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Is nationalism evil?

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Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:45 pm

Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a nation. It’s not quite the same thing as patriotism, which is simply devotion to one’s country. Nationalism reflects the evolutionary tendency of humans to organise into distinct groupings based on an affinity of birth, but in modern terms it’s simply a way of structuring a society and giving it identity. At its worst it can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic, cultural, religious, or identity group.

In 1945, George Orwell wrote an essay entitled “Notes on Nationalism”. He said that nationalism is partly “the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects”. He said it’s not to be confused with patriotism, which Orwell defined as “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people.” (In 1775, Dr Samuel Johnson had described false patriotism as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”.) According to Orwell, nationalism is the concept of “identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.” His essay uses Nazism as an example of how nationalism can not only cause havoc between groups of people, but instigate the ignorance within such groups.

Orwell argues that nationalism causes dishonesty, as every nationalist, having chosen one side, persuades himself that his side is the strongest, regardless of the facts provided against his faction. From this sense of superiority, people then argue and defend for the faction which they have aligned with; the slightest slur or criticism from another faction causes them to retort or even act violently, since they realise they are serving a larger entity which provides them with this sense of security - and an obligation to defend it. Orwell writes that “as nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance... he will generally claim superiority for his country not only in military power and political virtue, but in art, literature, sport, structure of the language, the physical beauty of the inhabitants, and perhaps even in climate, scenery and cooking. He will show great sensitiveness about such things as the correct display of flags, relative size of headlines and the order in which different countries are named.”

Writing for ‘The Independent’ (08.06.12), Labour MP Chris Bryant says: “I'm no nationalist. I detest the exaggerated belief in one's own cultural heritage, the puffed-up, arbitrary and unmerited self-confidence, the swift denunciation of all that is alien or foreign, the desperate desire to support anyone from the home team, however lazy or hideous. Nationalism is a nasty creed, and the path from well-meaning nationalism to xenophobia and racism is slippier than the luge track in the Winter Olympics. It's the scourge of politics around the globe. In Ukraine, Asian football fans have the living daylights beaten out of them. In Poland, football supporters chant anti-Jewish slogans. And that's before we get on to the particularly hateful combination of religious fundamentalism and nationalism. At its least harmful, it sees the head of Beirut's Maronite church boast that he is building a new bell tower 20cm higher than the minaret at the next-door mosque. At a far more dangerous level is the passionate belief in a Shia state of Iran or a Jewish state of Israel, vanquishing foes with fanatical delirium.”

Maybe Christians should also reject nationalism, since Matthew 5:43 talks of loving “not only your fellow countrymen but people of other nations”? Does that contain a message for those US Republicans who seem to base their politics on the Bible?

So, is nationalism an evil we could well do without? Would the world be a better place if we simply responded to people, not according to where they live, but to who they are and how they behave as individuals?

Sources:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_on_Nationalism

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/chris-bryant/chris-bryant-the-trip-to-lebanon-that-showed-me-how-vulnerable-civilisations-can-be-7831795.html

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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:24 pm

There's nothing wrong with patriotism, nor in feeling proud of one's origins.

Problems arise when those feelings become jingoistic: "My Country right or wrong!"

Tribalism is ingrained in human behaviour, and may result in aberrations like racism and xenophobia. Atavistic self-preservation plays a strong part in suspicion of "foreigners" or alien behaviour which might be a warning.

Lebanon and the surrounding Middle East are described as the cradle of civilisation, and because of their longer History may point the way in which we are going.

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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by astra on Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:16 pm

Ivan, go to Glasgow, Dunoon, and Rothsay - west coast area. An english accent attracts the very worst of human nature (without the Kalashnikov!). A friend here in Washington, returned to Rothsay for a family funeral and got short shrift from the natives, even when he told them he was born in the town.

The lad has been here in the North East for 50 years, picked up the accent, and met with derision.
Yet, go past Dunblane, and ALL points are hospitable, people friendly andsociable.
I get the same when I go to Wales.


This is not going to be stopped, I do not think by any popular means available to modern society, then again, the Vikings could do nothing about it either.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Janiete on Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:42 pm

With identity politics of any sort, there is always the danger of it developing into something ugly. And to a certain extent, in adopting multiculturalism, we have put those concerns to one side in favour of the freedom to celebrate difference. This has I think been viewed as a positive thing for immigrant communities, Irish, Scots and Welsh people who feel free to talk about their heritage in a positive way.

Ed Miliband's speech identified a legitimate concern that we have been reluctant to recognise English people’s right to speak in the same positive way, about their own identity and sense of belonging. It seemed like common sense and an appeal for fair play to me, but it has been met by quite a lot of criticism from the left. I really don’t understand this when celebration of identity is never condemned in other groups. If it's fine for everyone else why not the English?
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:48 pm

I ( an Englishman) had a very good friend who was a Glaswegian. He was always happy to give me anything. Especially his opinion ... Very Happy
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by astra on Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:26 pm

Why is it that St. David's day and St. Patrick's day both go down so well??

St. George's day and St. Andrew's day rarely even get mentioned?
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:38 pm

astra wrote:Why is it that St. David's day and St. Patrick's day both go down so well??

St. George's day and St. Andrew's day rarely even get mentioned?

I think that may depend upon where you live.
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Is nationalism evil? Perhaps answered by examining it as a misunderstanding

Post by Jill Segger on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:49 pm

This is something which exercises me a good deal Ivan. Does this contribute anything? http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/16711
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by astra on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:17 pm

There IS Patriotism - Don't dare stand on my toes


Nationalism only makes sure the dirtiest megalomaniac wins.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:10 pm

In times gone by, a political dissident could shelter from their own government's ire by becoming a refugee in another place.

Now there are things like the Euro-warrant, any Police Force within the European Union can demand the appearance of an ALLEGED criminal from any other EU country without the need to provide any evidence.

There were advantages to Nationalism.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:40 pm


Thread title:


Is nationalism evil?

Ivan’s thesis paragraph:


Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a nation. It’s not quite the same thing as patriotism, which is simply devotion to one’s country. Nationalism reflects the evolutionary tendency of humans to organise into distinct groupings based on an affinity of birth, but in modern terms it’s simply a way of structuring a society and giving it identity. At its worst it can be a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one ethnic, cultural, religious, or identity group.

The term “evil”, as used in the thread title’s question, is a conclusion, a value judgment, which requires that humans judge something (in this case, an idea/concept), an activity in which humans routinely engage.

In actuality, idea/concepts, being other than human, and thus non-endowed by the Creator with freedom of choice or the cognizance required to exercise freedom of choice, cannot in and of themselves be “evil” or “good.” It takes humans to impart evilness or goodness into anything non-human, whether it be a cognizant, intelligent animal (for instance, a German shepherd), or an intangible yet real entity. With apologies to Phillipe Wynn, have you ever tried to touch an idea?

That being said, humans can and do impart evilness and goodness into ideas such as nationalism.

During WWII, a US Army infantry unit composed of Japanese-Americans, many of whom were released from internment camps, saved the bacon of a Texas infantry unit that was surrounded by German troops. Also during WWII, the Red Tails escorted USAAF bombers into harm’s way without ever losing a bomber crew to enemy aircraft. Nationalism, an idea, was motivation for humans to do good.

But WWII also saw nationalism used by Adolf Hitler, by all accounts an exceptional motivational speaker, as motivation to attempt to annihilate an entire ethnic group; of an estimated eighteen million Jews in existence worldwide prior to the Holocaust, twelve million remained extant on VE day.

With its inherent power to so motivate, nationalism should be handled with extreme caution. One should know exactly for what one’s nation stands prior to allowing oneself to succumb to nationalism centered upon that nation.

My nation, the United States of America, is founded upon this idea, quoted from the Declaration of Independence of the united State of America (lowercase ‘u’ intentional), slightly edited to conform with modern capitalization protocol: “That to secure these [Creator-endowed unalienable] rights [unto all men], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

This idea is echoed by my nation’s Pledge of Allegiance, which reads in part “I pledge allegiance.. to the republic… one nation under God… with liberty and justice for all.”

