chapter  5
Nationalism and patriotic sentiments
Pages 13

The last two chapters canvassed arguments for and against global egalitarianism. But there is another powerful consideration against global egalitarianism that we have left out, and this is the argument from nationalism and patriotic concern. (Or, to be precise, this was an argument we looked at only obliquely, and briefly, in our remarks on the self-determination argument we attributed to Rawls.) The challenge is that global egalitarianism lies in tension with the value of national self-determination and the ideal of patriotic sentiment. A self-determining nation has to determine its own collective projects and goals and take responsibility for them. Global egalitarianism seems to contradict national responsibility if nations are also to take responsibility for how some nations are faring relative to others. Moreover, global egalitarianism seems to be at odds with the patriotic sentiment that individuals are entitled, if not even obliged, to show special concern for their conationals or fellow citizens. That is, the moral impartiality underlying the ideal of global egalitarianism appears contradictory to the permissible (if not obligatory) moral partiality implied in nationalism and patriotism.