Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes
By Steven B. Smith
JMC faculty partner Steven B. Smith has written a book, Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes. He recently spoke on it in a JMC webinar on March 16, 2021.
The concept of patriotism has fallen on hard times. What was once a value that united Americans has become so politicized by both the left and the right that it threatens to rip apart the social fabric. On the right, patriotism has become synonymous with nationalism and an “us versus them” worldview, while on the left it is seen as an impediment to acknowledging important ethnic, religious, or racial identities and a threat to cosmopolitan globalism.
Steven B. Smith reclaims patriotism from these extremist positions and advocates for a patriotism that is broad enough to balance loyalty to country against other loyalties. Describing how it is a matter of both the head and the heart, Smith shows how patriotism can bring the country together around the highest ideals of equality and is a central and ennobling disposition that democratic societies cannot afford to do without.
Steven B. Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He is also the Co-Director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Representative Institutions(YSCRI) which focuses on the theory and practice of representative government in the Anglo-American world. His research has focused on the history of political philosophy with special attention to the problem of the ancients and moderns, the relation of religion and politics, and theories of representative government. Aside from Reclaiming Patriotism, his best known publications include, among others, Spinoza, Liberalism, and Jewish Identity (1997), Reading Leo Strauss (2006), Political Philosophy (2012), and Modernity and its Discontents (2016).
Professor Smith is a JMC faculty partner.
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