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Why is nationalist sentiment rising in politics around the developed world at this point in time?


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In an era of economic stagnation, somebody must take the blame, nothing is easier than to blame immigrants for it. It worked wunderbar in Germany before, and as we are all witnessing, it seems to be working wonderfully everywhere today.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It is probably the precursor to the war over dwindling resources that were previously squandered in a system based on the fantasy that squander makes us happy. It's been coming for decades because the rich have been prescient, shoring themselves up and taking whatever they can to do it by intervening in government around the world. China has also seen the writing on the wall and is making a belated attempt to get what it can while it can and thereby helping to intensify the deterioration of the Earth as a liveable home. It's looking ugly. Only the economic fundamentalists and the blind to the state of the ecosphere can believe in the old fantasies.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

One reason may be that leaders insulated from their decisions are "offering" the freedom and safety of common citizens. German leaders are basically sacrificing their citizens in order to make themselves look virtuous.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why is nationalist sentiment rising in politics around the developed world at this point in time?

Because that's what's being pushed by the media.

Stupid question.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fear of people who look different (he/she is taking my job, or "those people" are bringing strange/dangerous ways to our community) is the main reason. Plus globalism and economic uncertainty about the future. There were some great old movies made in the 1940s and '50s about this theme -- "Meet John Doe" and "Keeper of the Flame" -- are two that come to mind. Fear, uncertainty and ignorance can make it very easy to hand the reins of power to people who promise a lot but usually deliver very little

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Simply because globalization has not delivered the promises made by previous governments.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I remember a short anecdote I read a year ago: A banker, a worker and an immigrant are sitting at a table. There are 20 cookies on the table. The banker takes 19 cookies and tells the worker:" Watch out, or the immigrant will take your cookie". Another funny idea I got when I read " The Brethren ". If you haven't read it, give it a try. Written by John Grisham some 20 years ago, sounds very, very contemporary. It's about the US presidential election and it's chilling .

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why has nationalism become a dirty word?

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

"Why has nationalism become a dirty word?"

Not a big reader of history then?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Massive money printing/banksters/rich getting richer everyone else mostly stagnate or declining/politicians and legalized bribery/US hegomonic wars...

illegal immigration/refugee situation/nationalism is a consequence of the above.

but lobbying at the European Union level is increasingly a part of the political decision-making process and thus part of the legislative process. "European interest representation" is part of a new participatory democracy within the European Union.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Is it "rising"?/ Maybe just finding expression through the formal political system.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

When people have robust social health because they live lives that are meaningful and rewarding, they define themselves by their achievements and their relationships to real human beings.

When people have poor social health because they are afraid their lives are meaningless, they retreat into defining themselves by abstract identities like their religion, their race, their ideology, or their nationality.

Or economic model is presently leading too many people in the 2nd group and not enough in the former.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why is nationalist sentiment rising in politics around the developed world at this point in time?

Because the survivors of WW2 are either dead or being silenced, and without the lessons of history we are bound to repeat it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The media.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Because there have been concentrated efforts by governments to lower the quality of life of middle- and lower-class citizens. Secondly, the media has been throwing gasoline on people's fears while political pundits are lighting matches.

That is, the middle- and lower-class citizens (or economical groups) are experiencing exceedingly lower quality of life due to government manipulation of taxes and prices from everything between commodity goods to basic services, and media is diverting their increasing distress and fear for their own well-being towards peoples that have different skin color. The saviors come in the form of far-right reformist, whose rhetoric validates the fears instilled in the middle- and lower-class.

You don't have to watch History Channel (in fact, don't) to know where these tactics are headed towards globally.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Why do you naturally equate nationalism with the darkest pages of history?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )


Why do you naturally equate nationalism with the darkest pages of history?"

Let's take the Fascist movements of the 20th century for a kick-off.

