Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Today, the term “nationalism” is considered a dirty word right up there with the old “F” word, the new “F” word (a slur against homosexuals) and the “N” word (a slur against African-Americans). Depending on the source, you will find different definitions of the term. For example, Roget’s 21st edition thesaurus (online) defines it as “love of one’s country,” synonymous with “patriotism.” The Oxford definition takes it a little further defining it as an adjective: “Having or expressing strong identification with one’s own nation and vigorous support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.” Roget and Oxford basically overlap until you get to the phrase after the comma in the Oxford definition. Nationalism need not lead “to the exclusion or detriment” of anything.
The reason the Left hates, or espouses a hatred of “nationalism,” is twofold. First, the focus of their hatred- President Trump- described himself as a “nationalist.” Second, and more deeply, the Left hates “patriotism.” Thus, since the two terms are synonymous, it would stand to reason why they hate “nationalism.” In effect, they are describing the love of one’s country as an evil while the masses consider it a virtue. The fact is that the Left and Communists have attempted to discredit both patriotism/nationalism through their propaganda since the birth of Communism.
Emmanuel Macron of France claims that nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. Angela Merkel of Germany slammed Trump for his embrace of nationalism. Both Macron and Merkel, however, are globalists who believe that international organizations are sacrosanct and can do no wrong. They are living in a dream world. In fact, both are carrying on the Utopian dream of a new world order which has been at the center of other discredited movements, among them Communism, socialism, secular global corporatism, libertarian daydreams, and Islam to name a few. The reason is simple for the slander against nationalism: their new world order cannot survive as long as people have an affinity and love for their country. Therefore, patriotism and nationalism must be destroyed and dismantled for their Utopian vision to take place.
Domestically, we see some of the same tactics, even among those who wrongly consider themselves “conservatives.” For example, Max Boot equates nationalism with racial and ethnic prejudice. Jonah Goldberg is quick to point out out the disparity between Trump’s divisive “nationalism” and John McCain’s “honest patriotism.” In its purest form, nationalists cannot be racists since the racist will find too many things wrong with the country while a true nationalist will use love of country- warts and all- at the top of their list.
It is true that in other countries, nationalism may be based on culture or race. That is not true in the United States since the core values that define an “American” are to found in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, not the pigmentation of one’s skin. And that is exactly where the Left swoops in when they slur nationalism.
Today, we do not hear from the Left the term “nationalism,” but the term “white nationalism” which is a joke to begin with. The Leftist press heard the ubiquitous dog-whistles when Trump claimed to be a “nationalist.” It is they who attached the phrase “white” to it, not Trump. White nationalism is a small fringe who erroneously believe that nationality is defined by the color of one’s skin. It is a silly notion because “white” is not a nation.
Consider, for example, Poland or any European nation. They are defined by a common language, religion in most cases, and a bond of loyalty forged in centuries of struggle. Using the example of Poland, Polish is the common language, they are largely Catholic and they have been defined by their struggle for independence from both Russia and Germany. By contrast, despite the fact European nations are largely white, there is no talk of white nationalism in Poland, although nationalism certainly exists. That is why one will never find a “white nation” in any history book; white is not a nationality and therefore there cannot be white nationalism. Those who specifically declare themselves white nationalists are simply stupid who have not an iota of intelligence when they use the term “nationalism.” That is why those who consider themselves “white nationalists” have to march under bizarre banners since they have concocted a belief system antithetical to American nationalism.
They are trying to replace pure nationalism with a racial one created from fiction based on racial identity. They share much in common with the Left, in fact, since their break from pure nationalism is also predicated on a racial factor. The racial identity politics of the small, fringe white nationalist is less a threat than the racial identity politics of the more populous Left. Most Americans are not attracted to either white nationalism nor the racial identity politics of the Left with one exception: the Left controls both media and academia and they therefore drive the narrative.
In its purest form, nationalism is neither good nor evil, conservative or liberal. The perception of a common national identity is, in fact, essential to a democracy, and even a modern welfare state. For example, the welfare state depends upon the willingness of its citizens to pay taxes to take care of those less fortunate in their nation. In the absence of that common national identity, that unwritten and unspoken contract breaks down.
What we take for granted is reflected in the views of the Left. They use harsh words against the notion of nationalism while perverting the phrase, yet simultaneously endorse and embrace nationalist policies. A welfare state is, in the end, a nationalist enterprise and it is often justified on those terms by the Left. This makes them rank hypocrites.
Today’s nationalist revival from Brazil to Europe to the United States, it must be mentioned, is not because “nationalists” are crawling out of the woodwork. It is a reaction against the globalists, not nation-based, policies that have left many behind. The pie charts and graphs showing how everyone is better off because of globalist policies registers little with those living paycheck to paycheck. True, the reaction has been most potent on the Right. The failure on the Left is their inability to distinguish between legitimate and healthy nationalism versus the bigoted, small minority nationalism they portray all nationalism to be.
A strong patriotism that emphasizes our commonalities rather than our differences is what will create a meeting of the minds. That patriotism must not be “racialized.” That is why we need the flag, the National Anthem and all the other common symbols that are light on politics. These are the symbols which make a people a nation. They are constant reminders that we are a group of over 300 million people with whom we share a country, a creed and a flag. We also share a deep commitment and mutual obligation to those things symbolized. As long as the Left insists on the opposite, of portraying America as a racist, imperialist pariah, such will never be. And that is exactly their design.