Is Patriotism A Virtue By Alasdair Macintyre

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Alasdair Macintyre presents a very interesting argument in his text “Is Patriotism a Virtue,” the following essay will critically analyse his points in defence of an Aristotelian understanding of the virtue of patriotism. Macintyre defines patriotism
“in terms of a kind of loyalty to a particular nation which only those possessing that particular nationality can exhibit.” (Pg. 287, Is Patriotism a Virtue.) As discussed by Aristotelian morality, patriotism is not a mindless loyalty to the nation but rather a commitment to improving the nation by promoting the values and striving to improve the interests of a nation. Aristotle acknowledges that humans are capable of rationality and this then leads to his explanation of virtue as the ability
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One must abstract oneself from partiality and particularity. As previously discussed patriots are often blinded by their own beliefs and struggle to act from an impersonal moral standpoint. Macintyre does however agree with Aristotle in some aspects of patriotism’s virtue. As a member of community, humans are provided with examples of correct ways to behave, the rules of morality as such, and this participation helps to form moral values.
“Typically moral agency and continuing moral capacity are engendered and sustained in essential ways by particular institutionalised social ties in particular social groups” (Pg.292)
Macintyre then goes on to argue that “The morality for which patriotism is a virtue offers a form of rational justification for moral rules and precepts whose structure is clear and rationally defensible.” (pg.294)
Aristotle made invaluable contributions to liberal theory on the nature of man. Macintyre proceeds to incorporate liberal morality into his essay as he further analyses patriotism. In order for one to be “qua rational agent,” they must be abstracted from all “social particularity,” in essence they must be a citizen of nowhere. This total exemption is defensible

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