Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nationalism, national pride et all


Does being born in a particular nation automatically mean that an individual should be proud of that nation? or should national pride be restricted to cases where there is a case to feel proud?

Judging from the reaction to the Taj vote we are led to believe that the Taj is a true wonder in the world and symbol of national pride. Is the Taj on the list because of the numbers or does it truly deserve it?

Nationalism is a time tested concept, predating the era of the nation state. And any argument of a seemingly dominant culture would automatically lead to conflict with groups having different views outside of the geographic boundaries of nations, but even within it could impinge upon liberal/minority interests. The problem is in a way circular, unless there is universal agreement that birth/upbringing happens purely by chance there is a high likelihood that people would align themselves in different groups. Now lets say if there are no nationalists in one country, its likely that the country would be run over from nationalist groups in another country. So the liberals in different countries whose attentions are primarily drawn towards events on merit will probably need to work harder on making people understand the futility of nationalism vs universalism. But then they are liberals.

The problem is compounded by the thoughts of the major religious/political views. Christianity and Islam are more universalist but would be at logger heads on individual superiority. Jews and Hindus are probably the true exponents of the 'promised land', they would be loggerheads with the others. An understatement.

The fundamental problem is more towards difficulty of the human race to judge for itself. Peer review, acceptance and the need to belong to a social group far outweighs the individuals capacity to think/act rationally. And once the alignment happens, in case of nationalism, its by default then there is very little opportunity for someone to create a liberal view. Or is it?

In a curious way, unless nations feel threatened a large scale war is unlikely to happen in the near future. Now is a good time to re-assess the need for nationalism and visions of superiority of the nation state. As people realize that even their day to day actions are influenced by global events (the internet/global warming) the idea of common usage of scarce resources has its best chance to prevail over existing forms of nationalistic thinking. But this development would have to walk a tightrope with the stabilizing nationalist forces and there lies the problem.

Since we start from such an inequitable distribution of wealth, there would be an relative importance of groups till there is better distribution. Before this happens any sort of dialogue would not be possible. So, liberals be doomed, who cares about them anyway, My country right or wrong.

No comments: