Thoughts on Nationalism

by Elias Blum

1. Some of forms of nationalism are certainly wicked – violent, oppressive, arrogant, exclusive and racist. These should be rightly condemned.

2. However, this does not mean all nationalism is bad. There are also varieties of civic nationalism that can be a benign and progressive force. It contains concepts of national solidarity and shared purpose that can be used to promote the common good and to demand democracy, social justice, good government etc. 

3. Nationalism is present on both sides of most secession debates. It’s not just the pro-secession side who rely on nationalism, but also the anti-secession side. 

4. Often, it seems that the bad forms of reactionary or imperialist nationalism are on the side of the anti-secessionists, while the democratic civic forms of nationalism are on the side of the pro-secessionists.

5. Nevertheless, the anti-secessionists call the pro-secessionists ‘nationalists’, as if that were an insult, and they expect to get away with it. That’s no’ fair.