Drawbridge Brothers: Nationalism

Nationalism is the closing of a door. The ideology gives off a strong penchant for isolationism and, a tendency to breed ethnic and racial discord, at times leading to hatred. If you think – ‘we must look after our own’ – it becomes a definitive barrier to a broader, more cosmopolitan outlook. It closes a chapter to a life that could be illuminating.

 

There’s much discussion about the origins and when it reared its ugly head. Francis Fukuyama1 (p187) cites two authors of the subject, i.e. Benedict Anderson who suggests nationalism emerged in the 16th century, whereas Ernest Gellner puts it at the 19th century. A third voice, Steven Grosby, Nationalism (p118) opines that it is difficult to determine.

Agreement is reached that it is a question of identity. Perhaps it could be construed as a need to belong. A powerful emotional state can be generated by the ideology. So strong are the feelings brought to bear that it can override rational thought.

It is widely agreed, Fukuyama (p191) that nationalism was ‘socially constructed’. Of course, it has mainly benefitted the elite but does have a base in tradition. However, tradition changes over the centuries. What was cultural norms and thought traditional in the 11th century is quite different to our cultural norms and way of life today. Tomorrow’s cultural norms will be different again; perhaps based more on equality and a move from borders.

The elite and political class have made good use of the powerful emotive pull of the ideology to their advantage. The consolidation of Germany as a nation following the 1871 war against France is an example. The First and Second World Wars with the call to arms ‘Your Country Needs You!’ had them lining up to enlist. An explosive cocktail of pride, – patriotism, jingoism, propaganda and manhood made it almost impossible to resist.

The European Union (EU)

The construction of the EU may seem as a step away from borders towards a new unity as noted by Fukuyama (p192) “… the European Union has been trying to construct a postnational sense of European citizenship since the 1950s.” Steven Grosby (p25) has a slightly different take on the issue when he writes that we are possibly seeing “… the emergence of the empire of the European Union.”

While the author’s intention may be more to do with semantics they do portray quite a contrast of view. Fukuyama hints at an all embracing natural development whereas Grosby has a more Machiavellian tinge to it with the use of the word ‘empire’.

My humble take is that it has more to do with erecting a force big enough to counter the emerging powers of India and China as well as to keep abreast of America. In effect the EU is a business model for economic survival. On present political course it may well become an empire.

However, the EU is not without problems, the UK has voted to leave and Spain already weak has a dilemma with the prospect of the Basque region breaking away. But Spain is not alone, in the UK Scotland threatens to divorce itself from the rest of the nation but wants to remain in the EU. Thus we have the EU trying to build an economic block to rival India, China and America while nationalism is snipping at its toes.

It is a peculiar situation that both Scotland and the Basque region want to break from their parent country but remain in the EU. Neither seems to see the contradiction that the EU wants a cohesive block with no borders but both the above want a separate border. It would seem that they do not understand the cultural shift that is envisaged for Europe.

Further afield in Canada, Quebec has a strong leaning to be independent. Some in Quebec and in the Basque area are prepared to use violence to secure their vision. Steven Grosby (p116) sums it up, “…the uncivil ideology of nationalism continues, often tragically, to have a hold, with varying degrees of intensity, on the imagination of humanity.” Read of the events of the Balkan Wars.

In all cases above, each see themselves as culturally unique in some way with different traditions, as an ethnic body. However, Alice Roberts in her book, Celts (p268) opines that there is no “…‘pure’ ethnic identity, from a genetic point of view.” She later concludes, “We’re all genetic mongrels.” In other words we are all part of a bastard race.

Throughout our history slavery has been a part of our society. People were traded all over the known world. I think of Rome which had an abundance of slaves, who did not scatter for ‘home’ when the empire collapsed, rather they were assimilated. Our history is full of conquests, of much rape and pillage. Slavery was a part of the economics of the old world as it is now with the despicable underworld of people traffickers.

