TED Conversations

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The idea that one can be a nationalist and fair and balanced to other nations and peoples is very much based on the outdated and unjust idea of "separate but equal'.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?


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.


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    Sep 19 2012: Nationalism, compared to strict ego-centrism, is an improvement. Anything that expands the horizon of the limits of the group you call "us" is good. But yes, we have reached the point where we have to care about the large human community of the whole planet in order to get our species act together and take care of business.

    See Jeremy Rifkin's "Empathic Civilization" and many others to expand this approach and scale it up to global proportions. Bucky Fuller was there. Nelson Mandela was there. I like the "Stage 5 Tribe" described by David Logan and others.

    I like the image of the swarm or murmuration, as in
    -a reaction to the 2009 Copenhagen summit.

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      Sep 19 2012: There is defnintly more empathy in a system of world governance, as its built on the inherit equality and worth of human beings. As of today it is expected that Indians and Chinese should have a smaller voice and global role than civilizations far smaller and with less population. How does this occur? Through the nationalist inflation of human life. In which people are only as good as their nation is powerful.
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        Sep 24 2012: Hey Levi

        Point taken; however I want to reexamine our direction. It might be that civilization, in all its positive connotations, may not be the same thing as governance, which seems to be more about political traditions than cultural by usual context. Paradigms of many species of power are shifting as I speak.

        Trust is and always will be an issue and one of the central points of contention may be that many established leaders cannot seem to let go of warfare as a tool of change. Corporations and institutions have got to allow people at large to be engaged with the stewardship of our planet.

        Real bonds between humans are key for the larger good. Compassion and empathy must be involved in future paradigms. Get all people to share the planet; that's the hard part. Finding ways to do it is relatively easy.


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