Alexander Albo

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Alexander Albo
Posted over 1 year ago
Is Nationalism a 21st Century Ethic - Isn't Nationalism more like Racism or Sexism than Patriotism?
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
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Alexander Albo
Posted over 1 year ago
Is Nationalism a 21st Century Ethic - Isn't Nationalism more like Racism or Sexism than Patriotism?
"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?
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Alexander Albo
Posted over 1 year ago
Do you support unrestricted Immigration?
" YES the Nation state is a fiction but that is not what we are discussing here" Laws are fiction. Culture is fiction. Civilization is fiction. Does this mean that you copulate on the street? Or that you use violence to settle your personal conflicts? Or that you use books as toiletpaper (you might, but I really hope you do not). I really am not a fan of the intellectual arrogance with which the OP dissmisses one of the most important and in many cases benefical concepts of modern civilization as "fictional". In either case, I do not support the principle supported by some that free immigration between nations is supposedly some sort of inalienable right. It is not. Claiming that it is violates the social contract. People who live in a given community should also have the right to exclude people from that community if they so chose, because the people who are being excluded have not supported the community in the form of taxes, they also are not percieved to share any cultural characteristcs with the community by it's members. If people do not want immigrants with certain cultural values or immigrants without certain qualifications to recieve the benefits of entering their country, then no-one has the right to tell the citizens of that country that it is wrong for them to limit immigration. Do I support it as a government policy? Absolutely not. You cannot expect to take people from one of the most backward, poor and illiterate parts of the world and expect them to integrate into Western countries seamlessly. I really do not see why it should be upheld as desirable. Some form of restrictions on immigration are very necessary and inescapable, especially if you are living in a welfare state. Otherwise you will risk ending up in a situation where destitute immigrants come to the state to live as they did back home, just without working.
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Alexander Albo
Posted over 1 year ago
Is Nationalism a 21st Century Ethic - Isn't Nationalism more like Racism or Sexism than Patriotism?
"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?