The Future Soul of Europe: Nationalism or Just Patriotism? A Critique of David Miller's defence of Nationality

What foundations of allegiance are required to secure the European Union' viability? This paper gives a critique of David Miller's view of nationalism as sole source of trust; it advances the alternative basis of constitutional patriotism on a liberal footing.

ARENA Working Paper 07/2000 (html)

Andreas Føllesdal

The challenges facing the European Union will require extensive and mutual trust to ensure compliance. Some have argued that a shared European-wide national identity is necessary to ensure such stability of practices and institutions. The philosopher David Miller is pessimistic about the prospects of European-wide nationalism of the appropriate sort. The present paper provides an in-depth and critical discussion of Miller's argument, and concludes that Miller's defence of nationalism as the unique source of trust is unconvincing. Moreover, Miller's pessimism regarding the European Union is premature, if relevant at all. Alternative grounds for supporting common institutions are available, and may be within reach for the European Union. The shared bases among citizens need not include a broad range of values and cultural belonging, but might plausibly be restricted to Just Patriotism of the kind suggested in the Liberal Contractualist tradition.

Tags: identity, legitimacy, polity building
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM