Nationalism

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Nationalism

Postby Marcuse » Wed Oct 31, 2018 7:23 pm

In the Pittsburgh shooting thread, people discussed nationalism. I thought this would be a good topic for discussion because it's a pretty universal political phenomenon and we all have encountered it at some point.

Generally, I think it's not fair to lump in nationalism with fascism or related fuckery. It's possible to think your nation is the best without hating other nations or peoples in the process. It's just that...it kind of tends to end up being that even if on paper it's entirely possible to think that your blob of land is better than that blob of land.

A nation is a psychological construct as much as it is a physical thing, it's social and emotional connection with other people from your nation. Even in large places like Russia or the US, people presume a connection between two people from the same nation while presuming a contrary separation between people over a border even if they live within walking distance. Maybe in Iron Curtain Berlin this was true, but generally in most people there's enough cultural and social commerce (and monetary commerce) that a person on the Texas border is way more similar to someone from Mexico than they are to someone from Hawai'i or Maine. But there remains a nation in people's minds and it means something.

That generally seems to be an extension of tribalism. When you look at other places, extended family is a big thing and nations are really just hyper extended families. There's an assumption that someone from your nation might not share all your values or be the same as you, but at base they have a nation-ness about them that links you and them, in a similar way to smaller city or tribal connections do. The problem with nationalism is that it ends up being placed in opposition to something else. My guys are better than your guys because your guys smell and are shit. Well would you look at that, in making my guys look better I've had to say something hateful about your guys. That's a real temptation for nationalist thought, and when we look at ultra nationalists the first thing you notice is not how much they love their country, but how much they hate people who aren't from their country (or racial group, or social class etc etc ad nauseam).

So is hatred inherent to nationalism? I suppose it can be said to be there, but it's not something people need to enact in their lives. It's just that normally people tend to the easiest and simplest interpretation of everything, and that usually ends up with hating other nations to aggrandize your own.
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Re: Nationalism

Postby Windy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:17 am

I'm surprised you didn't mention the other 50 things you're supposed to be proud of based on things you had no control over, like not being white, not being male, not being straight, not being normal, not being able to hear, not having good fashion sense...
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Re: Nationalism

Postby JamishT » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:03 am

That doesn't contribute to the topic, Windy.

It's like 3am, so I'll be brief.

I think the definition of nationalism has changed over time (duh), and it currently has...supremacist connotations. I've seen it put as "Patriotism means you like your country more than any other country, while nationalism means you hate every other country but yours."
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Re: Nationalism

Postby Krashlia » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:32 pm

All I know is, if North Carolina thinks its secceding from the United States, if they pass such, they should start filing missing persons reports on their Senators who voted Yea.
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Re: Nationalism

Postby Marcuse » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:05 pm

This is a relevant and interesting article detailing how nationalism and conservatism has been driven recently by grassroots social movements that were way less influential a while ago.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-45902454
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Re: Nationalism

Postby sunglasses » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:14 pm

The only time I think Nationalism is good is during the World Cup. Of course I normally pick a country I want to support and am very defensive of that country the entire way through. It isn't necessarily my country (which is good since we didn't make it last time.)

The very term nationalism itself can mean patriotism but most times we use it in its more negative connotation, that is thinking you are more superior then others. We tend to use it with a more jingoistic meaning. Which, I think, is the more disturbing and frightening trend that is occurring in many parts of the world.

Nationalism appeals to many because they want to believe they are special. They want to believe that their country is better then others.

In the US, for example, we've been fed tales since elementary school that the US is the "good guys" and that we're not like those other countries who torture. Of course that went straight into the shitter with W and his war on terror. That's when many of us had a personality divide. Can we condone what we were told we weren't? Can we admit to ourselves that our country isn't as great as we were told? Or do we justify it to ourselves and swallow this. Thus the rhetoric tended to shift. You had many people justifying, either nervously or with a gleam in their eyes. "They needed to do that! They were terrorists! You have to do what the terrorists do!" Completely ignoring things like the Geneva convention or war crimes. And thus they doubled down. When we then had someone tell us, "Hey those things that happened were really not ok and we need to repair relations" many of those same people could not face this. If what we did really wasn't ok, then we really weren't the America they thought we were and it was a conflict that many were unable to sort. Once again, they doubled down. They weren't wrong. Obviously the others were wrong. It wasn't their side. And so on and so forth.