Wouldn't you say nationalist sentiment played a large part, among other things, in those movements?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Because many people are weak-minded fools who need to blame others to feel better about themselves -- be it the 'nail that sticks out' in the classroom, an immigrant in the neighbourhood or the nation as a whole, or nations next door. Far easier to ratchet up rhetoric about Mexican rapists, Chinese aggression, and foreign devils, etc. than for people to admit their own backyard is a mess THEY made and THEY need to clean up. Plus, war drives economies in many cases (corporate profits, anyway), so you just need profit-driven politicians and said weak-minded sheeple, and you've got what looks like a win-win situation. Who cares about the fact that it's ultimately lose-lose for you or the next generation?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Because we have entered the post-truth era.

Scepticism, investigation, analysing ones own belief set, a hunger for truth and understanding, empathy, and sympathy are seen as weak where as they are the foundation of enlightened societies, instead we have opinion as fact, and people living in echo chambers of their own making.

I am truly worried for humanity, excuse me while I go drink myself down to an I.Q level more fitting to where seem to be heading.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


Wouldn't you say nationalist sentiment played a large part, among other things, in those movements?


I'd also argue that Nationalism played a greater role in their eradication than formation. Nazi Germany ceased to exist because of the nationalism of soldiers fighting against it.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The clear narrative since the Reagan/Thatcher years is the gains of globalization going to an increasingly small elite, based mainly in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector of the economy, traditionally the so-called "rentier" class.

This elite also controls the media and has stoked xenophobia so that ordinary people become more concerned with immigrants, Muslims, and which toilets LGBT use rather than what multiple of their salary their CEO is earning, how little how tax he is paying, or how much free money that bank whose CEO says we need more austerity got during the bailout.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hokkaidoguy, I would argue that putting nationalism aside and joining together for the ideals of freedom and democracy for all is what has rid us of what blind allegiance brings us.

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Putting aside "nationalism" to fight for freedom and democracy (as defined by the ideals local to where you reside).

Sounds like the same thing to me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Sure, so no objective pain, ill-treatment or suffering, its all just opinion..... where is that bottle of whisky and a wall to bash my head against.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

don't follow.

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"Sure, so no objective pain, ill-treatment or suffering, its all just opinion..... where is that bottle of whisky and a wall to bash my head against."

I feel it too although it's a pretty tough tough task defending nationalism. I'm still not sure what Hokkaidoguy thinks nationalism is or whether it's a good or bad thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Its all relatively simple actually & many above seem to see it as well. It what I have called the KILLING of the GOLDEN GOOSE, that is the middle class & also the poor worldwide.

Big business & the 1%ers have vacuumed up SO MUCH UNDERSERVED wealth that they have pretty much or are well on the way to destroying a lot of the poor & middle classes.

In short the ROBBER BARONS have been back & wrecking havoc!

One more thing is also really kicking the poor & middle classes when they are down & that is TECHNOLOGY, high tech has been in high gear dong lots of cool & interesting things BUT each time they come up with something they create say 80 jobs while putting 100 out of work, this effect has been speeding up VERY QUICKLY, lots of jobs are simply no longer there, the only thing left is CRAP minimum wage jogs that DONT even pay a living wage.

All this leads to nationalism & its getting UGLY, just look at the US for a PRIME example.

We are headed for very nasty times in all likelihood!

5 ( +5 / -0 )


If you can't defend nationalism, should I assume you're in favor of colonialism? How else would you describe the populist movements that united nations to break away from empire? That's Nationalism.

Nationalism was the driving force behind German expansion in WW2, just as it was the driving force for defense and resistance. Do you seriously believe Churchill wasn't a nationalist?

If neither of these examples fits your definition of nationalism, I'd suggest re-visiting your textbook.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )


Thank you for your definition.

Here are two definitions I found:

1) An extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.

2) Advocacy of political independence for a particular country.

The nationalism I have in mind, and what I assume this article is referring to, isn't the second. It's the chauvinistic and often racist and bigoted sense of exclusiveness and demonising the other - the kind of rubbish spouted by the worst elements of the Brexit crowd, Trump and the far right parties in Europe. As for Churchill, he embodied many of the characteristics of nationalism - he was a racist, a bigot and a snob.

That's what I think this question is referring to. Did you think it was referring to oppressed peoples fighting for their right to be free and independent?

I'm sure you'd agree that the two definitions I gave are not necessarily connected and the first definition is something foul.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Probably because half the stuff that liberals claim to be truth is horsecrap. That's not to say that the right is any better.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@hokkaidoguy Ethnic nationalism is a modern delusion equating the modern state with an ethnic group/groups. Fascism is Italian ethnic nationalism first. It then becomes associated with Nazi ideology. Nationalism is a false view of reality and, as is obvious from history, it is terribly destructive. It is still pretty dangerous as a motivating ideology toward oppression, dehumanization and violence. It is anti-humanistic and irrationally so. It's modern though - a legacy of the last few hundred years or so.

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Genuinely curious - where did you find those definitions? I've been out of academia for at least 20 years, and neither of those would have been considered nationalism at the time. Probably xenophobia or exceptionalism for the first and simply "independence movement" for the second.

My first question in this thread was genuine as well. When did this become a dirty word?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Let's remember that the rise of nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon. Any explanation that involves poverty, income inequality, war, lack of education, or anything else which existed to an even greater extent prior to the mid 19th century, is unlikely to provide an adequate explanation. Maybe it's something as simple as the rise in popularity of organized sports teams in the 1860-80s, or the relaunching of the modern Olympics in 1896, or simply the greater awareness of other states thanks to compulsory primary school education? Who knows? Some might blame the rise of the welfare state for making it possible to cast immigrants as 'takers'. I think this could be a contributing factor but even countries with little to no social welfare system seem to be equally nationalistic these days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The internet.

As people interact with other people in foreign lands through the internet, they develop antagonizing mentality toward people in foreign lands. This may sound counter intuitive, but seems to be true.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ch3CHO: it's not counter-intuitive, just hogwash. For every person that MIGHT use it to go trolling (and even then they have to have certain preconceived notions of where to go and whom to target), there are exponentially more who use it as a tool for information and education; to learn about the world and as a result be LESS antagonistic. Unless of course they stick only to or feed off of propaganda centers like 2-channel and lash out blindly at people from other nations, of course. But by then you've already been programmed, not changed as a result of said interaction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Do we need governments around the world? Whose interests are they serving. How many of us REALLY care about being of one or another nationality. There's power behind nationalism, money behind military, etc. Who / what can't a well written world constitution protect? Nothing. There's no will because jobs, positions, pride are lost. The media would be bored. Fax would lose meaning. Follow the money! It's all about money. All.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I got those definitions from oxforddictionaries.com. Mirriam Webster had a nice note on the difference between patriotism and nationalism, stating that the former lacks the implication of superiority.

You do seem to be splitting hairs here with definitions.

Also, your first question wasn't when nationalism became a dirty word, it was why nationalism became a dirty word. I dont know if it's possible to put a date on it ( perhaps WW2 and the foul ideas of Fascism could be a contender ) but it seems perfectly clear to me why the filthy ideas of national, racial or religious superiority are treated the way they are by decent people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

JimizoDEC. 16, 2016 - 06:59PM JST Here are two definitions I found: 1) An extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries. 2) Advocacy of political independence for a particular country. The nationalism I have in mind, and what I assume this article is referring to, isn't the second.

The two are related, and the way they are related demonstrates why Nationalism is in principle a bad thing, though it can be used for useful purposes. Nationalism is the notion of having a national identity - that the flag on your passport says something about who you are inherently as a person. This sentiment is a useful way of fueling independence movements because it entails the idea that people like you in your oppressed colonial territory are inherently more like each other than they're like the colonialist power that controls your territory.

But building a notion of identity exterior to the person doing the building is a loser's game. Defining myself by my flag is really just a different way to say I'm not free to make my own choices. Dismantling colonialism is a good goal, but if all I'm going to do is dismantle the colonialism by saying people within an arbitrarily-drawn boundary make up the national identity, I'm not doing much better than defining my identity by the race or religion I was born into. For a society to really function long-term we need a shared cultural framework- which doesn't mean that we all do things exactly the same but rather that our sense of identity comes from the way that we all collectively interact with each other.

