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Understanding Nationalism

November 21, 2018 - 6:00am

I find the vilification of nationalism to be appalling. It is being depicted as some sort of Fascist, racist, unpatriotic institution. The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth.

Nationalism is being characterized as such because it doesn’t fit in with the progressive/socialist agenda, nor other global developments, such as climate change, immigration, and defense.

President Trump embraced the concept as part of his “America First” initiative, which is one reason why Democrats find it offensive, but it is also being embraced in Europe by the “Brexit” movement in the United Kingdom, Poland, Hungary, Germany, and France. This explains why French President Emmanuel Macron recently made the claim, “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” as he views it as a threat to his presidency and the European Union.

As just about anyone who has visited the country can tell you, France is one of the most nationalistic countries in terms of its culture and language. You either fit into their way of thinking or get out. Mr. Macron also suggested the development of a separate army to defend itself against China, Russia, and the United States. This is an insult as America has come to the aid of Europe not just once, but several times over the last 100 years, both militarily and economically.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will not seek re-election following her term of office, also attacked nationalism by warning against “destructive isolationism.” She went on to say, “We know that most of the challenges and threats of today can no longer be solved by one nation alone, but only if we act together.”

I couldn’t agree more, but why is nationalism detrimental to this cause? In reality, it is not. People like Mr. Macron and Mrs. Merkel would have us believe we must all work together in a concerted effort, be it for the environment, immigration, health, and defense. This is all well and good, but what happens when there is a difference of opinion, and a country is asked to implement something in sharp contrast to their beliefs? In the case of “Brexit,” you withdraw from the European Union. In the case of President Trump, you withdraw from the Paris climate control accord, the Iranian peace deal, you move your embassy to Jerusalem over European objections, and you inform your “friends” you will no longer pick up the check for their activities, especially when we get nothing in return.

For many years I taught and consulted in the area of Corporate Culture. All companies, large and small, have a culture, a way of operating based on their values and perspectives. Not all companies think or act alike. In fact, the differences may be very pronounced. Also, within a Corporate Culture there may be a sub-culture, a clique or group of people (such as a department) exhibiting distinctly different characteristics. Such groups may be allowed to operate so long as they do not violate the norms of the overall culture.

Those embracing globalization would have us believe there is one corporate culture. Yes, there may be sub-cultures exhibiting minor differences, but all are expected to conform to the overall culture. This is what Macron and Merkel support. Those embracing nationalism see the world as a group of separate cultures with some similarities allowing them to work cooperatively on mutually beneficial projects. This means each culture is sovereign and is responsible for managing their own affairs. If they do not want to work with another culture, it is their prerogative.

Ideally, companies and countries should work on “Win-Win” projects, where both parties benefit. A good example of this is “NYLON” which was a joint venture based on groups in New York “NY” and London “LON.” If we run into a “Win-Lose” scenario whereby one party benefits at the expense of another, this becomes an unhealthy relationship. Whereas nationalism promotes “Win-Win” situations, globalization allows for “Win-Lose.” And frankly, America is tired of being taken for granted and asked to pay the bill all of the time.

Globalization involves the cultural integration of trade, capital, and immigration among the countries of the world. This tends to force countries to lose their identity and become subservient to others. Again, nationalism respects the sovereignty of a country.

From this perspective, French President Macron is dead wrong; patriotism, which involves the love of country, is promoted by nationalism, not globalization. If anything, globalization is a deterrent to patriotism.

There is nothing wrong with forming coalitions for different endeavors, such as the United Nations, NATO, the OAS, the European Union, etc. It is when “Win-Lose” relationships form and one country must dance to the fiddle of another that discord erupts. Think about it; as citizens, does our allegiance rest with the United Nations or the United States? Frankly, I do not understand why this is a difficult concept to grasp.

Nationalism does not prohibit us from coming to the aid of our friends, as we have demonstrated for many years. However, when a friendship is abused and a financial burden added, it is time to ask why.

Nationalism is not the enemy, being asked to relinquish our sovereignty is.

Keep the Faith!

Tim Bryce is a writer and the managing director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor and has more than 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at


Voted Blue - Your eyes must be brown... all the people you pointed out were psychologically MISFITS! It goes back MUCH further - the first TRIBES (of Israel), differentiation of the tribes, the need for self-protection LEADERSHIP - NOT "RULE BY MAJORITY". Certainly, the Bible (Old and New) have seen nothing but dust. You think "Nationalism began in the 18th Century, and know NOTHING of the history of the entire earth. Fascism? Sorry, bro - It's just the most severe form of NAZISM. Your knowledge of mankind is as great as the Grand Canyon.

Voted Blue makes the point. Sad to see so many do not understand.

No point in trying to point out the truth to those who purposely misinterpret what others say so controversy is always the end result. I think these people are called "trolls".

Anybody who has even just a passing knowledge of how nationalism directly caused WWI and WWII and devastated Europe would most certainly vilify it! It's given us Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, and other assorted fascistic dictators throughout the world, including in Central and South America, and even Cuba. Fascism has long been clearly defined as a combination of ultranationalism and authoritarianism.

But neither will you will not find a single example of a benign modern society that is not nationalist. Nationalism is neither inherently good nor evil.

Vote Blue: “Nationalism” or “group affinity” has existed since the first origins of civilization. It’s as common an attribute as carbon or oxygen to humanity. So you can lump it into any recipe of Fascism you wish... and EVERY other political system pursued in history. Every monarchy, every Republic, every combination of parlimentary/democratic/theocracy/military/deists/ junta/despot strongman”communist”/socialist from time immemorial have all involved “nationalism” as a component. What you can’t stand is the United States. Which despite her missteps has shown the best in every quality of mankind worth measuring. She has been nationalistic from before her current experiment in government was formulated. To torture truth over the “importance” of this word and distort its meaning reflects on your credibilty as much as your anonymity. But you know that ...

Dear VotedBlue: Nonsense. Conflating nationalism and fascism is nonsense. Also, please consult an authoritative history book on the causes of those horrible wars. Global banking had more to do with them than any single dictator.

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