Nationalism & Segregation

Nationalism: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and putting the promotion of its culture and interests before those of others; a concept that first became apparent at the end of the 18th century but that has reached its peak in the 20th century.
Nationalism has divided mankind for thousands of years:
“Since the dawn of civilization, Man’s master institution has been states . . . There has never been one single state embracing the whole living generation of mankind all round the globe.”
“There has always been a multitude of states . . . and their collisions have precipitated the wars that have been one of the maladies of civilization.”
“The present-day global set of local sovereign states is not capable of keeping the peace.”—Arnold Toynbee, Mankind and Mother Earth.
IN THE light of the above statements, what is one of the principal impediments to the establishment of peace? It is the division of mankind into sovereign states. Put more simply, it is nationalism.

Acceptance of the Nation-State as a legitimate source of authority led to nationalism. The New Encyclopædia Britannica states: “Nationalism is often thought to be very old; sometimes it is mistakenly regarded as a permanent factor in political behaviour. Actually, the American and French revolutions may be regarded as its first powerful manifestations.” Since those revolutions, nationalism has swept across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Vicious wars have been legitimized in the name of nationalism.
Sandra Postel writes in State of the World 1992: “The remainder of this decade must give rise to transformations even more profound and pervasive if we are to hold on to realistic hopes for a better world.”

Sometimes the people are not in favor of a war. On what basis, then, can the rulers most easily persuade the population to support their aims? This was the problem that faced the United States in Vietnam. So, what did the ruling elite do? Galbraith answers: “The Vietnam War produced in the United States one of the most comprehensive efforts in social conditioning [adjusting of public opinion] in modern times. Nothing was spared in the attempt to make the war seem necessary and acceptable to the American public.” And that points to the handiest tool for softening up a nation for war. What is it?
Professor Galbraith again supplies the answer: “Schools in all countries inculcate the principles of patriotism. . . . The conditioning that requires all to rally around the flag is of particular importance in winning subordination to military and foreign policy.” This systematic conditioning prevails in communist countries as it does in Western nations.
Charles Yost, a veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service and State Department, expressed it thus: “The primary cause of the insecurity of nations persists, the very attribute on which nations pride themselves most—their sovereign independence, their ‘sacred egoism,’ their insubordination to any interest broader or higher than their own.” This “sacred egoism” is summed up in divisive nationalism, in the pernicious teaching that any one nation is superior to all others.
Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: “The spirit of nationality is a sour ferment of the new wine of democracy in the old bottles of tribalism.” In Power and Immortality, Dr. Lopez-Reyes wrote: “Sovereignty is a major cause of contemporary war; . . . unless altered, the system of sovereign nation-states will trigger World War III.” The emphasis on nationalism and sovereignty denies the basic concept that we all belong to the same human family, regardless of linguistic or cultural differences. And that denial leads to wars.
Yes, the experts can come up with all kinds of explanations of why man systematically sets out to destroy those of his own kind. Yet there is one primary factor that most commentators ignore.

Note that the Bible describes the feet and toes of the image as being “partly of iron and partly of molded clay,” adding: “The kingdom itself will prove to be divided, . . . will partly prove to be strong and will partly prove to be fragile . . . , but they will not prove to be sticking together.” (Daniel 2:33, 41-43) This lack of sticking together in unity became apparent as decolonization proceeded, as nationalism flourished, and as the developing countries gained in stature. The globe was rapidly slipping into political fragmentation.

Back in 1946, British historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: “Patriotism . . . has very largely superseded Christianity as the religion of the Western World.”

Albert Einstein once said: “Nationalism is an infantile disease.”

Xenophobia and economic insecurity are worldwide. The human family pays the price in suffering and death. And the immediate future holds no hope of change in these deeply entrenched attitudes that generate hatred and violence. Why is that? Because the education most receive—whether from parents or from nationalistically oriented school systems—inculcates hatred, intolerance, and notions of superiority based on nationality, ethnic and tribal origin, or language.
Nationalism, called by the weekly magazine Asiaweek “the Last Ugly Ism,” is one of the unchanging factors that continues to provoke hatred and bloodshed. That magazine stated: “If pride in being a Serb means hating a Croat, if freedom for an Armenian means revenge on a Turk, if independence for a Zulu means subjugating a Xhosa and democracy for a Romanian means expelling a Hungarian, then nationalism has already put on its ugliest face.”

