Nationalism and After

The irony is that our fixation and focus on nativism and religious extremism abroad distracted and deflected the focus away from the fact that such social maladies and ills were actually growing in our own societies in the West. And yet, even though the problem of nativism and religious extremism is a significant one in the United States and seems to be growing even though the Trump presidency has passed, people at the top are enabling the problem to grow because they are too scared to allow a global and cosmopolitan identity to take root in the United States. Thus, while the people at the top claim that they are not happy with nativism and religious extremism, they are denying and inhibiting a global and cosmopolitan identity from taking root in the United States, thus enabling nativism and religious extremism to thrive. In short, sheer hypocrisy and disingenuity. 

And again, in our efforts to forge a national identity in what is essentially a state of flux and social turmoil as a result of globalization and the shifting global balance of power, we must know what “nationhood” means in a technical sense. As E.H. Carr argued:

“The nation is not a ‘natural’ or ‘biological’ group – in the sense, for example, of the family. It has no ‘natural’ rights in the sense that the individual can be said to have natural rights. The nation is not a definable and clearly recognizable entity; nor is it universal.”

The claims of nationhood in this day and age, as Carr argued, have to be considered “primarily in relation to the needs both of security and of economic well-being.” Thus, in large part, the rise of nativism and religious extremism is deeply intertwined with a decline in security and a decline in the overall economic well-being of people in Western societies. We can thus address the issue of national identity and its development when we address the basic considerations of security and economic well-being and how both security and economic well-being have declined in recent years. The status quo has not kept security and economic well-being for people, and as a result, the status quo has to somehow be changed so that security and economic well-being take an upward turn in the coming years. 

And as mentioned before, we can address both the issue of national identity as well as economic and security considerations when we root both of these things into the reality that our national affairs are now overarched by global, cosmopolitan, and transnational conditions and factors and that international law is equal to national law in the United States. Grounding our national identity into both international law as well as global, cosmopolitan, and transnational conditions and factors would lead to a “healthier” United States to borrow from Richard Nixon. Globalization is perhaps synonymous with economic and social interdependence on a global scale between peoples of various countries and nations. This in turn calls for “the subordination of political to social and economic ends in the modern world.” These basic economic and social ends, Carr argued, are “the realization of equality of opportunity, of freedom from want and of full employment.” In turn, the fulfillment of these basic economic and social ends would in turn fulfill the broader aim or goal of “social justice” in many parts of the world, which would then enable our climb out of the albatross of nativism and religious extremism. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s