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Nationalism or Racial Supremacy Is For Weak People

Why individuals who lack self-esteem choose nationalism.

Photo by Mathew Browne on Unsplash

In the past, when the borders of kingdoms and empires were volatile, and changing more quickly than modern meme trends, people associated more with the religion they followed than the country they were living in. Religion brought people close to each other. But ever since the start of the 19th century, nationalism has been growing fast.

I think this is because borders are now not as volatile and instead of religion, people tend to associate their identity with their culture and ethnicity. And I think that the rise of nationalism can be linked to a growing sense of insecurity in nations. Think about it, a few centuries ago, our ancestors lived under serfdom. They toiled day and night to put meat on the table, and if any disease or war didn't wipe out their families and relatives, they considered themselves lucky.

They didn't have the time for politics, or knowledge about history. They were serfs/peasants, and so were their forefathers before them. This is why, they neither lacked self-esteem about their place in the world, nor did they have a sense of superiority over their neighbors. We can credit nationalism to mass education and awareness (about the history of one's country). As we have witnessed, nationalism has produced some of the worst kinds of racism we have seen. I am not talking about patriotism. There is a huge difference. You can be patriotic and defend your nation when its sovereignty is in danger, and still criticize its flaws. But a nationalist defends even his nation's bad actions. Although there have been, and are, nationalist movements (like Mahatma Gandhi's Indian nationalism) which rise due to oppression under a foreign rule, other times nationalism only brings hate and division amongst different nations and ethnicities.

That's because nationalists want their nation or people’s well-being over the destruction of another nation. It's the sense of superiority in all aspects — culture, language, and history — over other nations and peoples. Many think that real nationalism emerged during the French Revolution. When the revolutionaries overthrew their king, Louis XVI, every European monarch feared that the same would happen to them if the revolution wasn't quelled. So they united to fight the new French Republic. This brought the French middle class, and the lower class together, and they fought for one cause: France.

Long story short, a man named Napoleon came and defeated those European powers and the borders of Europe changed a bit. In 1871, when nationalism caused Germany to be unified, they also took Alsace-Lorraine, a piece of French territory in the East.

Here is a picture of French students being taught about the lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, taken by Germany in 1871.

Painting By Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville

Some say that before World War 1, most of the European powers at the time, especially France, were longing for a war to settle old despites. During the start of the 20th century, Serbia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In 1914, Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This started the first World War.

Some of the recent upheavals in our history can be attributed to nationalism, like the creation of Israel (which has been a source of conflict in the Middle East), and the second World War. And although the state of Israel came into being to provide a Jewish homeland for the Jews, the cause of the second World War was the worst kind of nationalism in history. Everyone knows how Germany was basically screwed after World War 1, so when Hitler came and said he would make Germany glorious once again, Germans followed him.

With his Aryan ideology, Hitler gave the Germans a feeling of superiority that they felt like they had, but had lost it due to a foreign enemy.

No nationalism will ever garner support if there isn't an antagonist to defeat, since humans love conflicts. This is why it's toxic, and appeals to the masses. Any individual who chooses such ideologies to feel better about himself isn't an individual anymore. He is just another grain in the sand of conformity. An individual who is distinct from the crowd takes pride in his own achievements, while nationalists take pride in the achievement of their countrymen. That's what nationalism is about.

Anyone who thinks he is superior just because his country produced some great artists and geniuses actually lacks self-esteem. He has never contributed to art, science, or humanity in general, and only wants to bask in the glory of the people who have shared the same culture, language, and ethnicity as him. We have to ask a question:

"What did he do to gloat over the achievements of others?"

Nationalism is a coping mechanism for people who are not confident in their own individual quality, and who look for some enemy to blame for their failures.
When you have done something truly worthy, you have confidence in your abilities, so you don’t need to antagonize other people in order to feel good about yourself.

Let me know what you think about this.



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A writer, classical music junkie, and a hermit. I like to write about writing and psychology. If you have a freelance gig for me, email me at faradali520@gmail