I am unapologetically nationalistic, committed in word and deed to the idea upon which the object of my nationalism is founded. My nationalism is practiced with “eyes and ears wide open”; thus, my refusal to accept in my nation anything contrary to that fundamental idea.

My inherent distrust of Germany is based upon my knowledge of the history of its people, a people who embraced the Holocaust and its extermination of Jews, Romanis, and other “undesirables” in the “name” of German nationalism.

My inherent distrust of Japan is based upon my knowledge of the history of its people, a people who embraced the extermination of non-Japanese in the “name” of Japanese nationalism.

My inherent trust of the United Kingdom is based upon my knowledge of the history of its people, a people that embraced the words of Sir Winston Churchill, who, in the UK’s darkest hour, vowed to never give in, to stand against evil “if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone…”

Ivan wrote:
Maybe Christians should also reject nationalism, since Matthew 5:43 talks of loving “not only your fellow countrymen but people of other nations”?

Jesus taught nothing that contravenes nationalism; anyone that rejects nationalism based upon Jesus’ teachings rejects nationalism in error.  

Ivan wrote:
Does that contain a message for those US Republicans who seem to base their politics on the Bible?

Nope. A serious request: If this were so, explain Jack Kemp to me.


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:46 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:25 pm

Well at least the US Supreme Court is not composed of Tea-Party adherents.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:37 pm

oftenwrong wrote:
Well at least the US Supreme Court is not composed of Tea-Party adherents.

Your point?
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:43 am

Interested but uninvolved observers of the US political debate over the past four years have watched the Right-wing pull every trick in the book to negate the election of a black President. Some of the attitudes revealed could only be described as evil, since there are no apparent limitations to their bile.

Fortunately the apparatus of the State has not been compromised, and the Supreme Court ruling on compulsory health care contributions discarded the Republican loony-tunes' machinations.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:11 pm

Neither the tea party nor any left/wing right/wing ideologues define my nationalism; in fact, all such ideologues and the inviolate tenets of their ideologies (both explicit and implicit) to which they adhere, contravene the idea upon which my nation is founded.

“Tea-partiers” and “right-wingers” often seek to deny all men’s rightful station in my democracy, while “liberals” and “left-wingers” often seek to deny our Creator’s rightful station of supremacy in my democracy. Both are detrimental to my democracy; the explicit and implicit ideologies of both are shunned by me.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Shirina on Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:45 pm

while “liberals” and “left-wingers” often seek to deny our Creator’s rightful station of supremacy in my democracy.

"Our" Creator has no business in our democracy unless God is willing to teleport his divine behind down here and vote. Otherwise ... what we really have in our democracy is the "supremacy" of religion, not God. That is what "liberals" and "left-wingers" seek to deny. In a truly free nation, I should not have to play by religion's rules.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:06 am

I believe that Nationalism is very unhealthy, there is nothing wrong with been patriotic as long as it does not involve hatred towards others of other nationalities, races, religions or beliefs.

There are many reasons why I am proud of been British and patriotic, for example I believe we are a tollerant nation ( something to be proud of ), we are a nation which believes in freedom of religion - freedom of expression - and allthough we believe in free speech, it has its limitations which end when that freedom invades peoples rights to be free from words of hatred, intollerance and bullying.

I can understand why Indian people are proud of been Indian and I can understand why Irish people are proud to be Irish, but I cannot understand why anyone would want to fight over the issue.


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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:31 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
… while “liberals” and “left-wingers” often seek to deny our Creator’s rightful station of supremacy in my democracy.
Shirina wrote:
"Our" Creator has no business in our democracy…

Let’s check that out via examination of the document upon which my democracy is founded.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God1 entitle them…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created2 equal, that they are endowed by their Creator1 with certain unalienable Rights… That to secure these [certain Creator1-endowed unalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world1 for the rectitude of our intentions… And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,1 we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

  1. identical/equivalent words referring to our Creator (noun forms)

  2. interconnected word referring to an action performed by our Creator (verb form)



It is evident that our Creator has fundamental business in my democracy. It is evident that my democracy is founded upon these premises, which, taken together, comprise the idea upon which my democracy is founded and by which my democracy is firmly rooted.


