Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Martha Nussbaum, "Teaching Patriotism"

University of Chicago Law School
April 10, 2012

Schools teach patriotism all the time, but many people think that this is a bad idea. Patriotic rituals may convey misplaced and hierarchical values; they may coerce conscience; and they may promote a dangerous type of uncritical homogeneity. On the other hand, it seems difficult to motivate sacrifices of self-interest for the common good without patriotic emotion. Prof. Nussbaum argues that there is a way of negotiating these difficulties and teaching a type of patriotism that is rooted in good values, protective of conscience, and friendly to critical thinking and dissent. Prof. Nussbaum illustrates her argument from the history of the U. S. and India, discussing Lincoln, King, Gandhi, and Nehru. This talk was recorded on April 10, 2012, as part of the Chicago's Best Ideas lecture series and was sponsored by Winston & Strawn LLP.

Martha Nussbaum is Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago Law School.