Levi LCL

Director-General , The Universal Party


This conversation is closed.

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The idea that one can be a nationalist and fair and balanced to other nations and peoples is very much based on the outdated and unjust idea of "separate but equal'.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 29 2012: The political scientist Benedict Anderson describes nation states as imagined communities. ‘Imagined’, he writes, ‘because members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the mind of each lives the image of their communion.’
    Today's nation state based world is a political anarchy because each state has absolute freedom about what it does with its resources, which are not really it's resources if one draws a line through it next day. The national borders are contrived and lines with history (mostly sad) marred with wars, aggression or simply accession by military power. Just look at the cross border conflicts over rivers, land and natural resources.
    Nationalism is an idea that can make one person hero and villain on two sides of a line. It is an increasingly debatable and outdated concept in a world at the brink of environmental collapse.
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      Sep 30 2012: Nice way of putting it.
  • Oct 2 2012: Every imaginary line drawn in the sand creates another bar of a real prison for oneself and every other person that approaches.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti:
    "When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of [everyone]. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a [person] who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; [such person] is concerned with the total understanding of [everyone].”

    A world citizen.
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      Oct 2 2012: Interesting way of putting it! Territory I have said is an incredibly divisive idea. Property can still exist, but we really got to work on this concept of territory.
  • Sep 24 2012: Nationalism, oh a word i hate so very much, well to me its stupid we r seperated from everyone else we r in our countryd thinkin we r better then them and we r stronger when reslly we r all just a bunch of dumb asses fighting for shit yeah like america my great country its so free we have so much freedom yet a person can go kill someone and get away but get put in jail for smoken a blunt, other countrys say oh we r men we rule the women, others say, lets keep war going and not try to help shit...wish we new how many people r actually dieing for nothing just for freedom that we could have for free .... but no . i think we should all stop being followers and make some revolution. only resson the world is like this is cuz we dont do anything about it only thing the president cares for is gay rights. I hate being called part of this nation not to sound so bitchy but it used to be a goood nation but then some how it came to this.... then nationalism u get all these fights about race ,sex, and a lot of dumb shit people dont honestly care about they just want to sound right and so much education so little smart people ....WTF!! -_- STOP MAKEN US YOUNG PPL GO TO SO MUCH SCHOOL half the ppl out there r fucking rich and havent done shit!..... i wish i was not even human and if u spent time reading this then wow u waisted a while of ur life cuz no one will listen to anyone that isnt old and blind why cant the young nation have a choice in our future yall r going to be dead! we need a say! and so manypeople r gunna read this and say omg look at how un educated this girl is... well heres what i say.... i didnt ask for ur comment thanks for paying attention but do me a favor and fuck off... spelling and punctuation isnt going to get u the good things in life which come completely free and our natioinalism put a price on it now days .....we can stand against it. but i doubt anyone would try besides me
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      Sep 24 2012: You have more people in your corner, and thinking just like you do, than you may realize. Your anger is justified, in my humble opinion. Speaking now from my own personal and past expeience, it is time to own the reasons you are upset, redirect your anger and focus on what if any future we have left before us. We have to do this if we are to make a better world for our children that are on their way. From my past, I will share with you that my unleashed anger took from me several years of freedom, giving to me incarceration due to my own choice to abuse illegal drugs in a failed effort to self-medicate. Sometimes you anger seems directed at your allies, like myself, who could not agree with you and your sentiments more strongly. Channel that anger kilani, and let us do something for the future and become people who are able to love themselves for the ground we stood. your ally, Tim
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        Sep 24 2012: Many stand.
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          Sep 26 2012: thanks Levi, you and others like yourself give me confidence to stand and think deeper than we were taught. And your right, our sharing will help others rethink, or begin to think about all that we all have shared today. may it give them strength to look deeper without feeling aloneor like a traitor. That is one of nationalisms most evil characteristic, when people think for themselves they have been taught to believe they are traitors and evil. many world leaders could not be happier about the subject consequences of thinking freely. Hope to hear more questions like this.
      • Sep 24 2012: Im not an angry person if i seem to be i just find it sad that people r so stuck in there own minds to try to exspress someone elses and understand it. People never have the exact same opinions. But that doesnt mean we should fight over that. And the freedom we have yeah sure its great but its comeing with a cost when we could have it for free and full. We dont have full freedom theres more to it that i think we havent understood because our generations have trys to block the thought out and yeah people stand but not really thinking it threw and yeah. The younger generation needs to have a voice.
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          Sep 26 2012: Hello kilani. Forgive me for assuming I knew anything about you when we have only met here at TED. My sub-conscious mind attempts to measure the whole of the world and its inhabitants from memories stored, it can be my own worst enemy, when really it only means to protect me. I assumed you're angry because of your choice of words, when I am angry, tired or frustrated, etc., etc., I use very harsh language. When I hear it, I check myself and try to understand why I am I speaking with such venom, so intellectually, when I hear similar talk I assume someone is mad as hell, like me. You have reminded me to try and listen with a heart equally strong as my mind, then I know, I will be more objective.
          I also remember , what I call shattered illusions, times in my life when I understood the planet was a much different place then the one I had hoped to be born into. People were not sharing in hopes and visions for each other, and many secretly hate another's success or happiness, sometimes, even family. These thoughts anger me, yet to this day. At times, I must retreat to sort it out. People wonder what has happened to me when they have not heard or seen me for awhile. All these years later and I remain to struggle against the anger, the same anger that fuels my positive, pro-social actions through out the other days. I t may sound psychotic, I understand, but this anger was unleashed for thirty years of my life, leaving a path of destruction, theirs and mine. I began to understand the story of the two dogs fighting within my chest, told to me by an elderly friend of mine. My Grandmother knew of this rage, and used to recite her dreams of my un-doing in an effort to help me through the struggle of owning the turmoil within my soul. The batle for the bragging rights between my heart and mind. I share this because my prejudice is due to me, not you. You are concerned and thinking, for that I thank you. The world may not heal, but I do acquire understanding
    • Sep 24 2012: Listen to the youth for they speak the truth. Rhymes aside, the feeling of entitlement is a great fan to our friend flame. Freedom has never been free that is why until now many find it hard to even find the words to describe it yet alone claim to have it in its entirety. Move forward my dear, that is the best advice this clueless adult can give you. Understand your anger and own it, use your words and solve the problem. Attitude is everything.
      • Sep 24 2012: Freedom should be free. How will anyone know until someone stands up and trys to make it free. The only reason its not is because generations b4 us and we continue to walk in the same way we should switch it up. War is how we get freedom? Thats not free not free isnt freedom we should be able to be one. Just wish presidency war and government didnt exist seperation would stop and fightwas not a solution.. sounds like an amazing life we could have
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          Sep 26 2012: You're right! Freedom should be free, and it is mind wash that tells us freedom is not free. I understand, today, there is no freedom living in civilized nations. Where ever there is organized religion, institutionalized education, and a legitimized government that takes liberty or freedom from anyone not infringing on the rights of others, or they may trick you into believing in ownership rights of earth, water, and minerals, then tax you annually for them and take them when your taxes are not paid, (is this truly ownership) then you are paying for your freedom, which means it is no longer free. Only some of the indigenous people around the world experience anything close to the freedom we speak of and we do not have to look very far back to see what happened to the native americans. We don't have to look back at all to see what is happening this day to tribal people all around the world. From the southern tip of south america to the farthest points north of canada and alaska, imperialistic conquest, manifest destiny has colonized it all, acquired our freedom for the price of a false sense of security. The lives, humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and spiders are bought and sold for the natural resources they own and occupy. Some think," It's too damn bad they were born on top of our oil!" (uranium, cobalt, etc., etc.) Aside from all of this, we have to remember, there could not have been a better time for us to be born, we are the help and answer we have been waiting on. The generations yet to come are counting on us to be where the ancients have foretold we would be waiting, with the strength and knowledge for a healthier earth kept safe in our hearts. There is ancient prophecy of the indigenous, several thousand years old which speaks of the days we live. Maybe, if you are interested, check out Rainbow Warrior Gathering, or Warriors of the Rainbow. It may help ease your mind, many are there who share your questions and desires
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          Sep 26 2012: kilani, one more thing. I had to smile when I read and re-read your statement and/or question,

          "War is how we get freedom?"

          I love it! I don't know how old you are and it doesn't matter, your insight inspires me. Many people who believe they are knowledgeable would tell you, "yes' we are fighting for our freedom, and spreading democracy." Wars are not fought to preserve freedom, in my humble and knowledgeable opinion, wars are fought to steal freedom and prop up fake democracies. In the next few years, we are going to hear and learn a lot about the many wars and thirty-+ invasions the u.s. has committed, the lies that led up to and the lies still perpetrated to this day in an effort to protect the guilty. Check out the new release at the bookstores by Juan Gonzales --"Harvest of Empire" The movie is soon to be released and we americans will know why I refer to this country as the united states of embarassment

          check out www.DemocracyNow,org

          If you have access to satellite tv, check out Free Speech TV channel 348 here on Direct TV, also Link TV on channel 375, also on Direct TV channel 375, great truthful programming, and as hard as it might be, as far as entertainment and cheap laughs go, quit watching cable and network news channels. I wish you the best and hope to hear more from you. You are welcome to e-mail me through TED's inhouse e-mai, anytimel. Tim
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      Sep 26 2012: "When the earth is sick and the animals are dying there will come a tribe of peoples from all cultures who believe in deeds not words who will restore the earth to her former beauty. This tribe will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow."
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    Sep 10 2012: "There's no finer use of a flag than a blanket"

    People only defend nationalism when they want to do something that goes against human dignity. By arguing that they are doing it for their country (such as wars, terrorism, crusades) they are underrating important human values, that in normal circumstances would stop them from these acts of war.
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      Sep 10 2012: Very true, often the worst atrocities are done out of a justification 'for the greater good' or 'well-being' of a nation. Humanity would afford no such justification, or a human identity.
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    Sep 7 2012: Humans will never make progress divided into imaginary communities fighting over relatively small problems, divided we fail, united we stand. Many accept this as true, we the globally minded, merely ask for it to be translated into action.

    All for one, one for all. It is both possible, and necessary to adopt this view in the face of growing economic inequality, clossal environmental degradation, and numerous violent conflicts. We (humans) have overcome slavery, kingdoms, tribes, and empires that have kept us apart, now we will overcome nationalism. The strongest most potent force of conflict in the modern world.

    Not because any one nation so evil or unpleasant for its citizens, but because on a whole the nation-state system simply doesn't work out - no matter how hard people try to make it work, and on some level we all know it.

    This leaves us with the choice, to invent a new man made system, or to plough on without reform allowing our problems to outweigh our capacity to solve them. Some may choose the later, but many may rise to the challenge, be brave, and make a change of history that will come to define the 21st century.

    We humans have got a lot of problems, and we need unity more than anything. Nations don't solve problems, people do, and their numbers grow everyday.

    It's time people show their pride in being human, not some separate smaller identity.
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    Sep 3 2012: We live in local communities first before we are global citizens; and it is in being law abiding citizens in our local communities that we show ourselves as good global citizens.
    Patriotism is good; but we are together in our humanity. No nation should adopt the "It's us against the world" view.
    Patriotism must give way to universal charity when the two conflict.
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      Sep 3 2012: I was raised in 50 countries by the time I was 20. I have no home village, and there are millions more like me. For us there is only one option, global citizenship, as its easier for us to feel at home in Korea when we're German, or At home in Brazil when we are Japanese.

      Perhaps an alternative is the idea of human patriotism, for the human nation. I believe it can have an even more engaging habit and powerful meaning, if we start to use it more often.

      But what you said is good as well.
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        Sep 4 2012: The word Patriotism has the ring of violent conflict attached to it. It's not the sort of name I would use for a peaceful rally call on a planet-wide level.

        I would suggest world citizen as a replacement.
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          Sep 4 2012: Suggest an alternative.
        • Sep 4 2012: Perhaps humanism.
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          Sep 5 2012: World citizen and humanism are theories, and good suggestions, but human patriotism is a feeling towards one another.

          You wouldn't be like I want people to feel (world citizen) towards one another. Changes in words can have changes in the human heart, many villagers around the world or poor citizens may not feel they have the prestige to call themselves globetrotters, but they can darn well feel patriotism for the world, and a human nation.

          Part of the strange wording, is an attempt to make the identity of global citizens less aloof, and more like something people en mass can get into, a fever to be caught.
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        Sep 5 2012: Patriotism is a level of devotion to ones country. Some Patriots feel more aloft than others, more patriotic than their fellow devotes.

        By calling into question: how devoted are you to your country, you create a standard of alignment. You could force them back into a national alignment structure.

        World Citizens would have to find their point of alignment in this devotee structure. If they didn't measure up, perhaps they might feel the need to establish their own global alignment, their own patriotic group. This would have the effect of creating Global Citizen who are aligned in different groups. We end up with the same diversity that leads to social, Global fragmentation.

        How about something simple like brother and sisterhood?
        Or, another simple word, Earthling? Citizen of the Earth, etc.
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          Sep 6 2012: "A patriot is a man who loves his country always... and his government... when it deserves it." Mark Twain paraphrased
  • Sep 3 2012: "Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind." ~Albert Einstein

    Nationalism is no longer relevant to this epoche of globalizing tendency. Sure, it provides a sense of identity in some form; but perhaps instead of nationality, we need humanity; and instead of nations, we need a world. This tribal thinking may have served us well in the past, where identity as a nation, or tribe for that matter, was essential for survival of both the race and their culture. Today we have the opposite. We have two tendencies nowadays: The dissolution of nationality by political/economical means (example: European Union) and the dissolution by common means, that is, growing together and accepting one another's cultures, thus improving upon them. The problem with nationality, is wide in its scope, yet simple in its explanation: separation. We separate us with fellow man, when calling ourselves german, or polish, italian, etc... That truly constitutes an act of violence toward the species as a whole.

    It takes time, but most important of all, it takes a working worldly socio-economic model to hold the glue together (not under the rule of governments or private financial institutions such as the World Bank, but under the people -for the people). I mention socio-economic system, because when shit hits the fan (economic collapse) you see hatred towards one another, instead of compassion. Take the European Crisis that is taking place. The greek are slagging off the Germans for being Nazi-like with European politics, and the Germans labeling the Greeks for being lazy, unworthy. Why did this happen? Political Union - too fast and without the whole understanding of culture. So again to nationalism, we need rather access to the necessities of life, and I assure you, nations will grow together. Look for instance what a movement like the Zeitgeist Movement, for example, has recognized to be true: we are one planet.

