Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Are Republicans now using the term nationalism as a good thing?

Asked by JLeslie (56031points) 4 weeks ago from iPhone

I’m not talking about white supremicists who basically are self admittedly white nationalists. I’m asking about the average Republican, or maybe that’s too broad, maybe it’s the average religious right Christian (so I’m not saying all Christians by any means). I’m wondering if some groups in America self identify as not racist, and who don’t want the country to be completely closed, if in their circles nationalism means something different than how the rest of America, and the world, define it.

I learned about these different definitions living in the Bible Belt. Evangelical Christians define “cult” differently than the dictionary, and so it is different than most of America. They call Mormons a cult, when for most Mormonism doesn’t fit cult quality. They use the word Submit differently than the rest of us. I’m sure there is more.

Not only am I wondering about how Americans are defining nationalism, but wondering if the word is being commonly used more now, and if maybe the people using it don’t realize what they are saying.

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92 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Nationalism is patriotism, for some its a feeling our country is superior to others. Hopefully the Google definition isnt too confusing. I assume we fly more flags here, we stand for the Pledge, remove hats and kids get smacked for goofing around during these. Many families sent multiple family members off to fight in every war that threatened our safety, most willingly and ready to give all.

Yes, I’d say our definition is different than the liberal coasts, since I’ve heard some pretty terrible things said about our soldiers and our country on this site.

I have never used the word or heard it used in RL.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s time to re-read the book 1984 (George Orwell).

link

Among the scary things that take place in the book is (a) the rewriting of history to fit the political needs of the dictator, and (b) redefining words, again, to mean the opposite of what they were for political reasons.

With ‘nationalism’ you have the redefining of what ‘nationalism’ is in order to meet the far-right political agenda of people who wish to scare you.

And I totally disagree with @KNOWITALL – nationalism is not necessarily patriotism. Nationalism can be ‘sticking your head in the dirt like an ostrich’, with an unwillingness to see the world around you. Nationalism is escapism from reality, again, to hide from the reality of civilization.

To equate that with patriotism is even more egregious. Patriotism means standing up for your country and its values – NOT standing up for its misguided and fearful leader.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@elbanditoroso I generally disagree with your premise, nationalism is not automatically going to lead to an Orwellian dystopia. It may in fact do the opposite. It completely depends on what the values and goals are of said nation. Some don’t see a problem with taking care of your own homestead first. Note that this does not automatically mean at the expense of other nations either. There is not a hard distinction between nationalism and patriotism in the colloquial sense. They’re often synonymous as are “country” or “nation” even if there are distinctions in the literary sense. That context matters and @KNOWITALL addressed it in her post.
As far as redefining words, though you see it on both sides now if any party is guilty of framing “newspeak” it’s the left and by a substantial margin.
I would highly recommend reading This. Dystopia comes in many forms

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Nationalism as used by the current Republicans is getting closer to 1984 and Orwell.

Look at Acosta doctored video again and Kellyanne Conway admitted it was altered.

canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL, the only people on this site that I have noticed saying “terrible things” about this country are not Americans, and I have never heard Americans dissing the actual troops, just the system that drives them.

“Nationalism” has traditionally been used as a white supremist term, if you believe 45 is so naïve as to not know that, then that in itself is troubling. Words matter.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Nationalism” has traditionally been used as a white supremist term” if you believe 45 is so naïve as to not know that, then that in itself is troubling. Words matter.

If you remove the context and cast the current administration as racist, white nationalists sure. 45 was clearly just saying America first. If you want deeper meaning than that I believe you are skimming past the scope of the intellect of the current POTUS. I do agree, that part is troubling.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Do you know what group used “America First” in the 1920’s?
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Answer !

kritiper's avatar

Just another type of Socialism. Dang, there are so many types! It sounds as though the Republicans who use the term are trying to confuse (impress?) people.

chyna's avatar

So if Trump doesn’t know the real meaning of the word, he’s an idiot. If he does know it and is using it anyway, he’s the anti-Christ. And if he thinks he can change the words meaning, he’s just not savvy enough. As the question asks “are Republicans now using the word as a good thing?” I’ve only heard trump using it and I would not be surprised that he doesn’t know what it means. He has the vocabulary of a 7th grader and the attention span of a gnat.

