Apr 20, 2021 • 45M

Steven B. Smith on Reclaiming Patriotism

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Bob Zadek
Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.
Episode details

When Steven B. Smith told his Yale colleagues about the topic of the book he was working on – Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes– he was met with bewildered and even troubled looks. Perhaps they viewed patriotism (following British critic of the American Revolution Samuel Johnson) as the last refuge of scoundrels. Or perhaps something else is at work that has turned Americans off to the idea of love for one's country. There seems to be a skepticism of our own history and national values, which in the extreme erodes any semblance of patriotism.

Smith is careful to distinguish patriotism from nationalism, which often accompanies ethnic chauvinism, while also warning against the dangers of excessive cosmopolitanism that is so fashionable among elites in academic institutions and government.

Can patriotism be reclaimed in a way that brings these two extremes of American politics closer together under one banner? It turns out a certain amount of skepticism about America can be healthy and is even part of what makes our country so great. Professor Smith joined me live to help me understand first of all why patriotism has gotten such a bad rap, and secondly, how it can be revived without stoking the flames of international conflict or invoking a dangerous "us vs. them" mentality.