The Corner

Mallaby and Patriotism

Mark, you write that a “patriot” would have to answer “Yes” to the following question: “Is it right to push native workers’ pay up by 2 percent if that means depriving poor Mexicans of a chance to triple their incomes?” A patriot will indeed prefer the interests of his countrymen to those of foreigners, but he wouldn’t have to place zero weight on foreigners’ interests. At some point there would have to be a trade-off that he would take. If a policy reduced some Americans’ incomes by 0.5 percent and ended world poverty, would it be worth supporting? If you think it would–as I do–does that make you unpatriotic?

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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