Demosthenes's avatar

I have no problem with patriotism, but nationalism tends to rub me the wrong way. For one thing, there’s a difference between a nation and a state. The Roma, the Kurds, and Palestinians are nations that don’t have states. But what defines these nations? Ethnic heritage. So to me, there is a tendency for nationalism to be linked with ethnicity, because a nation is often defined by shared ethnicity. Is the United States a “nation” as well as a state? Can a multi-ethnic state also be a nation?

I have no doubt that many people who use the term “nationalism” in a positive sense are not thinking ethnically; they’re simply using it in opposition to globalism, stating their preference for isolationism and “America first”. The problem is the fine line between that kind of isolationist/patriotic nationalism and ethnic nationalism.

Additionally, nationalism is what led to World War I (in the simplest sense), so I’m not convinced that even non-ethnic nationalism is a good thing. Nations need to look out for their own interests, but I think it’s in their best interest to participate in the global community.

rojo's avatar

The difference between patriotism and nationalism:

Patriotism is supporting your country and the beliefs and values that make it what it is while Nationalism is supporting your government without regard for those values and can include suppression of those values in order to justify your views.

Patriotism is basically believing your country is one of the best, not perfect but a work in progress. It is a love for ones country and all its people. Patriotism is focused more on the people of a country. It allows that other countries and their citizens might be viewed as equals. It allows for working with others who might be different in order to make the world a better place for all.

Nationalism holds that your country is superior in all aspect to any and all others. Nationalism focuses on loyalty to the state or group. By inference, all others are your inferiors; there is no equality with any other nation or citizen. Exclusion is a necessary factor of nationalism. Dominance over all those who are different (and that is everyone else) is imperative under nationalism and cooperation must be on your terms only and for your benefit only.

rojo's avatar

But, to answer your question. Yes, I feel that they are trying very hard to equate nationalism with patriotism. I would go so far as to state that there is a concerted effort to re-define patriotism using the definitions and qualities of nationalism.

Why? I am not sure but the cynic in me assumes it is because it is so much easier to demonize those who disagree with you using nationalism than with patriotism and the conservative movement seems to have a predilection for using fear and division as a tactic to maintain and increase power.

Stressing party loyalty as the most important aspect for an elected official is a form of nationalism.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Thanks for your answer. The thing about the word nationalism, is to most people it basically means Nazi Germany or even North Korea. So, even though I 100% believe that you use it as a synonym for Patriotism, most of the country and the world doesn’t. Nationalism is perceived as a blind following to authority and blind allegiance to country. I think it does the Republicans a lot of harm to use the word incorrectly, and I’m going to go ahead and say incorrectly, because it’s so important. Some words change and evolve, or we can live with people using them with different meanings, but the word nationalism, you are not conveying what you want to convey.

rojo's avatar

@JLeslie I think you are correct in your assessment. What the word is associated with is important. When you hear the term Fatherland you naturally think of Nazi Germany and, for me at least, the term “Homeland Security” brings forth similar images of nationalism, blind loyalty, goose-stepping storm troopers and concentration camps.

If I just hear the term “homeland” alone I think Ireland and mass migrations to the US in search of a better life. Funny how word association takes on significance.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo Homeland didn’t trigger that for me, but I’m bothered that Homeland seemingly doesn’t include our military installation abroad, our navy ships, or our embassies. I use the “old country” or “mother country” for the countries our families came from. Fatherland does sound Nazi-esque to me. Hmmm…I never thought about that before. I wonder if fatherland is a German term?

chyna's avatar

@knowitall. Can you show specific threads where anyone on here disrespected our soldiers? I’m serious because I have never seen that on here. There was one member that spoke badly about our country and said if she only had money she would leave America. She is no longer a member, however.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie As I said, I don’t use it and I don’t hear others here use it. I was going strictly by the Google definition as written on line #1.

I understand many things are subject to interpretation, especially right now, so whether you approve or disapprove of the Google definition is completely between you and Google.

@chyna Nah, I don’t have time today, but it was disturbing to me. I’ve been on this site quite some time and would have no idea which particular threads they were in, in previous years. It was basically how many are poor and dumb and just used it to pay for college.

Stache's avatar

@knowitall Did you not learn about nationalism in school?

Jaxk's avatar

Interesting definitions. Here is a comparison between Patriotism and Nationalism. I know most of you want to make nationalism an ugly word but that isn’t how Trump used it. Obama was a globalist and Trump is not. How do you say that if not Nationalist. BTW it isn’t stupid to use the dictionary definition. I would go to Webster or Roget rather than Google where there is some controversy.

canidmajor's avatar

All this talk about who has what definition doesn’t really apply, as most of the population doesn’t look up commonly used and/or familiar terms or words that they already understand.

rojo's avatar

Ooooh!

Can we argue over what the definition of a globalist is?

I mean, if we can say that what Trump meant by nationalist is not what nationalist means.

rojo's avatar

This is kind of indicative of the problem we have in the US right now.

We cannot discuss problems or solutions because we cannot even agree on what words mean let alone what are and what are not problems and possible solutions.

rojo's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t think it is that most of us want to make nationalism an ugly word. It exists as a word that has some very, very negative connotations associated with it.

My biggest question is whether some want to redefine it as a good thing or, more frighteningly, do these same people actually view the word, its connotations and exclusionary aspects in a positive light.

I fear the latter.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Trump uses the word “Nationalism” and the Neo-Nazi and skin heads go running into the streets to protect him and he loving it.

Dog Whistle Politics is coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different, or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Words are re-framed for political reasons. I learned what “nationalism” meant in civics in middle school and that definition has stayed with me. It’s also what you’ll find in the dictionary. If certain groups of people ( the left) want to change that definition to say that a specific case of it now will encompass all of it they had better understand that not everyone is either privy to or in agreement with the rebranding.

Jaxk's avatar

@rojo – The word nationalist has no exclusionary aspects to it. You can add those with modifiers such as White Nationalist but that is not ingerent in the word. Conservatives are not trying to change the definition, you are.

rojo's avatar

@Jaxk from the comparison you provided:

Let’s take a few minutes to go over the respective histories of these two words to see where and when they shared meaning and in what senses they have drifted apart….We do not have any evidence of nationalism occurring until just before the 19th century, almost a hundred and fifty years after patriotism. And in its early use, from the end of the 18th century onward for a number of decades, nationalism appears to have been largely interchangeable with patriotism….These two words may have shared a distinct sense in the 19th century, but they appear to have grown apart since. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say that only nationalism has grown apart, since the meaning of patriotism has remained largely unchanged….But the definition of nationalism also includes “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” This exclusionary aspect is not shared by patriotism. (highlighting mine)

Please note the last sentence.

Also, falling back on shared meaning that has not been in use for over 100 years does seem to be reaching don’t you think?

Jaxk's avatar

@rojo – Add – “As a dictionary, we must weigh all matters of semantic and regional difference. Therefore we can offer no firm guidance as to whether or not nationalism qualifies as an insult across the board. ”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jaxk So the question really is, what moral obligation do we have as a society to recognize and abide by any and all possibly offensive words? And does each political party get to create their own ‘hate’ language and make that illegal? Do we need to change the dictionaries and change definitions to ‘what people hear/believe’? Would some kid at a spelling bee get called out for using MW’s definition?

Stache's avatar

Unbelievable. Every day is a new low.

canidmajor's avatar

I grew up in a very conservative (and somewhat bigoted) household, by parents who had weathered WW2; my Dad as a Marine serving overseas, and my mother whose brother was in the army in Europe.
These two, educated, conservative people recognized the word “nationalism” as describing the “Deutschland uber alles” mentality, and were thoroughly horrified every time it surfaced as an attitude that Americans might espouse. This is not fitting a description to conveniently bash an unlikable authority figure, this is a well-recognized concept.

