriotic because of our socialization. But is that enough evidence to claim patriotism is rational? Maybe rational is too ambiguous. Some think that following their religion blindly is rational, because their God is perfect, so they must follow his writings. If you truly believe in your God I can't argue that it's irrational to follow him blindly.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#13  Postby Lion IRC » Apr 27, 2012 8:40 pm

Even more to the point is that many rational theists dont follow God blindly at all but follow their own reason and evidence as the basis for their true belief.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#14  Postby Nostalgia » Apr 27, 2012 8:49 pm

Lion IRC wrote:Even more to the point is that many rational theists dont follow God blindly at all but follow their own reason and evidence as the basis for their true belief.


I disagree for the most part. I'd say most allow their beliefs colour their reason.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#15  Postby Emmeline » Apr 27, 2012 10:51 pm

Lion IRC wrote:Even more to the point is that many rational theists dont follow God blindly at all but follow their own reason and evidence as the basis for their true belief.

I used to be a theist like that ie I invented a god that matched my own version of what god should be. It didn't make god real of course but it was a way of making the Christian god acceptable to a modern, educated woman.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#16  Postby hoopy frood » Apr 28, 2012 3:42 am

Ask yourself what is a nation and why and how did they come into being in the first place and you'll give your question context, a rational perspective, and the answers will become obvious.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#17  Postby tuco » Apr 29, 2012 10:16 pm

hoopy frood wrote:Ask yourself what is a nation and why and how did they come into being in the first place and you'll give your question context, a rational perspective, and the answers will become obvious.


Indeed, Nationalism - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nationalism/

Side note:

Cosmopolitanism is the view that

a) one's primary moral obligations are directed to all human beings (regardless of geographical or cultural distance), and
b) political arrangements should faithfully reflect this universal moral obligation (in the form of supra-statist arrangements that take precedence over nation-states).



same source. How many true cosmopolitans there are? Just one, and she died on a cross .. I guess.
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#18  Postby Saim » May 14, 2012 10:29 pm

tuco wrote:

Cosmopolitanism is the view that

a) one's primary moral obligations are directed to all human beings (regardless of geographical or cultural distance), and
b) political arrangements should faithfully reflect this universal moral obligation (in the form of supra-statist arrangements that take precedence over nation-states).



same source. How many true cosmopolitans there are? Just one, and she died on a cross .. I guess.

I think lots of people would agree with that. :ask:
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#19  Postby Kazaman » May 14, 2012 10:52 pm

davidpatricklawyer wrote:Ok, but I know the American culture better than I know others and I find myself more comfortable supporting someone I know isn't supporting something like a totaltalitarian regime. So my comfort level and patriotism in that sense is rational, No?


As if America hasn't and doesn't support totalitarian regimes. ;)
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Re: The Rationality of Patriotism and Ethnocentrism

#20  Postby Macdoc » May 14, 2012 11:08 pm

rational theists


oxymoron ....

IF your nation state also coincides with your cultural ethnic group as say Japan, then there is some evidence that there is economic benefit derived from a cohesive culture working together so indeed some rationale

Most larger nation states tend not to be culturally cohesive and in fact issues may arise between those that think it should be and those that prefer to keep their culture distinct from their nationality.

Strong founding documents with minority protection like Canada's can act as an umbrella for diversity which can also have certain strengths not present in a uniform culture.
It brings the benefits of a large scale nation to smaller ethnic groups whose original nations may have dissolved, be in upheaval or simply too small to form an effective nation state on their own.

As a Canadian I do value diversity tho I decry those that bring ethnic conflicts along as baggage.
So Canada offering variety is of value to me and justifies a degree of patriotism towards that value set.

Personally singular ethnicity does not turn my cranky at all so I find that a boring concept but some find the melting pot idea attractive.

Blind adherence/loyalty to a nation or ethnicity overriding all is I think completely irrational but then any number of wars have been fought using that concept for conscripting support...demonizing the enemy of the day etc.
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