Nationality - Nationalism - Determination

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I want to discus these topics as I think they are very important and most people are involved in them in one way or another.

What is nationality? To me it looks like a 'club-membership' that is determined by:

1) Self-identification
2) Place you live/lived
3) Language you speak
4) Citizenship
5) Any of the above in regards to your parents

Going by this nationalism doesn't seem like the most bright idea. There is little unique value in the above points so why would anyone be proud of it? Or even willing to give their lives for it?

Self-determination of nations can hardly be viewed as a positive thing by this standard. So many conflicts in the world happen because nations think they are better or even think that they must have a land just for their exclusive club.

To me it looks like the bad side of human nature coming out and is akin to tribalism. What are your thoughts in regards to this?
 

Dr Super Good

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To me it looks like the bad side of human nature coming out and is akin to tribalism. What are your thoughts in regards to this?
Exactly that. The idea itself is not fundamentally bad, however human greed hijacked it and created the world full of war that we have today.

Humans having come from animals that lived in sort of tribes/packs would naturally migrate towards some form of cooperative. As technology and knowledge improved the size of these packs could also improve. Ultimately we are at the stage where Earth should be united under one common government.

To achieve this there needs to be a time of "unification". In the old days this was literally going around annexing (or killing those who refused, as they used resources that could help your tribe) other tribes into larger organizations that could be called a nation/country. These should in theory grow until the boundaries of technology, which in our current day and age would be the entire planet.

However greed does the opposite. Since people can be viewed as a resource, ruling them is desirable. As such after a nation reaches a size determined by the technology available, it will eventually split into smaller nations each with different people in charge. As technology has progressed so has the sizes of such nations as a result. For example "Old World" nations in Europe are small as a result of their borders being more or less defined centuries ago. More modern nations like the United States of America, Brazil, Australia and The Peoples' Republic of China are huge, each having area comparable to the entirety of Europe. This is due to the higher levels of technology when they were founded compared with when the countries in Europe were.

Even India which was founded as a separate country quite recently (within the last 100 years) has suffered due to limits in technology. Originally India was both India and Pakistan as a united country, however individual greed drove the country apart into two smaller countries which are now bitter rivals. However again, the size of India is pretty massive compared with countries in Europe which shows that modern technology supports larger countries.

This also raises arguments about what both the National Socialist party of Nazi Germany and the Communist U.S.S.R. were doing as far as world development goes. If WW2 was won by Nazi Germany then all of Europe would have been united into a single considerably "more modern" country than it currently is. This would follow natural progression of nations with technology as described above as a single nation unites smaller nations, taking their resources, into a single more powerful nation limited by the technology of the time. The USSR also did this by spreading communism around the world, and even after its fall the resulting nations are still impressive (China which still is run by semi-communist parties) and Russia which still has considerably military power.

The problem of nations eventually comes down to greed. In a perfect world without greed all humans would be united under a single common government which progresses humanity towards a better future. All humans that did not play along would have been subdued some way or another and everyone would now live in peace. However as people are greedy they want to be in control as people literally translates to wealth. People are also selfish so they put the wealth of the nation towards their own purposes rather than that of the people resulting in discontent. If someone else is in control they will fight them for dominance and discontent can be used to gather supporters. Technology limits how well such discontent can be subdued with failure to subdue usually resulting in a fragmentation of the national borders into two separate, competing and rival nations. Since this is the inverse of the nation formation process it results in a repetition of the subduing process. Worse is that often the rebel faction is so powerful (as it takes a lot of the nations resources with it) that the nation cannot subdue it resulting in huge loss of human lives in the attempt and the formation of new smaller national borders.

As such the theory of dying for your country/nation is not a stupid one since your death was part progressing the nation towards a brighter future. However due to greed/selfishness you end up being used as pawn dying in some battle with other humans (who died like you) in a war that technically has no reason to exist in the first place just so that one human can show he has more bling than another.

