Nationalism is a phenomenon that can bare both positive and negative attributes. It is of great importance in creating a sense of individual identity as well as unity between people who share the same nationalistic views. It can create a harmony between strangers on the foundation of similarities of culture, language, religion, and historical accomplishments. It creates sympathy amongst its members, while motivating the advancement of interests that each nationality holds. Nonetheless, nationalism can carry an underlying consequence of segregation between different nationalities. The negative attributions of nationalism can cause weak justifications for war, racism, territorial conflicts and ignorance towards other nations. It can fuel ethnocentric behaviour, and deteriorate universal empathy and compassion for people who are different than us. The question then becomes; how should nationalism be treated in the perfect society? Would it be eliminated altogether, or endorsed profusely to instill identity? The solution that I will argue in this essay is that in an ideal state, nationalism should be separate from governance, however protected as a personal belief, much like the freedom to believe in whichever religion we decide. I will argue that both the complete elimination and the complete infusion of nationalism in society will result to unjust consequences, and thus not be able to sustain an ideal society.
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Firstly, we must define what the general outline of an ideal society is to be able to argue for or against nationalism. I believe that we can all agree that an ideal society is one that protects its people’s individual free will, while maintaining a safe environment for the people as a group. This free will must be free from constraints, equal to all while still protecting the individual differences. The society must provide an environment that is accepting and tolerant while providing refuge from persecution and discrimination for all of its citizens. In regards to nationalism, the ideal society must find a way to respect individual nationalism, while not forcing the people to either get rid of their nationalism or be conformed into one general nationalistic view. A middle ground needs to be founded much like the liberals views towards the personal choice of religion. It is in this middle ground of nationalism that an ideal society will be able to function in. If the balance is skewed towards any side of the spectrum, be it no nationalism or extreme nationalism, unjust consequences towards different groups of people in society will be seen.
If society took a enforced nationalism approach, it would cause great amounts of segregation between people as well as interntional communities. That is because religious, ethnic, and cultural traditions and ideologies have always had room for interpretation and criticism. Much international conflicts of interest are bsased on conflicts of nationalism. Different people who identify with different cultural, religious and ethinic ideologies always seem to be comparing differences more than similarities. As well, the physical aspect of nationalism, such as territory, has caused disputes since humans first began to live as tribes. In this day and age territory has become anything from land, to borders to even water and airspace. The people then use this sense of nationalism to fuel wars and international conflicts begin. Although these conflicts are not based on anything but a deep sense of nationalism towards a country or region that the person did not even choose to be a part of, but was by chance born there. Rational thinking, allows us to see that such deep emotions towards land can segregate and breed conflict and hate. It gives people a sense of ownership towards their nations land and many believe that the ownership is their “god given right”. This then leads to the nationalities thinking that what their nation values and identify with are superior to other nationalities.
This ethnocentric behaviour will then become enough motivation to judge, stereotype and propel racism towards other nationalities. It will shut down borders of compassion for people other than our own, while segregating us from the reality that regardless of nationality, we are all just human. Historical cultural grudges will be held onto simply because it happened to previous generation of people, with the only link being that the new generation was born on the same part of the soil as the old generation, thus baring the old generation’s conflicts. Nations would justify injustices to other nations because they would feel that protecting the interests of their own nationality is superior to protecting the interests of other nationalities. This could cause wars and even extreme cases of eugenic that we were a witness to while Hitler was in power in Germany.
This had a significant impact on the economy, in that the industrial strength of nations was rapidly growing, and producing new military products that the world had never seen before. Nations built up armed forces and in doing so, increased world tension in an already delicate environment. Today, nationalism is felt by everyone and has been responsible for many of today’s conflicts. With conflicting views on life in general, opposing nations are quick to express their ideologies by any means possible, including violence. It is the promotion of this national pride to an extreme degree leads to ultra-nationalism, which does nothing but reek havoc on the international community. Our society must recognize these issues and learn not to make the same mistakes in the future. To find an example of ultra-nationalism, one need look no further than the fascist state of Italy and Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini used the concept of nationalism to their benefit, even before their leadership. In Germany, the people were starved for a leader that could rid the oppression and large debts caused by the First World War. Hitler’s ability to perform outstanding speeches to the German people during his political campaign greatly increased his popularity among the masses.
The concept of nationalism plays a large role in encouraging theses kinds of disputes. Nationalism can drag other states into these conflicts. When one state wants to control another government, there is always a direct conflict between these two states. But then other states, who might oppose or favor that controlling of that state, get involved and it creates a huge mess.
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Encouraging nationalistic feelings among citizens can be a positive thing for the reason that it brings individuals together on a common level to work for the good of their country. Overall, nationalism has a very positive affect on a country and it’s citizens. Nationalism strengthens a nation by allowing citizens to attain unity and pride. In situations of war these characteristics have brought people together to protect and fight for their own nation. Without unity and pride a country would not be able to sustain their sovereignty. Working as a team can also be related to an everyday aspect of a country such as government relations. A government with hopes to achieve substantial goals will work harder to achieve a better quality of life for their citizens. This shows two of the many ways that nationalism has a positive effect on soci
The solution is to instead of enforcing individual nationality into everyone from a strong age, we should respect out roots of origin but instead enforce a sense of human unity regardless of differences. In an ideal state, the sense of identity and unity should come from the people’s ability to see past differences and similarities and instead be unified on one platform. This platform would be the ability to show passionate pride and love for the accomplishments of all human beings. If there is anything superior about us, it has been our ability to rationalize and think logically. It’s a shame that we use to mask nationality as weapons to use against each other. So with this superior ability to rationalize it becames observable that no human wishes to be stripped of their identiy, as well as no human wishes to be dis
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