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My Philosophy above my Country ?

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whYNOT
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This is a no-brainer for me; but then I was born of mixed parental nationality, and lived in three African states, none of which at any time upheld individual rights with consistency and conviction. So I have never chosen any country as my own.

In a sense Objectivism is my nation. :D

"Wherever there is Liberty, there is my country", Ben Franklin said. This is not just a noble sentiment in my view, it is the way I literally see it.

It took Ayn Rand to show me how and why the U.S.A., founded on an idea, was and is the greatest nation ever - and from a distance I have identified with that proud nation since the 70's. (Both the pleasure and the pain.)

But much has changed, for all you Americans. Although your level of freedom and Capitalism is still remarkably high compared to most countries (which goes to show what a deep base it started from), I wonder whether there is coming a time when your philosophy supersedes your patriotism.

Could it, or has it already for some of you ?

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I do not believe Ms. Rand would ever have put patriotism over philosophy. One need know the very least about her own personal background, and how she struggled to leave the USSR and come to the USA to be free, to understand that she was not one to put country over the individual.

But she did comment on whether and when one should "give up" - and in short, basically she said that when they won't let you voice your opposition to their policies anymore, that's when it's time to do something more than talk.

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My Philosophy above my Country ?

This question rests on the false premise that "philosophy" is a value that you can act towards. It is not that. A philosophy is your fundamental view of existence. It is the means by which you determine what your values ought to be.

You cannot choose anything "over" your philosophy, since your most fundamental perspective is your philosophy. So for example, if your epistemology is subjective and your ethics altruism, you will be happy to live in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. If your philosophy is reality-oriented and selfish, you will ally yourself with the most free country you can find.

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"This question rests on the false premise that "philosophy" is a value that you can act towards. It is not that. A philosophy is your fundamental view of existence. It is the means by which you determine what your values ought to be. "

I'm not with you. It seems to me like an excellent definition of "Sense of Life" you are describing here. One's philosophy is definitely a value one has to choose to act towards, and act to keep; or to expand on this, Objectivism for me, is the all-embracing 'holder' of several integrated Values. How then is this a false premise? :)

Obviously, one's own nation must be able to provide one with the bare minimum of political and individual freedom; when it slips below a certain threshold, what then?

This is a worldwide problem - not only the U.S., or Africa. O'ists are more aware then anyone of the 'ought', as they are of the 'is'. B)

Edited by softwareNerd
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This question rests on the false premise that "philosophy" is a value that you can act towards. It is not that. A philosophy is your fundamental view of existence. It is the means by which you determine what your values ought to be.

Perhaps this is a quibble with the OP's wording?

I took his meaning to be in regard to behaving consistently within your philosophy vs. patriotism.

Behaving consistently is most certainly a value one acts towards.

Am I correct about your original meaning Whynot?

If so, of course consistency within my philosophy is a greater good than patriotism.

From a rational standpoint, once everyone gives up their values in the interest of "The State" there is nothing left of value to be patriotic about.

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It seems to me that if my country diverges from the guiding philosophy of my life beyond a certain point it ceases to become "my" country, especially if all outlets to promote change are closed. Patriotism, or love of my country to put it another way, seems to be a derived valuation. In much the same way that love of a person is a response to a values in another person, patriotism is the response to values seen in one's country. At least thats my opinion. Choosing to value an entity over the system that I use to determine value is paradoxical. The closest thing I can think of would be complete mental collapse and obeying whoever is in power. In other words, being broken mentally and emotionally.

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I would suggest not confusing patriotism with nationalism. Nationalism means standing by the country you were born into regardless of what that country stands for implicitly or explicitly; patriotism means understanding and agreeing with what one's country stands for. One's philosophy determines one's overall values, including one's politics, and ideally one ought to only be patriotic towards the country that agrees with one's political premises. For Objectivists, that means standing by a country that upholds individual rights; and not standing by a country that willfully ignores or violates individual rights as an ideal. So, it's not really an issue of standing by either one's philosophy or standing by one's country. Of course, if one is rational, one ought to stand by one's own philosophy regardless of where you are living -- insofar as you can, that is insofar as you are free to be rational. one's rational orientation towards reality has to come first, though one's country and laws may prohibit that relationship on a daily basis. So, I would say stand by your country insofar as you are free to be rational and so long as you are free to be rational -- that's what rational patriotism stems from; otherwise, don't be patriotic. And I would say never be nationalistic, because that is a form of collectivism, when you want to support individualism.

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  • 2 weeks later...

While the rationality and sober realism displayed by all the above posters is not in the least surprising considering the nature of this forum - in fact mine was almost a strawman proposition - it is good (inspiring even) to see such adherence to value and principle.

In a way it's easier to not be American. If one considers the United States to be the home and birthplace of Objectivism (don't get me wrong; O'ism is doubtless universal), some hard and painful choices might, just might, lay ahead for U.S. Objectivists, if and when your patriotism (never Nationalism!) has to be reconsidered.

I doubt it ever, and hope it never, comes to that.

For me, with less to lose in this regard, I can happily continue seeing myself as a sovereign Nation, all on my own. :)

To thine own self be true, indeed.

Thanks.

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