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A political theory designed to understand human beings as they are in reality, and not to tell us stories about the adventures of some fantastic creature invented by philosophers, cannot avoid this capacity of the human individual to recognize the aims of the collective as his own.
I’ve been reading Yoram Hazony’s book The Virtues of Nationalism lately. I’ve also been reading Reason’s abortion articles and Ricochet, and a host of other things.
As a result, I’m struggling with one of the assumptions Hazony makes about human nature and I think he greatly takes for granted the need for a moral framework for it to persist past childhood… that is the natural inclination to view a collective group as an extension of oneself.
Indeed, the very love that he evidently feels for his wife and children, and for his parents, and for brothers and sisters, and that moves him to protect them when they are in danger, is nothing other than another name for this same urge to protect the integrity of his self—for these loved ones have been embraced, insofar has his own consciousness is concerned, within the rubric of his own self, and are experienced as if they were a part of him.
This is the primary element of tribalism, however it is even more primarily the foundation of family.
He makes some great points… that how we view family is that they are a part of ourselves and we care for them as if they were ourselves. It has biblical support, but is not necessarily biblical. This concept is present in Exodus 24 (?) Concerning the freeing of a slave who married and had kids while a slave, it’s in I Corinthians’ assertion that a husband and wife are the same body, and it’s in Peter’s admonishment of failing to care for your own makes one worse than an unbeliever.
However, our modern concept of individualism has so rotted out this natural inclination to view others around us as an extension of self that we can’t even argue ourselves out of a paper bag when it comes to the moral imperative of women not aborting their own babies, where there should be a moral imperative to protect as if it were her own self. In fact, if we view the baby as an extension of the mother, transgender arguments does away with the arguments against harming your own body (an assumption made in I Corinthians)!
I’m reading his book and am finding myself sinking into despair at how far gone our culture is that what was once taken for granted as morally understood no longer is at all. We have no agreed upon moral assumptions on which to build arguments on.