If you look at WW2 with this view the entire war made sense. The acts considered War Crimes in this day and age would have been written off as part of the "unification process", something that many nations have done in the past. All the current political boundaries would not exist in Europe with the entire place from Spain to Russia being run by the same country. People likely would have been fully integrated by now after the war ended, with those not desired in the nation removed. All the "evil" propaganda would likely have faded away over time and been replaced with other propaganda, probably resembling the propaganda we are bombarded with today. One certainly cannot jump to the conclusion that the world for humanity as a whole would have been a worse place than it currently is, after all it is hardly that good of a place currently. Or would it have fallen to greed as well like the current world?

Currently, until humans occupy other planets with populations rivalling that of Earth there is practically no chance of humanity uniting together any time soon. Attempts to rebuild Europe as a single country (the European Union) are failing abysmally due to Greed and Selfishness.
 
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It looks like you are blaming so much on greed but the problem of nationalism seems to be caused by the sheer stupidity of tribalism, something good education can cure.

Even if all men were perfectly virtuous they would still be killing each other for their religion and for their nation because those things can be very convincing to ordinary people. It is like it always was, people who are fully convincing that they are in the right killing other people who are wholly convinced that they are in the right.
 

Dr Super Good

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Even if all men were perfectly virtuous they would still be killing each other for their religion and for their nation because those things can be very convincing to ordinary people. It is like it always was, people who are fully convincing that they are in the right killing other people who are wholly convinced that they are in the right.
Except is killing in this situation wrong if eventually it results in the formation of a bigger nation which never needs to go through such a thing again? Again it can be written off as the progression of nations rather than as war.

The problem is human greed and selfishness which causes people to hijack religions or make new ones which then cause a rebellion which can lead to the fragmentation of nations (regression).

Education helps progress nations forward however even that can be hijacked by greed. Think of all the people with good qualifications leaving Europe to join ISIL and other terrorist groups. The reason they go is not because it will make the world a better, more united place but rather they are promised a better future for themselves be it either physically (more wealthy, etc) or religiously (better afterlife etc). The result is still the same, regression, with the same cause, greed.

Remember that the argument is not about if it is right or wrong for a human to kill another human, but rather what nationalisim is all about and if it is good or evil.

Without any form of nationalism each human would be alone in the world fending for himself competing with (not necessarily killing) other humans. The result is like a lot of predatory lizards, cats, birds, rodents etc which all share the same selfish view upon the world and do not cooperate with each other at all.

Without nationalism humanity would never have reached the technological state we did. Even if it is in the form of a tribe it still allows progression beyond a "free for all" society.
 
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Except is killing in this situation wrong if eventually it results in the formation of a bigger nation which never needs to go through such a thing again? Again it can be written off as the progression of nations rather than as war.

Right and wrong are subjective things and depend on what you want. If your goal is to have a united world then things that move forward with that goal are good. But killing each other for the expansion of a nation is not the smartest thing to do as every country can do it - and that is how bloody and bitter struggles continue. Every country thinks it is number one and wants dominion (hypotheticaly) and fights and fights until one side loses... Time can pass and defeated nations can rise to the top in a bitter turning of tables and commit revenge genocide.

The problem is human greed and selfishness which causes people to hijack religions or make new ones which then cause a rebellion which can lead to the fragmentation of nations (regression).

I really don't think blaming so much on one negative quality is a good idea. In the hypothetical that I presented the people blindly killing do not have a shred of greed. Besides, what makes you so sure that it is all about greed as opposed to actual disagreements? You think a person is muslim because he is greedy? Or scientologist? Or mormon? Either way nationalism without greed is still stupid since there is no reason to be proud of a geography and language. I don't disagree that a world without greed will be a better one but it definitely won't solve all the problems and end all wars.