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      Sep 3 2012: Great points, I am in agreement - right up until the ending. The Zeitgeist Movement, its one of those organizations where you dont trust the founder, and as success isnt quickly realized it becomes progressively like a cult. When people get frustrated they become increasingly brash. Nonetheless strong points, and perhaps a very similar means.
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          Sep 3 2012: Thanks, I am the Director-General of The Universal Party, I have no need for other movements, I only wish to add and combined movements into ours so that we may add upon one another and make real change in a consolidated global narrative.

          But as a good habit I remain open to suggestion. Perhaps to avoid my inevitable corruption as you suggest ).
  • Oct 2 2012: Yea I happen to agree... I also think nationalism is much so an illusion. It doesn't really exist. What exists are the differences in culture, and maybe race, but race is also a made thing in our heads to structure the world (so often at the expense of others); nationalism is something else entirely. Like saying that I'm "American". "American" is basically everything in the world; French, English, Irish, Native American, African, Mexican, etc. etc. Nothing really makes "American", unless you say so in your head. No nation or culture is superior to another too. And to finish this off, words of Buddhism come to mind: "The world is my home." Nationalism. Ugh
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    Sep 30 2012: Borders are evolving and will keep metamorphosing over the years. The nation-state we know today will be much different in the future.
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    Sep 26 2012: Mi Piace!!!! Thank You Levi! You put a new perspective of nationalism for me! I think that racism, sexism, nationalism, and other prejudices are stemmed from ignorance, close-mindedness, and contentedness.
  • Sep 26 2012: see finaly somone understand thank you!!! Fina;
    lly thanks TIM :)
  • Sep 26 2012: I don't care who you be knowin or what you created, what school you attended and how you were grade Yeah who you grew up with or who you just dated, and what you agree with or what you debated. You cherished or hated, different or related. You sober or faded, :) we should be thinkin like this
  • Sep 25 2012: In light of the recent tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands, this discussion feels painfully salient. As a 1st generation Chinese-Canadian living in urban China now, I am alarmed - even horrified - to find the divisive sense of nationalism present even amongst my tween-aged students. "Teacher, do you like Japan?" they recently asked beginning a class. All it took was my "Yes" to elicit their unexperienced and propagandized, yet strong and pervasive dislike - even hate - was towards Japan(ese) (I wasn't quite able to pin down whether it was the noun or adjective that was the target of their comments). Everything from "bomb the Japanese" to "it's okay to kill them because they killed millions of Chinese in Nanjing". Most were readily able to regurgitate facts from their history books and report news bites about American companies (read Apple) suspiciously published map data that names the disputed territory according to the Japanese name. "America wants China to go to war with Japan so that it China will stay behind in the global economic race," one student said.

    If the bitter, angry tones of nationalism exist even amongst these innocent, unexperienced children in this urban, forward-thinking country, I am afraid to think about how else they must manifest. Such senseless hate. I am left with the motivating thought, "What is my responsibility in all of this?"
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      Sep 25 2012: Changing mindsets towards racism came from people confronting it, the same can be done for xenophobia where most beliefs are held - unchallenged. Point out that being human comes first, nations second and that talking in this manner negates the humanity and dehumanizes, its not logic, its prejudice.

      Few people knowing participate in prejudice, once its out in the open.
  • Sep 24 2012: I think everyone is keen on change, progress and moving forward. I believe the challenge truly lies in finding something truthful common ground that everyone can benefit from and building that vision for the next generation. But first if posters are really honest about this pursuit, we all have to agree that we will not be the ones to reap.the benefits but rather the next generation or even the one after. The key lies in inspiration. No matter what anyone says in this forum, change will not follow. The status quo is what it is, and merely preaching that the world should be one is not enough to overcome inspired nationalists, patriots, the religious and anyone who values their identity over another's. That is just the nature of the beast. The real path to unity is the conceptual understanding that together we are stronger, that bigger is only better when the right system is applied. Communities and economics run on both the principle of communication.
    • Sep 24 2012: We could be something greater then and bigger then what has been on earth. Just to many negative people that wont give a single shit. We need u except that not everyone is the same and weall have our opinions but we can look deeper then just our differences i mean imagen a life where we could just be free and not afraid. Just plane free its sad though. We cant get over our small difderences. Some people r so ignorent
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    Sep 24 2012: Nationalism, along with all the other -isms is a false security for a brainwahsed people in a broken nation. So yes, I could not agree with the correlation between racism and nationalism any less firmly than I stated previously. All -isms are counter productive to balance and harmony.
    Nice observation, thanks for the question.
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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.

  • Sep 19 2012: Nationalism is simply an obselete idea, much as Feudalism is. Not that it never had value, or that it has no good qualities..The experiences of the last few centureies has given us a good sense of just how unstable and uncivilised an idea it is: It has justified incredible atrocities , killed millions of people for vague reasons, all based on the premise that there can be no Law higher than Patriotism, which usually comes down to Might makes Right., and certainly has not the sllightest regard for human beings, except "Members" of the Nation. But this is exactly it's weakest point: just who constitutes the "Nation", anyway? Minorities usally don't count. Like the Irish in Britain, or Moslems in Serbia. Originally,as a historical process, the "Nation" was sort of self defined, like the formation of France at the time of Joan of Arc. But often as nations became successful, other groups were incorporated, someitmes by force, sometimes more or less voluntarily. First thing you know, you have an "Empire", no longer an Ethnic or cultural unit. That is what is happening to the US right now. No longer a bunch of WASPs.We should not mourn the end of Nationalism, we should just move on. Over time, human groups who feel "related" have grown larger and larger. And there is a tendency to create legal protections for ordinary life, so as to avoid violent conflicts.. This has been done quite successfully up to the very large City level. Citydwellers do not believe that "wars" would settle problems within their cities.; But iInternationally, it's completely different: Wars can be devastating and frequent, and the usual reason given: "We had no alternative". Indeed so. But it is just this instability that dooms Nations; they have no way to solve prolblems fairly, in the absence of a system of World Law. There is no such thing as "International Law" at present, meaning Rules that all nations follow , subject to penalties.
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      Sep 19 2012: Very true, I like the 'no law higher than Patriotism' line, it encapsulates how nationalists see the international stage.

      There are no systems of world law, but there can be - with enough sweat.
  • Sep 14 2012: Patriotism implies nationalism: a patriot would fight for his country against another country even if that other country is morally superior so you can't be a patriot without being a nationalist.
    • Sep 14 2012: I for one, consider all countries that are not Western style liberal democracies to be completely illegitimate. So yes, patriotism for a country which does not respect our fundamental enlightenment values is essentially misplaced.

      Then again, nothing is black and white. Is the US reluctance to use proportional representation mean that the country is a tyrannical dictatorship?

      On the individual level however, it is still logical, desirable even, for people to sympathize for a country which guarantees their rights, to which they pay taxes, and which is constituted by citizens they identify with. If said country does not guarantee their citizenship a certain set of rights, or fails to uphold the law, then the whole point of the social contract is practically moot.

      That does not mean that pride and commitment to a country which succeeds in doing this is misplaced - I find it necessary, and positive.

      "True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else."
      - Clarence Darrow
      • Sep 14 2012: "On the individual level however, it is still logical, desirable even, for people to sympathize for a country which guarantees their rights, to which they pay taxes, and which is constituted by citizens they identify with."

        Of course, but it stops being so clear cut when two countries who fit your description go to war, which was the situation I was talking about, let alone when the "enemy" country is superior. Would an American patriot refuse to fight against a country which ensures its citizens all the same rights as the US, but with the addition of a national popular vote and more rights for gay people?
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        Sep 15 2012: I'm am for sake of convenience going to ignore how bigoted 'I for one, consider all countries that are not Western style liberal democracies to be completely illegitimate' sounds, and focus on the point the that by your own standards (successful western nation states) only 17 percent of the world would get a passing grade. Which means nation-states are by large and wide failures, why should the worlds people insist on using a model which doesn't work? The world has problems, and we need solutions. Nationalism has been tried, and it has failed to deliver results. I do not favour clinging to models, when they have been disproved.

        Pushing nationalist sentiment on people who've been at the receiving end of its discrimination, who's lives have been marred by crooked national leaders, and both exclusive and aggressive ethnic and social nationalism, is far more unnatural than asking them to liken to 'pan-human' feelings. Nationalism has made millions of refugees, two world wars, and genocides in every continent - it has far more opposition than universal humanist sentiment. It merely lacks a public theatre.

        The optimism in nationalism was better reserved for the 17th century, before people could look at a map of the world, completely dominated by nation-states and realize, nothing has changed.

        Nationalism will not stop or even competently handle a global epidemic of aids, war, halt poverty, or global warming - the 20th century is proof of this, as it saw the rise of each - the challenges of our time. Thus it shouldn't be our choice.
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          Sep 15 2012: From my geographical point of existence,75% of the planets problems come from the northern hemisphere,you want to rescue the planet? then ask those that humans deem less to suicide for the sake of the race,if this is abhorrent then ask anyone about resource management,at the back of every humans mind lurks that monster,it's genetic,we are predicated towards self preservation and gene disemination,get past this then the wonder and joy will pass but it will never go away,it will always be there and eventually the machine will reflect it in it's product.

          I like what you say,when are you going to run for Prime minister?
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        Sep 16 2012: To Ken, '75% of the planets problems come from the northern hemisphere' I don't even know how you'd beginning calculating that, 75% of AIDs doesn't exist in the northern hemisphere, for that matter neither does 75% of gender inequality or numerous other issues. Pollution isn't the best indicator for all social issues.

        Nothing lurks anywhere, there's no dark self that's likely a belief influenced by Christian mythology. Whatever this 'monster' is it certainty isn't genetic, making mistakes doesn't make you a beast, it just makes you wrong. There isn't suffering because the world is led by monsters, its led by people who are incompetent, mainly because their philosophies, methods and habits are to disregard most peoples opinions and help, instead of adding upon them.
  • Sep 7 2012: Nationalism is today for stone age humans.
    The universe has opened to us. To think of nationalism as a necessity is like living in the past, living in isolation from human advances, being short sighted or simply stupid. We are all in this little spec of star dust together and our destiny is the same, no matter what part of the planet you come from or even if you are human, animal or otherwise.
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      Sep 9 2012: Good point! It's nice to hear a view that doesn't assume nationalism is correct from the first seconds.
  • Sep 6 2012: You look out for those that mean something to you, that are linked to you.
    I look out for my family, my friends and my general community if I can. That community then extends further upwards to government level.

    If I had a choice between assigning a coal deposit to my country, or another one that would benefit equally from it, I would choose my own country, as what I care about is in that country. That's nationalism essentially. I prefer my country, my community, over others. Not because I dislike the other countries or communities but because I care less about them.

    When that coal deposit, and the benefiting equally parts start to change then you worry really. Then the character of the voters come into play and based on current trends, the West looks out for itself at all costs, with a little aid given to assuage the guilt.

    Is it wrong to look out for the place that you care about though?
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      Sep 7 2012: Hello, thanks for taking the time to post on this conversation. I wish you'd taken a bit more time however and read through more of the responses of people on it.

      Nobody said they dont care about their family, friends or general immediate community. It's a false choice and a inapporporiate straw man argument to invent the assumption that in order to work globally or have a global identity, you must forfeit and deprioritize your family, friends and community. Nobody would do this, nobody has ever asked for this.

      The wrongful assumption is that in order for one community to benefit another must suffer. This is the basis of nationalism, a harsh zero sum mentality, that assumes anything foreign to itself or new should be distrusted and dehumanized, this behaviour should not be projected onto other systems of belief. A example of this is the globalist party of Universalists who's slogan is, self, family, and humanity - why? Because its possible to serve each without inventing a problem, that only one can benefit.

      This is the age of mutual benefit, humanity doesn't benefit from the neglect of a family, a community, or an individual - no amount of wrongful assumptions will change that. It's completely possible to help a local community as well as the global community, as it often takes the exact same thing - which is why many problems are often global. You'll find you have little to fear from a cause who looks out for everybody, equally, and there is nothing wrong about that.

      As a general rule, assume the other people are human. I assume you have decent motivations, assume the same. Assumptions of neglect of family, friends, and community does not befit this however, I understand this may not be what you intended.
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    Sep 6 2012: We're human,we need anchor points and where you are born is the first point,as time moves on you may move around but eventually you find a place and settle down and merge with the local environment.human nature,if the human race was constantly on the move we would probably turn the planet into Mars tomorrow.
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      Sep 7 2012: Where you choose to live should not determine your identity, you should be human first and whatever local identity second. I think its best, for example just because you move from Boston to Tokyo doesn't mean suddenly you have to espouse the Japanese local political view. This wouldn't be a radical assumption based on your statement, unless you where assuming people never leave their country when they find 'anchor points', as to my knowledge many often do.

      I've said it once, and I'll say it again to this end. You can simultaneously be local and global, there is no distinction, being globalist doesn't require an out-of-body experience, although to many it seems foreign enough at the moment to appear to. Often supranational thinkers are much better at defending whatever community they are in, because they engage without the preconception their identities will clash.

      To have a global identity, one doesn't need to abandon the local, but merely loose or question local preconceptions and work with others without them.
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    Sep 6 2012: I think nationalism is linked to our capacity of organization. We started grouping in tribes, and as our intelligence and tech grew we became able to organize in bigger communities.

    I think the internet became the seed of the next challenge, may be the final frontier, a global community which gives the same value to a any human being whatever his birth place may be. Its clear that if this happen it will take a few centuries.

    However the are projects such as ours called Global Opinion Force at www.gof.do which is aware of this concepts and offers tiny steps to reach the sense of a global community.

    I think a clever perspective for the futre is to think of ourselves as HUMANS FIRST, CITIZENS SECOND.
  • Sep 6 2012: Nationalism concentrates all the worst impulses of humanity into a single backwards doctrine. While it may have had its uses rooting out the edifices of feudalism, it is essentially an ethic for which the 21st century has no use and as a consequence it must be relegated to the history books just like feudalism.

    What we need now is a anti-nationalist, cosmopolitan, monolithic, supranationalist, humanitarian, universalist, global culture that can motivate the creation of new global institutions capable of representing humanity above all nations.

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    Sep 5 2012: Nationalism should be practiced like team sports. I like the Dodgers, they are my local team, I spend my money there when I feel like going to the ballpark. I don't like the Giants... No one has to die over it... but aside from that, I believe a sense of healthy competition keeps us sharp.
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      Sep 6 2012: Yeah that's not what many experience as reality, nationalism is not like football or tennis. People die in large, large, nearly unimaginable numbers for it, and I believe it deserves deeper and longer thought on whether it is necessary at all.

      World War 1 and 2, would you consider this healthy competition? Was the United Nations very conception not an acknowledgement on behalf of all the world governments that nationalism unchecked would run astray and cause great violence.

