realitycheck44

Nationalism Versus Statism

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Hey guys.

In my World History AP class, my teacher (who is a "democratic socialist") often talks about nationalism. She speaks of it in a highly derogatory manner. However, I am finding a hard time getting a succinct definition of the term and how it differs from statism. Is nationalism a good thing? Apparently it is one of the signs of fascism, but it also seems to be simply the belief that nation-states are superior to no borders at all. This I agree with. However, I can also see how, if taken too far, it could turn into what Miss Rand referred to as statism. How do you distinguish, if at all, between the two terms? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time!

Zak

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I am finding a hard time getting a succinct definition of the term and how it differs from statism.

Nationalism is the form of statism in which the rights of individuals are sacrificed to the (alleged) interest of the nation. Since individual rights are sacrificed, it is a very bad thing.

But BEWARE: Leftists are reluctant to define the term because they want to make a package-deal of nationalism and patriotism. Patriotism means respecting and valuing one's country. If you are an American, patriotism is a virtue.

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Well, that was easy. Awesome. I was getting confused because people, like you said, were mixing up patriotism and nationalism. I thought nationalism might be good, but only when I did not involve sacrificing rights. Now I see that is what patriotism is. And to think, I've been brooding over this for about two months now. B)

Thanks alot Mrs. Speicher!

Zak

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In my World History AP class, my teacher (who is a "democratic socialist") often talks about nationalism. She speaks of it in a highly derogatory manner. However, I am finding a hard time getting a succinct definition of the term and how it differs from statism. Is nationalism a good thing?

Nationalism is the belief that a particular kind of collective, the "nation" (a group of people defined, often, by nonessentials such as language or "ethnicity") is superior in value to any individual. Used in this sense, "nationalism" is an ethical and social idea. In this meaning, nationalism is bad.

Statism is the belief that that the state (a central government) is superior to individual rights. Statism is a political idea. In any meaning, statism is bad.

A "nation" and a "nation-state" are not necessarily the same. For example, the murderers in the Basque "nationalist" movement in northern Spain are nationalistic collectivists who intend to practice statism -- if they get into power. These Basque separatists, however, do not yet have a state. So they are, they say, a nation -- but not a nation-state.

There is a legitimate use of the term "nation" to identify a group of people in a given area who have a common, objective interest -- as in establishing a system of justice and providing protection from invasion. In this meaning, it can be proper to speak of "the nation" when referring to the people of the U. S. or Australia, for example. That nation deserves a non-statist state.

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What about preferring America to all other countries?

Suppose America isn't the only country around that is of comparable level of freedom and prosperity. I don't think it would be wrong to prefer America for its less essential characteristics, such as the history of its founding, the character of its founders, the fact that there are Philly Cheesesteaks and that I can eat as many as I want, and many other cultural things. I don't admire some Platonic form of "free country"; what I admire and hold close to heart are the many concrete facts about America, of which the freedom and semi-respect of human rights are just a few aspect among many more. I would call my attitude nationalist, but certainly not statist (!).

In fact, I don't even know how to compare the two concepts, because they seem so drastically alike. Nationalism, even in a bad form (such as, let's say, the nationalism many French practice) is simply a blind adherence to one's country, regardless of any facts about it; statism, on the other hand, is reverse, not relationship of man to country, but of country to man, that is disregard for the citizen's rights and holding of the country as more important than the people who constitute it.

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