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The idea that one can be a nationalist and fair and balanced to other nations and peoples is very much based on the outdated and unjust idea of "separate but equal'.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 24 2012: I don't think we limit ourselves to a national agenda because of racism or anything like that.

    Governance of a country is hard...the planet isn't even an option. Even with our current state of understanding governments fail. Therefore, I think this is more about "what to do" than "should we act".

    Many people see the horrible events happening across the globe...and cringe that we cannot fly over and scoop everyone up. However, no actual solution ever came from irrational desires. We have to dissect real issues to change.

    1) Green industry

    How do we help countries develop and produce for their people?

    2) Politics

    How do we motivate foreign leaders to make correct decisions?

    3) How do we do any of this without innovation?

    I don't agree that we are currently capable of helping the planet. I do believe certain countries have the right idea. However, the capability to actually solve these problems for other countries...is impossible for several reasons.
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      Sep 24 2012: Are they racist reasons or nationalist? Because I'm pretty sure telling most people they're not capable of making decisions is a bad thing.

      Making broad scopes of foreign people and labelling them as not 'having the right idea' is different from racism how? Because a passport replaces skin? Would you like to tell people from India, China or a variety of African nations they need to 'make correct decisions'. I believe they tried that - its colonialism.

      All people can make good decisions, the just need to collaborate. Nobody has a monopoly on being 'right'.
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        Sep 24 2012: Levi I tell people it's a bad idea when it results in the death of generations of people.

        Does that cover your guidelines?
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          Sep 24 2012: Are you asking if supranationalism or nationalism results in large casualties?

          The formation of nation-states resulted in World War 1 and 2, Vietnam, Korea (nation building in) Serbia, Georgia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and countless wars across the planet over the idea of the 'national security' or its opposition.

          Supranationalism is limited to the EU and UN as of today, and neither has created a war or conflict.
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        Sep 24 2012: Levi,

        Nation is a term that merely means an organized group of people in a certain "state".

        This is not indicative of the actual behavior of that nation.

        Nationalism is also not directly linked to any specific outcome as it is a concept.

        We can apply nationalism correctly, but we choose to give value to individuals instead.

        I think nationalism works if the nation itself has the right ideas in mind.
    • Sep 24 2012: No government is all bull and just stupid why does everyone down people think of it if everyone got together as one theres no chance that this stupid seperation would even exist. We can make a change not everyone is up for it i dont understand why. Life would be amazing.
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        Sep 25 2012: That's definitely a great idea Kilani. However, do you think society is ready for that kind of move?

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