Before you cry out “false dilemma,” let me remind you that history has always offered us this choice. We can have an organized civilization, or not. Much like we can have running water, or not.
Nationalism is a prerequisite to an organized civilization. With nationalism, the state is replaced by the organic “nation” — a group unified by heritage, language, customs, values and culture.
The term â€œnationalismâ€ is generally used to describe two phenomena: (1) the attitude that the members of a nation have when they care about their national identity, and (2) the actions that the members of a nation take when seeking to achieve (or sustain) self-determination. (1) raises questions about the concept of a nation (or national identity), which is often defined in terms of common origin, ethnicity, or cultural ties, and while an individual’s membership in a nation is often regarded as involuntary, it is sometimes regarded as voluntary. (2) raises questions about whether self-determination must be understood as involving having full statehood with complete authority over domestic and international affairs, or whether something less is required.
It is traditional, therefore, to distinguish nations from states â€” whereas a nation often consists of an ethnic or cultural community, a state is a political entity with a high degree of sovereignty. – The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Nationalism is the opposite of patriotism.
A patriot is someone who pledges allegiance to his nation-state, which is a “proposition nation” created from political borders and agreement on certain political and economic systems. These invariably promote “freedom” not so much out of belief of it but to try to weaken nationalist countries, which otherwise have the upper hand. But appealing to the greed, desperation and desire for power of the individual has always made a successful product, and it’s how the nationalists got defeated even before WWII started.
Nationalism is the notion that a people exists and should continue to do so, doing it their way. It’s a philosophy for people with real bravery and pride in what they and their ancestors together have created.
The belief that humanity is comprised of many different cultures — i.e., groups that share a common language, symbols, and a narrative about their past (invariably self-serving and full of myths) — and that those groups ought to have their own state has been an overwhelmingly powerful force in the world over the past two centuries.
It was nationalism that cemented most of the European powers in the modern era, turning them from dynastic states into nation-states, and it was the spread of nationalist ideology that helped destroy the British, French, Ottoman, Dutch, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian/Soviet empires. Nationalism is the main reason the United Nations had fifty-one members immediately after its founding in 1945 and has nearly 200 members today. It is why the Zionists wanted a state for the Jewish people and why Palestinians want a state of their own today. It is what enabled the Vietnamese to defeat both the French and the American armies during the Cold War. It is also why Kurds and Chechens still aspire to statehood; why Scots have pressed for greater autonomy within the United Kingdom, and it is why we now have a Republic of South Sudan. – Foreign Policy
The opposite of nationalism is patriotism, which means a proposition nation, which means no shared culture. There is only government… and commerce.
If no values are shared, commerce will offer products that cater to the lowest common denominator. Those will be purchased by the most rootless and confused people in that society. Over time, they will become Important Consumers, and be pandered to. They will reproduce rapidly.
A nation without a consensus requires it make its values through laws, enforced with a gun, and commerce, which uses media, advertising and choice of products to push the population in various directions. But healthy directions don’t sell — they don’t create problems — and broken directions do. They make consumers who constantly need something new to temporarily bail them out of the abyss of their own creation.
You either have an organic culture, or something like a shopping mall — an open air bazaar with no standards except the basic taboos (no murder, theft, assault or rape) and lots of surly security guards to enforce that. It’s the anarchic, neo-totalitarian Nanny State.
Most people, if asked, would prefer the shopping mall. This is for a singular reason: there are no restrictions on them. The benefits of social order are invisible to these people, so they figure life would be exactly as it was with social order, except they could do whatever they wanted.
Organic culture posits that there is a “right” way to do things preserved through culture. As Terence McKenna says, culture is like an operating system for your brain. Even more, the underlying outlook is one of an orderly universe in which we can ascend through knowledge:
In fact the opposite is true. Plato’s view is also sometimes called the “Theory of Forms,” and “form” rather than “idea” better conveys what he meant.
Take the example of a triangle, which has a form that distinguishes it from a square or a circle. In Plato’s usage, this “form” includes not only its shape, but all the properties that make it the thing it is: the length of its sides, its area, the fact that its angles add up to 180 degrees, and so forth. Now any particular material triangle (such as the ones drawn in geometry textbooks) is going to have certain properties that are not part of “triangularity” as such, and will also lack certain properties that are part of triangularity as such.
For example, it will have a specific color — green, say — and lack perfectly straight sides, even though greenness is not part of triangularity and having straight sides is part of it. So in Plato’s view, when the intellect grasps the form of triangularity, it is not grasping something material, since nothing material manifests triangularity in the strictest sense. But neither is it grasping something mental. For there are certain facts about triangles — the Pythagorean theorem, for example — that are entirely objective, and discovered by the human mind rather than invented by it. Moreover, these facts are necessary and unchanging rather than contingent and alterable: the Pythagorean theorem is true eternally, whether or not any human mind thinks otherwise or would like it to be otherwise. “Triangularity” is therefore something that exists apart from either mind or matter, in a third realm of its own: the realm of Forms. And the same thing is true, according to Plato, of the Forms of everything else — squares and circles, plants and animals, human beings, beauty, truth, and goodness.
It is important to understand that talk about the Forms existing “in” a “realm,” and so forth, is purely metaphorical. Literally they don’t exist “in” anything, since “in” is a spatial term and the Forms, being immaterial, are outside time and space.
Moreover, this nature defines certain natural ends and purposes for human beings and their capacities, the realization of which constitutes what is good for them: good objectively, simply by virtue of their participation in the form, and regardless of whether this or that particular human being realizes or (because of intellectual error, habitual vice, psychological or genetic anomaly or whatever) fails to realize it.
“Realist Conservatism,” as we might call it, affirms the existence of an objective order of forms or universals that define the natures of things, including human nature, and what it seeks to conserve are just those institutions reflecting a recognition and respect for this objective order. Since human nature is, on this view, objective and universal, long-standing moral and cultural traditions are bound to reflect it and thus have a presumption in their favor. – Ideas in Action
A state cannot do this for you.
If anything, it would require a state so totalitarian that few of us can even imagine it.
More importantly, it would create a condition of constant civil enforcement, like a mall with as many cops as shoppers.
But organic culture, in which people cooperate instead of control each other, based not on their personal “power” but on the power of the culture itself, lacks these problems. It is neither an anarchic shopping mall nor a totalitarian security guard lineup.
The shopping mall people are kind of upset by this. They think that they as individuals should be able to do whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want. “No rules!” would make them happiest, but they also have a lot of fear, so “Many police enforcing no rules, with grocery stores” is what they settle on.
That’s about like our shopping mall.
Such people always argue that nationalism is racist in that it restricts people who are not of an ethnic group from moving or living among that ethnic group. They usually back down when you point out that this exclusionism is the only way to protect that ethnic group, and ask them why they endorse genocide. Their answer is invariably a jeremiad in support of one form of class warfare or another; basically, the ethnic group must be rich for nefarious reasons, so everyone else should be able to show up and partake in the wealth.
What they’re ignoring is that nationalism, like all human methods, is a strategy. It’s a design of an action plan that brings out the best in our human future. It removes the shopping mall, the Nanny State, the totalitarians and the oligarchs and replaces their ugly advertising-covered commerce-driven soulless cultureless cities with living organic spaces.
But those who oppose nationalism don’t care about such things; they only want their individualism unhindered, so they try to destroy nationalism. However, increasingly people are caring less about this ludicrous type of objection.
But the simple fact is â€œthatâ€™s racistâ€ is the sort of thing those darn kids today say to make fun of their aging Gen X and baby-boomer parents.
Itâ€™s also a common joke among conservatives, precisely because weâ€™re used to being called racists for the weirdest things. If I write on Twitter something about how I donâ€™t like â€œObamacare,â€ some fellow right-winger will immediately respond with some variant of â€œthatâ€™s racist!â€
And thatâ€™s the joke. And the people whoâ€™ve spent the last few decades screaming â€œthatâ€™s racist,â€ not as a punch line but as a heinously unfair accusation or in an attempt to bully people, donâ€™t seem to get that the joke is on them. – National Review
There’s another reason people are making fun of it: nationalism is rising.
Across Europe and the USA, people are realizing that if they don’t find culture, they get a shopping mall. Without a natural order to keep us in line and having values, we become selfish individualists roaming the land, leaving behind piles of garbage and empty pleasures. Our hollow souls echo with fear of death because we have lived for nothing but ourselves, and have ultimately found that there is only so much you can do with that before you get bored and find it meaningless.
“Racism” is declining in Hollywood and among the chattering classes. Among the rest of the world, it’s just ramping up, because racism only exists where multiculturalism exists. From the American South to Nazi Germany to Hutu-Tutsi flareups, racism exists only when two ethnic groups are competing. Only one set of values can win, and without a set of values, society descends into anarchy.
In the name of fighting racism, we have wrecked a once-prosperous country. (I don’t agree with those who blame African-Americans or Jews for our dilemma; white liberals did it to us. Further, multiculturalism involves more than whites, African-Americans or Jews, and will destroy all three groups. It is a subset of the liberal desire for class warfare and the destruction of culture to bring about a megalomaniac individual equality.)
Look at what corruption we spread by trying to hide how diversity is failing African-Americans just as much as it is failing European-Americans:
Teachers spent nights huddled in a back room, erasing wrong answers on students’ test sheets and filling in the correct bubbles. At another school, struggling students were seated next to higher-performing classmates so they could copy answers.
Those and other confessions are contained in a new state report that reveals how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal. Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001. – ABC
To avoid strife, we make life uniform so that no one side is above the other. The result is a destruction of truth and any incentive to climb above the average. This is what doomed the Soviet Union, among other concerns.
The shopping mall eventually becomes a still and lifeless place. You can only shop so much before you bore yourself. You need a cause, something to fight and maybe die for. You need something to believe in. Instead, it’s endless gadgets and entertainment, clothing and luxury goods. But in the still of the night, it all seems hollow; you wonder what meaning comes from life into your heart, and fills you with a sense of hope and purpose.
It’s not there in the shopping mall, nor in the ideologies of its security guards.
But it’s there in nationalism, and that is why the world is slowly changing course away from the soulless mall and toward the feared but well-desired nationalism.