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Nationalism


Purple Shot Copper Butterfly, Conamara

Nationalism is a state of romantic yearning rather than a coherent political programme. Nationalist rhetoric was replete with mysticism. Germans believed all German speakers should unite into a single Reich. Nationalism often obliterates pre-existing cultures. Nationalism justified the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries inspiring people to fight in them in combination with national self-determination.

Nationalists insist everyone must belong to a nation, and that every nation must assert its identity, pursue this identity, and defend its rights. This makes no sense. 'Und es mag am Deutschen wesen, einmal noch die welt genesen' - and it may be with German ways, the world will be good again.' Friedrich die Grosse. Nationalism is clearly false: there is no innate spiritual bond between people who share a common language; their community is simply what they choose to make it! This nonsense is associated with old white men.

US self image relies on heresies; the lone individual who are outsiders such as Hawkeye from The Last of the Mohicans and Sergeant York of WW1, they save society from the margins with a loner indifference to shootouts and showdowns; the US virtue of authenticity ensures the dream of individual liberation is only justifiable if one believes in the goodness of man which implies irrational self-reliance, opinionated

noisiness, trigger happy impulses and irritating self-belief. This is confirmed by the US tendency to bomb people from time to time but always with good intentions. The feel good society, where personal guilt dissolves and self satisfaction stalks is a major consequence. Charles Lindbergh's 'Make America Great Again' in the 1940s urged the US to stay out of Europe's WW2, to no avail. The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, USA, borrowed this empty rhetoric. Authoritarians; Distract, Divert and Scare! 'Simple concepts shouted out a thousand times, the crowd will understand,' Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf 1924.

There is the moral of all human tales; 'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past. First freedom and the Glory - when that fails, Wealth, vice corruption - barbarism at last. Lord Byron 1818, on reflecting on 23 years of Napoleonic Wars in Europe. This applies to the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, USA.

Western Europe post WW2 was the model for Third World countries to aspire to. Unfortunately, US voters preferred an arrogant, bellicose, loudmouth over qualified candidates with his brand of 'reliving the past nationalism' now in operation which has transferred to the New English National Party, the current 'Conservative Party' led by an untrustworthy Prime Minister elected by the Oxford Union.

A multi-polar world directed by 900 blundering tweets per month is unstable with an uncertain future. Putin will now take over control of the Middle East.

Source: Out of our Minds, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, One World Books, 2019

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