      The best thing is to stand for one another, not compete and utilize poverty and suffering of others to expand on your own well-being. The age of zero-sum mentalities is on the decline.

      P.S. I 'm sure your own personal views are quite tolerant but the ideas you support cause many problems beyond your comparatively fantastically safe and stable country (yes I know there's high murder rates and prisons are full), and since these ideas have global applications you must be responsible to their global implications. Nationalisms true meaning cannot be seen from a case study of one country - but by measure of its interactions with others, for that's when its darker elements come out. All countries have two faces, the one they show locals and the one they show foreigners, aka America in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan probably dont feel like their cultures are being validated.
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        Sep 6 2012: I'm talking about the future of nationalism, not it's past. America has the most powerful army in the world, and we are painfully nationalist... How many nations have we conquered during our 60 years of dominance?

        A few islands we treated pretty horribly. We got involved in a few scirmishes that wrere none of our business... but... be honest... In the history of human empires of our wealth and military might, name one power, which took less territory at the height of it's power...

        We're the worst form of government which ever existed... Except of course, for every other form of governance humanity has yet tried : p

        National pride keeps you sharp, and you should be proud to be British as well. Especially when making purchasing decisions, you should focus on your local economy, to raise workers standards of living, and improve the lives of your neighbors... It's just common sense, the imaginary, nonsense faith, we place in our own local economy, increases its value, in a faith based economy. Everyone should have local pride... That is my opinion though, I could be wrong.
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          Sep 6 2012: I find peoples political beliefs are often contrary or hypocritical to the values the actually hold dear. Simply because people spend most of their time developing their own relationship to the world and much less time considering others.

          So I read your profile, it says world-traveller (surprising), someone who cares about gender neutral parent incomes and human dignity.

          Based on the little I get from how you describe yourself, I'm guessing your somebody who doesn't like assigning labels to somebody, then mistreating them because of it. But that's exactly what your doing when you practice nationalism, you only need to realize it.
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          Sep 6 2012: P.S. Last time I checked eliminating a generation of Vietnamese males and embargoing Cuba into the ground, carpet bombing of Lao, the routine assassination of South American leaders, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq coupled with the nuclear annihilation of cities in Japan was much more than a few Islands.

          Also china... China at the height of its power expanded very little beyond its present borders for thousands of years, and ruled in a time when the west was little more than tribes wandering the woods.
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        Sep 6 2012: "I'm guessing your somebody who doesn't like assigning labels to somebody, then mistreating them because of it. But that's exactly what your doing when you practice nationalism"

        Not at all. When I practice nationalism I simply engage in pride that I live in the most diverse, and creative empire in human history. I strive to improve my nation, and return it to its senses. If I had no sense of national pride, I would not care that my country has gone off the rails in recent years. Since I love my country, and respect what people suffered through to create it, I strive to make it better.... That is all my nationalism does.

        China had issues with legal slavery until 1905 btw... and were very racist, admittedly justifiably, against the Japanese. No ones hands are clean. Let he who is without yada, yada yada : p

        Also, I just have to mention this... For all the travel Europeans do... You seem to have no realistic concept of how white and homogenous you all are... At least, the 10 countries I've been to... and that was in tourist cities... The concept that Europe is diverse, can only be entertained by a European.
        • Sep 6 2012: I would say that Europe is diverse because it happens to be a continent encompassing many different countries with different languages, histories, and traditions. As such, the idea that it isn't can only be entertained by the ignorant.

          Let's ignore your offensive comment that all of Europe is "white" for a moment and focus on your underlying assumption that diversity comes from the color of people's skin. I would say that is a pretty problematic criteria because skin color does not reflect life experience or personal character and therein lies the problem with nationalist logic that says humanity can be conveniently categorized like insects into prepackaged, one-dimensional categories.

          And yes, if you make statements like "I am from the greatest country in the world" you are implicitly making a judgement about the inferiority of other countries. There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's culture but that does not necessarily mean that you have to make normative judgements about it being better than others.
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          Sep 6 2012: To David,

          You have stated you don't like to stereotype people by nationality. Interesting notion.

          I imagine thus far you have been narrating my comments in your head with a British accent, seeing as you've told me to be proud of the fact I'm British. The truth is the reason it says United Kingdom under my name is that's where I went to university, its my biggest network of friends and contacts and is relevant for business - I am not British, I can't even fake a British accent.

          I've neglected correcting this because thus far I have hoped to convince you with the power and content of my ideas, but I see that it requires a more personal demonstration.

          I'll pause, while you struggle to find me a new label - I am rather rebellious perhaps I'm Palestinian, then again I do look rather Mediterranean perhaps I'm Italian or Greek, or maybe something exotic like South African. Personally I've always wondered what I'd sound like with a Rastafarian accent. People get wrongful perceptions about people all the time based on nationality, and its not okay - that's the theme of the original question.

          Anyway, have fun allotting me to my new category. Just don't expect it to affect my actions, thoughts, or beliefs.
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        Sep 6 2012: Didn't say greatest... Most diverse, and creative, so far. I think those two things are linked, that was why Rome was good for awhile, it accepted everyone. Also we have the best military, but personally I'm not proud of that, it should shrink. China has been doing better in the last decade honestly, but Nikola Tesla invented more of the devices you use, than most countries.

        I didn't mean white to just mean white... What I meant, is that in Paris, you meet white people from Paris. In Rome, you meet Italians, from Rome. In Athens, you meet Greek people, from Athens. It's not a diverse culture internally... The continent as a whole is diverse, but you don't have a uniform government.

        In Los Angeles, you meet Greek people from Athens, and white people from Paris, and Italian people from Rome, and Africans, born in Africa, and 4th generation latino Americans, and Cuban refugees... You can't walk down the street without seeing people from all over the world. Europe is not like that, each city is very homogenous.
        • Sep 6 2012: As somebody born in Europe and somebody who has spent extended periods of time living, working and studying in those cities you dismiss as being "homogenous" I have nothing else to say other than you don't know what you're talking about.

          And what you qualify your claim that America is more diverse than the entire continent of Europe with, anecdotal personal experiences about meeting people from random countries in LA, can easily be matched by anybody who has lived in a major European city.

          Try telling European cities are homogenous to the 1 in 3 foreign born inhabitants of London from such countries as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Poland, and Jamaica and the millions more who come from other areas of the United Kingdom.

          Try telling European cities are homogenous to the 19% of people (1 in 5) who live in Paris that were actually born there.

          Try telling European cities are homogenous to the population of Vienna, 40% of which were not even born in Austria.

          Even though I disagree with with your comments, thank you for illustrating how nationalism can make one resort to wild unsubstantiated claims to validate a quality of their particular locale.
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        Sep 6 2012: In Los Angeles... Almost 50% of the population is from the continent of Europe... Is that a demographic?

        Again, you just don't even realize how different it is.
        • Sep 6 2012: I don't prescribe to the ideology of American exceptionalism and therefore don't find anything novel about cultural diversity in America when compared to Europe.
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        Sep 6 2012: Benjamin,

        Sorry Levi, no reply button. I did not say exceptional. I said we are the most diverse, and creative nation in history. By creative, I meant in terms of inventions we (humanity) use and love today... that may be a bit biased... i'll give you that, I'm a techy. To be fair, America also gives a good run for the money in terms of artwork though, again, not over the last decade : (

        I am proud of the 2 things we do well. I am ashamed of the fact that we are the most violent nation of the last decade. I am ashamed that we abandoned the bill of rights. I am ashamed that we teach young boys how to fly killer robots with playstation controllers... but, what little nationalism I have left is reserved for creativity, and diversity, my countries two greatest strengths.

        Germany has and abundance of the worlds greatest engineers, and they should be proud of that... the way they are proud of their sports teams in the olympics. It's fun to talk a little sh"t, and mess with each other a bit, it's how you break down one anothers defenses, and learn. France and Italy make the best wine, and have some of the most amazing religious artwork ever created... and they should be proud of it. Spain has Gaudi... How can you not be a bit nationalist about that?

        As someone who grew up in New York, and moved to Los Angeles however, I'm confident very few European nations experience the inter continental cultural exchange enjoyed in most major American cities. Paris was a horrible example though, even my own memory betrays me... Paris was a bit different in that regard. Never been to London, much to my regret. Hopefully I remedy that after a month or so doing Egypt Israel. And no I'm not a rich man, I work hard, save for a year or two, and choose to spend what little disposable income I have exploring the world as cheaply as possible, in hostels.
        • Sep 7 2012: "As someone who grew up in New York, and moved to Los Angeles however, I'm confident very few European nations experience the inter continental cultural exchange enjoyed in most major American cities."

          Ever heard of the EU?
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        Sep 6 2012: I apologize for the proud to be British thing... I should have said "Proud to be a member of the United Kingdom", but it's longer, so I took a percentage based guess. I just meant you should be proud of wherever you are, and wherever you are from. It's a necessary tool of survival, which encourages you to make it a better place.

        For the record I did not narrate you with a British accent, I like most Americans, think globally... I'm Scottish, Polish, German, and Irish after all.
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          Sep 7 2012: I would have to reiterate my position once more on this issue. It's not a necessary tool for survival, and America is not unique. Last time I checked Canada was made of immigrants too, and they have a whole section of their country which speaks another language, Australia is also a country of immigrants.

          Countries like India and China have actual diversity, where they speak different languages and have significant differences and problems. Kerala (South India) has a communist government and countless local languages. American differences are bland, regions change in America and slight changes occur in accent, and largely newly invented idiosyncratic issues. Regions change in China, and police presence dwindles, the land changes, and the majority religion is Islam. Russia extends from Japan to Eastern Europe, the Congo still has pygmy tribes, Countries in Micronesia Yap still trade with stones, If you had a global perspective, the last thing you'd do is tell us how diverse America is, its nothing compared to the world around it, and no offence very few outside of America care.

          International news covers genocide in Sudan, civil war in Syria, not the differences between Alabama and New York, I know that's putting it too harshly, but to many foreigners its just not relevant. If they ask when your abroad, its just courtesy, just like how you don't know difference between their states - nowhere really is it that big a deal.

          There's 185 plus countries, people can barely recall important information about each, let alone each providence or state inside. It'd be Herculean. It's not kind to expect foreigners to memorize differences between states, when you cant reciprocate. It's petty, every country has it.
        • Sep 7 2012: The term "member of the United Kingdom" makes no sense. It's a country, not a church. But they have a word for when somebody is a member of a nation-state - citizen. I think he made clear that he wasn't a British citizen when he said "I'm not British."

          The thing is having distant ancestral ties to a place doesn't suddenly imbue one with an understanding of it. I mean my great grandfather was Russian but I don't walk around calling myself Russian because I can't speak Russian, I'm not a citizen of Russia, and I've only been to Russia once. That's why I find it amusing when some people in the United States go around calling themselves Irish, for instance, when they can't even identify Ireland on a world map. For some being Irish isn't some novelty they can pull out of the bag to seem diverse, it's their actual country of citizenship, birth, and residence.

          "I like most Americans, think globally."

          Don't you see at least some contradiction in being nationalist about thinking globally?
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        Sep 7 2012: I already explained my definition of nationalism, and it is a global one. The Dodgers, and The Giants, are both part of Major League Baseball, they don't murder one another... but they still manage a healthy rivalry, and sense of competition. That's the way I'm nationalist. I'm proud of what's good about my country, I care enough about it to change what's wrong with it... and, I've chosen to live here.

        Canada, and the USA are very similar in how we approach diversity. The United States, does not even have a national language, and if you immigrate here legally, we have to be willing to teach you in your own language, until you learn the common language of english. Australia, is right there with us, we are all nations of immigrants, and most of us are very proud of that. It's a great thing to be. Canada, and Australia, have much smaller populations, so maybe they're just as creative, but simply have a smaller place on the world stage.

        We are not exceptional, we are not the greatest, but we do have the most diverse population, more diverse even than Canada and Australia. The United States grants full citizenship to over 1 million people a year... On that one thing, no one competes... I'm allowed to say diversity is our greatest strength because it is objectively, verifiably accurate. Creativity, again, there's good argument... but the idea that you think a country which speaks 2 languages is more diverse than Los Angeles and New York is ludicrous... Every language on earth is spoken in New York city. That's the cool thing about us.

        My point is not about America being special... It's about how all nations are special, and America has people from all nations working together. America, Australia, and Canada, are where nationalism came to die. They are where Japanese and Chinese people get along, and French and German people get along, and Huutu, and Tutsi have gotten along... for over a hundred years. That's cool, denounce it all you want.
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          Sep 7 2012: I think part of the difference in view here is that Levi is considering only differences among states within the US, and notably slight differences in accent, while you are considering the diversity of culture and language within metropolitan areas.

          When the teachers at a school look around them and see kids speaking 45 different languages in one school and bringing cultural traditions to match, they, fortunately, do not find these differences "bland." Rather these differences children bring, along with the common features the children all share, represent an opportunity.

          I think people regardless of where they live or have traveled seem to perceive countries as more homogeneous than they, in fact, are.
          People have a lot to learn about each other, despite what they may think they know.
  • Sep 5 2012: I was in Kenya when the train to Mombasa derailed - hundreds of passengers were strewn across the savannah, and the local government was unable to rescue everyone in a timely manner. Whites were airlifted to hospitals in Nairobi. Blacks were left to die - some with only minor injuries.

    The East African newspaper was on fire for days, condemning the priorities of their own government.

    The law of economics is quite clear on this subject. The more you have of anything... ANYTHING - the less value is attached to same. Period.

    End of discussion.

    Rail and stomp your feet - evangelize on the sanctity of HUMAN life - even as those humans continue to breed to the detriment of every other living thing.

    Xenophobia, nationalism... call it what you want. The 21st century will be a time for choices - between Bangladeshis and Tigers. Between African farmers and giraffes.

    Right wing xenophobia aligns perfectly with Left wing environmentalism - policies to rid the planet of poor breeders is mandatory. Econ 101.

    Pick up a copy of Outside Magazine. Or any publication by and for the Wildlife Federation and Peta.

    Outside is published in Santa Fe, and a quick perusal tells you the choices of their readers and writers. Too many people. Too few animals, plants, and open spaces. We don't want to look into the eyes of dying children. We just want them gone.

    I join Paul Theroux in my misanthrope, which increases exponentially with my passport stamps.

    I blame penicillin, AID and anthropocentric religion for our desperate situation. If they cure Malaria, all of middle Africa will be destroyed.

    Nobody wants to live in a world with 9 billion people. And the law of economics will prevail. Not a good time for brown eyes or skin.