  1. Our Creator exists (all three referenced paragraphs);


  2. All men are created equal by our Creator (second referenced paragraph);


  3. All men are endowed with certain unalienable rights by our Creator (second referenced paragraph);


  4. To secure certain Creator-endowed unalienable rights unto all men, governments (plural) which derive their just powers from the consent of the governed are instituted among men (second referenced paragraph).



It is evident that, absent our Creator, my democracy does not exist.

The French Republic exists, as designed, absent our Creator. If given the opportunity to live under the jurisdiction of the French Republic, I would decline; democracy absent our Creator is fertile breeding ground for tyranny of the democracy. Compelling evidence of this that I posit is the existence in the French Republic of laws which deny free exercise of religion to a significant portion of French citizenry.

In my democracy, instituted for the purpose of securing certain Creator-endowed unalienable rights unto all men (gender inclusive), including women of minority ethnic groups, such abridgement of free exercise of religion is unconstitutional.


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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:46 am

RockOnBrother wrote: ....The French Republic exists, as designed, absent our Creator. If given the opportunity to live under the jurisdiction of the French Republic, I would decline; democracy absent our Creator is fertile breeding ground for tyranny of the democracy. Compelling evidence of this that I posit is the existence in the French Republic of laws which deny free exercise of religion to a significant portion of French citizenry.

In my democracy, instituted for the purpose of securing certain Creator-endowed unalienable rights unto all men (gender inclusive), including women of minority ethnic groups, such abridgement of free exercise of religion is unconstitutional.

The parallel between the Republique de France and the Republic of the United States is the manner in which they have assimilated ethnic groupings. Reluctantly and inadequately.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by tlttf on Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:50 am

ROc, do you read what you write prior to posting?

Like the idea that it's NATURES GOD that gets highlighted, it gives hope to atheists everywhere. Smile

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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:36 pm

tlttf wrote:
ROc, do you read what you write prior to posting?

Of course. I read what I have written prior to and subsequent to posting.

tlttf wrote:
… NATURES GOD…

When quoting the Declaration of Independence of the united States of America, one ought to meticulously adhere to the text thereof. You will notice, upon examination of the document, that, in my post of 30 June 2012 at 5:31, the term “Nature's God” is quoted as originally penned by its authors and as originally published 4 July 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.    

tlttf wrote:
Like the idea that it's NATURES GOD that gets highlighted, it gives hope to atheists everywhere.

Only to atheists who choose to not read John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government, 1690, wherein Locke speaks of Nature’s God” as one might speak of “John’s Master” and “Sylvia’s Owner.” Locke speaks also of natural rights as rights granted unto all men by Nature’s God.

The propensity of which you speak is common in our “sound bite” driven society, a propensity enhanced by the exceptionally excellent journalism practiced cross pond by Rupert Murdoch’s minions and clones. Sadly, many choose not to avail themselves of another modern phenomenon, the Internet, where Locke’s seminal treatise is readily accessible.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:35 pm

RockOnBrother wrote: ....The French Republic exists, as designed, absent our Creator. If given the opportunity to live under the jurisdiction of the French Republic, I would decline; democracy absent our Creator is fertile breeding ground for tyranny of the democracy. Compelling evidence of this that I posit is the existence in the French Republic of laws which deny free exercise of religion to a significant portion of French citizenry.

In my democracy, instituted for the purpose of securing certain Creator-endowed unalienable rights unto all men (gender inclusive), including women of minority ethnic groups, such abridgement of free exercise of religion is unconstitutional.
oftenwrong wrote:
The parallel between the Republique de France and the Republic of the United States is the manner in which they have assimilated ethnic groupings.  Reluctantly and inadequately.

Hence my circa 1963 decision to cease reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

Circa 1969, I decided that the words underlined above are a sacred promise to all men (gender, “race”/ethnicity, religion/non-religion, national origin inclusive) that all men shall enjoy liberty and justice under God in my country, damnit. Might be coincidence, but Curtis Mayfield put out the following song about that time:

This Is My Country – Curtis Mayfield

http://www.youtube.com/v/z_esbRoOeR0

“Shall we perish unjust, or live equal as a nation? This is my country.”

