Nationalism is a very complex ideology, that is misrepresented in the media today. If teens rediscover nationalism, it will revolutionize society and improve themselves. Nationalism provides a solid foundation for a sustainable society, but it does have minor issues. But if we use the positive elements of Nationalism and do not let it get to an extreme extent; it will benefit our teens on a personal, social and an economic level.
First we must get over the stereotypes of Nationalism. When you say that someone is a Nationalist, most people think that a Nationalist supports the Nazis or supports the Klu Klux Klan. The Nazi’s are fascist and the KKK are white Nationalists. Fascism, White Nationalism and Nationalism are different. Just because someone is a Nationalist does not mean that they support right wing extremists. The definition of Fascism according to the Merriam webster dictionary is “A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”.(webster) The definition of White Nationalism from the Merriam webster dictionary is; “A group of militant whites who espouse white supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation”(Webster). And finally, we have the definition of Nationalism from Britanica is “[An] ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests”(Britanica). Now that we have gone over the terms, Nationalism, Fascism and White Nationalism, we can see that the media sometimes uses these terms interchangeably and incorrectly uses the terms. These misuses can be that they do not know the meaning of the terms or they are for malicious purposes.
With the conflicting perception of Nationalism we can see how different people and countries see Nationalism. In figure 1 of the next page, we can see how the different British cities feel about nationalism. This graph tells us much about the British people. We can see the Cities that want to leave the European Union also want to preserve British culture by regulating Immigration to the country. Alternatively many big British cities want to stay in the European Union and think that the British culture is enhanced via immigration. There is one anomaly in the graph; Inner London is extremely xenophilic and is a serious outlier even when compared to outer London. This graph depicts two groups of people, it shows us the laboring class of Britain concerned about their culture and value more Nationalist economic policies, while the bigger cities value more Liberal immigration policies and Security in the European Union.
The United States is one of the best countries in the world, although we have our issues; we have many redeeming qualities. Some of our best redeeming qualities are our hard work and determination, in addition to our innovation and pride in ourselves. Recently as a nation we have been losing our national pride. There are statements like “You want to view your nation as superior to others to increase your own self-esteem. (Example: the classic ‘U! S! A!’ chant)”(The atlantic), these statements are coming from many news sources and political groups and just individuals who view national pride as inherently bad. In addition to believing that Nationalist view themselves as superior people hold the belief that “Mr. Trump, Mr. Gauland and Ms. Le Pen would never admit to being white nationalists, but they are more than happy to dog-whistle to them and accept their support.”(The New York times), and that “ I don’t mean to suggest that Trump’s nationalism is impervious to politics. It is not invincible. Its earlier iterations have been defeated before, and can be defeated now.”(The atlantic). Some of these claims are quite ridiculous, and I find it heartbreaking that the media is influencing politics like this, people’s lives are being destroyed because of having the “wrong” beliefs and Nationalism happens to be one of them. Hopefully the perception of Nationalism will change in the future.
One thing that I am guilty of is not supporting my country enough. There is a quote from John F. Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. I have not recently lived by that quote. I have not recited the pledge of allegiance or helped to support my local community. I have a lot to improve on to support my local community and my nation, but I am proud of my nation and I see that it could use a little work, and I want to be the one to polish out all of the rough edges.
Nationalism is not about hate. It is about love. It is the love of your country and its values. There are those who will tell you nationalism is about hate, but know that it is about love for your country and community. One good simplified example of nationalism would be “You love your spouse because she or he is yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others.”(The American interest). Through the love that you give your country it will love you back. “Nationalists feel a bond with their country, and they believe that this bond imposes moral obligations both ways: Citizens have a duty to love and serve their country, and governments are duty bound to protect their own people. Governments should place their citizens interests above the interests of people in other countries.”(The American interest). With this focus on americans we can further develop our country and Iron out all of our issues and ascend to a greater society.
Our nation will benefit from our Ironing out all of the rough details, some will come sooner than others and there will be some conflict as to how to complete all of the projects we will undertake, but it will be well worth the short term pain and hardship to create a better America for our developing teens and their eventual children, because I know that I already want the best for my children even though I do not have any yet and I assume the American people want the same. If teens uncover the positive aspects of nationalism they will be rewarded with greater educational opportunities. “81 percent of graduate students in U.S. electrical engineering programs are from other countries, along with 79 percent of those in computer science programs, 75 percent of industrial engineering students and 62 percent of those studying mechanical engineering.”(The US news). If we would give these educational opportunities to underprivileged americans it would increase the number of post secondary educated americans. I am not advocating for the removal of all foreign students, I am suggesting that we prioritise Americans who could use the education to get themselves and their family out of poverty, and than offer the remaining positions out to foreign students. These are only a few short term benefits there are more long term benefits.
“National pride means caring for what is yours. When there is a strong sense of nationalism, then there are programs in place to care for roads, bridges, and other needed infrastructure items. This also means good-paying jobs are generally created to build these needed items.”(The vision). This is one of many long term benefits because bridges and roads can not be constructed over night and it will provide thousands of Americans jobs. One group of americans who were shafted during globalization was the working class “globalization has raised prosperity all over the world, with the striking exception of the working classes in Western societies. These less educated members of the richest countries lost access to well-paid but relatively low-skilled jobs, which were shipped overseas or given to immigrants willing to work for less”(The American interest). This just shows a small economic boost for the working class and their lives will get better and teens in the working class will receive better wages than they do now. There will be long term benefits to Nationalism across the board such as “ lower crime rates, lower transaction costs for businesses, higher levels of prosperity, and a propensity toward generosity, among others.”(The American interest). Although there will be benefits to all of the policies that will be enacted there will be push back and some negative outcomes.
There will be push back claiming that the policies are racist or discriminatory and that is untrue. This happened in England when “ in 2007, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a speech that included the phrase, “British jobs for British workers.” The phrase provoked anger and scorn from many of Brown’s colleagues in the Labour party”(The american interest). This quote is not very controversial but the backlash that came from it was dumbfounding. “Goodhart quotes George Monbiot, a leading figure of the British Left: Internationalism…tells us that someone living in Kinshasa is of no less worth than someone living in Kensington…. Patriotism, if it means anything, tells us we should favour the interests of British people [before the Congolese]. How do you reconcile this choice with liberalism? How…do you distinguish it from racism?”(The American Interest). This coming from a member of the British parliament is shocking, I fail to see how reserving British jobs for british citizens racist. This is only a small portion of the unintelligent push back that Nationalist might receive, but there is some intelligent concerns that must be addressed. One of the major concerns is that globally “research and development spending climbed to an all-time high last year, but could swing lower if nationalist and isolationist waves continue around the globe”(Us news). This is a valid concern, but I do not believe that global research and development will go down, because nations will not just stop cooperating with each other because they focus on themselves, there will still be a global market, granted it will be smaller as more nations decide to focus on themselves. One other point is made against nationalism is, it breads hate for others. That is false. “ Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly racist.”(The american interest). For this argument people assume nationalist hate foreigners and they value white supremacy, but they are looking at a few bad apples and saying that they represent the whole and that is unfair to Nationalist like me, because I love my girlfriend very much and she is neither from America or white. So just looking at me you can see that Nationalist don’t hate foreigners or support white supremacy.
Looking at all of the aspects of nationalism we can see how it can be very positive when controlled but it can turn sour when it turns to an us versus the world mentality, and that is not predestined to happen there have just been a few bad instincts in history like everything else, nationalism is a tool that can be used wrong. “It is not “white supremacism” when people with self-respect display, love and admiration for their background and history, wish to defend it, and are proud of it. It is normal and healthy.” (the spector).