    I choose Elephants over Masai. I choose wildlife parks over Bangladeshis. I choose whales over Japanese.

    sorry... but I speak for millions and millions of others - too timid to confess
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      Sep 5 2012: Look you volunteered and Africa and got startled, so you changed your world-view. It happens, I lived in Africa from a young age I don't really see them as foreign, and I don't get surprised when atrocities happen, they happen all the time and have been happening for millions of years - which is a great reason to support something seeking real worldwide solutions, not accept it as inevitable and hide behind 'radical' ideas that are actually old, and have been tried over and over to no effect.

      What's the definition of insanity? "Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result', trying emotional fascism over and over and expecting anything but failure, is ridiculous. Being fascist about the environment doesn't make you brave, it makes you to weak to collect yourself and exercise the discipline necessary to get real results, for both people and the environment. There is a better way, so lets do that, not the easy, emotional, dramatic way.

      Prejudice is weakness, populations which are wealthy have done so through openness and cosmpolitian values, nobody trades with someone trying to eliminate them, as you say economics prevail.
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    Sep 5 2012: I would like to start by thanking you for this very well put question. I’ve had this thought as well on the 4th of July this last year. Im only twenty years old and I’m looking on social networking sights and just evaluating the community and the people put off the vibe ( and a lot of the time plainly say) “America! F**k all the other countries!” This is especially prevalent in the younger generations and others around my age. I don’t understand this at all. We shouldn’t care where the person is from all we should care about is that they are another person! If everyone was taught at a young age to accept the differences and it and to try and make other lives better then we wouldn't have to worry about constantly protecting ourselves from attackers.Once again I greatly appreciate it because ive been looking for the words to say and you just said them.
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      Sep 5 2012: Thanks Stefon. Young peoples hearts, especially your generation can be stirred again with feelings for human sympathy with the right words, the right actions. I suggest you put yourself to it, if it is an issue you find yourself drawn to, with a sense of duty.
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    Sep 5 2012: Sometimes, your national cohesion is all that keeps you alive. The state of Israel is surrounded by enemies. They have been taken on the carpet by other countries many times for clamping down on the number of Palestinian immigrants. There is a strong inclination towards genetic exclusiveness. But, I believe this is done for the sake of survival in support of their National interests. They have no valid political alternatives. They are a people of unique quality that may never join in with a global community under one banner. Saudi Arabia is also such a nation.

    In this sense, it may be correct to call Israel and Saudi Arabia a form of National Racism. It wasn't that long ago that the United States, touted as a melting pot, actively sought to give a primal, National, sense of self to white people over people of color. They do, appear to be moving away from this personification, due in part to the fact that people, not exclusively white, are themselves becoming a majority.

    I'm starting to understand the question that Levi is asking us to consider.
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      Sep 5 2012: Do not fear for the people of Saudi Arabia or Israel. Their countries national narratives will not overcome their ability to first be human.

      I grew up partly in the middle east amongst the royal families of many nations, there is much humanism and internationalism amongst them. Most are raised in Europe, educated in America or Britain, and citizens of a foreign land. They preach anti-western sentiment to get votes (per se), not because its a inner belief. Religion is like the East Asian concept of 'face', it is applied similarly to the practice of their faith with the same kind of one-upmanship that leads to bipolar views in the public sphere.

      In Israel a popular genre of music for the Israeli youth is Palestinian hip hop/rap, why? It preaches against Zionism and the Israeli state. Because on many levels they agree, and sympathize. In Saudi the House of Saud has mercantile history with little inclination towards religion and nationalism, they maintain them both to keep hold of the Whabbist faction they long ago partnered with who maintain their police and military, a regrettable alliance they well know, as they find themselves unable to easily transcend its expired mandate.

      There are contradictions to our national narratives everywhere, we need but find them.

      People everywhere are sympathetic to a global cause, they only need to believe there is energy and footwork behind it, to begin to consider it more seriously.

      And thanks as always for your participation in this conversation.
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        Sep 5 2012: I only brought it up because I'm Jewish and pretty updated on things overseas. In the Temples, we have people who live in Israel proper come and give talks and updates on what is happening in Israel, how we can help, etc. Most Jews are very updated on what's happening in all the issues, especially things relating to defense.

        If you are Jew in American, you are also an Israeli Citizen.

        "People everywhere are sympathetic to a global cause, they only need to believe there is energy and footwork behind it, to begin to consider it more seriously."

        I can agree with this statement. What was Canada's contribution to the Liberian civil war to over throw the Kadafi's regime? What is their take on the Syrian conflict?
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          Sep 5 2012: Really? You have dual citizenship, that's great. I do imagine however that Jewish-american alliances aren't particularly keen on highlighting the other side to the story. Although some temples are quite sympathetic. However I'm sure your much better informed than the majority of the planet.
      • Sep 5 2012: I really admire and root for your dedication and hope you're very
        successful in encouraging and nurturing a universalist view. Whatever the reality
        at the moment, this is what all should strive for.

        As I wrote earlier, we've been there done that and wore all the T-shirts before, in
        the heady 1970's. We were absolutely convinced the old mean divisive belligerent
        way was gone. It was a bit of a shock to discover that you had to keep starting
        from scratch.
        Our epiphany was not even skin deep - it was restricted to a limited part of the world
        and even more limited milieu of western educated people. I believe things are really
        getting better, but it will be a long haul, maybe slightly shorter thanks to social media -
        at least there's now a really good reason to become literate...
        But it's useful to consider that most of the world's population still cannot fathom the
        world beyond the clan, that we may be programmed to put some personal allegiances
        first, and plan the universalist strategy accordingly. (I caught part of a documentary on
        Papua, where the old clan fights used to be with bow and arrow (it was like a game,
        one said) and now it's bullets and people die. Same thing in the South Sudan; so maybe
        things will get worse before they get better?)
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          Sep 5 2012: We, my generation of similar thinkers and I. Will do our best.
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          Sep 5 2012: We should fight wars with paintball weapons. I know it's off topic but the bow and arrow comment was too hard to pass up. If we had wars where no one died, perhaps that would evolve to hmmmm let's say communication and cooperation. No death means no need for revenge. We all just wash the paint off and go grab a beer and talk about how fun of a war it was.
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        Sep 5 2012: There tends to be a homogenous ideal in all temples about the state of Israel. If anti-Antisemitism were to start up here in the United States (it could happen) at least we would have a place to go. During the holocaust, there wasn't a State of Israel to flee to Just some land owned by a large group of Israelis. It took a UN charter to build the nation of Israel.

        I don't mean this personally Levi, but you almost speak with the demeanor of a state department official. How do you come by these notions about other countries, if you don't mind me asking?
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          Sep 5 2012: To my knowledge state department officials are not on the payroll of a nation state to question the very ideals of nationalism. It seems rather contradictory, most accept and endorse nation-states blindly if not to consul themselves their work is meaningful and somewhat ethical then to justify a career.

          My views are my own, I have born them from extensive travels that begun when I was 2 and haven't ended since. I have volunteered and lived on every continent at least 10 times, I believe a global view motivates very often global service. I was raised amongst foreign dignitaries so perhaps I've picked up something.
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        Sep 5 2012: So you've overheard conversations. Been privy to information, etc?
        Do you still have this network available to you through foreign friends you've made in your lifetime, etc?
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          Sep 5 2012: Yes, I've had my days in the sun. More often than not I was able to participate in the decision making process. It seems I have a pension for attracting the wealthiest of Asian families, that politicians seem to appreciate.

          Yes I have a lot of international friends, however not to oversell my utility everyone has limits and most people when called upon to engage will only do so if there is already a sizeable population. It is a contradiction that I find quite irritating. I am young, I do not have a network to match a US senator, which is required to initiate meaningful change it seems.
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    Sep 4 2012: When Koesller wrote his seminal book "The Ghost in the Machine" in 1967, he coined the term "Holon" to describe something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. This is probably the most integral philosophy we have today (as continued by Ken WIlber in his AQAL framework and others) where the more we expand our consciousness out of of the subset or meta group we belong to the more we see them as holons or sets within sets. It takes conscious effort to remove yourself from your tribe, your neighborhood, your favorite sports team, you city, your country, your ethnicity, your religion until finally you get to your world and then even further to the Omega Point of a universal consciousness. This can only occur in a society which encourages contemplation and philosophy and even meditation. Perhaps we need to encourage more people to be contemplative (as Sam Harris suggests) and then we will see beyond our little and belittling tags and definitions. For me personally I have always found myself a Citizen of a City (London, New York, New Delhi) and then the World - countries are so 20th century.

    PS There are now 206 sovereign states in the world and many more vying for statehood. I guess we will become like the US where every city is incorporated by itself and is a semi-autonomous being....
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      Sep 4 2012: I hope we don't move towards city identities, that'd be a throwback to Ancient Greece, where there was lots and lots of war, conflict, and brutal 'salt the earth' attitudes between neighbouring cities. I believe a global identity is most fitting for the 21st century, and besides most big cities are the same nowadays anywhere.

      London, New York, Beijing, Tokyo, etc they're the closest you can get to being the same. They're home to a spreading generation of globally minded citizens, with very similar big city lifestyles, hopefully who don't identify with their city, but rather a cosmopolitan existence. Especially since most big cities make decisions that reach far beyond their borders, especially New York and London's financial sectors (they could use some globally minded ethics).
  • Sep 3 2012: Agreed. It is time to trash nationalism.

    Now lets convince others, starting with the media. At one time the Olympics were about the best individual athletes. It was about individual excellence. Now it is a showcase for nationalism, and the media love this aspect of the games because it gets the viewers involved in the competition and increases ratings. The media do not care about the other effects. When the media cover violence at soccer games, it does not seem to occur to them that they are encouraging the nationalism that leads to this violence.

    Caring about the people who are closer to you is part of human nature, and it has its positive side. Nationalism as used by the media, and especially as used by politicians, is much more harmful than good.

    In the USA our politicians are trying to make a big debate on the issue that the USA is a special country. This is an excellent example of politicians going after what I call the stupid vote. This false issue does real harm, and the politicians are fully aware of this harm. Of course the media love this issue too.
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      Sep 3 2012: Barry, I have been pondering something related to this question. Do you know any American who believes what another American says just because he is an American? Or anyone who thinks a person is more credible on an issue (unrelated to, say, local geography) because he is an American?

      As an example, do you think an American is more likely to believe an American scientist about something than a Swedish scientist or a Russian scientist?

      I don't know how this works in other countries, but I think in the US there is a tradition of skepticism, regardless of a speaker's place of origin.
      • Sep 4 2012: Hi Fritzie,

        I agree that in the US we have a tradition of skepticism. Also in the US we have many jingoes (they think of themselves as patriots) and exophobes. For many of us (perhaps most) the place of origin may not matter. But there are many Americans who think/feel that 'American' makes a big difference.

        I think this is why the 'issue' of Obama's birth place was brought out again and again. It was not a serious attempt to disqualify Obama from the presidency; it was just a way of associating him with unAmerican.

        My guess is that you do not associate with jingos and exophobes.
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          Sep 4 2012: No, I don't. You are right.
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          Sep 4 2012: The real national truth is as soon as you leave the borders of the state of Georgia, people stop talking the same language and start to sound a bit foreign. Georgia is the land of old America. We are becoming a nation unto ourselves.

          Of course I'm kidding but the idea of nationalism in America, sometimes breaks down into a sense of statehood.

          Yes, there is some bias associated with our thoughts and relations with other countries. You can call it skepticism but many might call it outright distrust.

          We are taught from the time we enter school that the United States is the most powerful and wonderful county on the earth. We are schooled to believe that no other country can or has reached the heights that our nation has achieved.

          And, what is more amazing, we students of this brainwashing don't see any other nation snatching the, "we are the best nation on earth", gold medal from our hands. Yes there is some skepticism and we are taught to be this way.
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          Sep 4 2012: To John, true and good points.

          Lots of nations think they're the best in the world, and that they've invented most of everything. I can't tell you how many times a Bangladeshi or Indian villager has tried to convince me Coke is a local product and I should try it, or that they invented tv, internet, radio, and the first cars. People just assume everything around them is to their nations credit, although almost everything is foreign. Like in China a country of many accomplishments, did they invent electricity, cement, cars, internet, television, radio etc. What would china look like without them, likely it would have no modern infrastructure, because by large it was borrowed. Which is great, their country which has more credible claims than most still would not function without foreign ideas and inventions (and vice versa), which goes to show the irrationality of nationalism - the foundations of every country are imported.

          A hilarious exercise especially in Southeast Asia is to show locals a world map, invariably everyone points to Russia, especially in Thailand, because they're taught to believe and many fall for it that Thailand is the biggest, baddest, and best country in the world (despite being poor). When you point to Thailand, they are flabbergasted and their idea of their country, being a relative spec on the map blows their minds.
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          Sep 4 2012: Livi said: "
          Lots of nations think they're the best in the world, and that they've invented most of everything. "

          You know Levi, I like to think I've traveled a bit and I have yet to see this notion in the conversations of other peoples.

          Most appear to know just where their country lies in the grand scheme of things international. While some villagers may be confused about technology and such things, the average modern citizen is fully aware of how the great international triangle of order is stepped.

          What I Hear constantly is why aren't the Americans coming to save us, to help us, to kill the bad guy. I never hear where are the Canadians, the UK, the French, etc.

          I spent some time in Thailand during the Vietnam war and never established the same feeling you have. Did you give their prisons a visit while you were there? Talk about primitive. Their Justice system is non-existent and you should still, not drink the water.

          I'm becoming a bit confused about where you stand on the very question you ask.

          Can you be more specific and less broad about what it is you are asking? It would help me to get back on topic.
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          Sep 7 2012: Are you saying I'm nationalist? I was just strolling through some of the old questions and hadn't noticed this one.

          I believe Thailand has changed since the days of the Vietnam war, I taught geography to over 500 Thai kids in 6 schools. I believe this is a relatively good sample, many fought on the subject for days with each other and the class. But it was a passing comment not a deeply held belief.

          American exceptionalism is not unique, if when you travel your not asking them the right questions its very likely you wont run into it, just as most Americans don't pull out - we're the best country in the world line to foreigners they don't know. I work with local politicians, believe me nationalism is very very common. Maybe not against the Caucasian foreigners as much as one another.

          Obviously a lot of people especially youth are moving out of these older mindsets, but they're still there.
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    Sep 3 2012: By the way, I could not agree with you more that rallying against foreigners and the whole xenophobic thing do not belong in this century. And yet they persist.

    Some might argue that it is either human nature or in some people's nature (to set up and hate "the other"), but that doesn't mean people need to accept this tendency to prejudice in themselves.
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      Sep 3 2012: True, whether prejudice is inherit in the limit of our pyschical conditions and limited knowledge, or taught it is ultimately irrelevant. So long as we choose to confront our prejudice -and overcome it.