And yes, I know that many of the founding fathers roll over in their graves every time they spy my mongrelized behind trotting to the polls and voting. Cool. I intend to ensure that they “Rest in Dis-Peace” from now until I leave this plane of existence by voting every time the damned polls open. If at some point I have to hire two big ugly nurses to hook me up to an oxygen tank and drag my sorry behind to the polls, so be it. In the words of Mike and his brothers, “I’ll be there.”

If I seem a bit passionate, it’s only because I am, as I am the great-grandchild of slaves.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:39 pm

In 'A Point Of View' on Radio 4 yesterday morning, Adam Gopnik argues that nationalism is the opposite of patriotism, not its extension. He says that while patriotism is love of a place and the people in it, nationalism is the belief that your place is better than everywhere else.

The whole programme (only 10 minutes) is well worth a listen, but he discusses this topic from 0:04:45 onwards:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01k2f8w
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by tlttf on Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:55 pm

Perhaps he's talking about his version/vision of nationalism Ivan. It's become a word that is now used totally out of context with it's original meaning (Being proud of your heritage and country). I can understand why people aren't sure, they hear the word and think of Hitlers National party, communism, UK national party and the like. In reality it's impossible to be patriotic without being Nationalistic at the same time.

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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by ROB on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:03 pm


Ivan,

I’ve not read the referenced text. I believe the author is speaking of jingoism (“My country, right or wrong”) rather than nationalism. All shelties are dogs, but not all dogs are shelties.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:15 pm

It’s Not Your Country

From an article by Rod Shaw:-

"Military marching, patriotic tunes and songs are mostly intended to give the impression that it's 'your' country, that you should be proud of it, that your leaders are there to protect you, that the division into rich and poor is pre-ordained and there's nothing you can do about it.

Capitalism is not patriotic and doesn't care where in the world its products are made. No profit, no production is the rule, as employees over decades have found out to their cost. Capitalism will cut costs where possible and, in general, go wherever costs are lowest for the production of goods of a given quality. This means paying wages which are as low as it can get away with and using as few workers as possible. As an employee, if your services are no longer required, then it's bye-bye.

You may well take pride in the place you live – its landscape, architecture, people, etc, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in terms of possession, ownership and control, it’s the rich elite who collectively own the world's land and resources, and they would naturally prefer people to hold the view that this is an immutable state of affairs, all the more to hold on to their power, backed up by governments and armies. It's utter tosh. They only keep their power (and send millions of us to die in wars to help them do so) because the majority allow them to, and continue to let themselves be duped by militaristic displays and patriotic twaddle.
."

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2014/no-1314-february-2014/it%E2%80%99s-not-your-country
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by stuart torr on Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:33 pm

Patriotism keeps the poor poor and the rich rich basically is what you are saying Ivan, even your councils recycling bins are made in Germany, at least ours in Nottingham are, cannot even buy from their own country, what a council.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:25 pm

I think it’s important to keep the distinction between nationalism and patriotism, especially as the Tories like to conflate the two. There’s nothing patriotic about the ‘Little Englander’ rants that people like Theresa May make in their attempt to capture support from UKIP.

Owen Jones argues that left-wingers, while rightly being internationalist because injustices transcend national borders, are more patriotic than the Tories:-

What is more loving of one’s own country than wanting to rid it of injustice? What is more patriotic than wanting the majority to have a fairer share of the country’s wealth and success? And conversely: what is patriotic about wanting British supermarket workers and lollipop ladies to pay for the greed and error of a tiny elite by slashing their tax credits? What is patriotic about leaving hundreds of thousands of citizens of one of the wealthiest countries that has ever existed to depend on food banks in order to feed themselves? What is patriotic about helping to prop up a murderous dictatorship like Saudi Arabia which exports extremism that threatens our citizens? What is patriotic about chipping away at a welfare state, the NHS and workers’ rights our ancestors fought so hard for?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/left-labour-protest-patriotic
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:47 pm

There isn't a single human on Earth who can say that they chose their birthplace.

