What is patriotism and what makes a patriot? Does it required unconditional loyalty or can patriotism be self-critical? Patriotism or love of country has always been a contested virtue because we have multiple loyalties. Today it is challenged from two directions. From the right, patriotism is too often identified with nationalism; from the left it is challenged by multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. It is necessary to reclaim patriotism from both of these extremes if we are to live up to our highest ideals.
Steven B. Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is the author of books on Hegel, Spinoza, Leo Strauss, and Abraham Lincoln. His introduction to political philosophy has been viewed world-wide on the Yale Courses Online. He is an avid New York Yankees fan.
Steven B. Smith, Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes (Yale University Press, 2021)