      The key philisophy to making these prejudices less common is to equate them to an unlikable trait. I thus say: "Prejudice is weakness".
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      Sep 6 2012: I would argue... that, everywhere this is a serious problem, in America... look up the population one day... It's not significant. The cool, but dangerous, and creepy thing about America, is that we let people who live in the middle of nowhere, do whatever they want.... So lots of strange people go out into the middle of nowhere.

      Freedom of religion, is the right to start a cult. Mormonism, is an American religion, and it may be one of the dumbest concepts ever written down on paper, but for the most part, politicians aside, couldn't meet nicer people. The cities, with serious "protests" and states with xenophobic laws, are the ones with way less than 1% of the population.

      The problem is that the senate, and electoral college system, put them on TV all the time, and make us look, and legislate, way dumber than our population actually is... imho.
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        Sep 6 2012: There is some truth in what you say, David. Specifically there are two misconceptions that are common. One is that all Americans are just like what some little subsection of the population is like that happens to match up with a stereotype someone may enjoy holding. The second is that the population at large could really just change all sorts of things on a dime if they really down deep didn't approve of it.
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          Sep 7 2012: Only place to reply. I would disagree with you on state to state differences as well... Alabama, and California, are different worlds. Utah, is an entire state, that is practically mormon. San Francisco, and Nashville are both in the United States. Las Vegas, and Gnome... We're very internally diverse as well, but that is a more fair point.

          I think the real difference between us is much more fundamental. He claims to be a universalist, but I see him as a tribalist. I am against tribalism, he seems to think the answer to solving the problems created by tribalism, is to form a super tribe. I think individualism is the key to overcoming tribalism. I think competition is healthy, he thinks it's destructive.

          I think relying on institutions is unhealthy, he believes we can make it healthy. I believe human beings are very diverse apex predator species, he believes we all agree on fundamental truths. I trust myself, he trusts humanity. There is huge disagreement here.
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        Sep 8 2012: i understand. I didn't mean to characterize the entire difference.

        I know the states are different, but I think the diversity in a single place is more striking.

        I know you are not a big government type.
  • Sep 3 2012: I'm not sure what you're trying to say. You speak out against Nationalism but claim there are "2" major camps in the world - "Universlists" and "Triblaists"

    One you claim stands for unity and the other for division and I assume you group nationalism in the latter category. This has the problem of denying nationalism's historical role as an integrative, unifying force as well as a destructive one. Out of the disintegration of the colonial empires, for example, came new countries that were united in a common national identity. Or are we just supposed to take for granted that the world can be conveniently divided into two camps?

    "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?"

    You, like so many, commit the error of thinking that nation-states are capable of acting altruistically. Governments prioritize their own nation over others because that is how the international system is built. To achieve results, we need alternative frameworks to bring people together outside the nation-state model instead of expecting existing institutions to magically manifest a benevolent change in their self-interested thinking
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      Sep 3 2012: To Kingson, Good point, I do agree that nation-states once served a liberating roles in the ascension from empires, city-states, kingdoms and in some places tribes. The reason for labeling nationalists under a broader category of tribalism is because there was a time before nation-states necessitating a catchall of kingdoms, city-states, empires, and tribes which share the similar psychology of unifying against the idea of 'the other' and perpetuating it within both their own groups and outsiders, scapegoats. Something which is unnecessary, humans if seeking unity cannot perpetually dehumanize, alienate, and demoralize one another. There is only humanity.

      What did I write that indicated I believed nations would altruistically create a global order and by some spiritual awaking give up their sovereignty willingly on a whim? As I'm quite sure I didn't motivate this, seeing as I've made many efforts to rally energy and belief to the contrary.
  • Oct 1 2012: A big over-simplification going on here.... Nationalism may be political movement based on self-determination for those who live in a particular area who feel that they will prosper if they make their own decisions rather than be part of a larger unit in which their voice cannot be adequately heard. It can be the product of a struggle against racial, political or cultural oppression.
    There is a tendency to assume that our own nationalism is not really nationalism at all, whereas that of others - particularly if it represents a threat to the system or cultural dispensation to which we are accustomed - is intrinsically bad. Most people think that the nationalism that led to independence for India or the United States was right and proper, likewise the efforts by Eastern European countries to liberate themselves from Soviet imperialism in more recent years. Even if the degree of oppression or discrimination or marginalisation is small..does a community not have a right - perhaps even a duty - to achieve self-determination? In a 'family' of political units, the 'children' surely have a right to grow up and leave home?
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      Oct 2 2012: I agree this is an over-simplification also.

      Nationalism is not a movement based on self-determination. That is the least of its function, most of American and Eastern European history does not occur within the short moments of their independence, but in the running of the country. Was Bosnia engaging in self-determination when they engaged in ethnic cleansing (as this was publicly stated), was America engaged in self-determination in Vietnam, Korea, the bombing of Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cold War, Cuba and countless South American coups? History doesn't end with the declaration of independence, it continues and those justifications for its existence become increasingly twisted.

      Self-determination was the justification of the Nazi Party in sparking World War 2, (before they went on about Jews), that German speaking peoples of the Rhine and other countries were repressed and mistreated and needed to be liberated and brought under a strong independent Germany, that cast off the economic, political, and military restrictions and hardships put on them by Europe and the United States. To challenge foreign powers, and lead their own destiny, and people liked it. But as we know German people under one nation wasn't the end of it.

      We shouldn't forget about the negative aspects of history, because they don't suit our political beliefs. That's the point of learning history in the first place, to make better judgements. Nations states and self-determination aren't the ideas expressed by European scholars in fancy libraries, they have become dirty with blood, war, and genocide, and cannot be assumed to be merely positive social forces.

      A better alternative is to realize the need for self-determination, a working fair government that doesn't marginalize a people, and further realize this does not come from separation from government but a new style of governance and concept of citizenship. Making your own country doesn't guarantee better governance, as South Sudan now know
      • Oct 2 2012: However, when a union of two partners does not work well for one or other - or both for that matter - then dissolving that conjunction is not necessarily a bad thing. Norway has not suffered because it is no longer part of Denmark and Denmark has not suffered because it no longer owns Norway. Equally, a union may be beneficial at some point but not permanently. Through most of the 19th century the union between England and Scotland was almost entirely good for both parties, but in the latter half of the 20th century it had become terribly disadvantageous to Scotland. Whether it has become benefiicial in the early 21st century is open to debate, but that is rather the point - there should be a proper debate.
        We certainly should not ignore material simply because it does not suit what we want to believe, but unfortunately that is exactly what people do. We all remember the 1945 Atlee government for the NHS, we don't remember it for the calamitous disaster it inflicted on the economy or it's cack-handed approach to Indian independence which still causes unnecessary misery today. In fact, if the Labour party had not abandoned their long-held commitment to proper Scottish home rule (dating back to Keir Hardie) there probably would not be an independence referendum happening in 2014.
  • Sep 27 2012: well the way it goes is there is regular people then there is the elite rich. people with over 500 million in the bank. the ones that are part of the bilderbergers. these group of 120 - 140 members own EVERYTHING . and i do mean everything. governments bow to them. and they want to turn the planet in to 1 big business. with money going from the reg people to them. they are all about power and control. they are the secret government of the planet. anyone that goes against them ends up like John F. Kennedy, who wanted to tell the people about free Vril energy. and about how they had learned about it from the Aldiberons. ( ya ya ya i know your thinking tinfoil hats ) but just remember everything you ever saw on the news and all is channeled through 3 companies. companies that are in the pockets of the bilderbergers. mid level intelligent super rich. dangerous combination.
  • Sep 27 2012: Well nationalism as many things may be good as long as it does not turns radical. for me nationalism is to be proud of your nation, the accomplishments of your nation as group, and your contribution as a citizen to make a better country. And any foreigner or "non-common" individual that comes to a nation and helps to push the wagon should be welcome. History gives us many examples of individuals that as foreigners in other countries have worked hard for that country and even made a change for good.
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      Sep 30 2012: Intellectuals from all over the world went to Russia and helped build St. Petersburg and modernize Russian art, culture, science and architecture in mass crowds on originally generous salaries - most of whom ended up in Siberian prisons. Germany expelled and imprisoned Jewish intellectuals, artists, and workers. Thailand's modern economy is reliant on millions of stateless refugees working basically for free. America uses millions of nameless 'illegal' migrant workers to fuel its agriculture and undesirable wage labour.

      So if you ignore those who contribute but don't get included, nationalism does seem rather balanced. The problem is being proud of your nation isn't the end of the story on nationalism, its the beginning to every dark chapter, if you half-finish the narrative its sounds good. There is no such thing as un "radical' nationalism, as its predicated on others not having same citizenship rights.

      Nationalism devalues human life, nobody can argue in reality the life of a Somali or Sudanese citizen gets the same treatment or rights of an American or Canadian. Peoples lives are only as good as their country is powerful, and with nationalism that will never change. African, South American, and most Asian citizens simply do not get treated the same, or even close to fair, no amount of patriotism will solve that.

      The vast majority of the planet must accept their inferiority to others, or believe and work to create a new global system that gives their life equal value.
  • Sep 25 2012: Yes we have been ready its not going to get any more ready then now. we start now or never we need to stop waiting time is maken it harder. The longer we wait the worse it gets
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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?
  • Sep 13 2012: "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?"

    I find it perfectly natural that I care more about my family, my friends, my neighbours, my community, and ultimately the country I reside in, with whom I share certain cultural characteristics, with whom I pool a small part of the fruit of my labour in the form of taxes, to safeguard our common liberties, uphold public order and guarantee every member of the community certain services. How are you going to expect people to care for people to whom they do not share a connection? This is the very basis of the Social Contract.

    Levi LCL, you diminish the value of the individual, because you force upon people an altruism which is unnatural. The reality is that even if today's so called global economy is much more interconnected than ever before, people all across the world are still radically different - or at least percieve themselves to be so, which really is all that matters. Even if certain intellectual circles in the West (like TED) prefer to consider themselves "Global", this pan-human altruistic sentiment is not something closely as common in the developing world.

    You can't force people into feeling a connection for people who live tens of thousands of km away, to which they have no apparent connection. Is it fair to hold individuals responsbile for the living conditions of people who live outside of our "Social contract"? What is it you wish to do? Abolish the nationstate? That would result in is the greatest transferring of wealth in human history, as the poorer parts of the world would undoubtedly demand to be "compensated" for their poverty by the industrialized West. To whom is that fair?

    Have you ever stopped to consider the morals behind the system you are advocating?
    • Sep 14 2012: "How are you going to expect people to care for people to whom they do not share a connection? This is the very basis of the Social Contract."

      But it doesn't imply nationalism: you see, by your definition a nationalist would refuse to fight in a war between Australia and New Zealand or Germany and the Netherlands, because those countries are very similar, in fact he would call for those countries to merge because together they stand stronger against other nations with different value systems, but that's not what nationalists do in reality. A nationalist sees his nation as better than all others, even if some of those other nations are incredibly similar to his own, that makes him different from your average person who just cares about values and a social contract.
      • Sep 14 2012: "Nationalism" is so vague, and if you use it the way the original poster did then I get the impression that it isn't just jingoism which is problematic, but rather the very concept of the nation state. I think there is a quite fine line between those who reject chauvinism and those rejecting the nation-state as a concept, and Levi LCL makes no such distinction at all, which is what I dislike.

        As for your argument, I do appreciate your point, but I can't really agree completely. There's more to the type of national commitment (the one that I consider essential for the social contract and individual rights) besides values - there's also a large degree of fiscal reciprocity involved. The Dutch do not pay taxes to the German state and vice versa, which means that they have no right to influrnce over German internal affairs.

        So no, I don't really agree with you that the national commitment (the one you considered as "not nationalism") I speak of means that it would be wrong for a Dutchman to go to war with a German. If the German invades his soil, he would be fully justified in defending his country.

        However; everything above is really just a giant parenthesis in my argument.

        My main problem lies with the underlying moral principle that everyone on earth has some sort of collective responsibility for the welfare of everyone else living on earth. That belief must inevitably lead to the conclusion that people are not responsible for their own actions. Translate this abstract principle into today's world, and suddenly I, as a taxpayer to be in an industrialized European country is to be held morally accountable for the misery of say, for example, Burkina Faso.

        In other words, my life is nothing but that of a sacrificial animal - born to pay for a misery I had no hand in creating, giving my money to people I have never met and who will give me nothing in return. Does that constitute an honest principle of government?
        • Sep 14 2012: "there's also a large degree of fiscal reciprocity involved. The Dutch do not pay taxes to the German state and vice versa"

          That problem would be solved if the two countries merge, but even if they don't their tax structures could be so similar that nothing would really change, fiscally speaking, if the two countries merged, in other words the situation is then indistuingishable from one where there is a social contract between the citizens of the two countries.
        • Sep 14 2012: "My main problem lies with the underlying moral principle that everyone on earth has some sort of collective responsibility for the welfare of everyone else living on earth. That belief must inevitably lead to the conclusion that people are not responsible for their own actions."

          No, it just means we're all responsible together.

          "In other words, my life is nothing but that of a sacrificial animal - born to pay for a misery I had no hand in creating, giving my money to people I have never met and who will give me nothing in return."

          You're in a position to help and you know those other people can't get rid of their problems without your help, while your comfortable lifestyle is related to the problems of the other people.
        • Sep 15 2012: Politics, like child care, will be poorly done if each thinks himself equally responsible for all, rather than giving the immediate surroundings special attention and care. In this way, our loyalty to humankind does not deprive us of the capacity to care for people closer by. In other words, it is good for everyone that we rescue the child drowning in front of us first; it is good for everyone that parents take care of their own children first and give them special attention and care; and it is good for everyone that homeowners take good care of their own homes first, and so on. But this special attention to those to whom we are most immediately connected does not absolve us of an approach that holds at its core the strong moral argument in favor of the equal regard for all human beings.
        • Timo X

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          Sep 19 2012: "In other words, my life is nothing but that of a sacrificial animal - born to pay for a misery I had no hand in creating, giving my money to people I have never met and who will give me nothing in return. Does that constitute an honest principle of government?"
          Governments work by reallocating resources, even in the most minimalistic conceptualizations of government, people are forced to pay taxes or perform labor (e.g. in the army). Reallocation is implied in a governed system, and there must therefore always be someone who pays for others. It seems rather contradictory to object to this reallocation on principle and be in favor of nationalism at the same time, because rejecting the principle that reallocation can be a fair principle of government equals rejecting the idea of government in general.
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      Sep 15 2012: To Alexander: "Most programmes remain small & beautiful & never impactful...when you have millions of people in poverty, you can't remain small and beautiful.....even if large means ugly, you have to be effective; and I don't really think that large necessarily means ugly." - Sir Fazle Hasan Abed at the World Affairs Council of Northern California event co-organized with The Asia Foundation.