Yet that is the criterion upon which any expression of Nationalism or Patriotism has to be based.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:35 pm

Is this an evocation of "Nationalism"?



From where I sit these people have just committed political suicide.  They have chosen to deny the custom of Cabinet Responsibility in order to defy the bloke who gave them their Ministerial status in the first place.

Whatever the outcome of the Referendum, they have rebelled.  In practical terms they now have no special standing in the political community.  Their words carry no more weight than commentators such as Polly Toynbee.  Less in fact, in my not at all humble opinion. Much less. 

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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:34 pm

Thomas Mair gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" when he appeared in court charged with the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Her funeral took place today, and a 10-year-old has written this moving tribute to her:-


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CnaNLdBWAAAe39X.jpg
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:46 pm

End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?

From an article by Debora MacKenzie:-

"Before the late 18th century there were no real nation states. If you travelled across Europe, no one asked for your passport at borders; neither passports nor borders as we know them existed. People had ethnic and cultural identities, but these didn’t really define the political entity they lived in.

While ethnicity and language are important, what really matters is bureaucracy. This is clear in the varying fates of the independent states that emerged as Europe’s overseas empires fell apart after the Second World War. According to the mythology of nationalism, all they needed was a territory, a flag, a national government and UN recognition. In fact what they really needed was complex bureaucracy.

There is a growing feeling among economists, political scientists and even national governments that the nation state is not necessarily the best scale on which to run our affairs. We must manage vital matters like food supply and climate on a global scale, yet national agendas repeatedly trump the global good. At a smaller scale, city and regional administrations often seem to serve people better than national governments.

The nation-state model fails so often: since 1960 there have been more than 180 civil wars worldwide. How, then, should we organise ourselves? Is the nation state a natural, inevitable institution? Or is it a dangerous anachronism in a globalised world?
"

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329850-600-end-of-nations-is-there-an-alternative-to-countries
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:41 am

An extract from a speech by the UN’s human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein:-

What Mr. Wilders shares in common with Mr Trump, Mr Orban, Mr Zeman, Mr Hofer, Mr Fico, Madame Le Pen, Mr Farage, he also shares with Da’esh. All seek in varying degrees to recover a past, halcyon and so pure in form, where sunlit fields are settled by peoples united by ethnicity or religion – living peacefully in isolation, pilots of their fate, free of crime, foreign influence and war. A past that most certainly, in reality, did not exist anywhere, ever. Europe’s past, as we all know, was for centuries anything but that.  
Populists use half-truths and oversimplification - the two scalpels of the arch propagandist, and here the internet and social media are a perfect rail for them, by reducing thought into the smallest packages: sound-bites; tweets. Paint half a picture in the mind of an anxious individual, exposed as they may be to economic hardship and through the media to the horrors of terrorism. Prop this picture up by some half-truth here and there and allow the natural prejudice of people to fill in the rest. Add drama, emphasising it’s all the fault of a clear-cut group, so the speakers lobbing this verbal artillery, and their followers, can feel somehow blameless.

I certainly do not equate the actions of nationalist demagogues with those of Da'esh, which are monstrous, sickening; Da’esh must be brought to justice. But in its mode of communication, its use of half-truths and oversimplification, the propaganda of Da’esh uses tactics similar to those of the populists. And both sides of this equation benefit from each other – indeed would not expand in influence without each others' actions
.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/un-s-human-rights-chief-compares-donald-trump-nigel-farage-and-geert-wilders-to-isis-a7227486.html
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:39 pm

So apart from not mentioning Hitler, we have to avoid saying Brexit. To avoid encouraging the xenophobic Little Englanders in their anti-immigrant propaganda. It's more complicated than I thought.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:13 am

The following article is reproduced in full with the consent of the author, Dr Benjamin Janaway (Twitter ID: @drjanaway):-

Patriotism must die if we are to find true unity. A response to Theresa May and the conservative agenda.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." Carl Sagan, Cosmos

To question one’s self is a mark of maturity and to criticise one’s beliefs a sign of wisdom. The greatest minds are humble and look to grow, look to chastise their own shortcomings and pursue evidence to such ends. They hold no pride in certainty, but cherish the nature of change. Throughout numerous religious texts, books of science, the words of great leaders and epitaphs of the now forgotten lays the same message. To let go of yourself and become part of something greater, selfless and open to new climbs, is the mark of true progress.

