A Case For Nationalism

Recently the president yet again made news for a controversial statement that he is a “nationalist.”  For those who support the president, this was seen as a good thing and for those who dislike him this was seen as disturbing.  As the political landscape of our society seems to be moving more and more to a place of polarization, at least in the competition for the attention of the nation, it seems that topics are seldom ever examined from a position of moderation. Almost all topics are dangerous when carried out to extremes in any direction, but must every single topic always be viewed from the position of the extreme?  

For instance.....regarding the topic of nationalism.  When taken to the extreme, you have the Nazis who promoted the belief that every nation, culture, and way of life was beneath them and therefore was subject to conquest.  To the other extreme you have the anti-nationalism dream of a utopian dream world with no borders, no nations and peace and love on Earth.  

Either extreme would be difficult to achieve. World conquest has been attempted a number of times with devastatingly destructive consequences.  The other extreme...Utopia...to this point in history, has been make-believe due to the perpetual and eternal existence of...idiots. 

While a utopian world is something noble to strive for, to ignore setting in place precautions to deal with the world as it currently is would be irresponsible.  It is pretty safe to assume that there will always be people in this world that will attempt to seize power if given the opportunity, and while that might be a pessimist outlook, I have the entire history of humanity on which to base that premise going all the way back to the earliest recordings of man.

If we have learned anything from history, the greatest threat to personal, individual freedom isn’t tyrants...it's the consolidation of power.  It is possible for a society to live with great freedom and liberation under a king provided the king is good and benevolent.  But when that king’s reign ends, all the power found in the position of a king is already consolidated so that all that is needed is for a bad king to take his place and the whole society changes.  But in a society where the power is dispersed among the people, even tyrants can exist but their influence is minimal due to the fact that they don’t possess the individual power to do much. Thus, the difference between a tyrant king and the idiot next door (a phrase I use only to make this point...my actual neighbors aren’t idiots...in fact I like the people next door, just to be clear).

While it has had its flaws, the democratic form of government, complete with checks and balances of power, has so far led to the greatest realization of freedom for the common man.  Extreme nationalism is dangerous as it leads nations to “inflict” their way of life and government upon the rest of the world, which if ever successful would lead to world conquest and an eventual one-world government.  

Extreme anti-nationalism would lead to the dissolution of nations as we meld into a utopian world that for organizational purposes still needs....a one-world government.  

If the consolidation of power is the greatest threat to personal freedoms, then nothing would be more dangerous than a single world government.  While there are still very flawed national systems around the world in which people live under oppression and tyranny, the mere existence of nations looking out for the interest of their own people helps to create a worldwide check and balance as to the influence and power of any particular culture or society.  

Among nations that provide the most personal freedom for their citizens, there are systems in place to provide checks and balances to disperse power within that country.  Here in the U.S., we have three branches of government. We have a congress composed of 535 people, 50 states that each have their own three branches of government, and from there counties and municipalities, etc.  Other free nations have similar setups that disperse power throughout their societies. 

If freedom and liberation are ever to be attained worldwide for the common man, our best chance for it will be for the power of the world to be distributed among nations that check and balance each other, who maintain a form of nationalism so as to look after their own interests but not seek to trample others. And among those nations, governmental systems that disperse and balance power among their inhabitants must be in place.  In that setting it might be possible to one day have the ideal world we strive for, one of peace and freedom for all.  But we will always need a structure in place that won’t allow any one person to obtain too much individual power.  


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