      Just because something is big doesn't mean its automatically bad.This is the assumption many people take towards anything global - it wont work - why? Because its not local. This is a false choice, as many local problems extend out into global problems, such as food, the environment, and women's rights. So unless your family doesn't have women, food, or live on the planet local solutions and systems wont do anything to defend their interests in meaningful or tangible ways, nation-states are archaic systems built long before a truly global and interdependent economy. Thinking for all mankind, is the only way to secure your livelihood any more.

      The quote also illustrates how people from poor countries, living amongst extreme poverty can both think globally, and aspire on large scales (BRAC is largest NGO in the world). Just because your not a middle class westerner doesn't mean you cant think big. TED's audience extends far beyond the west.

      I 'diminish the value of the individual', this was never said, or stated. It was assumed to disprove what did not exist. Personally I dont see how wanting individuals around the world to be treated equally, to have a fair chance at the same opportunities, and to have their well-being, ideas, and livelihood incorporated into the way the world works is particularly rude. What is perhaps dismissive of their individuality, is a nation which views them legaly as aliens, and treats them as such.

      Human unity isn't about feeling pity for those who suffer- nobodies asking for pity, its about changing what limits our potential as a species.
    • Timo X

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      Sep 19 2012: "I find it perfectly natural that I care more about my family, my friends, my neighbours, my community, and ultimately the country I reside in, with whom I share certain cultural characteristics."
      A good list, but there is an odd one in the bunch. Nations are not natural, they are social constructs. It is not the cultural characteristics that build the nation, but the other way around. That is, once people accept that they share a nation, they will look for and find the shared characteristics that build a national identity. But group identities are not limited to nations. A shared identity can be built in any group, e.g. a football team, a group of co-workers, dog owners, a book club, etc. The only prerequisite for developing a shared social identity is that a group of people shares something, and that is not a quality unique to either states or nations. The downside of nation as a social adhesive, is, as Levi LCL rightly points out, that one's nation is hard to change. So why build shared identities around them? The only use I can think of for a national identity is war, as has been mentioned by many people in this thread already.

      "My main problem lies with the underlying moral principle that everyone on earth has some sort of collective responsibility for the welfare of everyone else living on earth. That belief must inevitably lead to the conclusion that people are not responsible for their own actions."
      I fail to see why it should inevitably lead to that conclusion. Responsibility, as I see it, comes in degrees (as does welfare, by the way).
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    Sep 10 2012: I disagree. Perhaps you are talking about excessive patriotism and arrogance about ones country. Nationalism though, is not like sexism or racism. People want to defend their sovereignty not out of discrimination but because they have worked hard to build their nations. They have worked to defend their land, achieve their rights and create institutions for the better of their community.

    Often, in the name of globalization, local communities lose their ability to control their destiny. Development of their home becomes put in the hands of foreign interests. Is it wrong for people to defend their home, their rights, their laws and regulations?

    I believe it is good for the global community that the world is made of a mosaic of nations, rather than a global oligarchy. Different nations try different policies and have different cultures. The successes and failures of other countries makes us all richer in knowledge of how to organize a society. Diversity of nations is a strength, not a weakness.

    Similarly, my country is divided into provinces, regional districts, municipalities, ect. We don't say that it is prejudice for people to be concerned with politics in the city in which they live. In fact it is good that people be involved; that's how democracy works. Nations are the same only on a larger scale.

    I agree that one should not feel superior just because of what country they are from, but that's not what nationalism is about. Previous generations worked hard for what we have today and it is not wrong to defend it.
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      Sep 10 2012: Racists are nice to one another, so are sexist men or women to one of their own kind, to judge a nation by how people in the same group treat each other is a slanted standard. It's how they treat foreigners or people outside their community. Unless you come from a country which has never been engaged in a war, it is unlikely you can argue that its good for people outside you.

      Vary rarely your country does anything to help others outside helping itself, if ever. This is commonly accepted. So how can it be in the interest of most humans? The fact is, its become completely acceptable for nations to be blindly selfish, nationalism preaches looking out for yourself and 'Realpolitik'. Where is the nation that acts benevolently? There isn't any, changing that means changing how we see ourselves, and categorizing people beyond the terrority in which they where born.

      Once again, I would say many people do feel superior. How many people really feel that they are equal to the citizens in Somalia, Haiti, or Sudan? No they feel pity, and pity is not a feeling felt amongst equals, its felt for those who are beneath you.

      Where you where born is not who you are. We are who we choose to be.

      *If nationalism was capable of making a world full of patriotic, healthy, active communities that support each other regardless of their identities. I would support it, but that's not the world, and that's not how doctrines of national unity play out. I prefer to think people before us worked hard to make the world a better place, not their country.
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        Sep 15 2012: I get what you are saying, but I'm not buying it. If I pay taxes and the government uses that money to fund a school in my community they are not discriminating against people in africa because they didn't fund a school there. Nations are just large groups of people pooling there resources. If I use my money to feed my family am I discriminating against all people in the world that I didn't invite over for dinner. There are limits to which we can expect governments to intervene in other countries.

        Governments to engage in efforts to help other countries. You could argue that they should be doing it more. I would agree with you. You could argue that governments should not use military intervention. None of this has anything to do with existence of nations, its about their behavior. They could behave better and still be nations.

        I do not see what kind of alternative you are proposing. How do you think people should be organized?

        People may be arrogant about their country, but that's not what nationalism is. Nationalism is about nations, not about snobby individuals.
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          Sep 16 2012: To Scott

          It is a strange argument to make 'If I use my money to feed my family am I discriminating against all people in the world that I didn't invite over for dinner' to criticise global thinking, which means on a national level you think its sustainable to invite everyone to dinner. It doesn't make sense, it seems like an extreme example made to make an idea look bad, but without having any of the characteristics of the problem being described. It's just a random negative line. There is no expectation to feed everyone yourself, as if somehow this demonstrates an overextension of state resources. If there was to be projects done globally, they would be funded globally, there would be no overextension of an individual state, it would be irrational.

          Overcoming nationalism does not mean nation-states should be more active overseas, it means there should be a supranational system of global governance. Nations are incapable of doing global projects reliably or solving global problems, which is why none exist today. You cannot give behavioural lessons to nations, the very nature of sovereignty and independence makes standardizing their behaviour or norms impossible. Nations are inherently small-minded, just as tribes are inherently small-minded, they only think for themselves and make cooperation chaotic, erratic, and by large completely unsuccessful. The only times nations cooperate (temporarily), is to discriminate, where is there an alliance of well behaved countries? None exist, there's always someone on the receiving end of their rhetoric and polices.

          There should be global systems of governance, which address global problems. It is an exceptionally straightforward desire.
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        Sep 16 2012: I am not criticising global thinking, I am differentiating between nationalism and prejudice. It is good for people to think globally, whether they are politicians, CEO's or trades people.

        I am glad that you have began the discussion about the alternative you are proposing. The "supranational system of global governance". It is a more constructive talking point than the idea that people who support their nation are inherently prejudice.

        As far as this idea of supranational governance, I don't know what form you want it to take. We do have the UN. We also have the WTO, World Bank, IMF, NAFTA, EU, G8, G20 and many transnational corporations that participate in governance in countries all over the world. You may argue that nations make up these organizations (except corporations), then again, the US is made of states.

        I don't always agree with what these organizations do. Sometimes they are ineffective and often they are effective but acting towards goals that I am at odds with. However, global governance is on its way, and gets stronger over time. It is achieved through the negotiations of nations. Tearing down nations will not bring us closer to global governance, it will bring us farther from it.
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          Sep 17 2012: One cannot differentiate between prejudice and nationalism, it is impossible. It is just as impossible as dividing racism from prejudice. Have you never seen the news? It's a endless record of nations fighting over petty, trivial things, because they believe you can stereotype entire populations based on their national governments. Like the Chinese are angry at Japan, the Israeli's are at odds with Iran, it's making the decisions of a elite few seem like they have consensus over a broad spectrum of people. It's an illusion based on prejudice.

          No the Chinese are not all burning Japans flags, a tiny tiny, less than a percent are - but because its convient to Chinese national government, its sensationalized, if it disagreed with their leaders agendas you'd hear nothing about it. Same goes for america, where anti-war opinions where effectively blocked from the news for years during which decisions where made, massive union rallies are never broadcast. People go far beyond their convient national stertoytpe, the Chinese do this, the Zimbabwe people do this, the French do that - no, no they dont they're just normal people doing normal stuff, and being hyped into conflict over issues more often than not benefit nobody but the select few running a nation.

          The WTO, World Bankd, IMF, EU, G8, UN are all run by nations - that is their flaw. They cant decide on anything but short-sighted business opportunities that dont benifit their populations more often than not. If anything their living proof that nationalism is toxic.

          One would not need to 'tear' down nations to create a system of global governance. Just as people did not eliminate minorities to get rid of racism. What would need to be created is a global system of governance above nations, first regional, then global. Which gives the ability for national leaders to become regional, then global leaders (also people could run directly for these offices) and the consensus of people outside their community would be vital.
    • Sep 14 2012: I people are just trying to protect their value system and what they built (their country) they have no problems in cooperating with another country that has similar values and similar achievements, they would even call for the countries to merge. Does that sound like any nationalist you know?
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        Sep 15 2012: Nations do cooperate. Its not easy though. It is not easy to balance the needs of millions of people. People are not just going to call for the merging of nations just because they have "similar values and achievements". Merging nations is no simple matter. They have different laws, bureaucracies, currencies, languages, and millions of people functioning with in the status quo. Its not simple telling everybody change just for the sake of some vision of global unity.
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          Sep 17 2012: Balancing the needs of any people is difficult, from town halls to the EU, it does not make higher levels of governance impossible - to the contrary it necessitates them. Global need determines global governance, I think the problem is your making the assumption that people in different countries have fundamentally different needs - this is prejudice, and not factual - the British, Indians, Brazilians and South African people both value education, good food, stability, clean water, the ability to have their vote heard and count, and the ability to practice their beliefes - all things which governments do. All the lesser whims, that divide people are no greater between nations then they are between citizens of a nation. It is not the governments job to provide for individualist whims say for food, or music, or clothing (the things that make up culture) that's for the market to decide, but for general public services - which are in equal demand everywhere.

          The market can provide for the diversity of interests, governments provide the basics. There would be no need to revise how people feel, think or act in order to provide a system of global governance, merely a confrontation of outdated prejudice, indeed the only way society ever seems to move forward.
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    Sep 9 2012: Nationalism is prejudice on many levels. Like all prejudices it benefits at most times the holder, but there are enough times that it does not, that it puts the whole being at risk, that necessitate a revision of values before the self-destructive nature of nationalist prejudice ruins the lives of others.

    Prejudice is weakness, not strength. There can bee something deeply inspiring about questioning its need in our lives.
  • Sep 7 2012: Nationalism is PEOPLE-ISM
    and can be all the -isms
    or just none at all, as a people.

    Declaring and judging however is either by human reasoning as an "understanding" from what I believe is one of only two choices (with a lot of warm and fuzzy inter-discourse, connectivity to talk about):
    Reasoned Nationalism by imagination(s) (no higher power around) per the humanism of only wordly-human systemic understanding in our psyche and flesh.
    People-ism (Natioinalism) in a Giver's understanding with a Giver's judgement of a global people (Natio-Globalism).
  • Sep 7 2012: I don't understand.... Instead of identifying with our organizations, schools, universities, military service, hobbies. religious organizations, countries, etc. etc. We should?????? Otherwise we are terrible. Political parties, churches, etc. etc. are bad bad bad. I don't get it. Each person has to take responsibility for his or her own actions.
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      Sep 7 2012: So, when I say people should look out for one another and care about being human first. You have interpret this as basically, neglect the things that matter. Fortunately, I wouldn't say this, there's nothing wrong with schools, universities, hobbies, religious organizations, or even churches and political parties - so long as your human first. The reason I say this is people let those little labels define, all that they are, instead of a part of who they are. The things that make us unique shouldn't make us dysfunctional and separate from others, they should add to what we contribute to society.

      A supranational identity, is an identity above all others. It does not erase lower identities, just as being Christian does not prevent you from liking and identifying with say, Star Trek.

      Politics and churches are divisive, why? Because they want you to agree 100 percent before you can work with them. Which prevents alot of things from happening that are good. It's like somebody not working with you because you don't like Star Trek, its arbitrary, and it should be treated as such.

      Conservatives, Christians, liberals, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, right-wing and left-wing - are all powerful small labels that are used to prevent progress, by forcing billions to be one or the other. Thus making it impossible for anyone to work with everyone, and get work done that affects us all. A human identity, solves this, because we all got what it takes to participate.
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        Sep 7 2012: I wonder why you would say that churches "want you to agree 100% before you can work with them." I question the accuracy of broad generalizations of this kind about kinds of institutions or groups of people.
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          Sep 8 2012: Good point, that should probably be a lower percentage, some churches are far more welcoming to diverse views

          It was intended to emote how unreasonable communities can be to outsiders, not accurately describe how many people actually do it.
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    Sep 6 2012: People are people.
  • Sep 5 2012: Sir: you have compared nationalism to racism and sexism... to answer your question, it is you who have stated that nationalism is akin to these negative, disgusting attitudes. It sounds like you may wish to reconsider and re-word your original statements/questions.

    Forgive me, but I find your argument a very weak and defenseless one. I am really trying to determine how to make sense of your stance, but I can't.

    I look forward to more conversations and disagreements with you!
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      Sep 6 2012: True, nationalism has been likened to these rather un-likeable traits. Why, because it is rather the same.

      People from impoverished countries rarely ask this question, few African or Middle Eastern citizens who have applied to a foreign visa has ever felt like they're on the same equal playing field.

      Humour me for an exercise in nationalism, how would you feel being placed in Western Pakistan and publicly declared as American and accused of rape, do you feel you'd receive fair and equal treatment? Would nationality not play a large role in their treatment, of course. It does not take a stretch of the imagination for one to realize having a different nationality would radically change their lives.

      Most people aren't from rich western nations. So would Sudanese refugees fleeing from conflict be afforded the same treatment as a British aid worker who is also black and of African origin? The answer is clear, why because they are of a different nationality, and that's all it takes to treat them differently.

      For the 10 million people who have no country and no human rights, doomed to do the lowest of labour to survive and feed their kids it is a daily truth. Rejected because they disagree with the national image and nothing more. Forced to work on garbage and live inside it for generations. Perhaps if you had been born into another circumstance as most are, you might experience the crippling, limited nature of nationalism and not the more pleasant side.

      The prejudice of nationalism is very real, very alive, and very brutal, and its something we're born into - and most never get to choose. I don't feel its right to discriminate against someone for something they cannot control, most would agree today.
  • 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...
  • Sep 5 2012: Oh, and Levi - buy a ticket to Nepal. Witness the values and mores of their Universal Party.

