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Levi LCL

Director-General , The Universal Party

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Is Nationalism a 21st Century Ethic - Isn't Nationalism more like Racism or Sexism than Patriotism?

Everywhere you look there are stories, articles, and studies showing a growing trend of 'global minded' citizens all around the world. We hear talk of the 'international community' in everyday articles about wars, embargos and conflict as well as arts and culture. Most know that our modern economy is highly interdependent and have come to terms with the realization that what happens in another country affects their domestic policy and the ordinary lives of their citizens. Why then is nationalism so common, among an already global world where everyday life is dictated more by what occurs in foreign countries than the people around you. From clothes, to food, to music and movies, to automobiles and gas can we afford to be nationalist any longer?

It seems that nationalism is very much like racism or sexism when your on the receiving end of the hostility and brutality it creates. People despising you just for existing or being born somewhere, something you cannot change, and even though we may be able to change our nationality (those of us who are wealthy enough) we must pick one, and any choice carries with it a long host of problems. In a global world shouldn't there be more space for global citizens, for people who don't want to listen to politicians rally against foreigners to scapegoat their policies and problems, or commit to other xenophobic tendencies.

The idea that one can be a nationalist and fair and balanced to other nations and peoples is very much based on the outdated and unjust idea of "separate but equal'. Which as we all know from history and everyday life never occurs and is merely a sweet way of asking to keep things the same, often said by those from the wealthiest and most privileged backgrounds in their respective nations.

To commit to a nation is to prioritize one country, one people, over 190 others, which means no matter who you are or where you are, you automatically care less about the majority of humanity. There is another way, right?

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Closing Statement from Levi LCL

Thanks everyone for participating in a lively debate on nationalism, and the rise of supranationalism in the 21st century as a practical solution and identity to the global social problems we face.

Due to the breadth of replies, I suggest those who are still interested in arguing this case continue, and join 'The Universal Party' on Facebook - A platform of universal values aimed at creating a global political movement that rallies supranationalism and applies it to the world stage.

We are the first truly global generation and the 21st century belongs to us. Thus lets continue this debate.

Best,
LCL

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  • Sep 5 2012: Hello... Just because we celebrate a nation / nation's people and culture, does not mean a feeling superiority. Who said nationalism is "anti-other-countries"? You've defined (irrationally) nationalism as a perception that all other people (from other countries) are inferior to the person/people who possesses this nationalistic belief. This is absolutely not the case (or definition, or general understanding). Your definition is very much outside the common perception.

    Nationalism is pride, loyalty; a strong sense of identification with the culture & fundamental values of a nation.

    [You'll love this Nationalism] I live in New York, the greatest city in the world, in the greatest country in the world, and I see people of all nations every single day who display their country's colors, fly their flags (in our city parks), and participate in cultural celebrations in which they (we) celebrate their national heritage. For example, Puerto Rico Day is one of the biggest parades of the year (and the biggest all-day party) and I would venture to say that (in general) those Puerto Ricans are proud, loyal, and incredibly patriotic about their Puerto Rican culture; they are not celebrating the superiority of Puerto Rico - - they are celebrating the country, culture, and values. This can be said of any person, from any country, who chooses to identify and celebrate a nation's culture, customs, and values.
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      Sep 5 2012: Good point, but I don't think anyone said that nationalism was 100 percent bad all of the time. Of course it has its perks, its times of glory and comfort. But it has a dark side, and it leaves scars on the lives of millions and I do not prioritize festivals or events in New York above them.

      It's easy to be a nationalist in a wealthy prosperous country with the worlds largest economy. In the centre of banking for the entire world. But much of the world lives outside this zone, and is alien to festivals in New York, and even if they aren't even if every country was well off and politically stable, we'd still be celebrating living our lives apart - and not together.

      Being human above a national identity does not make you brush aside history, or culture - the opposite it makes you celebrate all histories, all cultures as you see them as your own personal history, a lineage that has led up to this time. Nationalists prioritize their history above all others, you will have dozens of classes covering American history and the American perspective and just one giving sound-bytes to all the others.

      This is not real diversity, this is not real respect of foreigners, this is just compliments between strangers - common decency until a war springs up and the sweet turns sour and people stamp on those flags, and suddenly people stop feeling comfortable having their parades. You don't need to be a nationalist to have a cultural festival, but you do need to be Globalist (or global minded) to prevent bigotry and discrimination against a culture, people or foreign nation during war.