I see more conservatives trying to spin it away from the accepted meaning than liberals trying to make it fit their agenda.

tinyfaery's avatar

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

Honestly, I doubt Trump knows the actual definition of most words. Whatever he says is suspect anyway. But it seems that his devotees don’t require facts or evidence to believe something their leader says, or they simply offer excuse after excuse as to why Trump is never wrong. So does it really matter?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@canidmajor It is being used to conveniently bash an unlikable authority figure and I think he was expecting it to be fair. Not only that it’s being used to frame the right as racists completely out of context. Your anecdotal example describes a situation where nationalistic attitudes were very bad, the worst actually. Of course your folks saw it that way but it’s not always a bad thing. Again it completely depends on the values and motivations of said nation. They way it is spun here is most certainly not the accepted meaning. It may be to some on the left a well recognized concept in that sense but not everyone agrees with this. The newspeak is coming from the left claiming the right is changing their newspeak definition by using it properly and then calling that newspeak?
You can’t make this crap up.

canidmajor's avatar

The first time he said it I winced, as did just about everyone I know. Decades of usage can’t be undone because you like the guy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me (Pssst, I think you just got labelled an Alt Right, Trump lovin, Rep- even if it’s not true in any way, shape or form. How very non-PC of you.)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yep,
I don’t like Trump, I’m smack dab in the center, been called a pinko commie by my more conservative peeps yet… disagree here and you’re alt-right.

@canidmajor I guess what I learned in civics, what is written in the dictionary and how I see it used most often has no bearing here.

janbb's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Psst. The only one who called you Alt-Right here is @KNOWITALL .:-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Derrrrrr…..maybe your definition is different than mine…lol

canidmajor's avatar

I didn’t address you directly, @ARE_you_kidding_me, that was a generic “you”.

I’m out.

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL and the answers are:

Yes, we have a moral obligation as a society to recognize any and all possibly offensive words. Whether you then choose to use them is up to you but if you choose to do so, knowing that the word is offensive to some, then you should not be surprised or defensive if offense is taken.

And no, each political party does not get to create their own ‘hate’ language and make that illegal but if you choose to go against convention and use language that has negative connotations then you have to expect a negative response. You have an entire dictionary of words to choose from, expand your horizons.

Dictionaries by definition contain the word with a definition that expresses what people believe.

Although I cannot say definitively I very much doubt that any spelling bee would get called out for using MW’s definition. It tries to be very comprehensive and thorough. Unfortunately in doing so it allows people to pick and choose what parts they view as fact.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Your definition and mine may not be the same. I mean I’m from the bible belt, born and raised and @JLeslie apparently knows more than I do about what certain words mean HERE. And she just lived here awhile haha, kind of hard to beat that kind of logic, but I think I’ll make it.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I probably had read through your initial answer too quickly. I guess my only point is, since I can remember (let’s say age 5) nationalism was an extreme and harmful loyalty and mindlessness to one’s country. That is how I understood it.

Why the president and others can’t use the word patriotism, if that’s what they mean, is beyond me. Unless, they are nationists. Country before everything. Before God, before considering others, before thinking for themselves. President Trump using it, well, he does things for many reasons, I’m just going to talk about the people defending the use of it, I hope they are under age 30 and just ignorant to history, and spent their their entire life not hearing much about countries that truly are or were nationalistic. We had a lull, for a while, but now countries are changing again.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I think we just need to be very careful when we demonize whole groups of people. Basically, I feel like some people are taking offense where none was intended.

I dont get the racist newsletter Tropical referenced, but out of 345 million Americams, only 11 million identify as racist. Political pandering to that group openly is political suicide. Even Trump isnt that stupid, imo.

Stache's avatar

“Political pandering to that group openly is political suicide. Even Trump isnt that stupid, imo.”