Francis Fukuyama is unequivocal, “It is certainly correct that nationalism was a by-product of modernization, and that specific national identities were socially constructed.” The question is by whom? We can hopefully agree that it was not the march of the peasantry that consolidated Germany, or bound France, or Britain. Conquest, power, dosh (£ $) that was the key motivators. The peasantry did march but as enslaved soldiers of their masters.

A little bomb was left for others to get excited over by the writer Ernest Renan, cited by Fukuyama (p196) when he states, “Forgetting, I would even say historical error, is essential to the creation of a nation.” Hmm!

Nationalism has proven to be a tool in the hands of the unscrupulous, the elite and political class. They call upon it as a sheep dog to corral support for their next enterprise. Pride, a deadly sin, stirs the necessary response to action. Across the way, emotion rides past giving ‘the finger’ to intellect, rationale and reflection, who lower their heads.

1Francis Fukuyama   Political Order and Political Decay

 

Multiculturalism: Dam to Progress. (Blindland 8)

Multiculturalism is the great hope of the Liberal elite and the offspring the politically

Utopia?

Utopia?

correct (PC) claque. For them the concept is self-explanatory; we all live in the one nation and we must therefore be tolerant towards all other sections of society no matter their religion, ethnic origin or culture. That this policy has been adopted by the government is a cause for celebration for the advocates of multiculturalism. This is after all a great pluralist experiment which illustrates how we can all live in a cohesive, cross pollinating vibrant way. An alternative view would suggest that multiculturalism is not a panacea for the new world but a barrier to change.

It is an ideal world where everyone is different but can understand and accept the ways of others. Where there is no conflict of ideas or of methods of doing things. No one culture dominates. We are equals but own our separate identities. Is such a society any less utopian than Christianity, than Communism? What happens when one or more cultures decide not to accept further change, want to remain steadfast to the ancient ways. Are the leaders of those cultures entitled to force their community to adhere to that diktat? Would each group/community have their own schools to teach their perspective on life or would all schools be forced to teach an all embracing curriculum?

There is a powerful tendency for new migrants to band together in close-knit communities where they feel more relaxed, more likely to receive a welcome and initial help. However, these same communities tend to consolidate in that area. Few venture beyond its confines into the wider society. They become insular, they shop at ethnic stores and the store owners buy from ethnic cash and carry establishments. In that sense they become entombed in the culture they left behind, which is contrary to integration. In their area the old culture dominates and its archaic customs prevail.

The holding on to one’s culture is in contrast to the view of Will Kymlicka a strong advocate of multiculturalism, “Immigrants chose to relinquish access to their native culture by migrating”. www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/multicultualism/

Multiculturalism thus builds its own barriers, “Diversity can and has meant the creation of religious ghettoes with little traffic between or among them”. Diana L. Eck, Pluralism project at Harvard University. In such circumstances as ghettoes it is little wonder that the old ways predominate. In some communities we have the emergence of ‘patriarchal cultures’ and internal discrimination against residents of those communities.

In the recent past we have had stories highlighted on news bulletins about; vote rigging in Council elections (UK) and the more barbaric female genital mutilation (FGM). Of course such practices are widely condemned by the government and have been given due prominence in the national media. The Independent, 03/07/2014 reported that

children never win

children never win

some 170,000 women and girls living in Britain have suffered FGM and a further 65,000 girls under 13 years are at risk. The paper cites the government’s Home Affairs Select Committee as denouncing the practice of FGM as an “extreme form of child abuse”. The practice has been illegal since 1985 but obviously continues. An estimated 125 million females have suffered FGM worldwide.

