Magazine June 14, 2021, Issue

To Recover Patriotism, America Needs Mishpocheh

Detail of a fresco depicting the school of Aristotle, by Gustav Adolph Spangenberg (circa 1883–1888) (Wikimedia/U.S. Public Domain/PD-US)
Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes, by Steven B. Smith (Yale University Press, 256 pp., $28)

Steven B. Smith’s Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes judiciously performs the needed task of recalling why the natural love and piety most of us have for our respective countries is not only decent but virtuous. Proceeding in Socratic fashion, Smith asks, “What is patriotism, and who is a patriot? Does patriotism require us to affirm ‘my country right or wrong’ or to protest at injustice?” Is patriotism really a virtue, or is it something we should progress beyond? And how do we manage the inevitable conflict of loyalties among country, family, and faith? These questions form the core

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This article appears as “America Needs Mishpocheh” in the June 14, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Richard M. Reinsch II — Mr. Reinsch is the editor of the online publication Law & Liberty and a co-author, with the late Peter Augustine Lawler, of A Constitution in Full: Recovering the Unwritten Foundation of American Liberty.

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