As a scientist and doctor I find that by living by this philosophy I can always better myself. There is no shame in being wrong, only a chance to learn to be right. I have found that identification with ideas, the equivocation of my ego with a supposition, is a certain way to become shortsighted. We as humans are blessed with the power of thought and capacity for change. Using it makes me a better doctor, a better person. This lesson was hard learned, but the most valuable I have ever found.

Britain’s recent departure from the EU has raised significant concerns in my mind. This move has shaken apparent ‘chains’ posed by EU legislation and trade agreements, but has also cut something much more deep and meaningful. It has cut short, without ceremony, the story of a growth in humanity.  I fear that this amputation is not of a sick limb, but of a vital part of who we are and will become.

Since ancient times, when we as nomadic tribes scoured the plains for game, we were guided by the stars and the seasons. Our brains developed the charm of pattern recognition to understand our world, to plan ahead, to track and grow. As our numbers grew, language developed and agriculture necessitated word and picture to tell the stories of eons beyond our lives. As we grew in number, we grew in acceptance, empowering trade and discussion; learning and love above fear and distrust. We overcame our differences. We grew to be humanity, together.

From above, these stars watched a world change rapidly. From a dark surface peppered with the occasional flame we developed metropoli, port cities built on science, knowledge and purpose. We shook off the boundaries afforded by colour, language or religion and moved forward in the pursuit of knowledge and growth.  Deprovincialism, the departure of tribal states, paved the way for true excellence. This excellence built first our aqueducts, then our libraries, our internet.

Still, beneath the hustle of progress, there seethed an ancient delusion. Deep within our brains, harvested from a time of giant lizards when we were but small mammals, came a distrust of the unknown.  A fear of form, shape or action removed from our own. A defence against predators, a blunt knife fit for old purposes. With it we built walls, we built guns and we built bombs. As our brains developed we learned to overcome this fear, like the child of the monster that sits not under his bed, but in his ancient mind.

Brexit has played upon this fear. I blame not the people who voted for separation, as they only voted in what they felt was right. They displayed an integral part of our survival, but one best left to history, Uncertainty is natural and good, but must be tempered with rationality and foresight. Self-criticism is no weakness, it is a strength and can be thanked for all that we have gained. I blame the governments who well know the art of manipulating the subconscious fears of the population, by playing on such natural cognitions. It is they who are to blame, and use this technique well to their own ends.

Over the last weeks to months Britain has begun a march back into tribal times and into the depths of our brains. Theresa May has claimed that to question patriotism, the belief in a grand idea of ‘sameness’ and ‘pride’ by some demographic definition, is disgusting. I claim the opposite, I claim it as fundamental to humanity. Many regimes have said the same, such as North Korea, where the defamation of state is met with severe penalties. Progress demands questions and change.

Worse still is the move to record the names and nationalities of foreign workers and children. By creating an enemy of what is good, we play on the insecurities within that so held our human progress. By promoting tribal fear of the unknown as predators, we play to the animal within. By labelling and exposing those different, we make them less and we make them to be feared. We create our own monster under the bed, our own ancient predator, our own history. We make those who stand outside our self-invented borders our enemies, when they are simply a missing piece of a greater narrative.

As a British citizen I have no inclination to celebrate a place of birth as anything more than coincidental. I am not defined by a flag or a religion. I am defined by my actions despite my circumstances, like those ancient greats who came together in old worlds to build language, cities and history. To celebrate Britain as special, is to place an ideal above ourselves, to identify with it, to play to the dark monster in our deep minds. We look for the light in the dark we can forget. To equate goodness with patriotism is an insult of your intelligence, you are more than your land of birth and the policies of its rulers. To question long held notions is to respect knowledge. We have moved on.