From a historical perspective we see that many wars are based of nationalism. I would say that the on-going hostilities in israel-palestine are due to nationalism and the first world war. Nationalism also lead to the irradication of many indigenous populations. Ultimately this way on unifying mankind through sheer violence and domination has not only proven to be very ineffective but also very bloody and very regressive with the practice of burning libraries setting mankind many years back into the past.

Without nationalism humanity would never have reached the technological state we did. Even if it is in the form of a tribe it still allows progression beyond a "free for all" society.

That is a very bold statement indeed. Nationalism is quite an early concept as is the concept of the nation. I will bring up an example of great scientific and technological progress with no nationalism involved and that is the golden age of islam. Islam is very anti-nationalism in its teachings but very many great things were created and discovered by islamic scholars during that period. Nationalism is hardly the only force capable of uniting men, in my example religion united the men. As forces of unification a more reasonable approach would common interests as opposed what language you speak and in what country you live.
 

Dr Super Good

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You think a person is muslim because he is greedy?
No, but the people who manage the religion are. It has always been like this since ancient times. People end up being dragged into it as pawns.

Additionally the recruitment currently used by terrorists appeals to the selfish. Most come with a promise of a better future, be it in this world or another. This is generally how most rebellions work.

I would say that the on-going hostilities in israel-palestine are due to nationalism and the first world war.
It is because both sides have people who want to maintain in control of the nation and are not willing to give up their power/wealth for the benefit of their people. Each government in charge of their own nation and constantly fight each other for expansion.

Conquest is ultimately the fastest way to form nations as people do not give up their wealth, but rather it is taken from them. The problem is if two nations are equally matched then conquest is impossible and stale mate senseless wars occur.

An example would be imagining an alien planet with a civilization as advanced as our being invaded by a much more advanced Humanity (we control the doom ships and kill machines). Out side of the resistance of those wanting to maintain their wealth/power there would be no resistance and you could literally conquer most of the planet in a mater of hours. Reasonable people would likely surrender as they would see resistance is futile. The next day the planet can be declared under the control of Humanity with no/few humans dying and at most a few million local inhabitants who opposed the take over. Such a forceful take over is not particularly bloody compared with the number of people involved due to the huge technological differences.

However if you suddenly try to take over an alien race which is equally matched (Humanity from a duplicate universe which is almost identical in every way) then a war would never be resolved and instead thousands of billions of people on both sides could end up dying pointlessly. This situation reflects where we are now in that one cannot simply roll over other nations without incurring huge losses on both sides.

Of course one could argue if when annexing an alien planet if you really want aliens living on it instead of removing them all and replacing them with humans. This however is a decision of resource management in nations and is even relevant to what happened in WW2 Nazi controlled Germany as well as what is happening in ISIL today. Instead of removing all aliens, they choose to remove all of a specific race/religion/other profile of human.

Ultimately with the advancement of nations I suspect a divergence away from such behaviour as controlling what one has there already is probably more efficient than removing it and placing something else there.

That is a very bold statement indeed. Nationalism is quite an early concept as is the concept of the nation. I will bring up an example of great scientific and technological progress with no nationalism involved and that is the golden age of islam. Islam is very anti-nationalism in its teachings but very many great things were created and discovered by islamic scholars during that period. Nationalism is hardly the only force capable of uniting men, in my example religion united the men. As forces of unification a more reasonable approach would common interests as opposed what language you speak and in what country you live.
In this case the religion itself was a form of nationalism. It might not have had political borders, but it did give the religion control over as good as a nation worth of people.

Perhaps I should not be calling the unification process of people nationalism and its own special term. However the fact remains that any method of unifying people is similar to each other in many ways.

Where as a religion can use missionaries that convert (annex) people into their organization, a nation can annex people politically (parts of Ukraine joining Russia). Like wise a religion can also conquer a nation with a holy war while a nation can conquer with a politically driven war.

