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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cosmopolitanism and loyalty

Ethan has posted and written about "cosmopolitanism," in the context of -- among other things -- reviewing Professor Appiah's "Cosmpolitanism:  Ethics in a World of Strangers."  After reading Ethan's review of Appiah, I came across this paper, "Our Anticompetitive Patriotism," by Professor Todd Pettys, which should be of interest to those thinking about the matters discussed in Ethan's review.  Here is the abstract:

This article examines the profound regulatory implications of Americans' deep, quasi-religious devotion to their nation. I argue that Americans' powerful identification with their country poses a significant threat to the system of intergovernmental competition that the Framers envisioned. The Framers believed that the state and federal governments would compete with one another for citizens' loyalty and for the regulatory power which that loyalty often yields, and that this competition would give both sovereigns strong incentives to remain finely attuned to the needs and desires of the citizenry. I contend that the nation's seemingly exclusive claim to citizens' patriotism significantly shields the federal government from the competitive forces that the Framers believed would restrain its ability to govern in objectionable ways. I conclude by advancing a two-part argument. First, to ensure that the federal government does not wield monopolistic power in a vast array of domains, we should give increased consideration to treaties and other regulatory alternatives that require America's leaders to negotiate with their counterparts in other countries. Second, in the years ahead, Americans may very well develop the supra-national patriotic sentiments necessary to sustain such models of international governance.

Posted by Rick Garnett on June 27, 2006 at 10:42 AM in Constitutional thoughts | Permalink


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» Patriotic Fervor from The Debate Link
Via Rick Garnett, a really interesting claim about the role of patriotism in America's governmental system. It seems that too much of it is, well, unpatriotic: [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 27, 2006 9:38:07 PM


On first and quick blush, the paper seems to overstate the connection between Christian fervor and the founding of the Republic in the "New Israel" section. The various strands of Christianity and 18th century deism, particularly among the Founders, were far more complex than this makes it appear. So even when the Founders spoke in what sounded like Christian terms, one needs to peel back to determine if they were really talking about Nature's God.

There was and has been a continuous ebb and flow of rationalism and fundamentalism in American society - Great Awakenings and revivalism juxtaposed against New England transcendentalists; New England Yankees and Bible Belt Baptists. It's a long way from attributing the source of Novus Ordo Seclorum on the back of the dollar bill to fundamentalist Christian fervor. Hence, the cure in the abstract sounds worse than the disease. Or, at least, I'd rather deal with the devil I know.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jun 27, 2006 11:07:43 AM

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