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Sanford Levinson, Paul Woodruff, and Joel Parker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814785935

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814785935.001.0001

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The Case for Party Loyalty

The Case for Party Loyalty

(p.229) 9 The Case for Party Loyalty

Russell Muirhead

NYU Press

This chapter defends partisanship as a kind of loyalty. To be a loyal partisan is not merely to be situated in a party by virtue of its alignment with one's own views. For the loyal partisan, partisanship is not only about standing for but is also about standing with one's political friends across time. Partisan loyalty can be essential in politics, because political action takes memory and patience. However, this kind of constitutive loyalty, though crucial for effective political action, also invites serious pathologies. Most important among these is the way loyalty threatens to bring an epistemic closure that separates loyalists from factual reality—and thus from sharing a political community with their adversaries. Party loyalty, even when it is part of one's civic identity, should represent a commitment to behave in certain ways—not to think in certain ways.

Keywords:   partisanship, loyalty, partisan loyalty, political action, political community, party loyalty, civic identity

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