Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nationalism -- Pride or Prejudice?

Is it necessary to be patriotic when the country is not at war?  Or do we hang on to the sentiment in hopes of it becoming a habit so we are prepared for war?  Why should we feel patriotic at all?  Patriotism or nationalism has its roots in ethnic identity.  Or maybe even in the more fundamental unit, the family.  Men have supported huge families and are taught since their embryonic stage that blood is thicker than water.  It's a clever ruse devised by mothers who don't want to let go.  And of course, there is always this lame duck in the family that requires extra attention.  It was necessary to support an uncle out of a job and a girl that never got married.  When the family no longer demanded full attention and there was enough money to spare, people helped their neighbors.  We choose to bond with neighbors of similar backgrounds, religion, language and culture. It is not easy for us to coexist with those that are not "our kind".  However, we are also tied to each other by a shared "pride" in our land.

Once we've moved past the bias of "kind" and identified ourselves with a heterogeneous community, we are at loggerheads with the establishment--the same establishment that we now praise to other countries, we resent in private.  "Belonging" at this point becomes ambiguous. It seems our social interaction expands in concentric circles and the nation is at the edge of this galactic dimension.  I'll tell you why the nation is the least favorite uncle.  Nationalism calls on its citizens to make sacrifices.  No one likes to make sacrifices.  No one wants to buy substandard products to boost a nation's economy.  No one wants to go back to the villages they've left, or to give anything back to communities they've worked hard to escape from...The idea looks noble and grand on paper but is not really practical or enforceable. Insular economics doesn't help a nation any.  The solution  is in opening doors to people with new ideas, imitating concepts that have been proven to work, inviting other countries to share.  We need to grow beyond religion, culture and boundaries of land. Cannot look back to roots. Otherwise, we promote fascism where race dominates the individual and the military suppresses any opposition.  Do we really need to learn the lessons of World War II all over again?


Nationalism is absurd.  

3 comments:

Mahadev Dovre Wudali said...

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/14/60minutes/main3833797.shtml

Priyam said...

Thanks for the link. I looked at it and had a good laugh. So we aim for a homogeneous country and not work very hard? I thought we were already doing that in India...
My theories all shot down the drain.

Meena said...

What brought this on Priyam? I agree with most of what you said. I parts I "don't agree" with are the ones that I didn't understand. But to grow beyond these man made boundaries is what we should all aim for. You almost had a Miss Universe answer there.....