In 1928 the *** flamboyant leader, Adolf Hitler, spoke out for the rekindling of nationalism when he declared: “Our people must first of all be liberated from the hopeless confusion of internationalism, and be deliberately and systematically trained in fanatical nationalism. . . . There is only one right in the world, and this right lies in one’s own strength.”

“I cannot understand your constant criticism of nationalism when you try to maintain a nonpolitical stance. Religion, history, and a sense of nationality are the guiding tenets of human destiny. Many people maintain that Christ in his time on earth was a Jewish nationalist opposed to Roman rule.”
J. M., Scotland
Regarding nationalism, British historian Arnold Toynbee said: “It is a state of mind in which we give our paramount political loyalty to one fraction of the human race . . . whatever consequences this may entail for the foreign majority of the human race.” Author Ivo Duchacek observed: “Nationalism divides humanity into mutually intolerant units.” Former UN Secretary-General U Thant observed: “So many of the problems that we face today are due to, or the result of, false attitudes . . . Among these is the concept of narrow nationalism—‘my country, right or wrong.’” The renowned Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges stated that nationalism “is the arch-villain of all the evils. It divides people, it destroys the good side of human nature, it leads to inequality in the distribution of wealth.”

The last decade has seen an unprecedented rise of nationalism. “Nationalism,” observed Joseph S. Nye, Jr., director of the Harvard Center for International Affairs, “is becoming stronger in most of the world, not weaker. Instead of one global village there are villages around the globe more aware of each other. That, in turn, increases the opportunities for conflict.”

Nationalism makes athletes, trainers, managers, and spectators attach an exaggerated sense of importance to victory. Following certain international sporting events, triumphal honors are pinned on the winning side, just as when victorious commanders returned home in ancient times. This has been seen in recent years in Italy, Argentina, and the Netherlands, where the athletes literally fight to the last breath, unscrupulously. And the fans ape them, going to excess in their show of loyalty to their team or their nation, stirring up raging battles before, during, and after the sporting event.
Before the start of the 1988 European international soccer championships, the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel said that there was fear that this event would become an “ideal breeding-ground for a highly explosive mixture of aggressiveness, nationalism, and neo-Fascism.”

As Communism began to disintegrate, U.S. president Bush popularized the concept of “a new world order.” However, as many political leaders have discovered, smart slogans are cheap; positive changes are much more difficult to accomplish. In his book After the Fall—The Pursuit of Democracy in Central Europe, Jeffrey Goldfarb says: “Boundless hope about ‘a new world order’ has been followed quickly by the realization that the most ancient of problems are still with us, and sometimes with a vengeance. The euphoria of liberation . . . has often been overshadowed by despair over political tension, nationalist conflict, religious fundamentalism, and economic breakdown.” Certainly the civil war in what was Yugoslavia is a clear example of the divisive influence of politics, religion, and nationalism.
Goldfarb continues: “Xenophobia [fear of foreigners] and personal insecurity have become Central European facts of life. Democracy does not automatically deliver the economic, political, and cultural goods, and a market economy does not only promise riches, it also creates unfathomable problems for those who don’t know how to work in it.”
But it is evident that these are not problems of Central Europe and the republics of the former Soviet Union only; xenophobia and economic insecurity are worldwide. The human family pays the price in suffering and death. And the immediate future holds no hope of change in these deeply entrenched attitudes that generate hatred and violence. Why is that? Because the education most receive—whether from parents or from nationalistically oriented school systems—inculcates hatred, intolerance, and notions of superiority based on nationality, ethnic and tribal origin, or language.

A rather subtle aspect of this world’s “air” is pride of race and nationality. Some promote the erroneous idea that certain races are superior and others inferior. Nationalism encourages people to view their native land as superior to all others. In fact, many suffer needlessly and are deprived of basic human rights and necessities because of the selfishness and prejudice of others. Resentment, even violence, results. Many rise up in revolt, taking the law into their own hands, confident of solving social problems their own way. We, too, might get caught up in these ideas. When we observe or suffer injustices and then hear those who are pressing for social change, we could be influenced if we are not careful. We could begin to abandon our neutral position and take sides. (John 15:19) Even more serious, we might feel tempted to join in picketing, campaigning, or resorting to violence in order to force changes.
complete and utter bullshit! internationalism for the purpose of grabbing others countries markets and fending off trade competition has been the cause of war.

Gavin
Hi South Africa,

An interesting essay. Stylistically, you are throwing in too many quotes at random without actually using them to illustrate any points. You won't get much credit just for having looked up a bunch of quotes on nationalism, you have to do something with them too...

Otherwise quite good.