I know I shouldn’t do this – for various reasons, most of all because I don’t think I want to pursue it very far. But….
the Giuliani thing. [Giuliani said that Obama does not love “our country.”]
I don’t know what is meant by “our (or the) country.” To me, it seems to be an abstract (and very sentimental) concept without concrete/empirical substance, an hypostatization. References to it (like Giuliani’s gratuitous statements about Obama) commit what Whitehead called “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness,” taking an abstract (and very murky) idea/concept as designating a specific actual entity.
I love my wife, my children, my broader family, my cats, my “stuff,” my friends, etc. Am I also required to “love my country”? If so, what is that reality (if it is a reality)? Is it a collection of things, e.g., the Constitution (and all that goes with it), the 50 states, New Jersey, all the people in the US? Does it include the KKK, the Democratic and Republican parties, the NAACP, the American Communist Party, etc., etc., etc.? I certainly don’t “love” all of those “things.” I admire the Constitution (and some of what goes with it), but it is defective in various ways I will not mention here. The KKK? The parties? The NAACP? The ACP? No way. I don’t love them. The 50 states or even NJ? I don’t even know what it might mean to love them all or any of them.
If someone says the “country” is the “nation,” that’s just the same sort of problem. I am (at least) suspicious of nationalism. I don’t think I can love “the nation” since I don’t know exactly what is encompassed in the idea. Historically, a lot of stuff I definitely don’t love has been perpetrated in the names of “nations.”
I have a sentimental love for the City of Paterson [NJ], and I have fairly specific notions of what that entity is and what I mean when I refer to it, but even it is – really – an abstract idea.
Are countries, nations, cities, states, political organizations, etc., Platonic Forms? I like Plato, but I’m not sure I am a “Friend of the Forms.”
I can say this: on most political, religious, and philosophical issues, I know what side I am on (when there are sides), even though I am puzzled by all the abstractions that are treated as referring to concrete things.
God bless America!