I think so much of life is about bell curves. And by that I mean, so much of life is about a thing generally being good or bad, but the extremes being different.
I think Nationalism is one of those things.
It’s easy to see where it’s bad to have too much, e.g., the late 1930s, but it’s harder to see that having too little is bad as well.
This also works for overeating.
I think the US has had too little for two or three decades, and when you have too little of a good thing it tends to open the door for having too much.
Trumpism is too much. Like, off the scale too much. Like, 1940’s Europe too much.
Maybe the easiest way to tame a “too much” situation is to encourage the “right amount” situation. Like changing your relationship with food from binging at fast-food restaurants to researching and cooking your own meals.
And even more surprising, I think it’s possible to do that with Nationalism. I think there’s a benign form, and for the US that might look something like this.
- Americans don’t tolerate racism.
- American’s don’t tolerate sexism.
- Americans believe everyone should be provided a decent, affordable education.
- Americans believe everyone should be provided decent, affordable healthcare.
- Americans believe that their success is tied to the success of their fellow Americans.
That wasn’t hard. It took me 90 seconds to create a positive form of Nationalism.
Are those leftist ideals? Or are they Nationalist? Or are they right-leaning because they’re about social cohesion? I think they can be all three at the same time, and that’s ok.
If America wants to survive, it has to be about something. It needs an identity. That’s obvious of any organization, regardless of alignment. The question is, once you’re aligned, what are you aligned towards?
Singapore today is Nationalist, and so was Germany in the 1930’s. But those are very different places.
We should decide what our identity is, and make sure it’s a positive one.
And then go about making it real.
- A kind reader from Twitter mentioned that I maybe should have said patriotism rather than nationalism, since nationalism is inherently exclusionary. I think this is a good point, but after looking up the definition again it looks like nationalism is exclusionary to other nations, not to people within the nation. It’s like an us and them thing, but between nations. And my point was that I think it’d be ok to have some of that against, say, the UK, if it was in the vein of, “The UK is bad to its immigrants, but we don’t stand for that in the US.” I think that’s one type of competitiveness and “exclusion” that I could sign up for.