Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

Nationalism – idiocy in huge doses.

without comments

Dear Son,

I was being a bit vain today. I did a Google search to see if my post on Tommy the Grass had been indexed as my WordPress installation has become mangled and the fantastic “Counterize” is not working properly. I’m going to fix it eventually.

I came across a site by Kevin Williamson, he even has a Wiki entry. There is a graphic on his web site that contains the following text:

For so long as 100 of us remain alive we shall never accept subjection to the domination of the English. For we fight not for glory, or riches or honour, but for freedom alone which no good man will consent to loose but his life.

The quote comes from the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath. A group of Scottish Noblemen and clerics wrote to the Pope on behalf of the King (Robert the Bruce) asking him to intervene and tell the English King to leave Scotland alone.

What I find strange is that a self confessed “libertarian socialist” would quote from a bunch of reactionary landowners and clerics. He must have his reasons; maybe he likes the words irrespective of who said them. A failing of mine is that I cannot divorce the words from the actions of the speaker. Noble men and clerics complaining about the murder of their fellow Scots sticks in my throat – these same men would quite happily let the same people starve while they stayed fat. And I won’t get started on the crimes committed by the Catholic Church – crimes they were committing way back in 1320.

Nationalism is a dangerous thing. I warned you about Political Correctness in the past and I’ll extend this warning. The same rubbish regarding “all whites are racists” is extended to nationalism. In the shadowy liberal white middle class inspired world of political correctness loving your country and hating people from other countries is bad thing unless that is, there is some sort of liberation struggle involved. And then it’s good thing. But not always. When oppressed minorities use nationalism it’s okay – unless it’s Israel of course. Then it’s not. Zionism started off as form of national liberation for an oppressed people without a state and morphed into a terrorist state but this is no surprise as this is the only direction nationalism can ever take.

Nationalism is a love one’s country, it means the interests of the county come before the interest of individuals. The only thing is; countries are an artificial invention. The borders between different countries have moved over the years and in some places are still very fluid and ill defined. So on one day a person should be loving certain people but when the border moves a little they should be hating the very same people. We have people swearing allegiance to flags – how people can align themselves with a piece of cloth is beyond me. But exponents of the practise say that when you swear allegiance to a flag it is a symbolic act where you affirm you allegiance to your country. Which is just as silly as pledging yourself to a piece of cloth (even if it is superior flag material) – a country is a human invention just like a hair dryer or a washing machine just not as useful.

Others argue that what binds a country together is a shared culture. Cultures are in a constant state of flux, always changing. The change comes from immigrants bringing new forms of music, art, food e.t.c. or from people looking beyond their borders. Nationalists claim some sort of “National Identity” which is nothing more than certain cultural elements stuck in time i.e. traditions. All traditions are invented. At some point in history an event or way of doing something is done for the first time and some people think “what a good idea, let’s do that again next week/next month/next year”. Nationalism attempts to make these “traditions” entrenched – not because they are necessarily the best way of doing something but because if things change then the whole idea of “National Identity” crumbles. The very idea that x million people likes exactly the same thing is utter rubbish.

Nationalism, like any irrational belief system (religion for example), puts the basic needs of human beings into at least second place. That’s because the non-existent “national need” comes first. Who decides what is and isn’t in the national interest? I can’t answer that question, son. But what I do know is that the national interest is invoked whenever basic human rights are to be removed, whenever the poorest people are to made poorer or a country needs people to sacrifice themselves in a war for the benefit of the rich. The three things usually happen around the same time.

Swearing allegiance to a country is another part of nationalism. The idea is quite simply; a person swears that they will put their country first. It doesn’t really matter if the country in question commits atrocities – you have sworn an oath, so you are duty bound to join in. Many oaths invoke god, something Christians should never ever do:

Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

The reported words of Jesus in Mathew, Chapter 5, verses 33 to 37.

Nationalism throws up some very irrational beliefs. Image someone firing rockets at you but with the power of Nationalism the blame for the bombing goes not to the people who are firing the rockets but other people. This scenario is being played out in Israel where Israeli Arabs are blaming the Jews for the Hezbollah rockets killing them. The bombs are targeted, armed and fired by Hezbollah and they are to blame for every death they cause. The people firing the bombs have a choice about whether they fire the rockets or not. The Jewish population is not forcing them to fire off these rockets – the individual members of Hezbollah do that. The same is also true for the people of Lebanon. They are not responsible for the Israeli army killing them either. But we have a Jewish man on the TV saying that for each Jew killed a thousand of “theirs” should be killed.

Many people argue that “national liberation” enhances democracy. If Scotland, for example, were to get independence it would be more democratic because the 5 million people of Scotland would be closer to their elected representatives. But the fallacy of nationalism being benign is shown with a quick look at a Scottish Independence web site that contains the following quote:

My own son, a member of Independence First, says that he is Scottish first, and British second. In fact, a huge percentage of the population of Scotland would say that.

I personally consider myself Scottish, full stop.

So neither the son, nor the father actually considers themselves human beings. The father is “Scottish” full stop. What exactly does that mean? It takes a lot of self-deluded nonsense to ignore and dismiss the fact that one is a human being, a member of a family that encompasses 6 billion other human beings in an unbroken line that stretches back 100,000 years, give or take a few millennia.

“Them” and “Us” is the product of nationalism. But there is no “them”, only “us”, all six billion of us.

Written by Administrator

August 15th, 2006 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Politics

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