      History is much safer in the hands of those who value it equally, not those who write it up to suit their government. Just remember this bit of history, this same patriotic spirit you feel at parties and festivals, was once used to enslave Africans and exterminated native populations aka 'Manifest Destiny'. Every nation has a dark side, why, because they are nationalist - its how they operate.
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        Sep 6 2012: "Being human above a national identity does not make you brush aside history, or culture - the opposite it makes you celebrate all histories, all cultures as you see them as your own personal history, a lineage that has led up to this time."

        You just described the core of American culture. That's why we have Puerto Rico day, and St. Patricks Day, and Cesar Chavez Day, the Gay Pride Parade, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You say we brush aside history... but so does everyone, the concept of teaching a class on "World History" is a joke... Do you have a decade?

        Meanwhile you go on to ignore an important part of American history, and even distort it when you say "the same patriotic spirit you feel at parties and festivals, as once used to enslave Africans"... that wasn't us... That was the British, and the Dutch, and the French... Almost instantly after the United States of America was founded, more than half of our population abolished slavery, before... everyone else.
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          Sep 6 2012: Unfortunate it wasnt that distorted, although it could probably be said in a nicer more convincing format. It seems to me this view is the product of a nationalist education system. Why?

          The idea that Americans where first to abolish slavery in any part of their country before others is not a fact. The British Empire, a world dominating patriarchal government was far more liberal and progressive on fighting slavery than the Americans, who where seen as conservative and backwards. The British Empire effectively banned slavery in most of its territories three decades, a large part of a life, before the Americans. The Spanish Crown, made a large attempt to end slavery in the Americas as early as 1542 that's two hundred and thirty four years before America even existed. American nationalism and independence helped prolong slavery in North America, even though both Spain and Britain would have forbid it had it been a colony far earlier.

          The harm caused to Native Americans cant be blamed on the Europeans. The famous Trail of Tears was not a product of 'foreign powers', that was 54 years after American Independence, as was the famous Wounded Knee. America since its inception wasn't freer and more progressive than other nations - Britain, Germany, and many other countries have mixed populations and celebrate a vast range of cultural holidays, except they don't have Gay Pride Parades quite as much because same-sex marriages have been legal in a few nations for quite some time, including Spain, noticing a trend?

          Being cosmpolitan isn't an uniquely American quality, so no celebrating diverse cultures doesn't make you American, nor does it make you British, German, Australian, Canadian, or French. Actually non-American countries are better at it, inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages are much higher in Britain and Malaysia.
        • Sep 6 2012: "You just described the core of American culture. That's why we have Puerto Rico day, and St. Patricks Day, and Cesar Chavez Day, the Gay Pride Parade, Martin Luther King Jr. Day."

          I think you'll find a lot of countries have those kind of things. America isn't the only place with cultural diversity, you know.
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        Sep 6 2012: The British, and Spanish, "officially outlawed" the slave trade, progressively early. They continued to allow the slave trade to increase profits in every one of their colonies, for over a hundred years.

        "America since its inception wasn't freer and more progressive than other nations - Britain, Germany, and many other countries have mixed populations and celebrate a vast range of cultural holidays"

        Again... nonsense. Germany, and progressive "liberal" France... Decided everyone who wasn't them, deserved to die... twice since we outlawed slavery. Also, America has the single most diverse population in the world "inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages are much higher in Britain and Malaysia", factually incorrect... I didn't know Malaysia was that diverse, but Britain has nowhere near as many interacial marriages as Los Angeles, let alone America. Also, you must not forget, that unlike even Canada, we are bar none the most diverse European culture on the planet. There are no French, or British Americans... We're mutts. We're incredibly progressive. I think France, is still predominantly having sex with French people, so much for us being prude : p

        We do horrible things, what we did to the Native American people, is inexcusable. It's also what everyone does to tribes without weapons who own land they want, tragic, but par for the course at the time it was done. We are the most diverse and multicultural society that has ever existed... That doesn't mean we're perfect, but the idea we're racist, and other people aren't way more racist and nationalist, is just nonsense.


        Also, I just want to mention... The people that kept slavery... are still the ones destroying this country. Finally, my liberal education, sponsored by the government, taught me that we were one of the last nations to outlaw slavery. I found out on my own, that everywhere you want to visit in America, outlawed it right away, NY, NJ, Boston, Detroit, Philly...

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