What makes nationhood great in character is the national pride that is expressed in terms of civil rights and liberties. This is the best quality of a country that prides itself on nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism is good and it’s okay to show a love of your own country. It is not something to be ashamed of. Today nationalism is experiencing a resurgence and is swinging against the progressive left that has kept it back with unfair accusations and dogmatic oppression against individualism.
Leftists have constantly criminalised people for expressing their love of their country and national pride. To them it conflicts with their progressive ideas for diversity, social justice and recognising ethnic minorities living in the country. The Left associates nationalism with hatred of minorities, supremacism and bigotry. They think nationalism should be suppressed so that we can be a tolerant and caring nation. But what these leftists don’t understand is that they are embracing nationalism in a completely different way.
In retrospect are two distinct types of nationalism, Civic Nationalism and Ethnic Nationalism. Whichever type of nationalism you choose to associate with depends on your political and social ideologue.
Civic nationalism is a system typical of western liberal democracies. It’s about the founding principles of independent nationhood granting freedom, liberty and civil rights and justice for all classes of citizens. It’s an inclusive form of nationalism and is compatible with traditional liberal values of tolerance, individual rights and equality. To make it work it requires a national identity so that we the people can lead meaningful lives and the democratic bodies need national identity in order to function properly and maintain the basic order of society.
In the case of Great Britain and the United States the two countries pride themselves on national identity and recognise the rights of the individual subjects or citizens of their land. The people have freedom of choice and association with whoever they choose to be with and can make their lives their own without the government ordering them how to live in return for recognising their nation’s identity. This is a good form of nationalism because the people prosper and work meaningful lives. They elect parties of different philosophies to represent them in government on the condition that they value the integrity of the country.
Civic nationalism brings wealth and economic prosperity to the country and all the people within it. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were firm believers in civic nationalism and realised this in their great capitalist ventures. It created a nation of brash, assertive, young affluent people. Winston Churchill and F.D. Roosevelt used civic nationalism in their agenda to bring their countries together in times of hardship by introducing social reforms and creating their way out of economic downturns. They created opportunities for people and respected their citizen’s right to a liveable wage.
Nationalism makes a government play well and can bring all parties and the people of the country together in one common cause. It improves the wellbeing of the country and quells the conflict between warring communities. A nation that doesn’t cherish it’s own identity results in people becoming chaotic and indifferent to one another. By embracing nationalism the citizens of this country behave in a civilised and dignified manner. Nationalism, specifically civic nationalism, has got nothing to do with racism or isolation.
It is this form of nationalism that is highly likable for many people because it has shown nationalism as a decent way of living for a country. It rejects prejudice unless there is a situation in which a foreign entity can come to harm it’s people. From what Brexit has shown is that civic nationalism creates a sense of belonging and happiness to it’s citizens. It rejects conformity and bureaucracy from big entities like the European Union. Now contrast that with ethnic nationalism.
Ethnic nationalism is a cultural centric form of nationalism that puts ethnicity at the value of the nation’s existence. The central theme of this nationalism is defined by a shared heritage that includes a common faith, language and ancestry. According to ethnic nationalists the state is held together by the shared culture of the people whether it be religions, customs and other traditional practices. Unlike civic nationalism, ethnic nationalism operates under a rule of law where the people and subjects are subservient to the direction of the supreme leader, the designated ethnic culture of the country and the government.
Ethnic nationalism has a number of things in common with imperialism and globalism. This is where the contrast between the two types of nationalism can be seen. Nazi Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran are two examples of ethnic nationalism. Both these countries have a supreme leader as the head of state and run their countries in accordance with their culture, religion and traditions. The social order of these countries grants citizens rights and liberties according to the order of their rank in society. They can be highly reactionary to individuals that disagree with them and if you have aspirations that conflict with their nationalism then you will be punished or dismissed as an outsider.
There are limits to what people can achieve in an ethnic nationalist state. It requires collectivism in order to work and expects it’s people to be sacrificed to selfless deeds in order to deliver the will of their leaders. In Iran the Islamic nationalists are granted the upper hand over minorities and other religions like Christians. In Nazi Germany the Aryan nationalists are permitted to deny access to Jews in public places. All in the name of defending the homeland and showing honour to their great leader and to show their fellow ethnic group where their loyalties lie.
Nationalism is good and it has good attributes that work for the wellbeing and happiness of a country. The flaw in the logic of a leftist’s argument that nationalism is wrong is that they are using their liberal principles to embrace multiculturalism but they are accepting another culture’s nationalism which goes against their own nation’s civic nationalism. That is like mixing sheep and wolves in the same farmland.
So what Britain and America need right now is not no nationalism, but good nationalism. A form of nationalism that is about decency for the common people to live in harmony, not a savage nature that pits people with indecent tastes against each other. Civic nationalism is the right way to run the social order and civil justice of this country. It brings peace and happiness for all. Ethnic nationalism doesn’t do peace or justice for everybody, it is biased in favour of only one type of citizen.