more on teaching patriotism

On Crooked Timber, Harry Brighouse has replied to my previous post about patriotism in schools. He is skeptical, mainly on the (reasonable) ground that patriotism causes or excuses partiality toward one’s fellow citizens, and such partiality is particularly problematic when one’s nation happens to be very rich and powerful. Harry’s post prompted several substantive replies: a good discussion in the Crooked Timber comment field. I’d only add that I feel somewhat awkward defending patriotic education in schools. I still think the arguments in favor outweigh those against, so I’m not ready to strike my flag (so to speak). However, instilling patriotic sentiments is far from the center of my own work and concerns. Apart from anything else, there is no evidence that young people lack patriotism, whereas there is plenty of reason to fear that they lack the confidence, skills, and interests necessary to be effective participants in democracy.

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