Following The American Psychiatric Association’s Guidelines Essays Examples
Philosophy and the moral imperatives therein, offer complex ideas about how we, as humans, are to conduct ourselves throughout life. Some believe that while we have the right to decide where our morals lie, we also have moral obligations and ties to our birthplace. We are to stand, patriotically, with our homeland even when told otherwise. Others believe that we have no such obligation. If we form morals that lead us away from our birthplace, this is of no consequence to the people or environment around us, nor is it of philosophical consequence because there is no patriotic morality, only a prejudice that further divides us. Each has its points, and throughout history have had admirable events that support each side. However, the idea that we are bound to support our homeland based on a moral imperative is preposterous because sometimes the government ruling such a state is simply wrong, or immoral in itself.
The affirmative side to this philosophical ideal is that we are bound to moral obligations that we have no control over. According to Francis Hutchenson’s, “A System of Moral Philosophy,” what this means is if an individual is born under a certain form of government, they are bound to that government’s moral philosophy . Whether born in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Korea, or the United States, the individual is obligated to oblige their birthplace. Hutchenson further suggests that the individual, regardless of where they have been born, may contrive their own moral compass, they have obligations to their countrymen and their families . In short, the loyalty to one’s country and people should sometimes override the morality one has decided for themselves. This loyalty is rarely an asset. A French pilot refused to bomb a Nazi occupied village, because the village was in France and he held too much loyalty for his home. However, if he had bombed the Nazi’s history will now never know if that would have had a positive impact on the war effort. Likewise, we do not know if the bombing’s absence had a detrimental impact.
According to the much more freely constructed side of philosophy, we are able to choose the confines of our own moral constructs, and live within them. We are not bound by patriotism or loyalty to our homeland . John Kleinig and associates mention in, “The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate,” John Locke’s manifestation of Tabula Rasa. The idea states that humans are born as blank slates, without built-in content; we are able to shape our moral fiber and the philosophical construct by which we live our lives based on our experiences and how we feel about those experiences . Therefore, our morals are specifically our own. They are not our governments, our homeland’s, our neighbor’s, or our family’s. They are ours. The people and societal constructs around us should not dictate how we live our lives in a moral fashion.
Furthermore, for a governing body or any other large entity to use power in such a way to sway the moral capacity of a smaller group or individual is not an act of morality, but manipulation . The basis of moral obligation toward one’s country, or fellow citizens is rooted in patriotism. Patriotism becomes dangerous when governing bodies realize morality can be used as a tool to dictate that actions of its people. For example, if the governing body of a fictitious country decided one of its overall philosophies was to eat the weakest baby in the family, as a form of population control, it would immediately be rejected because the world generally rejects cannibalism and infanticide. However, war and violence are generally acceptable, thus countries can often get away with manipulating their citizens through violence toward other countries in the name of patriotism . Religion often uses the same method, pitting individuals against one another because they do not worship the same god or follow the same religious values.
As stated under Tabula Rasa, we do enter this life a blank slate. We are able to have experiences, examine how we feel about those experiences, and dictate our moral and philosophical directives based on those experiences. To do any less would be a breach in our independence and freedom of choice. Understanding that at times, governments use patriotism as a prejudice is an experience that can be used to shape a person’s morality. The idea that there is moral obligation to an individual’s homeland and the people who live there that is enforced upon us as soon as we are born is also something that can be used to shape moral beliefs. Independent moral beliefs, unencumbered by patriotism or loyalty to one’s people are not only important, but the right way to live because, essentially, nobody asked to be born in the location they were born in. I did not choose my place of birth, nor did anybody else.
We are brought into this world unwillingly, kicking and screaming. We are afforded to choose everything after are birth, fortunately, but societal constructs such as loyalty and patriotism attempt to take even this from us in many cases . While it is understandable that we harbor special places within ourselves for our childhood homes, or towns in which we grew up, we should remember we have no loyalty to anybody but ourselves. Our morality belongs to us, not our country. If we are French pilots, flying over France, given orders to bomb Nazi occupiers we should not refrain from doing so because we love our country. We should refrain from doing so because we believe the Nazis are justified in their actions, though not many today would think such things. If we are Robert E. Lee, commissioned to fight for the Southern States of America in an effort to keep slavery alive, we should not do so for the love of our home, but because we believe slavery is justified. Once again, not many today would believe this to be the case. Loyalty to a country of origin, and patriotism can be dangerous because a country’s government can often be dangerous. Few countries around the world use their government and morality as a tool to better humankind and, therefore, the population is unable to reap the benefits of such moral exemplification. For these reasons, we should avoid such loyalty and understand we can provide our own morality.
In sum, patriotism and love for one’s country is not wrong. It is okay to have these feelings. However, it becomes dangerous when we intermingle our country’s government’s morals with our own. Likewise, it can become inhibitive when we allow loyalty to supersede our own moral imperatives. As independent, freethinking organisms, born into this life without being asked, the only obligation we have throughout our lives is to think for ourselves. We do not have an obligation to be loyal to our country, or to those around us. Many are unfortunate to be born into tribes of genocidal maniacs in Africa, or sexist sociopaths in the Middle East and Asia. If these moral authorities were allowed to rule without challenge throughout these populations, there would be no progression toward equality and civility. Many of us come to the moral conclusion on our own that all should be treated safely and equally; in many cases patriotism appears to only get in the way because their agenda does not concern people, or even morals. We must think for ourselves in order to save one another and ourselves.
Hutchenson, F. (2013). A System of Moral Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kleinig, J., Keller, S., & Primoratz, I. (2014). The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.