Nationalism is in the news, with people the left trying to amalgamate the term to encompass White Nationalism (which has very little to do with nationalism), fascism, and even Nazism. The truth is, nationalism is integral to a free society. People break into groups as soon as you put them together, and those groups are based around some commonality. This division is natural, and can be seen even among children. Societies only exist to the extent that a level of commonality can be established. If a large number of people are asked to elect representatives, they will form groups of similar interest to decide who to support. Building on this fact, the results of any election are accepted based on both trust and willingness to accept loss. These are in turn based on something deeper, something shared even among adversaries withing the same community. Without some bases of commonality, trust is ethereal, and acceptance of loss rarely cordial. To suppose that this human tendency can somehow be ignored is the height of ignorance.
Homogeneous communities form stable societies over centuries, multi-ethnic societies are sustainable only to the extent they form some sort of shared identity. The formation of countries out of peoples with a shared language and culture has been part of human history for thousands of years. In contrast, heterogeneous groups, with no shared identity, splinter into their components. It has been the strength of the Untied States to be able to meld other cultures into its own, and create a multi-ethnic society with a shared culture. Only Rome came close in approximating this ability, but even they were not able to succeed in Romanizing ethnic groups to the extent the United States has been able to Americanize new comers.
This is not new knowledge, that a country needs a shared culture to be stable is common sense. The Romans knew it, and tried to instill its culture into those it conquered. The only other alternative is the constant use of brute force to hold them in subjugation. Rousseau, the founder of leftest social ideas, and John Locke the originator of individualism, agreed on few things; nonetheless they both accepted the need for shared identity and Nationalism as a given. There are only 3 types of societal arrangement: Tribal, Imperial State, and the National State. The first, the basis of communist theory, is only applicable to small communities unencumbered by modern complex economies. The Imperial State is based on force; the national state is created out of a shared culture. While the national state can be led by a tyrant, the imperial state is one of force by definition.
The idea that nationalism is somehow bad, and associated with the right, has only existed since World War II. Before this, it was common for people of both the left and the so called right to be nationalist. Both President Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, as well as Woodrow Wilson were nationalists. The same can be said of Gandhi, and de Gaulle. Even Mao was a nationalist.
American nationalism has been unique, having forged itself out of a multitude of peoples from across the world. E Pluribus Unum is more than a platitude printed on American money, it is a statement of fact. Europe is a continent whose constituents are far less diverse than the U.S., but is far more contentious. An outsider from a neighboring country is rarely if ever accepted into his adopted land. This is true even after many generations. Come to America, whether it be from Ireland, Italy Nigeria, or the Philippines, and you can be part of America and its heritage.
This makes the current trend towards salad bowl multiculturalism, and making taboo sharing cultures under the banner of cultural appropriation, so disturbing. It attacks the very foundations of society, and sets it towards anarchy. Anarchy, being being an unnatural state of existence, quickly turns into despotism.
The disjointed logic of those promoting cultural apartheid is found in the fact they, as a whole, also embrace a world without borders. The only way to impose a world wide governance, is to accept a world wide imperial power. One that can exercise its will, and impose its values and judgements, across a nearly infinitely varied landscape. Such an arrangement, on a much smaller scale, is being attempted in Europe. Despite the fact European countries have much in common, the hurdles to unity are such that it is only possible through coercion and force. With Germany trying to reign in Greeks, and Brussels holding court over Portuguese internal affairs, the growing resentment is both palpable and understandable.
Representative government has as its bases, the idea that the government represents the people under it. The “people” in this case is a group, a place, a nation. The reason colonies revolt, including the United States, is that the foreign overlord did not represent them or their values. Nations exist as natural demarcations of culture, language, and values shared across a defined landscape. Where the nation expands beyond this natural boundary, conflict inevitably ensues.
There is no such thing as democratic governance over a fractured and culturally diverse nation, there is only the brutish dictates of an overlord. The more multicultural a state is, the greater the tensions as each competes with the other for power. Inevitably, one group becomes dominant at the expense of others. This interplay has been seen over and over again across time, and is becoming part of the modern political landscape. Those that think they can change fundamental aspects of human nature by wishing it away are fools. It is an undeniable fact that a democracy, or any other form of government, can’t long exist across large culturally diverse populations without force.
The nation state was not formed out of the minds of intellectuals, or concocted so that people could take advantage of others. It was a natural consequence of people of a like mind joining forces. Nationalism, of the cultural sort, has as its bases the history of the peoples of the world.
Opponents of national identities equate all talk of nationhood to the Blood and Soil “nationalism” of NAZI Germany. Such ludicrous comparisons are meant only to justify their own imperial ambitions. Germany was an imperialist power, not a national one. It sought not to coalesce people around culture, or heritage, but race (an artificial concocted race at that). Nationalism recognizes borders, and respects the rights of self-determination, NAZI Germany did neither. Its corruption of the word nationalism does not repudiate the principles that have made nations necessary, it reinforces the edict that nationalism is the only alternative to imperialism.
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