When Nationalism Attracts Bad People

Richard Spencer tweets yesterday: “For decades, the “Nationalist Right” has been a shit magnet—that is, an attraction for unhinged, mentally ill, and self-deductive people. I’m beginning to wonder if “nationalism” isn’t better understood as “magnetized to shit.” Whenever there’s a shitty individual who does shitty things, moments later, without fail, “nationalists” fall over themselves to defend him, begging him to join their cause: *This is your home, shithead. Together, we will build a world of shit! It’s worth asking if these self-declared “nationalists” have any concept of a nation at all. An actual nation includes varieties, levels, and hierarchies. To paraphrase Jesus, we will always have the shitty among us. But building a shit movement wasn’t what he had in mind.”

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, tweets: “This is a time to remain nonviolent, 100% & morally upright in everything we do. We should remove all vices from our lives, except political dissent, because everything else will be used against us. Remove all bad influences who can lead you astray. This is a dangerous time.”

Is it that nationalism is inherently a shit magnet or do we have an ability to present nationalist ideas in ways that are more likely to attract productive people than unproductive people? Is there often a synthesis of globalism and nationalism wherein national sovereignty is preserved where necessary and where global cooperation is preserved where necessary? Think about cricket (ICC) or soccer (FIFA) or the Olympics. They have global governance boards to facilitate, among other things, the nationalism of international competition. The UK, for example, did not just leave the EU, it negotiated an exit so as to preserve its free trade with the EU.

A friend says: “Elites will overwhelmingly always reject nationalism. For corporations globalism is better for business. For academics, as you’ve pointed out, they tend to be least nationalist of any sub group. If banks, corporations, academics, all skew globalist, than most aspirational/productive people will want to follow that lead.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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