Um…

https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/15/politics/donald-trump-david-duke-charlottesville/index.html

tinyfaery's avatar

”...we need to be careful when we demonize whole groups of people.” Bwahahahahaha…

You do this every day here of fluther.

Stache's avatar

^She also voted Republican just to piss us off.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL That was my intent of the Q, my assumption was for the most part it would be with no bad intentions if republicans are using the word nationalism. I really had no idea if they were, but I was trying to ascertain who Trump is talking to when he uses it. Is it the white supremists, or is it the average Republican who doesn’t realize how that word sounds to so many people. We fought nationalists, and lost many many American soldiers doing it, and most republicans take a lot of pride in us winning those wars.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Tiny @Stache Not feeding trolls.

@JLeslie I stated my opinion, believe as you will. I think theres clearly a gleeful tendency to find fault with Trump, and thats ok, there are plenty. In the interim, he is my President and I will pray for him just as I did the rest. Peace.

kritiper's avatar

It doesn’t take any tendency, gleeful or otherwise, to FIND fault with Trump. He exudes it.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I don’t “believe” anything about it. That’s why I asked the Q. Mostly I’m agreeing with you, I’m not sure why you seem bothered by my answer.

Stache's avatar

Truth hurts, @knowitall. I’m not trolling.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Trump has his agend with a “nationalism” and it is not patriotism !

It is getting the Neo-Nazis and ultra right wingers to help him abandon the Constitution ! ! j.k. but not

JLeslie's avatar

Please don’t be mean to @KNOWITALL. I invited her to this Q, because where she lives she knows a lot of republicans and evangelical Christian republicans, and I only wanted to know if they were using the word and how they were using it.

Stache's avatar

Repeating things that Trump says is mean. Repeating things that @knowitall says is mean. Asking Trump questions is mean. Asking @knowitall questions is mean.

omfg

I’m out.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought I would link this Wikipedia page on nationalism. It just reinforces why I feel nationalism is the antithesis of what America is supposed to be. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

I hope the average Republican is rejecting this term and idea.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I am a Christian in the bible belt, folks. I have voted both parties and still do. To me, as I told @JLesie, it makes me sad and a little angry to think all you people think the worst (racists) of so many people for a word used by Trump with a definition that doesnt include hate. The OP is a good question, interesting, but to me its also feels like just another liberal ‘decision’ that Reps must comply or we are just as terrible as Trump. Which you’ll believe anyway.

Basically sorry if your perception of his use of that word means something different in your minds. But that is YOUR issue. I do love my country and we fight constantly about immigration because it seems we are so great that everyone wants to come here. My Vietnamese friends love their country but they will always live here, not there. So ya, I think it must be a pretty terrific place to live.

Now ya’ll can say what you need to, but tbh, you lost credibility so many times with the vagina suits, ugly actions, fake Kavanaugh rape, etc…that I dont think anyone really cares what your next ‘hysteria’ is. You can only be offended so many times before people stop listening. Kind of like you guys on this thread when anyone who says ‘thats not what it means by definition’, you dont believe it because in your minds, its already been decided. Thats definately not debate.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie You dont ever have to defend me, I’m a big girl. If some people here had been through my life situations they would not be so quick to believe so many people are racist. I lived through it, I know what it really is, so its a pretty big insult.

chyna's avatar

@jleslie. We are all adults here. Knowitall gives as good as she gets. I’m out.

Jaxk's avatar

It seems that many of you use political identification to define intelligence, Religion, Morales, and bigotry. So you take a word like nationalism and use it to define all that is evil in the world and wield it like a saber. It’s not really surprising that you assign evil intent of a word based on who used it. It is after all, how you operate.

If I called you a liberal asshole often enough, would that then make asshole an insult only to liberals. For those looking for a reason to be offended, to the perpetually offended, I’m sure it would. Life is too short for this nonsense.

