This paper raises the Pragmatist concepts of solidarity and national pride, as espoused by American philosophers such as John Dewey and Richard Rorty, as potential means for Catholics in Western democratic nations to approach the current political issues facing them in the 21st century. Though Dewey and Rorty were neither politicians nor Catholics (being liberal thinkers trained in philosophy), their views on solidarity and patriotism in modern liberal democracies provide useful roadmaps for Catholics in Europe and the Anglosphere to navigate our present period of polarised and highly partisan politics, potentially reaching a ‘sensible centre’ akin to the American Catholic political tradition since the 1930s. This centrism relies on this Pragmatist solidarity through a shared hope of a pluralistic society constantly improved upon for the benefit of future generations. Catholics can only achieve this solidarity and hope if they feel, in the spirit of Rorty, a deep sense of national pride for their country. This type of national pride is not reactionary in nature, but advocates a politics of pluralism rather than identity, democratic nationalism rather than amorphous internationalism, and active engagement in the public square to implement an achievable political programme of action which is hopeful and borne out of a collective imagination for a better future for their countries.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dowson (MA; BA (Hons); LLB): Current DPhil student at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford; Graduate of the University of Western Australia.