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Monday, June 30, 2008

Lemieux: Ugly Nationalism

This week, Western Standard columnist Pierre Lemieux argues that nationalism and liberty don't go together very well at all. Here's an excerpt:

Imposing a general context of liberty allows people who don’t like certain forms of autonomy to make private arrangements to escape them — private arrangements like marriage, religious groups, sects, corporate bodies, and miscellaneous contractual agreements. When the values imposed are not libertarian, however, the Nation State needs many laws and cops to impose the majority’s (or a minority’s) values and lifestyles on others.


Nationalism is necessarily a statist affair, the liberticidal imposition of some people’s values on other people... Québec solidarity means forced solidarity. What is the nation if not coerced solidarity, mainly in favour of the rulers?


Posted by westernstandard on June 30, 2008 | Permalink


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Patriotism is just like narcissism but on a larger scale. A person who celebrated how great he thinks he is would be derrided as an obnoxious boor. When a country does it it is the same thing.

Nationalism is just like racism or sexism but on a larger scale. Whether the message is all other races are inferior to mine or all other countries are inferior to mine it is dangerous thinking.

Hating one's country or being ashamed of it are not the only alternatives to patriotism and nationalism any more than self-loathing is the only alternative for an individual to narcissism or racism. Besides, we can have a birthday party for a country without it having to be an occasion for indulging in nationalism or patriotism, just as we can celebrate the birthdays of individuals without thinking they are superior beings. Canada Day is best viewed as just a good excuse for a party. No more, no less.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-06-30 11:16:52 AM

The typical leftist dribble that patriotism is just like narcissism and that nationalism is just like racism or sexism. Truth is that neither one is bad or good in itself. No country or nation can survive without a healthy sense of patriotism and nationalism where one recognises the accomplishments of his country and culture without the need to belittle everything foreign. One also recognises that all cultures are not equal.

However when patriotism and nationalism are promoted from the top down they more often than not become a tool for aggression and war.

True and healthy patriotism and nationalism are not compatible with government (federal or Quebec) organised events, ministries of heritage, the hand-out of free flags (even to the creation of an artificial flag) and so on.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-06-30 12:22:46 PM

Should have typed "typical leftist" drivel instead of dribble.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-06-30 6:49:36 PM

Perhaps, but on the fourth, I'll be playing in the Band and celebrating the greatest libertarian revolution in history rather than holed up with my reason magazine dreaming of a libertopian world without nation states.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-07-01 9:31:09 AM

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