    They eat the leg off a live lamb - saving the rest for later. No refrigeration ya know.....

    Then grow up.
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      Sep 5 2012: Although I enjoy your folksy racism I must ask which part of Nepal is this practised? I worked there and never saw anything of the sort.

      Am I to assume anything with Universal in it is somehow related to me or my group automatically? If so I think you may need to notify Universal Studios as they have been ignoring my requests for some time for better films.
  • Sep 5 2012: Interesting how "just" and "EQUITABLE" have placement in the blog but ? WHO's justice? Who's equity?
    Is Einstein correct"all morals are a figment of man's (human) imagination (re: "...no higher power..." as he wrote)
    is there a Giver to be believed and receive revelation (scientifically observed and acted upon by the recipient) from?
    What in one world seeking of a "peace" have you not already seen in the Bible description or other descriptions of how as long as human hearts make greed and envy and strife for a false sense of empowerment, there will be in a Creator's word: EVIL.
    Please state if there is an inherent right?
    - to define justice-
    by some majority of human sociology or is it a defined justice by a revelator/Creator since the first "string of energy" was given in for others in for to be in harmony before a quark or quantum-leap or pi-meson or electron existed.
    If no Giver, then nothing is " inherent " "good" "evil" or " just" because we say "it was always here" or "we exist without a creation". TA sociology 101: Termite says to the ant "we exist" and the ant says to the termite "we exist" , all at the exact same moment, not necessarily hearing the other as the words are identical in the crowd.
    Revelation is scientifically evident to the receiver, regardless of the grammar or thesis in commmunication, because the Communicator gives it and the glad of heart receive it anyway.
    (This known observation of revelation knowledge, not of good and/or of evil, but true joy in things like forgiveness and global-possible love (beyond personal or brotherly) is why armies can not change/block the same liberty a Dr Martin Luther King , jr proclaimed to an enslaving society... - He was as free before the marching as he is now and was on his last morning on the Earth.)
    • Sep 5 2012: ????????????????????????????????????

      I read the TED guidelines very carefully, and I'm quite sure proselytizing is proscribed.
    • Sep 5 2012: My take away from your post is this (Yes, that is my new thing, after the discovery of the Lens, now it is the take away) that Justice is a human creation of ideation. And that true freedom truly lies within the mind of a person, and can't really be taken or given, but what about realized? Hear me out, if justice is a human idea, and I am sure that most of us would agree it is, what is it the idea of? The idea of equality? I am of the know that equality of opportunities is a far cry from equality of treatment, some people need more while others need less, some people have more and others less. Is this not the world we live in? But the idea of freedom, I think first needs to be conceptualized, experiential to a certain extent, not to say that one needs to have been enslaved to understand the notion of freedom, but rather, the revelation of constraints that guides one to yearn for freedom. Now, the realization of such, is totally a different matter, for no one is really free but at the same no one is really ever forced to do anything, it is what lies in between that drives us to point A and point B in our everyday lives. No one would think that they like shackles, but at the same time, we are all aware of the amazing ability of humans to survive in strife, to struggle and keep living on even when all one has is that bleak light of hope, we would do it, live to fight another day. Not to mention that most of us have multiple realities of personas, the world is getting is getting smaller, that just means that people will be forced to confront the differences and barriers that once separated us. We are one, and there shouldn't be anyquestion about that now, it just whether we will be united, now that I think really is the question. The world is as open as it has ever been, but that doesn't mean that we should not build homes, but rather rethink the very idea of what a home is, security? Does anyone really feel secure anymore?
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      Sep 5 2012: Einstein was a long-time world governance supporter (since 1914), he also said "In my opinion the only salvation for civilization and the human race lies in the creation of a world government."

      Great minds think alike, and most great minds from Martin Luther King to Einstein agree there is a certain universal morality, that everyone agrees on and we should be governed by it, not the identities and values of nationalism which directly say they're not looking out for you and in a world of 185 + governments, that means a whole lot of people not looking out for you.
  • Sep 5 2012: Can't seem to get the hang of this - another post just kept defying editing,
    and then vanished. In any case, I hope dissent is acceptable in this forum.
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      Sep 5 2012: Sure, otherwise it would be rather boring. I have no idea why there are so many deleted messages thus far.

      I dont even have that option, I suppose some moderator of some sort does. Either that or people are deleting themselves.
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        Sep 5 2012: Dissent and disagreement are always welcome here in discussion of ideas and issues!

        Some people delete their own posts, and as Anita wrote above, proselytizing, selling merchandise or services, and some other behaviors are outside the Terms of Use. In those cases, a TED admin person would delete such a post and send a notification to the person whose post was deleted as to what the problem was.

        But you could usually tell anyway by checking the posted Terms of Use.
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    Sep 5 2012: A big question that comes to mind is if we create a melting pot for the different nationalities, will it cause a change on persona of the world? Will we merge into a global citizen sharing the same language, dress, experience trends in individuality. Will we form a global form of spirituality. Will this force us to consolidate each individuals wealth into a global valuing exchange or currency?
    Will we have laws that require all geographic locations to abide by?

    I guess, in essence, will we become a one world government and how could we arrange a voting system to pledge all nations to merge together under a global banner (flag)?

    Would it require some nations to build this global government and develop that laws that will give them the power to force other nations to join us? Will we have to fight about it?
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      Sep 5 2012: Fantastic questions. I hope more people add their own voices to an answer.

      I have suggested a global political party aimed at forming a just and equitable form of global governance for all people. There are a world of choices to be made on this issue, and gathering consensus is a crucial first step.

      Hopefully there will be no fighting, if you identify with everyone who do you scapegoat, or attack? The answer most logically is nobody, however older more hostile and dehumanizing belief systems seeing themselves ebbed out of power may attempt some measure of action.
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        Sep 5 2012: Of course, if everyone willingly formed such a union with open arms, there would be no fighting.

        Let's say some countries got together and formed a global union. Let's say those countries were Europe, the United States, Canada, India, Brazil, and a few other countries. Let's further say they developed a set of laws giving them the right to force the rest of the world to join this union and had the power to enforce it via a global union military structure.

        Further, let's say that middle East, Russia, China, North Korea and South Korean and say Japan didn't want any part of it.

        If diplomatic pressure and sanctions failed to force them to join and accept the global laws, What other way would there be to force them to join the Union?
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          Sep 5 2012: India is far less likely to be blocked in with the US and Canada than South Korea or Japan in a political structure (as both have a military dependency on the US) but that's not to the point. I wouldn't envision this happening, principally because nationalists would make a supranational structure, because their nationalist and its against their world-view and many would see it as a reduction of their own personal power.

          I do see many politicians, leaders and average citizens in many countries around the world changing their views and publicly espousing the idea of a global governing model, which is then created de facto by a political party of which they are all members. Then lending finances, their expertise, and their time to make these new global bodies legitimate.
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        Sep 6 2012: "Hopefully there will be no fighting, if you identify with everyone who do you scapegoat, or attack? The answer most logically is nobody, however older more hostile and dehumanizing belief systems seeing themselves ebbed out of power may attempt some measure of action."

        In one sentence, "Who will we scape goat?"... In the next "older more hostile and dehumanizing belief systems"... Congratulations, you have already become everything you hate : p

        You also suggest that we all have similar belief systems... and that most Middle Eastern leaders are educated in Western culture, and very open minded and sympathetic... but, then they go scream bitter vitriol at millions of people, getting them violently angry at the west... but that's just to "get votes". In other words, violence sells there, the way sex sells here. That's a very different belief system.

        We agree on so much... What do women want?

        Any time you try to "unite humanity"... about 20% of the population is about to die. This has been an interesting an engaging conversation though... and I'm with you on international NASA, I wrote a ted conversation about it in fact, less than a month ago.
    • Sep 5 2012: The world will be at peace until it can't afford to be anymore. No world government will ever come from war or current nations grouping together, no one can force another to adapt their own beliefs, a lot are ready to die for their beliefs and when they though, the next in line are ready to take the torch of vengeance, vicious cycle really. I think the only way really is through education, if what we believe in is right and true, then it has to be better than what they believe in and proof has to be convincing enough to open the eyes even of the blind. A world government will not stand until the day when everyone in the world can come together and agree on who we really are and what we are here for. I for one am ready to admit that I don't know, but what I do want is a better world for everyone and I am willing to work for it.
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        Sep 5 2012: That day has come, technology and society is to the point where national identites are fading. Many social scientists have commented on how recent generations share more in common with each other than they do with previous generations, global media, goods and servies have standardized most lives within cities. We are ready, we need only to realize it, to get a wake up call.

        The brilliant thing about bringing people together under universal values is that they are universal, intellectuals everywhere agree on similar means and the public is more than willing to invest in an structure beyond their own often disappointing government. One does not need to convert from Islam or Christianity, transform from a conservative to a liberal in order to join, participate, and contribute - there are so many things like poverty, genocide, war, the environment, crime and education to get better.

        The problem is a lack of alternative, so we build one I say, one that meets the demands and needs of the worlds people. Your willingness to try, and to work is all anyone can ask for, and all anyone needs - from everybody.
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        Sep 5 2012: I think it will fragment into two side of the planet, due in part, to the declining energy yields not meeting the demands of the growing economies.

        Putin put it directly to President Bush at the Olympic games when he told him, that the United States needs to forget about this side of the world and worry about their side. This is almost literally what he said.
        Long before we become global, I suspect we will be aligned on different sides of the ocean.
        There will be North and South America on our side with the necessary transportation systems, mostly rails and trains. It will be the same on the other side of the planet.

        As the cost of moving freight across an ocean becomes too large, we will have to use whats locally obtainable.

        That's my real breakdown. People will deal with lack of resources and move back inside their own borders or hemisphere, just because ti's cheaper.

        I would like that because it makes the Middel eastern problem a local problem for Russia and China and not Canada, United States, Mexico and South America.

        Australia is a gray area.
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      Sep 5 2012: In reply to: "Would it require some nations to build this global government and develop that laws that will give them the power to force other nations to join us? Will we have to fight about it?

      I think a world government would have to have consensus of moral codes and ethical code that all agree on.
      This is acheivable because we are all becoming more able to talk to each other...some things get lost in the translations but that technology is catching up.

      However, to leave this responsibility to a centralized ruling body would be subject to corruption as we are still human.

      I will hope that humanity transforms into some form of self governance where we are only enslaved to ourselves.

      Not sure if I stayed on topic, but something John wrote inspired my thought process to venture off into the tangents.
  • Sep 5 2012: I 'd agree with National Racism for some, especially Israel. But it didn't have to be this way.
    Until 1967 Israel was integrating into the world very nicely. It did have a strong national interest,
    but that's hardly surprising considering the near anihilation of the people just before Israel, a home
    for the Jews, was formally founded with UN approval.

    It was the catastrophic success of the Six Day War that precipitated the present extreme right,
    nationalistic, racist Israel. Until then, it was the West's blue-eyed boy. To quote a brilliant mind :
    "Everything that Israel did after 1967 was either criminally stupid or stupidly criminal."

    And by the way, it didn't take six day to win that war. It took two.

    Israel is a case apart, as the Jews are a case apart. They can't even be defined: are they a religion?
    a race? a nation? an ethnos? The question discussed here is much more encompassing. Consider
    that in the 1970's the world had a population of about 4 billion souls. We thought we had it all solved ,
    we had the whole world in our hand, we made love not war, may even have forced the end of an
    absurd war. What happened?

    The world now has over 7 billion people, with a plethora of international institutions, and we are
    nowhere near an end to nationalism. Au contraire.. Not that it shouldn't be aspired to: as a great singer
    once said, if you reach for the stars you may land on the roof, but if you reach for the roof, you'll never
    get off the ground. But it would help if the nature of the beast were taken into consideration. Ours is not really a very nice species on the whole, and 'us' and 'them' is pretty much part of the matrix. Ask any anthropologist.

    PS I'm new at this, and not quite clear on what happens to posts. I did write one yesterday mentioning the make love not war' bit, and got a couple of weird replies. Can't find any of it.
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      Sep 5 2012: Hello Anita,

      There are many challenges to this idea of supranationalism, as humanity as an integrative whole, especially since as you noted everything is pretty much run by nationalism. But we cannot change our public character without confronting it, it will take aeons to erode if people do not call themselves supranationalist and challenge the system, hopefully drawing most in crowds somewhere along the way.

      Let us challenge notion that division is natural to our species, and let them be wrong. As people once called tribes home, city-states home, and the idea of a nation-state was fantastical. Fortune favours the brave.

      We are all better than this.
      • Sep 5 2012: -Amen to that.
        But don't rush to discount us old soldiers - we have a lot of fight left in us.
        We may just pick our battles more carefully. After all, you may pick up lots of
        followers among the baby-boomers, and there are about 400.000.000 of us
        worldwide, and we can, and should be universalists across formal borders.
        I am your constituency...
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          Sep 5 2012: You are absolutely right. Thanks for the great reminder. As I see it the global generation, is not just those from 18-35 but anyone who is globally minded. If you are, then we are at your service.
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          Sep 4 2012: What is a director General? Does it mean, "In General"? Are you the General who directs or the Director who is a General or do you mean "in general"?

