Why is Nationalism Dangerous?

Jul. 25th, 2016 02:37 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

In his speech last week accepting the Republican nomination for President, Donald Trump said (my emphasis):

…our plan will put America First. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo. As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect.

Donald Trump’s insistence that we put “America First” hardly sounds harmful or irrational on its face. To be proud and protective of one’s country sounds like something good, even inevitable.  Americans are, after all, Americans. Who else would we put first?

But nationalism — a passionate investment in one’s country over and above others — is neither good nor neutral. Here are some reasons why it’s dangerous:

  • Nationalism is a form of in-group/out-group thinking. It encourages the kind of “us” vs. “them” attitude that drives sports fandom, making people irrationally committed to one team. When the team wins, they feel victorious (even though they just watched), and they feel pleasure in others’ defeat. As George Orwell put it:

A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige… his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations.

  • Committed to winning at all costs, with power-seeking and superiority as the only real goal, nationalists feel justified in hurting the people of other countries. Selfishness and a will to power — instead of morality, mutual benefit, or long-term stability — becomes the driving force of foreign policy. Broken agreements, violence, indifference to suffering, and other harms to countries and their peoples destabilize global politics. As the Washington Post said yesterday in its unprecedented editorial board opinion on Donald Trump, “The consequences to global security could be disastrous.”
  • Nationalism also contributes to internal fragmentation and instability. It requires that we decide who is and isn’t truly part of the nation, encouraging exclusionary, prejudiced attitudes and policies towards anyone within our borders who is identified as part of “them.” Trump has been clearly marking the boundaries of the real America for his entire campaign, excluding Mexican Americans, Muslims, African Americans, immigrants, and possibly even women. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted on the night of Trump’s acceptance speech:

  • A nationalist leader will have to lie and distort history in order to maintain the illusion of superiority. A nationalist regime requires a post-truth politics, one that makes facts irrelevant in favor of emotional appeals. As Dr. Ali Mohammed Naqvi explained:

To glorify itself, nationalism generally resorts to suppositions, exaggerations, fallacious reasonings, scorn and inadmissible self-praise, and worst of all, it engages in the distortion of history, model-making and fable-writing. Historical facts are twisted to imaginary myths as it fears historical and social realism.

  • Thoughtful and responsive governance interferes with self-glorification, so all internal reflection and external criticism must be squashed. Nationalist leaders attack and disempower anyone who questions the nationalist program and aims to destroy social movements. After Trump’s acceptance speech, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullers responded: “He… threaten[ed] the vast majority of this country with imprisonment, deportation and a culture of abject fear.” Anyone who isn’t on board, especially if they are designated as a “them,” must be silenced.

When Americans say “America is the greatest country on earth,” that’s nationalism. When other countries are framed as competitors instead of allies and potential allies, that’s nationalism. When people say “America first,” expressing a willfulness to cause pain and suffering to citizens of other countries if it is good for America, that’s nationalism. And that’s dangerous. It’s committing to one’s country’s preeminence and doing whatever it takes, however immoral, unlawful, or destructive, to further that goal.

.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and Gender, a textbook. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Change

Jul. 25th, 2016 08:15 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

The line up for the light was long, we knew it would change over several times before we could make our turn. There was a man, hat out, walking the line of cars, asking for money. I had no change at all and was out of Tims cards, which I usually give out to people who ask for cash, as I made a mental list to pick up some more, Joe was digging in his pockets to find what change he had. When the fellow arrived at our car, Joe said, "This is all the change I've got, sorry it isn't more."He took the change and said, "Listen, man, you don't owe me anything, I'm grateful for anything you give."

Joe laughed, as he does, and wished the man a good day. He didn't leave. He smiled and said, pointing to the line up of cars behind us. "These people in these cars, they don't owe me anything either,' then he paused, 'but you know what I wish they understood?" He paused again, "I wish they understood that anyone of them could end up where I am today, I wish they understood that even if they don't want to give me money, they could still give me respect. I hate it when people act as if I'm not there, or as if just looking at me would make them dirty, if they don't want to give me money, say no, I'm good with that. Just don't make it like I don't exist."

I spoke next, "I use a wheelchair and it's the same, people either stare at me or they pretend I don't exist. It's one of the other. I get just wanting respect. I really do."

He thanked us again, "For the change and for a moment's break from being just a beggar.'

I understood what he meant.

Everyone who lives with difference does.


I am afraid

Jul. 25th, 2016 04:47 am
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[personal profile] giandujakiss
I really don't want to live in a Trumpian fascist hellscape.

And pollwise it seems as though disgruntled white men - ones who are sort of indistinguishable from the trolls who objected to Ghostbusters - are going to bring it about. With an assist from Russia, apparently, and here we thought we'd won the Cold War.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2016 03:09 am
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
Have headache, can't sleep.

Good things:

Going to the movies. I saw X Men Apocalypse at the cheap seats yesterday, and Star Trek Beyond today. Good way to escape the heat, and both were enjoyable films.

Pretty sunset tonight.

Cherries!

Daily Happiness

Jul. 24th, 2016 11:25 pm
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[personal profile] torachan
1. Day off tomorrow! I'm looking forward to that.

2. I finished a book last night!

3. Look at this cutie Molly! We left the packing paper in this box that came the other day and they just love how crinkly it is when they get inside.

On history

Jul. 24th, 2016 07:11 pm
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[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
The crusader equivalent of 'are we there yet' was to realise they were somewhere foreign and start killing people a bit.
Even if they were not in fact on the same continent as there, yet.


From [personal profile] beccaelizabeth here.

Cats and Fruit

Jul. 24th, 2016 12:58 pm
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[personal profile] alatefeline
So I met a sleek stripy-spotty tabby cat with a white chin yesterday, and sat on the sidewalk to say hi and pet if wanted, and cat decided I had to make a lap then and there and I ended up with lap of purring new cat friend for at least ten minutes. This was a very good thing.

Noms and more kitties: Read more... )

Addendum: #nerd

Jul. 24th, 2016 02:35 pm
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[personal profile] bironic
My birthday is in a couple of days, so after a small group of us went to see Star Trek: Beyond yesterday, we came back to my apartment for a Star Trek-themed party. Wish I could have invited more friends, but things are limited by the size of my apartment, and the timing conflicted with Boston Fangirl Brunch anyway. Instead, please consider yourselves part of the extended virtual celebration.

menu.JPG

(Click for bigger)

DRINKS

Klingon Bloodwine
Cherry juice with pulped fruit

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Cold.
Orange-Earl Grey iced tea

MAINS

Scotty's Lemon Chicken
She cannae handle much more flavor

Ferengi Spore Pie
Mushroom-swiss quiche

Terran Salad
Mixed greens with vinaigrette

DESSERT

Cellular Peptide Cake
With mint frosting

We played a couple of card-based games, including Slash, which was fun. In the background we put on some TOS episodes, "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion" -- one iconic, one kinky/hilarious -- and then the Deep Space Nine revisit, "Trials and Tribble-ations." Also I found the scene from the TNG ep "Phantasms" where Data dreams that Troi has been turned into a cake (TW: strong noncon overtones), because that was the inspiration for the cake I made for the party.

trek cake 600.jpg

(Click for bigger)

I'd been looking for an excuse to make more recipes out of the Star Trek Cookbook for a while. This made me happy. Even if it involved turning on the oven on two 95-degree days! The trials of a summer birthday.

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