The Truth About Nationalism
There’s been a lot of criticism recently of nationalism. I’d like to unravel that ball of yarn if I may and uncover the real reason why some people love their country.
Nationalism is based on the idea that a particular group of people (a nation) has unique values, traditions, and talents which make them exceptional. By exceptional, I don’t mean better. I mean unique. Different. When that exceptionalism is embraced, it’s called nationalism (or patriotism).
Where did nationalism come from?
God separated mankind into nations, tribes and tongues. That was His plan and He thought it was a good one. At the tower of Babel, we tried to erase the distinctions He put in place. We came together as one community. One nation. For His own reasons, He doesn’t want us united as one nation. So He scattered us and confused our language to prevent us from uniting again. He wants us to remain separate and distinct nations.
Not everyone likes nationalism. But those who criticize it generally have noble reasons. In their minds, nationalism causes racism and xenophobia. (Xenophobia is an irrational fear of other cultures.)
More recently, some Christians have criticized nationalism because they think it’s behind the teaching that Israel is God’s favored nation. They don’t believe God has a favorite nation. And if nationalism is responsible for that, it must be done away with.
Nationalism is neither the root of racism nor the basis for religious bias. That honor goes to hatred and ignorance.
Nationalism is like pasta. Racism is like marinara sauce.
When you have pasta, it often comes with marinara sauce. But not always. It’s optional. You can have Alfredo sauce if you like. Or you might have just plain butter. Nothing is mandatory.
That’s how it is with nationalism. You can bring your racism and xenophobia with you when you talk about how much you love your country. Or you can come without them. Nothing is mandatory.
When someone says nationalism is evil because it causes racism and xenophobia, they’re like the person who assumes that pasta always comes with marinara sauce. It’s a faulty line of reasoning. The two are not always connected.
When you watch the Olympics and cheer for your nation’s team, you’re displaying nationalism. I visited Australia for a couple of weeks and fell in love with the people. I also saw why Aussies love their country. Loving your country is natural. Unless you happen to live in a place where people are oppressed. Or Antarctica.
Contrary to what the globalists will tell you, nationalism is not evil. And despite what religious leaders may tell you, it’s the way God ordained societies to operate.
Let’s look at an illustration.
In 1999 Jesse Jackson praised Donald Trump for years of selfless service to inner city minorities. Despite this, the real estate mogul has been called a racist. Not because he’s shown hostility to other races, but because he’s a nationalist. He loves America. Like the way many of you love your country. The fact that he loves his country doesn’t mean he hates other ones. He’s wise enough to know that if he cares deeply enough and works hard enough to make his nation the best it can be, he’ll help other nations be the best they can be by showing them how it’s done.
My friend Kevin Ashcraft put is this way:
There’s a reason why Trump is so focused on the US right now. The world is like a large neighborhood. There are a few mansions and the US has one of them. We like helping our neighbors. But right now, we have a problem. Our house is on fire. The rest of the neighborhood and some who live in our house want us to focus on helping our neighbors. The money that should be used to preserve our house is being used to build up their homes, while ours burns. Trump is the guy who finally says, “Hey, what the hell is going on? Our house is on fire! We need to put it out. After we do that, we can talk about helping the neighborhood, but right now, we have to do what’s best for us. If we don’t put out the fire, our house will be destroyed and if the fire spreads it will burn down the whole neighborhood.”
Nationalism is not a winner-take-all proposition. When it’s done right, everyone wins and nobody loses.