It's gotten to the point that many are so tribalistic that they won't even listen to anyone they assume is an other. Or they (wrongly) assume that everyone around them is like them, because they don't know any of them derogatory types. I have had this occur to me numerous times while at work. People will talk about my political demographic like I'm a piece of shit right to me, assuming I agree with them. I say nothing, as I do not wish to discuss politics at work. If queried, that is what I bring up to them. I have absolutely no doubt that a few of those people would start to think less of me if I actually identified myself as what they consider an outlier.

I'm surrounded by people who do not wish to learn more about other cultures because "US is the best." They often wrongly assume and make comments about people being in 3rd world countries or savages because of them living elsewhere. If I bring up that what they thing of those countries is flatly wrong and that I've talked to people online from other places (thanks for real, TCS!) they balk. Or they'll go, "Well they must be the exception" and continue to shit talk them.

The urge to make one's country better or a better place can absolutely be a good thing. But the methods that many are using are almost Orwellian, and frankly, concerning. I'm ready to hear that we've always been at war with Eurasia.

The absolute worst part of the tribalistic nature of the current nationalism is that it keeps us divided-which is what some people want. There is absolutely a group of people in the US who thing that the NWO wants to control us all with a global government and that this is a sign of the end times. There is even a serious of books about it written in 99 and the early 2000s. Sold, of course, at Walmart.

So, in the US at least, you've got a group solidly against uniting with others which is why they spit out Globalist like it's the worst insult. Same people oft refuse to recognise that many issues are global in nature and that if we worked together, many issues could be solved-or at least minimized-and that this could be done without losing your national identity.

Sticking to ourselves and our own to the point of exclusion-it saddens me.

I don't normally link dump, but I am going to post a few links that I think are interesting regarding the topic:

https://complexsystems.org/335/us-versu ... lism-trap/
I don't agree with this 100% but it's an interesting short read

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notes_on_Nationalism
which sums up Orwell's notes on nationalism

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/ ... extremism/
Us vs them with neuroscience! Marc, I think you might like this one.
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Re: Nationalism

Postby 52xMax » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:24 pm

I don't agree with the definition of nationalism most of you seem to be working with, and I don't agree that it's inherently or even largely a bad thing.

I'm not much for tribalism in general, so I don't particularly advocate for nationalism, except in manners that pertain to sovereignty, as I believe that people willing to put everything on the line, sometimes even their own lives in order to stand up for their people and what they ultimately think is better for them. Of course even the best of intentions, when misguided, lead to atrocious acts, but the same thing can be said about things made in the name of other ideals and beliefs, so I don't think nationalism is egregiously bad about it. For every IRA and ETA, there's an ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taamil tigers, or even groups like ALF and ELF, who supposedly act on behalf of the planet.

I don't think that nationalism is motivated by a sense of superiority either. There's some of it, but I believe for the most part there's a need for a sense of identity and independence at the core. The part that is all about pride and glory I see it more as aspirational than presumptuous. You try to be the best, because why wouldn't you? And if you're already at the top, you want to be unmatched by all the others who would want to take your spot. But it's not too different from individuals trying to live to their full potential. We want to be healthy and beautiful, have a family, a career, set a world record, or whatever it is that goal we've set because we think it'll make us happier. I think nationalism is an extension of that, and to some people that might be their only focus, which is usually how it can turn into a bad thing when people get radicalized.

Marcuse started the thread talking about borders being psychological constructs, but I'm willing to bet most people would rather live in a place delimited by walls, maybe a few windows, and definitely a door you can lock at night or when you go out. It's natural to care more about the people in your house than those living next door, because they're more closely related to you and thus share more things in common, even though you might everyday wish that your freeloader brother in law could keep a job for at least a month and would move out of your basement.
That said, as someone who grew up along the border, I can tell you we get along pretty well with those living across the very real fence. Many of us speak both languages, at least to the point where we understand each other, and the names of our cities (Mexicali and Calexico, both being portmanteaus of Mexico and California) reflect our good relationship and shared history. It doesn't mean that we don't have differences beyond the usual banter and sibling rivalry, and we also have cultural differences related to the countries we each live on, but we still go out and eat hot dogs on July 4th, we go for fish tacos on the eve of September 16th, and use any excuse like 5 de Mayo to drink together, dress ridiculously and proudly display colorful flags, because it's fun.
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