Jaxk's avatar

Just to clarify my post. When Hitler set out to build his Aryan Nation, it wasn’t the Nation part that was bad it was the Aryan part that created all the suffering.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jaxk But many went along with it (misguidedly) allowing the evil to spread, that seems to be the correlation between Trump and the right, to some of these people.

We (?the right?) are tacitly giving consent to racism, homophobia, nationalism (THEIR definition), etc…when we support or vote for Trump. Thus we must be evil, too, which allows them peace of mind in what they are apparently seeing as a political battle. They must feel a huge sense of responsibility to prevent this happening in America, which I assume leads to the vitriol.
I just hope they aren’t inadvertently becoming what they believe they are fighting against.

“The reports, in newspapers and magazines all over the country were phases in a public process of “desensitisation” which worked all too well, culminating in the killing of 6m Jews, says Robert Gellately.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/feb/17/johnezard

JLeslie's avatar

I was not assuming or saying people are racist because they use the word nationalist, I am saying the opposite. I truly believe the vast majority of Americans are not racist regardless of party.

My point is, if they are using the word, and they don’t know how the word is perceived and why, then it’s better if they know. The last 40 years have been a lull for Americans. WWII was in the history books, the word nationalist hasn’t been uttered in media in forever, it wasn’t in the vernacular of the average American. I think the majority of Americans under age 40 likely haven’t even given a thought to nationalism vs patriotism until now. I have no idea if it’s taught in history class k-12?

I still get the feeling the word is not being used much anyway.

Soubresaut's avatar

It’s not about anyone being evil. It’s really not.

Patriotism and nationalism do overlap somewhat in meaning. In a venn diagram, they’d have part of their respective circles touching/overlapping. But they’re not the same thing. (They might have been when nationalism was first a word, as the article you site mentions @jaxk, but also as it explained, nationalism’s meaning shifted away from patriotism in a noticeable way.)

There’s a difference between “devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country” and “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.” (Oxford Dictionaries).

There’s a difference between “love for or devotion to one’s country” and “loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups” (Miriam-Webster Dictionary).

There’s a difference between “vigorous support for one’s country” and “patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts; an extreme form of this, especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries; advocacy of political independence for a particular country” (Google Dictionary). Note that those two bullet points in the Google Dictionary definition aren’t alternate definitions—if they were, they’d be numbered—they’re tie-ins to the initial definition.

Nationalism, as a word, carries this extra “thing” that patriotism doesn’t. It’s that “extra thing” that people are concerned about, not the part that overlaps.

If someone doesn’t know the difference between those two words, and thinks they both mean what patriotism means, that’s worth finding out to avoid miscommunication/misunderstanding. It’s probably also worth that person’s time to learn the difference between the two words so they don’t use one when they mean the other—don’t carry an “extra thing” into their sentence that they have no intention of carrying. Just generally, this sort of back-and-forth of figuring out what each other mean is a good practice for civil discourse (isn’t it?).

If someone doesn’t see the difference between those two things, doesn’t see how those two definitions are different (and how they lead to different outcomes), that’s worth finding out, too. But it would be a different conversation than the first. I hope it’s clear why. (If not, let’s have that conversation.)

And then there are people—a small number, but some of them have become rather well known at the national level recently—who treat patriotism and nationalism like they’re interchangeable on purpose. They want to blur the line and treat that “extra thing” like it’s an essential ingredient to plain ol’ patriotism. They want to get people to believe that “extra thing” is normal and healthy and maybe even necessary. And this, too, would lead to a different conversation than the first two.

I don’t know how it’s a personal attack toward someone for me to say, “Hey, when I hear someone use the word nationalism, I get concerned. That word evokes certain specific connotations for a lot of people, myself included. And it suggests certain attitudes and beliefs, certain ‘extra things,’ that I think are quite dangerous to a well-functioning, free, diverse society.”

When someone gets offended by that sort of conversation and walks away, I tend to wonder whether they didn’t want to talk about it because they in fact do believe those “extra things” that the word nationalism carries with it, but they don’t want to admit it. I can see from some of the reactions here that that’s not always the case. But then why else get so upset at the idea that a word carries connotations/nuance for people that you didn’t intend? Why treat that as a personal affront or a personal attack? What does that accomplish?

