Source:The New Democrat
“In order to make arguments for nationalism, we have to define it.
The first definition in Merriam-Webster is “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” But in a second paragraph, it adds, “especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”
Let’s be clear: If the second paragraph is the only definition of nationalism, nationalism is always a bad thing. Furthermore, I acknowledge that this definition is what some people have in mind when they call themselves nationalists.
At the same time, even anti-nationalists would have to acknowledge that if the first paragraph is the definition of “nationalism,” nationalism can often be a beautiful thing.
So, if we are to be honest, the answer to the question of whether nationalism is good or bad is “How do you define it?”
Read more from Dennis Prager
“In which John Green teaches you about Nationalism. Nationalism was everywhere in the 19th century, as people all over the world carved new nation-states out of old empires. Nationalist leaders changed the way people thought of themselves and the places they lived by reinventing education, military service, and the relationship between government and governed. In Japan, the traditional feudal society underwent a long transformation over the course of about 300 years to become a modern nation-state. John follows the course of Japanese history from the emergence of the Tokugawa Shogunate to the Meiji Restoration, and covers Nationalism in many other countries along the way. All this, plus a special guest appearance, plus the return of an old friend on a extra-special episode of Crash Course.”
“Nationalism is an ideology and movement characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation’s sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power (popular sovereignty). It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history[page needed]—and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation’s traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism.[page needed] Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism (national conservatism) or socialism (socialist nationalism) for example.
Nationalism as an ideology is modern. Throughout history, people have had an attachment to their kin group and traditions, to territorial authorities and to their homeland, but nationalism did not become a widely-recognized concept until the 18th century. There are three paradigms for understanding the origins and basis of nationalism. Primordialism (perennialism) proposes that there have always been nations and that nationalism is a natural phenomenon. Ethnosymbolism explains nationalism as a dynamic, evolutionary phenomenon and stresses the importance of symbols, myths and traditions in the development of nations and nationalism. Modernism proposes that nationalism is a recent social phenomenon that needs the socio-economic structures of modern society to exist.
There are various definitions of a “nation”, however, which leads to different strands of nationalism. Ethnic nationalism defines the nation in terms of shared ethnicity, heritage and culture, while civic nationalism defines the nation in terms of shared citizenship, values and institutions, and is linked to constitutional patriotism. The adoption of national identity in terms of historical development has often been a response by influential groups unsatisfied with traditional identities due to mismatch between their defined social order and the experience of that social order by its members, resulting in an anomie that nationalists seek to resolve. This anomie results in a society reinterpreting identity, retaining elements deemed acceptable and removing elements deemed unacceptable, to create a unified community. This development may be the result of internal structural issues or the result of resentment by an existing group or groups towards other communities, especially foreign powers that are (or are deemed to be) controlling them. National symbols and flags, national anthems, national languages, national myths and other symbols of national identity are highly important in nationalism.”
Even right-wing commentator Dennis Prager, ( who is currently a board member of the President Donald J. Trump For Life Fan club. Ha, ha. ) acknowledges in his own column about nationalism that there’s bad nationalism and good nationalism. And in his pro-nationalism definition, that sounds more like patriotism.
Patriotism according to Wikipedia
“Patriotism or national pride is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to nationalism.”
I’m a Liberal, a Democrat, and a Patriot and no, none of those things contradict each other. I’m an American Patriot, because I love America, period. America, is a country that isn’t dominated by one ethnic or religious group and perhaps within 30 years we’ll no longer have a racial majority either. I love Americans, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion or gender. Patriots, love their country because of what their country represents: not the people that they associate with, the town, state, region, ethnic, racial, or religious group that they come from.
If there’s a mainstream and positive faction within nationalism regardless of the country, it’s that a mainstream Nationalist is a Patriot who loves their country, not just the people that associate with and community that they come from. And believes in putting their country’s interests above every other country’s interests at all times. And believes that their country has no interest and right to be involved in another country’s affairs, even if that country is doing horrible things to their own people or another country.
The problem even with my own definition of what it means to be let’s say a good Nationalist, is those aren’t the Nationalists that Americans tend to hear about and hear from, except for maybe as it relates to foreign policy and national security, where you do see Libertarians who have nationalist leanings at least as it relates to foreign policy and national security.
The Nationalists that Americans tend to hear from are the people who believe that they’re the real Americans, the real Patriots and that the people who disagree with them and don’t share religious and cultural values, or even look like them are the Un-Americans: invaders and traitors to this great country that the so-called real Americans and the real Patriots supposedly love. And if you don’t believe me, just look at the modern Republican Party and their leader that’s dominated by an Anglo-Saxon, Christian-Nationalist, rural and Southern faction.