9 Nov 2022


Race, Nationalism, and War

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Academic level: College

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Nationalism is an ideology based on the argument that individual or group interest surpass devotion and loyalty to a nation-state. It helps develop a feeling of strong attachment towards one’s country based on aspects such as race, religion, language, culture among others. As a result, people are unified through a feeling of oneness, which endows them with the quality of nationality. Liberal nationalism comprised of liberal values of equality, freedom, and individual rights; it views a nation as an assembly of free people who choose to live together. As such, these people are not bound by territory, culture, or race, but by the desire to live together. On the other hand, extreme nationalism is built on the premise that a particular religious belief, racial background, dogma, or affiliation contribute to a sense of unity among citizens of a country. Such people are often willing to anything whether political, cultural or economical to defend their country against any interests of other nations. 

Liberal nationalism respects an individual on one’s merit, and not by religion, race, religion, or culture. Therefore, people are free to belong to a nation and free to leave it since the desire to live together should be a mutually feeling among citizens and not an obligation based on certain aspects. As such, members of liberal states identify themselves as a community, brought together by a commitment to democratic ideas for the common good that benefits the whole nation. Civil nationalisms enables millions of people from diverse backgrounds come together as one to oppose racism, and hatred of all kinds, thereby enabling individuals to overcome such divisions. As a result, many become one without becoming identical by conforming to a pre-existing cultural model or melting into an undifferentiated mass of homogeneity. Liberal nationalism stands for the common good over individual interests; it promotes unity by standing for equality over discrimination. 

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On the other hand, extreme nationalism places personal interest above those of other people, groups or nations. As such, people are willing to do anything to advance and become superior in comparison to other nation-states. Moreover, extreme nationalists are divided into various aspects such as religion, race, and culture where one group is considered superior to the other. For instance, in the United States, racism has been the major factor dividing Americans; whites are considered more citizens, who belong to America, while blacks are considered inferior. However, it is important to recognize that this form of nationalism can help people fight against oppression, or bring an end to poor or bad leadership. In history, extreme nationalism enabled countries to acquire freedom by fighting for freedom as a unified group, loyal to their country. In the modern society, extreme nationalism is worrying since it supports discrimination, racism, among other negative vices by creating divisions based on religion, race, and culture. 

Both forms of nationalism have their advantages and disadvantages to a nation and the international community. Extreme nationalism is beneficial as it enhances national development and fosters national independence. However, it promotes racism and is against internationalism; it is against healthy culture and creates imperialism. On the other hand, liberal nationalists promote national and international peace and unity, enhances equality. Essentially, liberal nationalism enables people of one race, religion, and economic background to identify individuals who are different on all these counts as members of their tribe, under one nation. As a result, there is a widening of the sphere of mutual responsibility since people work towards a common national goal. It is of the essence to embrace liberal nationalism to foster progress in our diverse national and international community. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Race, Nationalism, and War.


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