What is the definition of “Nationalism”? The answers vary from “advocates of genocidal ethno-states” to “the last bastion against the globalist elite cabal run by the Stonecutters”. Most people, however, fall well within these two histrionic extremes, yet even then there is a general divide in opinion and categorization. To wit: ‘Twould seem that the biggest difference in definition of what “Nationalism” is is the question of if one defines “Nationalism” as being of the “common” or of being of the “collective”; in other words, it is defined by individuals with commonalities, or is it defined by a collective from which the individual is defined.
This is a question that has been gestating for some time, and a question over which people with differing opinions about the definition of “Nationalism” have been attacking and speaking past each other because they are attacking each other over completely antithetical definitions of the core word about which the antagonistic disagreement occurred.
Perhaps this conflagration of definitions has lost any common mooring in the English language, but the following facepalm worthy “explanation” has led to the point where we all need to step back and agree on definition lest a rectification of name be upon us.
To be generous, one could say that Ms. Owens is ignorant of the doctrines and subsequent actions of the NATIONAL Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), or that she adheres to a libertarian notion of Nationalism that embraces the “non-aggression principle”. But it is without question that just as the NSDAP was indeed socialist and that fascism was the twin whelp of Communism from the same Hegelian dialectical bitch, that both National Socialism and more classical Fascism held Nationalism as a core doctrinal truth.
Fascism, and National Socialism (both Strasserite and Hitlerite) were Nationalists of the “collective” vein. What does this mean? Mussolini (give or take a ghost-writer) explained this.
Fascism saw the collective being as not an oppressed class as under Communism, but of the entirety of a nation, whereby the Nation was not defined by the commonality of the people, but whereby the individual was defined, and received not only meaning, but definitional existence, from the collective Nation.
“In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution.”
This, of course, is in contradiction of the idea that “Nationalism” is defined by people who bind together based what they have in common and in common hold special the mores, folkways, traditions, and heritage that transcends mere blood and soil limitations. In this sense, “Nationalism” is synonymous with “Patriotism”, at least in the American vein whereby an immigrant who happily embraces America is far more American than some elitist whose ancestors were listed amongst the “first families” of one English colony or another who now support U.N. governance over their spiffy little townhouse.
Many, if not most, people who champion the label of “Nationalist”, including presumably Candice Owens, would reject this collectivist definition. But then, how many people either championing this label or denouncing the same have actually thought about it?
For some, “Nationalism” is indeed a call to blood and soil, whereby the nation is defined by the native/most-recently-dominating denizens of the soil or by blood inheritance. The former inclinations can be seen by those who wish to treat their county as a safe space to be protected from globalism; the later are of the type who see no problem ignoring the just soli common law (and Constitutional) promulgation of citizenship in favor of a more Continental European embrace of jus sanguinis. The irony of this is that those that push blood and soil line of argumentation, actually are siding more with National Socialism than more traditional fascism. As Mussolini noted:
“Not a race, nor a geographically defined region, but a people, historically perpetuating itself; a multitude unified by an idea and imbued with the will to live, the will to power, self-consciousness, personality”
Admittedly, this isn’t much of a difference, and Mussolini’s “Doctrine of Fascism” is as antithetical to America as it is to Conservatism in the Anglo-American vein. But then, there are those who belittle Conservatism with the taunt “What has Conservatism conserved?”…
Of course, the categorization isn’t so much about defining what “Nationalism” is, but what it is in opposition to, namely “Globalism”.
Indeed, Fascism was not a champion of globalism, as some might ascribe to Fascism and National Socialism, as noted by Mussolini:
“Equally foreign to the spirit of Fascism, even if accepted as useful in meeting special political situations — are all internationalistic or League superstructures which, as history shows, crumble to the ground whenever the heart of nations is deeply stirred by sentimental, idealistic or practical considerations.
“The Fascist loves his neighbor, but the word neighbor does not stand for some vague and unseizable conception. Love of one’s neighbor does not exclude necessary educational severity; still less does it exclude differentiation and rank. Fascism will have nothing to do with universal embraces; as a member of the community of nations it looks other peoples straight in the eyes; it is vigilant and on its guard; it follows others in all their manifestations and notes any changes in their interests; and it does not allow itself to be deceived by mutable and fallacious appearances.”
