Nationalism Can Never Be A Force For Good. Discuss.

May 13, 2011
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Nationalism can be a force for good, but, depending on how leaders chose to use it can often create hatred and prejudices giving nationalism negative associations. For example Nationalism is often associated with wars; wars are times of intense nationalism because there is a common enemy and a need to protect ones own. As a result nationalism in such situations is usually seen as negative. However it can be a positive thing when used in moderation – patriotism is a form of nationalism and has a very positive impact on a country often uniting its citizens for a particular goal or event.

Nationalism can have both a positive and negative impact at the same time; for instance pan-nationalism, such as within the Arabic nations, brings people together because of common beliefs or characteristics, despite the fact they do not belong to the same country. The Arabic nations are bound together by language, culture, religion and historical heritage. Arab nationalists are also connected by their desire to rid western influence from the Arab world. This type of nationalism is clearly positive on a local level because it encourages the communion of different countries. Although if used in the wrong way, perhaps by a dictator, it could be a dangerous threat to enemy countries due to the sheer size of the population involved (which was estimated at a total 300 million in 2002 for the Arabic nations ). This was something which Israel feared during the 1950s and was the reason they joined France and Britain in the Suez Canal war. There are also types of pan-nationalism which help the economy and encourage good relations between close countries with different cultures, languages, traditions, etc. the UN and EU are examples of these. Pan-nationalism then is a force for good unless there is a common enemy which could lead to a large scale war.

Another similar form of nationalism is Religious Nationalism which also incorporates people from various different countries since they are united by their faith and their belief in a particular god(s) and not by geographical boundaries. For this reason Religious Nationalism is a good thing because it unites people from all across the world; however some religious beliefs can oppose other religions and so if there are multiple faiths within one country it can cause disputes and riots. The French wars of religions which were fought because of religious conflicts between the Roman Catholic and Protestant sectors are examples of this. Again, this proves that nationalism can be a force for good, but when it concerns multiple opposing ideas can lead to heavy conflict.

Nationalism can be taken to extremes by leaders who have particular goals in mind as it can be an effective tool in persuading their people. Hitler was one such individual. His ideas for progress and making Germany a great country required the whole population’s backing. In order to do this he invoked strong feelings of nationalism using propaganda. When abused in this way nationalism can be very dangerous because people want to fight to protect the rights and freedoms of their country against those ‘threatening’ them so it is a very effective tool for “rallying the troops”.

However, when moderate, nationalism; or patriotism as it may be called, can have an extremely positive impact. The Queen’s coronation in 1953 was undoubtedly a patriotic and joyful event with parties in the streets common up and down England. During times like this nationalism is a pure force for good. It is the celebration of belonging to a country or nation and being proud of it and its achievements.

Overall, nationalism can be a force for good when applied in moderation. Nationalism is what keeps the world functioning as it does today - without it individualism would make everyone selfish. Although when used to extremes it can be dangerous, this does not mean that nationalism is always a bad thing. Nationalism makes people feel like they belong and this creates bonds and connections between people who may never have met before because of their language, culture, religion etc. and that can only be a good thing.

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This article has 1 comment. Post your own now! said...
May 4 at 3:02 pm
Nationalism can never not be a force for good. It's the natural order.
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