The evil with both ultimately is the people who are in control. There is no reason the UK, France and Germany should be separate nations in this day and age. The only reason they are is that the political parties in each do not want to give power and the people themselves fear that they will be exploited by other politicians. How does one peacefully unite such people in this case? Clearly no one has the solution.
 
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No, but the people who manage the religion are. It has always been like this since ancient times. People end up being dragged into it as pawns.

These people make their choices just like those in power and without their belief and faith the powerful would be powerless. To not hold these people and their negative tribalistic qualities accountable is not fair.

In general it appears that you keep on blaming those in power for everything while not holding the common man accountable. Whenever you ascribe something to the state you must keep in mind that it is always almost impossible without the support of the people of that state. Especially in this day and age one could say that the people are the state, after all who makes up the police and the army? It is the common man. Without the support and acceptance by the population the state has no power. Thus, I think you are not speaking the whole truth when you blame all the evil on the people in power.

In this case the religion itself was a form of nationalism. It might not have had political borders, but it did give the religion control over as good as a nation worth of people.

I think it is good time to define what we mean by 'nationalism' in this discussion. I used the word using a common definition: Nationalism is a belief, creed or political ideology that involves an individual identifying with, or becoming attached to, one's nation.

As for nation I mentioned what I think about it in my first post. Since religion is not constrained by geography though it is to an extent by language in case of islam I don't think your use of that word matches with what I mean by it. If you have a different view on the word please write.

But it looks like you agree about nationalism but portray it as a force for unification while blaming the lack of unification on peoples' greed... Correct if I am wrong is this what you're trying to say?
 
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It depends on how you define nationalism. For me nationalism and patriotism are two different things. In both cases it is about love of your nation. Difference is that nationalism is aggressive form of that love. Nationalists want to impose their culture, religion, language to others. However patriots just want to defend their culture, religion or language from those who want to impose foreign culture, religion or language. So if we look at it like this nationalism is a bad thing. Nationalism is cause of wars and bloodshed. But patriotism is a good thing.

I don't understand why people want to "unite" with other nations. I don't want that others impose their "value system" to me. What USA and EU is doing is nationalism. They aggressively try to expand their grasp over other nations. And I don't like that "value system" they want to impose.

Idea of one nation ruled by one government is the worst thing humanity can think of. We were never same nor we will ever be. Generations of our ancestors created cultures that we have today and how do you thing we will merge them? Let us all be just patriots and world will be brighter place.
 
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That's very interesting. But isn't it not very clever to be patriotic and defend things like culture, religion and language? Isn't it better if we recognize that some of these things are inferior in some aspects (religion contradictions with modern science, culture contradiction with modern ethics) and should be left in the past?

I am not sure about language though, because on one hand I think we all recognize that sharing a single language would be very pragmatic but I also see the beauty of other languages and know that some sounds, words, understanding are unique to certain languages.

A bit off topic but I think that one government isn't that bad an idea as you say. Even in modern nations there is sometimes very large divides between regions and states so I think it is perfectly possible to have 1 government with many cultures, many languages, and even many nationalities.
 
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The problem with having only one government is that if this government were to become corrupt, society would go through a deep crisis. Historically this has been avoided by other countries taking over(war).
Also, religion is not only about "how the world works"(science). It's also about psychology and societal processes, although in a less public format. Religions unite people in a way that science doesn't. I'm not even religious, yet I see this.
Furthermore, if there were no religions, the next logical thing to be dogmatic about would be science, which would negatively affect our overall quality of life by changing the reason why science is done and thus, undercutting the people actually doing it. You could say that being dogmatic is wrong, but a fact is that a majority of people are dogmatic to a certain degree, so it's not really avoidable. Not everyone can think about everything, it's a kind of division of (mental) labor.
Religion is also a method for spreading and maintaining wisdom cultivated by generations of wise thinkers. Sure, a lot of it is psychological manipulation, but even that is based on things that work, even if most people don't understand how.

