The Great Disservice of Nationalism
by Andrew Moroz
The imbued superstition of nationalism has been prevalent in almost all the nations on this earth since perhaps the late Middle Ages and continues to be so in the modern day. Incessantly it is encouraged by the government of every nation as a virtue to be had in the upstanding citizen. But what is nationalism beside the ravenous seizure of power by the rulers and the encouragement of credulous adherence to those rulers?
To apprehend the ill-doing of nationalism is it necessary first to define it. The popular conception of nationalism entails the devotion to the interests of one's nation over the interests of other nations. What is often denied, but in actuality is necessarily present in all devotees of nationalism, is the claim to superiority of one's nations and one's culture over those of others. For how else can the devotion to a particular cause over another be rationally justified other than by the claim of that cause's superiority over the other?
The great evil that results from nationalism is the encouragement to do not what is right but rather to do what your rulers desire. Should your rulers follow the path of iniquity, you will adhere in lockstep to their dictum, entrusting yourself to their will without regard for the impartial worth of the action. If a battle to secure a portion of the world for "your" people is called upon by your rulers, you will mindlessly slaughter without a care, so long as you remain "true to your country." Since all nations encourage nationalism in time of war, the other nation's citizens will retaliate for the attack on "their" people. And what else brings warfare beside the swollen pride in one's nation? There was never a war that could not have been avoided with a lack of nationalism. For in order to manifest an enemy, he must first be differentiated from yourself, and nationalism allows just that.
An objective view makes clear the obvious--the other nation comprises people just like you; people who want happiness just as you do. So why not turn the interests of "your nation" aside and focus instead on the goals of the whole of humanity? It seems that just such an attitude would solve a whole barrage of problems, yet the common belief of nationalism is its direct antithesis.
When children act in a selfish manner, we scold them for improper behavior. When a group of youngsters thinks themselves superior to others, we scold them once more. Yet when we ourselves partake of such purile ways, it is an action paramount. Perhaps that is why Albert Einstein said that "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind."
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