Yellowdog's avatar

You guys are making this way too hard. Maybe deliberately.

How a word is used, i.e. the context, is how a word is defined.

Nationalism is a political position contrasted with globalism.
Donald J. Trump and his supporters have always advocated that only when America is strong as an independent nation (in all its diversity) can it help the rest of the world. It has nothing to do with race, sex, or class. American Nationalists believe in a strong working nation with a healthy economy, military, borders, etc etc. Globalists, by contrast, believe in world courts, world treastises and international accords to govern and distribute the world’s resources,.

“White Nationalism” is something else entirely. Vaguely defined, it is the belief that this land was founded by, and should be governed in accordance to, white anglo-Americans. I’ve never heard this word used by Trump, the Tea Party, or any of those groups. Stormfront is probably the best website for gaining a definition of what White Nationalism is.

To classify White Nationalism or something similar with Nationalism is a category mistake.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Soubresaut I think you have good intentions with your post but ‘extra thing’ is ridiculous.

@Yellowdog Agree.

Soubresaut's avatar

@KNOWITALL—what’s ridiculous about it? I’m sure I could have phrased it better, but I thought it was clear I was referencing the things in the definitions of “nationalism” that don’t exist in definitions of “patriotism.” I put three definitions in my post. One of them was the Google definition (but I didn’t chop it off before the key distinction between the two words).

Those two words aside (whatever we want to call these ideas)—do you see a difference between those two descriptions/definitions? (In any/all of the dictionary definitions).

@Yellowdog—there is hardly anyone (and I really mean hardly anyone) who would disagree with having “a strong working nation with a healthy economy, military, borders.” That is, I don’t know anyone advocating for an unhealthy, lazy nation with a sickly economy, no military, and no borders. Yet most people don’t consider themselves nationalist. That list isn’t the measure people use to determine whether they’re “nationalist.”

I think everyone on this page agrees that “how a word is used, i.e. context, is how a word is defined.” How nationalism has been used, and its context, is what has given it the connotation it is widely recognized to have today. That’s whole the point.

Stache's avatar

For the love of god it’s definitely, not definately.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Soubresaut Far too imprecise to call people aka Trump out.

Jaxk's avatar

@Soubresaut – “Why treat that as a personal affront or a personal attack?” Because that was the intention in most cases. Just read some of the posts. They’re not intended to inform but rather to inflame.

@Yellowdog – Excellent post. I agree completely.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Seems like how people are viewing this particular use of “nationalism” is reflecting how they see the US, this administration and how it relates to the world. I actually agree with @Yellowdog as well.

rojo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I would take it one step further and say it is based on ones world view.

From what I have gleaned thus far Republicans ARE using the term “nationalism” as a good thing because they truly believe that it is. It is, in their view, the opposite of globalism and globalism is, or would be, a bad thing. Globalism is viewed as a loss of control by many conservatives and therefore the an anathema to them and their belief system. Nationalism can be seen as the maintenance of the status quo and this fits in with their world view which includes a resistance to change and a more us-against-them mentality.

Viewed from the more progressive perspective globalism is more inclusive, provides for a more equitable distribution of limited resources and has the prospect of becoming more egalitarian. Seen in these terms it can be said that liberals too see nationalism and globalism as opposites, They just see more good in a global system and are more likely to view the more tribal nationalist model in a negative light and are therefore going to take a more negative view of the use of the term nationalist.

rojo's avatar

Based on the evidence gleaned from reading works from publishers such as:
A. The Oxford Dictionary – (nationalism: noun: Identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.).
B. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary – (nationalism: noun: loyalty and devotion to a nation especially : a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups Intense nationalism was one of the causes of the war). and
C. The Cambridge Dictionary – (nationalism: noun: a great or too great love of your own country: The book documents the rise of the political right with its accompanying strands of nationalism and racism),

It would appear that liberals write the definitions in dictionaries.

