Sunday, November 27, 2022
HomeEconomicsDo not conflate nationalism with patriotism

Do not conflate nationalism with patriotism

Ross Douthat not too long ago had this to say:

It’s all the time been the case {that a} liberal society relies upon for unity and vigor on not completely liberal forces — spiritual piety, nationalist delight, a way of providential mission, a sure diploma of ethnic solidarity and, after all, the worry of some exterior adversary. Liberalism at its greatest works to information and channel these forces; liberalism at its worst veers between ignoring them and being overwhelmed by them.

I’ve two issues with this declare.  First, the liberal societies of northern Europe appear comparatively profitable, regardless of missing a excessive stage of non secular piety, nationalism or “providential mission”.   However my greater grievance is that Douthat appears to make use of the time period nationalism synonymously with patriotism.  Individuals who defend nationalism this fashion remind me of those that say, “What’s fallacious with socialism; take a look at Denmark”.  (Denmark has some of the free market economies on the planet; even the hearth departments have been privatized.)

Nationalism as a political motion may be very distinct from patriotism.  The post-1990 nationalists in Yugoslavia didn’t “love their nation”; they got down to destroy it.  Serb, Croat, Bosnian, and Slovenian nationalists tore aside Yugoslavia.  Hindu nationalists appear decided to destroy the tolerant, multi-cultural India arrange in 1947.   Hungarian nationalists really feel nearer to ethnic Hungarians in Romania than to Roma folks in their very own nation.  The identical is true of Han nationalists in China.  Within the Thirties, German nationalists felt no solidarity with German Jews.

The Individuals who fought in WWII had been motivated by patriotism, not nationalism.  Our armies contained a various mixture of ethnicities that lacked what Douthat calls “ethnic solidarity”, and defeated two navy powers that had been very a lot motivated by nationalism, by ethnic solidarity.  Once I was younger, WWII movies truly highlighted this ethnic range.  In class, we had been taught how nationalism had led to the 2 world wars.

Some folks declare that Ukrainian patriots are “nationalists”.  In reality, Russian nationalism is the reason for the present warfare.  Ukrainian patriots wished their nation to affix the European Union, maybe the least nationalist group in all of human historical past.  Ask the British nationalists that pushed Brexit what they consider the EU.  Certainly, one among Putin’s overseas coverage targets is to destroy the EU.

I’m not keen on dictionary definitions of nationalism (or capitalism or communism.)  Precise current nationalism just isn’t patriotism.  Relatively it’s:

1.  Faux historical past, which glorifies the previous and denies a rustic’s previous crimes

2.  Bigotry in opposition to minority teams (and in lots of instances misogyny)

3.  Protectionism

4.  Opposition to immigrants

5.  Authoritarianism

6.  Militarism

7.  Intolerance of other life

These are the issues to anticipate when nationalists take energy. 

Douthat is right that liberalism requires a sure stage of solidarity.  Persons are not robots.  However you will need to distinguish between the optimistic solidarity that comes from patriotism and the damaging solidarity that comes from nationalism.  Patriots come from all races and creeds.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments