Monday, February 27, 2017

Divisions Worse Than National

I am always pleased when someone puts a favorite rant of mine better than I do.  Grim has a comment on the new Mayor of London's disdain for nationalism.
The second problem is that Khan himself is a living symbol of an even more divisive, even more narrow mode of 'pitting different parts of our country or sections of our society against one another.' If this is the right standard for judgment, identity politics fares even worse than nationalism, which at least is willing to take any kind of Scot as long as they're Scottish. Drawing the division at the level of the nation at least avoids drawing divisions below that level.
He notes an additional irony in Didn't Think That Through.


Douglas2 said...

I've noticed a lot of people miss the fact that in most places outside the Americas (and many within it but outside the US), nationalism is identity politics with a strong racist tinge. The socialist nationalist SNP party seems to have avoided the stigma. Nevertheless in most countries, what serves to make you in/out of the volk is your ethnic heritage.
In the US, on the other hand, the marchers in Mardi-Gras, NYC Columbus day, Boston St Patrick's day, or upper midwest "heritage festivals" are unquestionably Americans, as are those Jazzers who carry the American music of Jazz to European capitals and set up residence in their nightlife quarters.

Having lived in Quebec through the last sovereignty referendum, there is an ugly face to nationalism that I know. One can see it also when you have the misfortune of being in the vicinity of national stadiums at the conclusion of national-team football games in Germany, Catalonia, and England. But when I see US political office-holders at state and national level spouting views that could be caricatured as "our country right or wrong" I get no sense that their concept of "our country" excludes anyone with allegiance to the USA. There is certainly a sense that they think US culture at its best is better than other cultures, but the "melting pot" concept embraces the presence of people from all ethnicities.

Sam L. said...

Yes, our perceptions are influenced by where and how we grew up. We need to realize, and remind ourselves, of that, instead of "I'm right, you're wrong".

Grim said...

I haven't had the occasion to travel much in Europe, although I've been a few other places. In Iraq, for example, nationalism would really be a great thing if it could get off the ground -- but it never really has, as Sunni/Shia or tribal or ethnic divisions have prevented the cementing of a national identity. Likewise Syria, and the Philippines.

America is different, of course, but there's a strong sense in which Americans who consider themselves Irish (or Scottish) could probably never 'go home' to the Olde Country. They'd always be considered 'that American,' perhaps as much so as if they were not at all of Irish or Scottish extraction.