unchecked chauvinism and nationalism
Since Donald Trump entered the Presidential race way back in 2015 and deliberately tilted his message and branding in a certain way, people have been reintroduced to the concept of nationalism, and many have been introduced to the label of white nationalism. This came as a shock to many people.
Long ago, at university, I championed the idea that imperialism is itself morally neutral and it’s the circumstances that define, determine the morality of it. In this empire-building is like sex. Sex itself isn’t the issue; the issue is with whom you have sex, why you have sex with that person or person, and whether or not the sexual act(s) are consensual. It’s generally agreed upon that sex with your spouse, with the consent of all present and engaged, is moral. I don’t want to quibble about that matter tonight. (I never do). Every other sort of consensual sex is controversial, some deservedly so.
So Chris Byrne the Anarchangel has brought up the notion that nationalism is itself not immoral or bad, and while I haven’t explored the issue in awhile, I find the argument persuasive. Nationalism certainly has found itself slathered in negative connotations due to all number of failed nationalist movements in history, but it can be explained simply why they failed.
from the Anarchangel:
Nationalism, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. Jingoism, blind hypernationalism, nativism, these are all bad things… but Nationalism in and of itself is just fine.
There’s nothing wrong with self interest, and an appreciation of one’s own strengths, virtues, and achievemrnts, on a national level.
In fact for those who are unable to understand and appreciate these things, either at all, or without guilt or shame… that kind of self loathing is very unhealthy, and self defeating, both personally and as a nation (Germany has been struggling with this for example, through the entire post war period, as a reaction against the horrors of their past hypernationalism. And of course, that self loathing, is the explicit goal of the Frankfurt school and the Gramscians as a whole).
When nationalism, extends to an inability to find fault in one’s self, admit error, accept criticism, challenge ones self and make improvements, or allow for the fact that others may be better at some things…
… when it instills foolish overconfidence, arrogance, and condescencion…
…or when it extends to the notion that somehow, simply being that nation or a citizen of that nation, makes one inherently better than others, regardless of individual actions, qualities, abilities, or achievments…
…Well that’s just chauvinism, and unchecked may extend into true bigotry, and pathological hubris.
It’s also a very good way to fail spectacularly.
Just ask Rome, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, or once great Britain.
Unchecked chauvinism is the downfall of many an empire. This amuses me.
Not the first time nor the last where another’s writings or ideas formed the bulk of a post.