Nationalism is a relatively new illness.
Modern nationalism is a XIXth century invention. To a great extent is grew out of a SOCIAL and ECONOMIC situation that blew up in the revolutions of 1848 (a field largely overlooked by today’s historians, politicians and pundits).
Socioeconomic inbalances, IOW, social inequality, seek a solution. People are piised off at the status quo, look for an answer. The French Revolution, those of 1848, the rise of the ‘isms (nationalism, socialism, anarchism, communism, fascism, etc.), were not conscience intellectual ideological responses – the ‘isms gave a plausible response to an unendurable situation for the moiety. Today’s islamic fundamentalism, so misunderstood in the west, is another example of the same.
Of all te ‘isms, nationalism is perhaps the oldest – unless one obviates the sermon on the mount. Before the XIXth century, nationalism didn’t exist – there were few examples of nationali identity against an oppressor/occupier, at least on the grass-roots level. As people felt the weight of economic inequality, national identity grew out of one of our most basic and least attractive instincrs, xenophobia. “It’s not our fault, but that of those gosh darn foreigners”.
All the ‘isms sought a solution to the socioeconomic problems. Some of them proactively (socialism, communism, anarchicm, etc.) and others reactively – above all nationalism.”If only we were on our own, without oppressors, tomorrow would be paradise”. And from that sentiment, one of separation on the basis of cultural differences, nationalism reared its ugly head.
Things suck? Blame the jews, n*ggers, ruskies, irish, sp*cs or whatnot. The natural outcome of nationalism. It’s not our fault, it’s someone else’s. And such thinking leads to the nazis, the zionists (in an ironic twist of fate), the Ukranian-Russian crisis, and even the tea party.
In the end, nationalism is a confusion of symbol and reference. Historically, nationalism has been fomented by wealthy interests in an effort to redirect popular discontent, more often than not originated by the very excesses of the self-same wealthy interests. Even the american revolution was a manipulation of popular discontent in favour of wealthy interests, so huppcrisy is there for all to see.
Before the age of 18 I lived in 6 countries. Needless to say, having such a background nationalism has always seemd totally artificial, alien and even evil. Pride in one’s culture is fine and dandy as long as it doesn’t exclude appreciation for other cultures – or indeed other socioeconomic situations. I’ve been alternatively admired or insulted because of my nationality or “roots” – which always bewildered me, ‘cos I never identified myself with such a grandfaloon.
But how many people live and die for such a ridiculous concept?
I am troubled by John Jost’s observations on the differences between “right and left” minds. The more I see of his and kindred studies, I find that the “conservative mindset” (usually wildly nationalistic) is sociopathic, just has others have observed that the “psychology” of corporations is sociopathic. Egocentrism – sociopathism (sic) – fear – need for closure – absolutism … they all run together. They are not attractive aspects for amy individual, but as a collective, they somehow gain a sense of propriety for many (go figure).
Nationalism is the compendium of these evils, be it usmerican, israeli, spanish, ukranian, russian or whatnot. Instead of being EXCLUSIVE we should be INCLUSIVE.
Otherhow (sic), why should such movies such as Independence Day be so popular amongst conservative nationalists? The emperor has no clothes!