There is a belief on the left that having a sense of nationalism leads to violence, war, and genocide. A video posted by the New York Times last year titled “National Identity is Made Up” claimed that having a sense of nationalism "primes us for dictatorship, racism, [and] genocide."
The video claims that countries cannot admit that they are made up, so they stick to the idea of having a "national identity," therefore having national pride "destroys the world." The NY Times claims, from a study, that any country who participates in the World Cup is likely to launch attacks on other countries abroad. The video also advocates for building a world on "shared values," and eradicating the nationalist "myth."
This is completely absurd language. It is unlikely that the Times is completely misguided on what nationalism truly is. Rather, they are purposely misleading individuals by lying about the dangers of nationalism in order to paint a false picture of an “evil” and “racist” America. Why else would they insert videos of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville?
Recently, there was outrage when President Trump stated that the U.S. needed to reclaim our national "heritage", but why is it O.K. when ex-VP Biden states the same thing? Obviously there is a double standard accompanied with false outrage-- but why is this happening?
The definition of nationalism and how it applies to America first need to be established in order to see how leftist outlets spin the meaning of this term to fit their own agenda.
Nationalism is the promotion of interests and principles of one’s country. Nationalists view nationhood as a feature of the human condition. Rather than taking the false leftist view of nationalism and that how it is fabricated -- real nationalists are under the assumption that the building of a nation is a natural part of human nature.
Nationalists prioritize a continued sense of prosperity and advocate for policies that best serve their nation. It is grounded in having a patriotic feeling of one’s country. It is to be noted that nationalism differs from patriotism in that the latter is actually practicing those patriotic values that are held.
Nationalism in itself is inherently good, but racial nationalism is inherently flawed and can be dangerous. Racial nationalists, on the other hand, view race as the defining feature of a country. This means a country’s citizens having a shared racial ancestry is a prerequisite for holding up the fabric of a nation.Groups such as the neo-Nazis, Black Panthers, and white nationalists all practice racial nationalism. Radical leftists today conflate nationalism with racial nationalism, therefore pushing forward a false view of the ideology.
By replaying videos of the Charlottesville white nationalist march, media outlets such as the NY times simply inflate the relevance and exposure of an insignificant fringe group of Americans. White nationalists and other racial nationalists are by no means representative of even a small swath of the country, but yet these scare tactics by the media are put forth in order to falsely accuse President Trump and his administration of being “racist.”
Leftists who are anti-nationalist often conflate nationalism and patriotism (simply defending a countries values) with imperialism (wanting to spread a countries values across the world through military force). This is how asinine studies that argue the dangers of the world cup are developed.
Moreover, what leftists fail to mention is that America is one of the only countries, if not the only country that does not define our national identity by ethnic or cultural lines. Anyone can become a citizen (legally) and be seen as an American, whereas in other countries, racial minorities are seen as “outsiders” and the stereotypical citizen is seen as ethnically from that nation.
This is why nationalism in terms of America is one of the healthiest ideologies for one to hold. Regardless of an American citizen’s ethnicity or background, they are just as American as anyone else.
Any leftist who mocks the idea of nationalism is deeply misguided. Having a sense of nationalism and wanting to protect and preserve the United States and her values is a big factor in allowing us to continually live in the best country in the history of the world.
Keyden Smith-Herold is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Daily Analytical, and the Chief Editor of Freedomists.