A National Moral Community

“Without patriotism, a cohesive sense of belonging and identity is impossible. But patriotism belongs to civil society, that is, to the moral community whose shared values we live by as citizens. If there is no such thing as a national moral community, if civil society atrophies and dies while all that is left are the competitive arenas of the market and the state, then liberal democracy is in danger. Identity politics is a symptom of the breakdown of national identities and the institutions of civil society. Lose the moral basis of society and you will then have what Hobbes described as ‘the general inclination of all humankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death’. That is no recipe for the collective grace of a free society.”

Morality, Chapter 9, p. 143