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I'm against idiotic nationalism as much as the next person but as I was careful to point out, the two aren't necessarily related and I stress necessarily. The referendum on Scottish independence is a case in point. There were obviously England-hating partisans who voted emotionally but there were also those who voted based on purely economic arguments. That's fair enough. There were also idiot nationalists who voted viscerally for Brexit but my mother, a hard left liberal who is about as far from an English nationalist as I can imagine, voted Brexit for democratic reasons.

We live in nation states. Voting for what you believe will benefit you as an individual in your nation state strikes me as common sense as long as you are voting using common sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ethnic nationalism is not merely extreme patriotism or political independence. There are many good books on nationalism such as Benedict Anderson's "imagined communities." It IS relatively recent, as M3M3M3 wrote. But, one probably has to look back to the printing press and other such historical developments. Japan is probably even more recently a nation than some European countries. A few hundred years ago people in Breton or Wales spoke their local language, never read a newspaper (if anything), never travelled out of their hometown, lived a feudal existence, etc. You can look at things like when Queen Victoria wrote a book for the common people to read about her life as a phenomenon that was impossible a few generations before. Nationalism becomes stronger with modern movements such as romanticism and is probably more powerful in the technological society where propaganda is so indispensable to the functioning of society. Ethnic nationalism is a dangerous fantasy. I think liberal humanism, as I see it, is anti-nationalistic although maybe some folks around here would disagree. Do we see people as individuals? Do we organize society around ideals or some fantasy of "blood-ties"?

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JimizoDEC. 16, 2016 - 11:06PM JST I'm against idiotic nationalism as much as the next person but as I was careful to point out, the two aren't necessarily related and I stress necessarily.

And you're mistaken. They are related in exactly the way I described before: what you think of as the "idiotic nationalism" and every other form of nationalism makes the citizen's identity defined by an exterior, abstract quality. Every system of nationalism, from the most innocuous to the most outright hateful commits the fallacy of defining a person by their nationality, not the choices they make.

We live in nation states.

So? We live in homes. The fact that I live in a manshon instead of a suburban split-level house with a yard and a white picket fence may say something about my economic status, but it doesn't define me as a person. Where you live doesn't decide who you are, the choices you make decide who you are. Nationalism in any form is ultimately a fallacy that attempts to reverse that idea.

Voting for what you believe will benefit you as an individual in your nation state strikes me as common sense

Voting for what you believe will benefit you as an individual has nothing to do with nationalism until you decide that your identity is decided by your nationality and therefore what benefits you as an individual is decided by your nationality. Then it's a fallacy that is best-case-scenario useful in the short-term before becoming empty and self-destructive in the long-term.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The quesruion is confusing nationalism with rejection of the tyranny, incompetence and excess of the socialist political class. In all cases the socialists are elites who live well on the backs of people. These government class members have done everything from cause recessions to spreading war. These, same socialists are facilitating the spread of violent psychos into their respective countries and when those violent animals rape, rob or commit murder the socialist government elites tell the victims, to bad for you. Then when the victims of the socialist elites want to not be over taxed, not be invaded, not be in recessions and not be raked or murdered the socialist government class calls the victims everything from bad people for not wanting to help, to racists, bigots and "nationalist". The desire to live above the level of socialists miserable existence and the desire to not be raped and killed by cartels or religious fanatics, isn't nationalism. It is normal. So the question itself is incorrect, as it implies not being raped by a merkel, Obama religious fanatic is somehow nationalism. Basically the socialist elites like merkel and Obama are saying in the name of proggresive advancement, you must allow yourself to be raped or killed by religious fanatics so the elites can advance their ideology or be accused of being a nationalist bigot.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Ignorance and arrogance are generally the two key elements. You can see it happening in Europe and Asia. Seems to rise until a point of war is reached after which it falls. Then rises gradually and insidiously again. Which is where we are at now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Man that post was something else! Not a good something else.....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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