          What is the Universal Party and what do they stand for?
  • Sep 4 2012: So for my final post tonight, before I go to sleep so that I could wake up tomorrow and teach the next generation. If we could agree with one thing, is that the world is a place that we share. I know without saying I truly understand, that a lot of us, all of us given the right circumstances, would really love a world where we are one. The answer lies with the next generation, I spend a lot of time with the young ones so I speak from experience, the ones who haven't been scarred by our realities, they are our hope. The more time we spend with them, the more time we try to make there everyday better, the more you will realize that they are our hope. That being with them, brings us to a place, a mindset where these things we truly hunger for are still possible. So like I said, no one really has to figure out everything, we can inch our way to progress together, we can empower ourselves, keep that hope alive by going the extra mile. Speak the universal language that everybody loves, love itself. Give a seat, work extra hard to make your bosses' life a little easier, help your enemies, be nice to people even when they smite you, give advice without return, and this time when they ask you why, don't tell them because it is good or because God asked you to do so, or that it is said somewhere that to do so is proper, but rather tell them you do all these, because you believe that we are all part of one word family, and that even though you haven't figured everything out, or may never figure it out, you do the things that you do because you want to make the world a better place for everyone, you yourself, it is your intention, something that you premeditated, something that you planned and have given considerable thought. That it is not an accident, not a whim, not a response called forth from emotion, but rather an act of a separate identity who has independently decided that the sum of humans as a whole is definitely greater than all of us being apart. It is time...
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      Sep 4 2012: To Ronald, its a good insight as to what some people experience as the motivation for humans to collaborate on a large scale.
  • Sep 4 2012: Since I am so excited about this revelation of not being alone, let me further depict my understanding of such people, this New Age Identities. I am sure that like me, a lot of us feel the constraints, the shackles of the reality that we live in. We are bothered with everything that happens in the news because to us, we feel that they too are not only family, but that it could have easily been us. But at the same time, we are also burdened with the lives that we are responsible to live, the jobs that we feel passionate about or the other things in life that find good. Nevertheless, when we have time, when we are alone, we search, to the point of being obsessive sometimes, and depressive when hope is taken away at times. But we see things differently don't we? LIke everyone else, we have our temptations, whether it be commercial or carnal, but the difference is, we see those things as something we can be without, but within, what we really want is that world where everyone is one, united, happy, oh yes we have heard the songs, we have heard about those who even got to do amazing things, for me, every individual that did something positive just because they taught it would make the world a better place, is one of us. I guess what I am saying is, we don't all have to figure it out, that is too much to expect, the idea that there will be a savior for me is a complete utter fallacy, the idea that we need saving, takes away the very essence of our dream, that we could live in a world of understanding, a world where we don't have to fear each other anymore, because in honesty, we are all in the same boat. A world where future Hitlers are told, I'm sorry sweetheart, but I think we need to work on being more caring. A world where language is used a tool for progressive communication, where everyone can be given the benefit of the doubt, where one doesn't have to be right, because we are all in common understanding that we are all just trying to figure it out...
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      Sep 4 2012: It looks like Ronald has actually been using the TED educational Videos. :)

      Good night Ronald.
      Sweet Dreams.
  • Sep 4 2012: What a delightful day!! Hello fellow New Age Identities! I Guess it is true that sometimes what you are looking for maybe right under your nose or in this case right beside my conversation post. I totally agree that nationalism is outdated and that it does more harm than good. It runs parallel with the design problem that I have been trying to solve, slavery. It is amazing how so many people neglect to see the harm in having a 'design' where people's life attributes are given based on where and when they were born. In this design, some people are born with property, others without, ability to travel and gain quality education while others left to commit crimes. But what I find most amazing is the fact that very few people are with the understanding that in this day and age, who we are has a lot to do with what kind of learning environment we were born into. That a lot of the things that we call part of who we are, are actually predetermined attributes that have nothing to do with who we really are. I know it is a slippery slope I travel, but I venture because I seek something more. My take away from everything that I have read so far is, that it really is that ability to see the big picture, understand that we are not what reality make us to be, that we can be better and that a lot of the things we hold true are not ours but rather borrowed ideas or even coerced identities born from fear and provocation.

    You read me write "New Age Identities" and I say this because I'm starting to understand that the greatest determiner for being one is the ownership of perspective. I don't know how we got here, that would require some more thinking, and I for one have learned a long time ago that one must never claim full understanding, but for some reason, we have this perspective that allows us to look and see things that are much bigger than one person, one family, one tribe, one community, nation and so forth. That perspective that instantaneously connects us.. humans..
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      Sep 4 2012: There is a phrase to this order I often use in speaking, it is "we are who we choose to be". Be it national citizens or global citizens, it is ultimately always our choice, and thus our responsibility to inform ourselves further about these decisions we make often silently, and brashly.
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      Sep 4 2012: Instantaneous connection is a false assumption. I think people are inherently distrustful, at first, and have to overcome this feeling to establish a "Connection".
      • Sep 4 2012: I agree that with age most people are distrustful, but it is something we learn. Children on the other hand, they are open minded, which is why I can attest that a universal based identity because more or less, that is what they are taught in IB. At an early age if tools like the IB profiles or attitudes are inculcated into our childrens' minds, then they are well equipped to see the world as a world citizen rather than the microscale identity. I invite readers to go through their regular day with the lens of what are we really teaching the next generation, I think that you too would find the underlying messages we are all inadvertantly for most of us, giving eachother. Identities like National or filial or religious are linearly progressive, I say that because in those instances learning occurs within that single identity one sets for oneself. So if one nation makes an advancement, the others wouldnt really associate themself with it. On the other hand if one thought of the world as whole
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          Sep 4 2012: "I see", said the blind man.

          You are not an educator in a school by chance are you?

          Good luck to you Ronald Vallecer.
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      Sep 4 2012: We live in a time of an unprecedented success in the diffusion of national identites worldwide. Nationalism is everywhere, and it has solved very few things. It is not a cure all, and it is not mandatory. It was a 20th century fad.

      World War 1 and 2 are the epitome of nationalism. How is Globalism not equally as good for the integrity of a country, unlike nationalism it might help address the trans-national themes of environmental degradation, crime, and poverty which cannot be solved within ones own borders but affect the daily lives of its inhabitants. Nationalism should not be taken on face value, its not effective, most nation-states haven't brought good living standards for their people 19% success rate as mentioned earlier, they are an outdated, outmoded model.

      Nationalism is the preaching of leaders against foreigners - that is its basis (largely to hide poor local policies) - how is that a global cause, nothing nationalist is of global scale, except for the devastation of war. Since nationalist favour themselves over others, any global movement would be insincere. Would it not?
  • Sep 4 2012: In Canada, we have nationalism within our nation (although in a small area, Quebec) this has cause untold amount of trouble because they think that because of their special status (being the only 'officially' 2 language province (french being dominant) that they are entitled to more. I think nationalism actually needs to be increased in Canada in order to bring the country more together, and thus become stronger
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      Sep 4 2012: Every nation excludes some number of its citizens. As with any identity based on not being the 'foreign'. There are 10 million stateless people in the world or more because nobody will claim them, they fall between the cracks of nationalism, and yes it exists within the west.

      Many tribal communities and ethnic communities in Canada never fully integrate, because the image of the 'national character' excludes things they hold dear. This is always the case, and Canada is the least of it. There are many people placed into modern slavery for generations because they do not identify with their nations character. Such as the Bihari in Bangladesh, or the northern tribes in Thailand.

      Nationalism is inherently exclusive, as it is based upon creating scapegoats and others - against whom to build military, borders, and hostile politics. Internal fractions will always occur in any country, look at what happened to the Soviet Union, they had a strong ultra-patriotic government that ran many cultures, but quietly everyone knew it was pushing on them a standard and way of life they reject - so it contributed to the fall.

      The only way to include all groups and get work done is a human identity, because it is highly diverse and has no single national character. Human patriotism can provide just as easily - you do this because its right for all people, you build this road in Quebec using a amalgamation of local councils in and out of the French speaking territories, why? Because its right for all people, this attitude breaks barriers, not the attitude of hoping to place a group of people behind your national fortifications, identity, and prejudices (because they'll likely have been on receiving end of these national prejudices, and distrust them).
  • Sep 4 2012: Good question and a very important subject

    Nations are an integral part of plutocratic machinery. Their most crucial service in this regard is police forces and military forces to fight their conflicts of interests.
    Rather than globally-minded citizens we need a global network of civically minded (civically at a municipal level) citizens.
    And there is now an interface to form one. thedotchannel.com
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      Sep 4 2012: I'm not entirely sure I understand your suggestion. You mean have a bunch of nationalists civil servants on the municipal level cooperate on global issues? While answering to nationalist leaders? So, pretty close to the UN?

      The idea of challenging nationalism is to challenge the idea why we need 185 militaries to kill one another, not to accept it. So I'll take it as an argument for nation-states I guess.
      • Sep 15 2012: Hi Levi
        Sorry for taking so long to reply.
        My argument is to direct political and economic power away from the abstract realm of nations toward real-life communities. So more like a United Communities than a United Nations.
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    Sep 4 2012: Technology has opened the door to space travel. It looks as if a mission to mars will be a one way trip for a colony of people in the next decade or two. Just as the Dutch exploited the New World in the chaos of European conflict and nationalism, they are going to exploit the planet Mars.

    As societies on planet earth change and the differences that make them stand apart decline or politically erode, nations become more like one another. Ideas of nationalism will give way to a one world sense of togetherness; Globalism.

    It's hard for us to imagine such a global existence today; being so caught up in the transition phase. Violent conflict erupts as dictators compete with an informed citizenry for the power to sustain a nationalistic social order ruled by one mind or group of minds.

    In the face of overwhelming social change, to remain conservative in our thinking, only to insure a sense of national pride, would only serve to set us off from the rest of the world. Those who feel we should maintain a national order in the world need to enjoy it while it lasts because the world is changing fast. Those nations which fail to embrace the new global order will become a chapter in history.

    Welcome to the New World.
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      Sep 4 2012: Yeah! Space is also a wonderful subsitute for war, as the same military-industrial complexes that run war also build space machinery. If we had a peaceful global space race which every nation could participate and person, it could work very similarly to the Steel and Coal Commission for the rise of the EU, by integrating all humankind in a similar project, and by working directly together for a common cause, even quicker erode nationalist sentiment.

      As new boundaries are explored, with enormous technological run offs that can benefit all of mankind. Calculators, computers, cell phones where products of tech invented in the space race between 2 nations, imagine the inventions between all. A Project of All Humankind.

      But that's somewhat another topic. I digress. But it does answer the question often asked by nationalists, 'what do you think will happen if we get rid of our military?' thinking anyone believing humanity not being prepared for all out war over tiny political frictions at all times are somehow alternatively only Utopian. The answer being, 'we will build to explore'.
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        Sep 4 2012: I believe as you, if we (the United States) give up our military, we will be wiped off the face of the earth. But, If we attack others, they will fear us and would never lay down their arms. So it is the nationalistic thinking that is preventing peace. Nationalistic living does not suppose that we should attack other nations or build military bases in their countries or force their populations to accept them.
        What if we bring our troops home and dismantle our bases overseas? Would that not set the mood for planetary disarmament?

        If we want to be a leader on this planet then we need to lead away from war as a means of solving problems. We need to stay on our own property and let others do with their property as they want.

        The other way is to form a one world government and create laws that give that government the right to disarm and force the world to accept these laws as the law of their own land. An example being we could force the Syrians to stop harming their Citizens and order then to accept the laws of the world government. We would have the right to inspect and manage the Iranians nuclear power plant construction. Both countries would simply be another state in the world government.

        Would there be fighting? Yes there would but at least we would have the law on our side.

        Presently, there is no global government that has formulated laws towards this means. As a leader with power and a constitution that strives for fairness among individuals, Europe and the Untied states should take the lead in this one world government proposition.

        The UK's other option is that they can become a part of the Euro-Russian-Asian-Alliance and we can divide the world into the eastern and western Hemispheres. They can stay on their side and we on ours. It would save our side a lot of money and put a lot of problems into the hands of the Eastern side of the world, where most of them are created.

        Either way the Dutch will proceed with the colonization of Mars
        • Sep 4 2012: No doubt about that. I'll bet my bottom guilder. Euro. Credit.
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          Sep 6 2012: Okay... I'm with ya, on most of this. All the way up until... wouldn't it be great if all of humanity had one leader... or a group of leaders... Sounds a bit like Hitler to me. And Stalin. Do you remember how many billions of people have died so that we didn't all have to do what a small group of morons said?
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    Sep 3 2012: In my observation, people are increasingly interested in the well-being of those in other parts of the world, with communication technology's having increased awareness and communication.

    I see the best ways of organizing activity of various kinds as a separate question. Often making decisions about whatever project is at hand can be done better by a variety of smaller entities than one humongous one. Economists consider "economies of scale."

    The concept does not say that it is best to be as large as possible, but rather that the scale of an organization needs to be matched to the sort of decisions, objectives, and operations that need to take place. And large objectives are often best organized by allocating sub-projects across a variety of entities. What's more, having several organizations operate more or less independently tends to offer a greater variety of solutions and greater innovation.
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      Sep 3 2012: To Reisner, yes there is definitely a need for problems to be allocated to those who are most affected by them. That said, there are most definitely global problems, that require global solutions on a grand scale. For example the environment, we cannot have task-force teams wading through 185 plus bureaucracies, it just doesn't work. People have been trying to solve global problems with tiny teams for ages, AIDS, Poverty etc and both are still on the rise.

      Solutions need to be bigger than the problem, and insisting on small units when large ones are necessary is often in my experience a product of old mentalities that treat any form of group work or consensus futile and sometimes even direct elitism.

      It'd suggest a descending order of systems of global governance with global issues being solved at the respective global institutions, regional issues solved by regional institutions etc. Aka, global for global, regional for regional, nation for nation, provenance for provenance, city for city, and neighborhood for neighborhood.
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    Sep 3 2012: Something to think on, about how impractical nationalism is. It's mostly hype that the nation-state model even works well at all. Think of how many nations are doing well economically (standard of life for citizens) / how many countries in the world (185 being generously low estimate).

    Generally like 35 Successful Nations /185 Total = 18.9 or 19 percent success rate - that's a F by any standard.
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    Sep 3 2012: it is nothing but the good old tribal thinking. can't get rid of it for many thousands of years.
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      Sep 3 2012: Well I wouldn't suggest striving for a Utopian model, more one flawed and human but still global. Tribal thinking has gotten less and less as humanity has organized itself into bigger and bigger groups. I hardly think a modern French citizen cares what Gaul tribe they belong or that of their neighbor. Something which was for thousands or hundreds of years unimaginable.

      Tribal identities or City-state identities gave way to nationalism. So to can a supranational identity become to a national identity, as a global economy has made it practical. I'd say at least.
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        Sep 3 2012: tribes definitely have got bigger, and also multi layered. today we are members of not one tribe, but many, nationality being a major one. i can see a future

        it might be the case that tribal thinking is on the decline. i hope it is. but we still have much of it, and it just gives us problems.
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          Sep 3 2012: Well I'd agree there's two major campus or trends Universlists (unifies) and Triblaists (divides).

          At the same time societies get bigger, global, and based on a common human identity the opposite trend sees some people being attracted to smaller and more extreme groups such as terrorists, religious fanatics, fascists, and ultra-nationalists. I believe this is a theme in some better political textbooks.

          Those striving for unity being motivated by the casual citizen striving for greater freedom and equality in a increasingly global reality, and the tribal being motivated by a desire for power and to retain the hegemonic and often chauvinistic systems in which they where the elite.

          I think its natural with any power change to have those who don't like it, they aren't a problem so much as further motivation for a supranational identity. Just like hardcore racists didn't win over the masses in civil rights movements, they wont win over an emerging global citizenry.
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    Sep 3 2012: To strict sense it is......however even in the 21st century we have all the ISMs around may be in a polished form in some cases
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      Sep 3 2012: whats ISMs?
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        Sep 3 2012: Thats a suffix turning the words like Race, Sex, in to a meaning with negative conotation.
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          Sep 4 2012: Oh for a moment I thought it was an acronym. lol