In the post below I was clearly poking fun at people who I believe are unseemly in their espousal of group identity and pride in that identity. I did not though imply that all such pride and affinity is unseemly. There are two issues. One is endogenous, and one is exogenous. The endogenous one is of values. People exhibit a range of natural or learned disposition in terms of their individualism. I for example have minimal interest in group affinity in a deep and fundamental sense, as I think so little of the human race as a whole. I’d rather focus on improving myself than spending a great deal of time exploring and reflecting my “heritage” because it is my heritage. For me my grandparents were an accident of birth. Other people can take a different perspective because they are different.
The second issue is exogenous, and that is one of context. This is more intelligible in terms of religion. Below Zack expressed the wish that a co-religionist should not appeal to God in making an argument. This is a matter of public reason. I don’t believe in God, so not only does an appeal to a non-existent primitive superstition not move me, but it might distract me. It is also unseemly that an individual interpose their primitive superstition into a serious argument. On the other hand if the argument is aimed at those whom you can be assured are theists then it seems eminently reasonable to use language which nods to one’s theistic presuppositions. More narrowly, if your audience consists of Christians, speak of Jesus. If they consist of Muslims, speak of Muhammad and Allah. One of the main issues I have with Islam is that Muslims are not always trained in the West that the religious chauvinism that they take for granted in their barbaric cultures of origin are not acceptable in the public forum. The only religionists who speak about their faith in specific and effusive terms in the United States as Muslims are evangelical Christians, and their mode of interposing religion into the public discussion has been a major source of political and social conflict.
I think the lesson when it comes to ethnic or community pride is the same. Within the ethnos or community pride can be healthy and taken in stride. But in a more mixed gathering it often is seen to be farcical posturing. Additionally many individualists like myself often stereotype the sorts who prattle on about their group identity as losers who have no individual excellence to appeal to. No offense, but my experience is that the Jews who talk constantly about the accomplishments of their nation in domains such as Nobel Prize awards are the Jews who are the least likely of all to ever attain the level of achievement worthy of any recognition.
True excellence is understated.