World citizenship and patriotism.

Gary Gutting notes the tension between moral theories that espouse the equality of all humans, and patriotism, which apparently prioritises your own nation. But like me, he thinks the American project offers a sublime reconciliation of these two attractive principles:

[W]hat is the animating ideal of American patriotism if not the freedom of all persons, not just its own citizens? This is apparent in our Declaration, which bases its case for independence on the principle that governments exist to “secure the rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to which all persons are equally entitled. This principle is the avowed purpose of all our actions as a nation, and we may read our history as the story of our successes and failures in carrying out this principle. America, then, is the paradox of a local historical project that aims at universal liberation. Through this project, we have a way of combining traditional patriotism with universal morality.

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