About languages, they have different uses. Different languages cultivate different people. For instance, the japanese and chinese writing system(kanji) promotes good memory and thus, so do the languages, as they are thoroughly interlinked nowadays. Furthermore, reading kanji is even faster than reading european languages.
However, european languages are more refined and more accurately reflect complex subjects, such as philosophy and psychology.
 
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A bit more back on topic, do you consider religion and culture part of nationality? It seems counter intuitive as it is often that people of varying religious creeds and cultural backgrounds self-identify as a national of the same nation. This is especially the case in more multi-cultral nations such as the USA.
 
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What makes nationality? I think that culture, language and religion make it. Americans do not have real nationality. Because American culture does not exist and there is no American language nor there is a fundamental religion in USA.

How do you know that you are German (for example)? Citizenship does not make you German. It is about culture and language that actually make you German. Religion has its role in culture and history of a nation, so it actually has connection with nationality.
 
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Americans nonetheless do have a culture. It is young, which can cause problems, but it exists.
However, the problems in American culture often come from history. After all, real Americans got massacred to create what we now know as America. The country doesn't have a history of stability yet, although eventually it will develop one at least in some regions.

Due to the American culture being based on such a short history, it is actually more consistent across regions than European culture.
However, this consistency derives mostly from not having had the time to differentiate, so eventually USA will devolve into smaller countries and evolve a culture that's more distinct.
 
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Maybe you do, but I don't realize what is American culture. I still think that it doesn't exist. USA is built on European culture so it is still European culture. USA was built on blood, blood of the innocent people. So I think that American nationalism is unfounded. And that nationalism often causes wars. Those who oppose them must be destroyed. Why they don't just let us live our lives? They must be in everything. That is the nationalism and it is the cause of wars. Germans wanted that in both World Wars and it caused many deaths. Nations that were built on blood ended the same way they were created. EU wants to spread its grasp as much as it can and look what you have, war in Ukraine. Best thing would be that people just live their lives with their families. I don't want to impose my culture to anyone but also I don't want that somebody else impose their culture to me.
 
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Why they don't just let us live our lives?

The possible benefits of that country to them.

That is the nationalism and it is the cause of wars.

That is not nationalism. Nationalism shouldn't cause wars. It is those humans who want more power and greed. Those humans who abuse their position. They seek war to conquer others. Since it's human nature to survive like any other creatures. It needs to fend of themselves. They think they are above the commoners so the greater good of the nation is on the line. That is just greed.
 
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About germany, the second world war wasn't something that germany wanted. The initial german attack was a day before the russians would have attacked.

That was the Nazi government justification for invading Soviet Union, not actually true. As you said german people did not want the war, but the government did and had to make up justification for people and the world. You don't make Generalplan Ost just to counterattack.
The stories that Soviets intended to invade just the day after would mean that Russian army should have been battle ready and we all know that did not happen and Germans almost reached Moscow.

And Americans have cultures (its 50 states, and population is result of migration from many different cultures, thus it can't be single culture in USA), just that modern culture is not something we would identify with the word culture. And don't attack just America for being founded on blood, every nation has history of blood. Most modern nations in Europe are descendants of barbaric tribes that invaded Roman Empire (West or East) and then settled on its carcass and borrowed its culture. Or do you think that Slavic, Germanic, Turkish and other tribes came in peace?

But anyway Nationalism is really a modern concept that didn't exist for the most part of human history, and it was in a way logical progress as people are social beings and tend to gather in groups. From family groups we reached the nation groups. I do not see why OP speaks of this as something bad since the end goal of this progress is one union, or rather one tribe. The problem is that multiple human societies developed independently and people by nature distrust things that are strange to them. Not to mention that nobody wants to give up their identity and everyone believes they are the right ones. Modern Nationalism has became chauvinism and that is the actual problem, but then I ask you to find something that people haven't corrupted.

