Thursday, November 02, 2006

On Nationalism

It's not really what the article is about, but this post on the BBC made a comment about nationalism. The author talks about two kinds of nationalism: a positive nationalism which is a pride in "national" achievements, history, and culture. The other, which he describes as "prickly", feels itself above criticism and seems predominantly aimed at taking offence.

Well, I have my own views on nationalism, and I want to nail my colours firmly to the mast on this one. There is no acceptable face of nationalism.

Nationalism expresses itself in many ways, but the same fallacy underlies them all. Nationalism teaches us to value foreigners less highly than our fellow countrymen - that the blood our our soliders is more precious than the blood of our foes. Nationalism gives us false pride in the achievements of others which are nothing to do with us. Nationalism makes excuses for acts which are clearly wrong. Nationalism is insular, narrow-minded, and unfriendly. Nationalism exalts homespun mediocrity over foreign excellence. It runs contrary to reason and ethics. Nationalism caused most of the great tragedies of the 20th century. Until we learn our rightful identity as members together of the human race, we can only repeat these tragedies. There is no acceptable face to nationalism.

As I said, I want to nail my colours firmly to the mast on this one. And they are my own colours. I am a human being; no nation owns me.


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