Another cultural custom is that of ‘arranged marriages’ whereby young women/girls are taken from their country of birth (UK) to be married in some Asian nation. As with FGM, arranged marriages are illegal in the UK but the law is ignored. The numbers of those females affected clearly point to widespread abuse and thP5JCL2I0a total disregard for the rule of law in the UK. The practices are an anachronism in today’s society and anathema to equality. “Like it or not-and many from Plato to Marx have disliked it-law is the central concept in human society; without it, indeed, there would be no society”. Quoted from Lloyd’s The Idea of Law 1966 www.jstor.org/discovery/10.2307/

The young people who follow the jihadist trail to Syria would suggest that some communities are lost to UK society when grouped with FGM, ballot rigging and forced marriage. The gulf between us seems unbridgeable, “Mere diversity without real encounter and relationship will yield increasing tensions in our societies”. The isolation of some groups maybe the result of intimidation, indoctrination, fear or belief; nonetheless, if a majority think contrary to the practices mentioned but remain silent, the wider public are left to assume whatever they wish. www.plualism.org/pages/pluralism/what_is_pluralism

Moreover, those who promote multiculturalism and representation of minorities on various political bodies are in fact saying that democracy is inefficient to meet their particular mindset. However, to deny the principle of democracy is to deny the ‘rights’ of the majority population. It is the notion of democratic rights that maintains consensus which allows society to continue on a peaceful course. To undermine the democratic principle would be to undermine one of the main tenets of our society. But as with the pluralists, the liberal elite and the claque seem to have little regard for democracy and the “stolid mass”. Michael Young

A considerable number of the websites visited about this subject matter stress the point of no one culture being dominant. If no culture is to dominate does that include language? Would everyone in the country need to become multilingual? In his book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam highlighted a poignant observation; while the folks he studied did not display any overt racism, “Rather, inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours”.

It also raises a very pertinent question about democracy and the place of the majority population. Under a democratic framework the majority vote holds sway and therefore it is anticipated that the majority culture will likewise take precedence. To undermine democracy is to let the dogs out and the consequences could be severe.

I would assume that the Liberal elite and their PC claque are not advocating a duality of rights and a duality of law in the country. And hopefully they would not countenance turning a blind eye towards inequality. Nonetheless, it is the Liberal elite and their claque that have demonised the ordinary Joe for not being tolerant. In its strictest sense, “Tolerance is a necessary public virtue, but does not require Christians and Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and ardent secularists to know anything about each other”. Pluralism .org (ibid) A duality of approach would be a seed for the most pernicious weed.

Furthermore, a tolerant society is not one which fails to challenge inequities of any nature. A tolerant society is one that insists that all are treated equally, has a transparency of objectives, with an expectation that all will abide by. However, ‘all’ does not mean ‘all’ to the liberal elite, the claque and their pluralist soul mates. Therein lies the base hypocrisy of this elitist brigade. They talk boldly about equality but massage its definition.

There are two key issues that sum up an equal society, the place of women and the rights of children. For me a woman’s right is quite straightforward: any woman must be able to walk down any street at any time with any one of her choice and have that choice accepted as normal.

As for children they must have the right to grow and be educated without any form of indoctrination. Decisions on religion etc. can be taken by the individual once they have reached an age of maturity, at present 18 years. This may accelerate change in ways we can’t quite grasp at this time but that is the nature of some change. We can jockey with equality through the smokescreen of our politics until the concept becomes meaningless or step back from our biases and truly put children first.

Multiculturalism as noted has not achieved the desired result and we now have communities stuck in their narrow outlook. This creates a polarization on all sides. Diversity thus becomes a drag on building a better society. It condemns many within some groups from experiencing the full rigour of the culture of the wider society and vice versa. It becomes a system of enclosures that allows better control by the Overlords. Multiculturalism is therefore an anchor on progress.

Moreover, culture is a transient phenomenon, look no further than gay rights and our more open society. How different is today’s world from that of the 1950s? This was not a forced change but a gradual transition from the 1945 election, the Teddy Boys, and the Hippie period of the early 1960s. The advent of mass media, its exploitation and the growth of multinational companies, all brought new ideas in a whirlwind. Thus culture is a temporary chain, a chain made from rope which will eventually rot. If culture is a chain made of titanium then we must ready ourselves for many wars ahead.

Note the sentiment of E. Adamson Hoebel, “Hoebel describes culture as an integrated system of learned behaviour patterns which are characteristic of members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance”. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture

We can all learn new behaviours!