Special duties that citizens have to their country

Published: 2017-10-20 12:38:39
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Sewanee University of the South
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Citizenship possess an essential value since by its virtue, an individual is a member of a given collective unit that they enjoy similar status with other members hence a special recognition and association. However, this unit is characteristically huge to perceive and materialize its values. The unit also possesses collective exercises of control over the members in it as far as their existence is concerned. Citizenship also creates an opportunity to create a cultural environment in which policies and legislations are determined and manipulated to partake either directly or indirectly to the formation of the policies and laws abiding them (Lazar 2009).  

Some of the special duties that citizens have to their country are however not specific to patriotism but appertains to citizenship as a legal framework. However, if individuals have a duty of special concerns to their compatriots that may also be an associate duty, this is the case since their mutual associations are intrinsically valuable and linked with their duties towards each other. The claims regarding the intrinsic values of people’s associations may be however dubious. For instance, one may still resist claims of alleged duties to their compatriots in the sense that there is not specific duty they ascribe to as far as the lives of their peers is concerned. However, if an individual resist having a responsibility of special concern for the good of their country and fellow citizens past the threshold prescribed by the law and the concerns they have for humans, they cannot cease to be citizens. These aspects are implausible. This demonstrates the loophole in the capacity embodied in patriotism of a citizen to their country. Special duties that individuals have on their fellows is however highly unlikely to pose challenges in its manifestation (Tan 2006).  The claims that patriotism is a general duty in particular are subject to immense objections. Indeed, patriotism is largely considered far from being a moral duty.

By the sense that patriotism is regarded as neither moral duty nor a supererogatory virtue, the pretensions created from this aspect of social disclosure as far as individual duties to their countrymen and their country in general are unviable since they possess no moral significance. Every individual has special preferences for both people and places which people identify with and demonstrate a significant extent of special concerns for the special members of the group such as a family. Nevertheless, these preferences, identities and concerns may have low or no moral support which denies them a sense of morality or importance. Indeed, these elements of identity and preference however have moral permissibility if they are engaged with specific limits (Tan 2006). Patriotism is also considered in this perspective and is also largely influenced by moderations of individual relationships to the second parties.

There may also be an extent of complicity to those individuals who do not partake in designing and executing immoral practices, policies or legislations as they do not support or benefit them but claim significant benefits by being mere citizens of a country. One may deduce psychological significance from their membership and identity within a polity or a society. When one concedes to such benefits, while understanding the immoral practices, policies or legislations, this scenario may also implicate them into these wrongs. In a patriotic front, an individual may however avoid being directly linked to such wrongdoings or even have control on their course (Cabrera 2006). However, if they accept the benefits for the association with offenders, they may be perceived to underwrite such wrongs and therefore deemed to join a class of the fully-blamed individuals.

Moral philosophers also discuss the positions of patriotism as an example of the reconciliation problem on moral considerations with particular loyalties and attachments. On the other hand, some political theorists are mainly interested in enhancing patriotism as an ethos of orderly polity and a notion of nationalism. In the view of elaborate National Socialism, it is not a surprise that the German philosophers were typically suspicious of patriotism due to its doubtful impact on the social coherence in the modern society. In essence, the values deliberated by the concept patriotism which pose a generalized duty of citizens to their fellows is largely inconsequential as it does not create a sense of unity among individual’ citizens (Miller 2005). In essence, close relationships between individuals and their fellows is central to enhanced course of duty of a citizen towards their fellows.

The objective of patriot is being loyal to their country. However, this does not imply that a patriot has solid courtesy for the government in power or the citizens in the country. Indeed, it does not offer any guarantee of perfect achievement of country coherence. The support of patriots is hardly based on the status quo but to the nation as a major project. However, despite these critical concerns, individual patria must be subject to balance between the interests of a country in general and their own interests as far as their close circles are concerned. The main challenge in perpetrating patriotism is the achievement of true patriotism which is often defined as the irrational attitude towards a nation-state.

Finally, more rational ideals results into constrained loyalty which derails the concept of true patriotism. In essence, the contemporary world has been characterized with a more diverse population which is subject to mixed interpretation of the core of patriotism. In this regard, the inclinations to general duties defined by the patriotic chapter of a country often create confusion and an opportunity for protracted failure to achieve national coherence. In this regard, individuals should give more priority to the claims of individuals they are related with which a more effective approach to enhanced national values of mutual existence is.

References List

Brighouse, H. and Swift, A., 2011. Legitimate partiality, parents and patriots. Arguing about justice: Essays for Philippe Van Parijs, pp.115-123.

Cabrera, L., 2006. Political theory of global justice: a cosmopolitan case for the world state (Vol. 13). Taylor & Francis.

Lazar, S., 2009. Debate: Do Associative Duties Really Not Matter? 1. Journal of Political Philosophy, 17(1), pp.90-101.

Mason, A., 1997. Special obligations to compatriots. Ethics, 107(3), pp.427-447.

Miller, D., 2005. Reasonable partiality towards compatriots. Ethical theory and moral practice, 8(1-2), pp.63-81.

Müller, J.W., 2009. Constitutional patriotism. Princeton University Press.

Tan, K.C., 2005. Cosmopolitan impartiality and patriotic partiality. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 35(sup1), pp.165-192.

Tan, K.C., 2006. Priority for compatriots: Commentary on globalization and justice. Economics and Philosophy, 22(01), pp.115-123.

Veen, R.V.D., 2008. Reasonable partiality for compatriots and the global responsibility gap. Critical review of international social and political philosophy, 11(4), pp.413-432.


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