Thursday, September 09, 2010

Modest and Immodest Patriotism

In 'Modesty Without Illusion', Jason Brennan argues for the (Adam Smith inspired) Two Standards Account of modesty, according to which:
The wisest person focuses on the ideal. His respect for that ideal combined with his intense self-awareness and self-control drives him progressively more to approximate that ideal. On the other hand, the immodest person focuses his attention primarily on the second, commonplace standard. A person who ranks better than average in moral worth might focus on this standard, and thereby become arrogant and contemptuous of others. The modest wise person attends to the gap between his moral worth and the worth of the ideal. The immodest person attends to the gap between his worth and the worth of others below him. (p.120)

I'm reminded of the contrast between liberal and conservative conceptions of patriotism...

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