As for culture and religion they both way older than concept of nationalism so you don't have to give up of your identity. And no I don't agree that culture is obsolete or that Religion is inherently bad.
 
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That was the Nazi government justification for invading Soviet Union, not actually true. As you said german people did not want the war, but the government did and had to make up justification for people and the world. You don't make Generalplan Ost just to counterattack.
The stories that Soviets intended to invade just the day after would mean that Russian army should have been battle ready and we all know that did not happen and Germans almost reached Moscow.

And Americans have cultures (its 50 states, and population is result of migration from many different cultures, thus it can't be single culture in USA), just that modern culture is not something we would identify with the word culture. And don't attack just America for being founded on blood, every nation has history of blood. Most modern nations in Europe are descendants of barbaric tribes that invaded Roman Empire (West or East) and then settled on its carcass and borrowed its culture. Or do you think that Slavic, Germanic, Turkish and other tribes came in peace?

But anyway Nationalism is really a modern concept that didn't exist for the most part of human history, and it was in a way logical progress as people are social beings and tend to gather in groups. From family groups we reached the nation groups. I do not see why OP speaks of this as something bad since the end goal of this progress is one union, or rather one tribe. The problem is that multiple human societies developed independently and people by nature distrust things that are strange to them. Not to mention that nobody wants to give up their identity and everyone believes they are the right ones. Modern Nationalism has became chauvinism and that is the actual problem, but then I ask you to find something that people haven't corrupted.

As for culture and religion they both way older than concept of nationalism so you don't have to give up of your identity. And no I don't agree that culture is obsolete or that Religion is inherently bad.

The soviet union and USA both had similar kinds of plans. It's part of being a world power - planning for opportunities that might come.
Being (almost) ready to attack is not the same as being ready to defend though, the troop placement is different.

It has been jokingly said that European languages are a result of several countries speaking bad latin.
 
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There indeed was a plan to attack Germany by Soviet Union but it was not a day difference, Stalin was in no hurry, especially considering Japan was a threat too. Soviet army was not in position to attack or defend in such short notice. Nazi even managed to outnumber soviet troops in europe.

And that joke isn't too far from the truth for Romance languages like French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.
 
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My reasoning for why nationalism is bad because it is based on a concept of the nation - a concept which comes from little else other than language, geography, and heredity. Giving these, aspects the importance that nationalism does surely is not the best idea.

I am not saying that gathering in groups is bad but that taking your nation so seriously as to demanding it needs a state of its own which can cause wars (Israeli-Palestinian conflict for example) is not exactly the smartest thing to do.

I am against nationalism if by nationalism one means giving some manner of special treatment or views in regards to the nations like the nazis did. If people recognize nations for what they are, a loose group based on geography, language, and heredity, instead trying to prop them up as something more than that I do not see harm in that.

Football fans (for both american and association football) rarely demand a state for their respective groups, probably because they recognize the absurdity of it. Therefore, why should nations have the rights to have a state for themselves?
 
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Well I don't know what to tell you. For you language, culture, history and so on mean so little but to others those things are big deal. Forgive me for jumping to a conclusion but I am guessing you are probably an American (well actually I guess because you felt the need to mention association football instead of just football).

When a nation demands a state it is not always just for the sake of having state, that would be absurd and there would be way more separatist movements across the world. Usually it is done when they feel they aren't rightfully represented in state they are in and feel subjugated and controlled. Because lets be honest either the major nation in a state is more privileged or minorities aren't satisfied with anything less then being completely separated and isolated. Now I don't actually support this but sometimes it is justified. I myself still curse the 90s when nationalism wars happened here because everyone wanted their own nation.

Anyway I think you shouldn't ask if nationalism is good or bad. But rather is it obsolete and time to move on. Today in modern world we travels and migrate everywhere, we have contacts with people across the globe so we don't live in homogenized societies. And honestly I believe nations should be uniting at least in federations though I do not exactly have much love for EU.
 
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