I come to you not as a doctor or as a scientist, but as a human. A human who has been through strife and found the greatest solace in the hands of others, to deeply consider these words. You are not a country, or its history, you are a result of your own action outside of it. To better one’s self is to drop misconceptions of identity, to learn anew the best path forward. To join with all people in the measured journey toward building a great future.  To forget your flag is to remember your commonality with the world. To not cherish patriotism, but to cast it aside in the realisation of our universality in humanity.

Britain has lost its way, and perhaps it should have. Perhaps we should forget pride in a flag, and empower people. Perhaps we should realise the value of people and how walls, oceans and languages only break us apart. How policy, labelling, listing and threats only serve to reverse our goodness.  Perhaps we should ignore the manipulations of leaders who play on ancient fears to secure their goals, and question those who shake the foundations of our potential. These sad men and women will always use fear to mislead, and as their numbers dwindle their desperation grows.

Those same stars that kindled the deep fires of our evolution will live long beyond us all, but I ask you what world would you wish they light? I wish for a world without borders, where fear is cast into the darkness and showed up to the light. Where governments are built on foundations of global beneficence, and where borders are buried beneath a future brighter than we can imagine. Or do you wish for a world built on imaginary lines in sand, scarred by blood and bombs, epitaphs made by politics and fear, where nothing is left but lost potential.

Help me build a better world. Forget Britain and remember you. And as for those leaders who ask you to fear change and punish those different… nothing more than the dark playing on something old and nearly forgotten. Leave them behind.

https://drbenjanaway.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/patriotism-must-die-if-we-are-to-find-true-unity-a-response-to-theresa-may-and-the-conservative-agenda/
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by boatlady on Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:01 pm

Beautifully put - thanks for sharing
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by Ivan on Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:54 pm

English nationalism has shattered my sense of belonging in Britain

Extracts from an article by Ian Jack:-

"The First World War bred a distrust of nationalism among many of my parents’ generation, and increased the appeal of the internationalism offered by groups such as the Independent Labour Party. Enhancing that broad philosophy, in my parents’ particular case, was the experience of migrating from lowland Scotland to northern England, where they preferred to be seen as individuals who happened to be from Scotland rather than as émigrés announcing a group identity with kilt-wearing and Highland dancing. I suppose we thought of ourselves as British/Scottish, but the question hardly came up.

What Britishness went on concealing – like a host body with a very large grub inside, struggling to emerge – was Englishness. The England/Britain confusion has existed for centuries: all kinds of people imagined that the terms were coterminous and interchangeable. The separatist movements of Scotland and Wales began to dent this idea, but a competing English nationalism was at first confined to fringe meetings about the West Lothian question and a campaign for an English parliament. Then came UKIP, the Tory strategy for dealing with it, and that strategy’s failure in the EU referendum.

English nationalism has found its opportunity, and is taking us out of Europe. The prospects it offers are fantastical. English exceptionalism has flared up: we are a great country, there is nowhere else like us, we shall lead the world in free trade, we shall sell ginger snaps to the North Koreans. The notion of Brexit as a popular victory is confined almost entirely to the English. Its ramifications are troubling for Scotland and particularly severe for Northern Ireland.
"

For the whole article:-
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/22/english-nationalism-belonging-britain-scottish-independence
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:49 pm

Any Englishman who has lived abroad has likely met more than one foreign native who spent some time in Britain, perhaps as a student or working e.g. in the catering industry.

After a few pleasant exchanges the tone of conversation may become less amiable, and you may be told about distressing experiences at the hands of British Authority, or of cheating landlords, greedy employers and unfriendly co-workers. Enough to feel grateful for a somewhat more hospitable experience as a guest in their country.

Shame, that.
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by boatlady on Sun Oct 23, 2016 6:54 pm

And, having read Victorian and Edwardian literature, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that the British attitude was, at least in part, forged upon the playing fields of Eton
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

Post by sickchip on Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:39 pm

We like to think the UK is a tolerant multicultural society - even right wingers like to boast about this; but are our media guilty of stirring up divisions?

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/10/10/eu-just-slammed-uks-media-one-british-paper-bothered-properly-report-images/

Is it any wonder none of our mainstream media have published these shameful findings? Is the UK now being run by xenophobes, and are they manipulating public opinion?
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Re: Is nationalism evil?

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