Interesting to note, then, that the European Union is itself a type of paragon of nationalism. Not of any preexisting Nationalism, of course, but of a new Nation created ex nihilo et ex vacuo comprising a new identity; the new Nationalism is the old globalism through a nouveau lens. Not much different from those who claim that the American Revolution was a total rejection of the English tradition and rather an imposition of enlightened ideas by the new intellegent designers of the American Nation, as it were.
This is not to say that opposition to global governance or transnational government is somehow good; it isn’t. It is not some manichean choice between isolated Nationalist “safe spaces” vs. some type of Wells’ style “Things to Come” globalist utopia.
Free trade of goods and services between countries is not a bad thing. Easing barriers for travel is not, per se, a breaking of a seal of the Apocalypse. But none of that requires a transnational Nomenklatura or elevation of elites to crush the common people who are just trying to get by and live good lives. Indeed, one can be in favor of international interaction, under commonly understood rules, while being against assigning arbitrary and capricious power to some unaccountable bureaucratic overlords, et al., as is increasingly being evidenced in the European Union.
Ah, but then opposition to such overlordship by transnational elites does not equate to “Nationalism”, per se, does it? As noted by Owens, there is by some a belief that one can not be Nationalist if they do not respect “Nationalism” as some type of universal value to be imposed by a transnationalist creed which stands as the only bulwark against transnationalist ideologies… despite then being itself a transnational creed and belief.
Such is the idea that if a country seeks war or domination upon another then said country can’t be “Nationalist” because echt Nationalists would respect other Nations even to the detriment of their own, such nations that actually serve the interests of their Nations by disregarding other Nations are redefined as “Imperialists” and not “Nationalists” as if aggressive and destructive aggression against others somehow is incompatible with the interests of one’s own Nation.
In reality, the philosophy of mutually recognized and respected “Nations” via the ideology of “Nationalism”, is in conflict with being a “Nationalist” of one’s own Nation. Does one sacrifice one’s own Nation for the ideology of “Nationalism”, or is one a echt Nationalist who serves their Nation by taking such international actions that best benefit one’s Nation. To wit, which is more important: One’s Nation or the Transnational Globalist Ideology of “Nationalism”?
The answer to this question is a varied amognst those who call themselves “Nationalists” and it is amongst those who say they despise “Nationalism”.
While some may be obstinate regarding the use of the word “Nationalist”, one must ask: Why bother when alternate and less nebulous terms are available?
You humble author, for one, is self described as an American Patriot, who supports spreading American economic and cultural influence while supporting the spread of the English language as the Lingua Franca of international interaction be trade or cultural. While even then there is, and always will be, some disagreement as to the particulars, such appellation does not have nearly the same ambiguity and nebulousness. To embrace such terms does not mean a rejection, or acceptance, of any of the myriad definitions of “Nationalism”, but to better clarify beliefs and thoughts.
America, as a Nation that embodies a common set of values, mores, folkways, and historical inheritance, is a paragon amongst nations—now and in the past, and hopefully in trust for the future. America, as a blood and soil entity from which individuals can only find meaning from the collective glory within a safe space segregated from scary otherly ideas, is anything but a paragon in any venerable sense of the word. Is the aforementioned in this sentence an hyperbole? Yes, it is; and we should all hope that we can eschew such sturm und drang, and thus avoid being caught up in mere words and rather then focus on depth and meaning.
Who, then, is more “American”? The immigrant of any race who embraces the heritage of America, going back beyond the founding of the United States of America back to the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest? The blue blood who can trace their bloodline to the “first families” of the lands of the founding colonies who supports the “Green New Deal”, the abolition of the 2nd Amendment, and championing of “H8 speech” laws? By this answer, you will be known.
Some people are so caught up on mere words that they almost don’t care what those words mean. ‘Tis best to make sure that definitions and words are mutually understood first, even if such understanding take 90%+ of the effort, for doing so will avoid (99%+) of wasted time.
tl;If we are do disagree, let it be over something of substance, rather than a point of mutual idiocy.
tl;dr The word “Nationalism” is so unmoored from any commonly accepted definition as to be useless; define oneself beyond that mere word.