Obviously what is needed is a Fox Dictionary written just for conservatives.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@rojo I saw what you did ! ^^^

;>)

Soubresaut's avatar

@Jaxk I feel like we’re reading two different threads. I really do. And I really don’t know where to go from there, especially if you really believe things like this about people who find nationalism, and the connotations/context surrounding it, troubling: “It seems that many of you use political identification to define intelligence, Religion, Morales, and bigotry. So you take a word like nationalism and use it to define all that is evil in the world and wield it like a saber. It’s not really surprising that you assign evil intent of a word based on who used it. It is after all, how you operate.”

I guess I’ll just say: it’s quite possible—I’d go so far as exceedingly probable that people genuinely have concerns about nationalism, and had them long before Trump said the word. It’s also quite possible that people aren’t changing their beliefs about things because they dislike Trump, but that they have genuine concerns about the things he is doing, that that’s why they dislike him.

I will say, too, that I really can’t agree that it was just the “Aryan part” that was the problem. Obviously a racially-motivated myth is a problem on its own, but it reached its fever pitch in Nazism because of the ways nationalism plays to certain aspects of human nature.

…To be clear (or attempt to be, anyway,) I’m not holding a saber. My hands are empty. But as I said, I feel like we’ve been reading two different threads. I suppose in yours it looks like I am holding something.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Jesus, Nationalism is not some static, rigid ideology of an evil empire. The context behind it is what matters and where it either becomes a problem or a positive source of unification. Why is that so hard to understand. America is a melting pot of cultures, people, freedom of religion, occupation, speech, study, equal rights and while far from perfect we don’t take shit from anyone who wants to fuck that up. I make no apologies for feeling nationalistic about that.

Soubresaut's avatar

This is where I’m seeing the huge disconnect in this thread. I never said it was the “static, rigid ideology of an evil empire.” It’s not about its being a rigid ideology. @ARE_you_kidding_me you said, earlier in the thread, to look at the dictionary. I gave three definitions from widely recognized dictionaries. Are the second definitions (which are definitions of nationalism) what you mean? Or do you mean something closer to the first definitions?

KNOWITALL's avatar

It comes down to the fact that some people see the past as a warning against fanatism, and Trump has kind of brought the x factor that gets people fired up. I can see how people could be freaked out a bit. He is a wild card. Regardless the definitions are not implying evil imo.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Simply said you are missing the point !!

But the Neo-Nazis jump up and say “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory) EVERY TIME the GOP uses the term “Nationalism”. Are you a Neo-Nazi ? ? I don’t think so but . . . .

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL For me this Q is not about whether Trump is a White Supremist. He is one person.

For me this Q is wondering if people think Nationism is ok, and if they are using the term, then what exactly they mean by it. Which, I think you and some others have explained above, even though I have trouble understanding it.

Today, out in the real world, this topic came up, and a woman I know said it just means country first. I didn’t really engage, but I wanted to know first before what? Before other countries? Before God? Before family? Before people? How far are some of these people willing to go for country? How blindly will they follow for country? I didn’t ask her any of it though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Probably further than you’d be comfortable with. God, country, family is generally the order of allegiance. Thats why I have said for years that whether you believe in God or not, it behooves you to try to understand the mindset. I said it way before Trump was elected, now here we are.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I say the same thing, we need to understand the mindset. I’d say that goes both ways, the mindset on both sides. Actually, there is more than just two sides, but for practical purposes there seems to be mainly two sides, and then people who float somewhere in between.

I can’t imagine God wants country before family? What is the basis for country being before family? Is it biblical? I think our politicians should put country before family in the sense that their responsibility for the country should come first, but for the average person? I don’t think that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie All I’ve heard for years is how the Dems feel, frankly I’m no longer interested. My liberal friend went to her shrink and the doc said current politics is causing more mental illness and stress, along woth depression. Its getting very unhealthy for general pop.

rojo's avatar

FWIW for me the order is Family; Fauna; Flora; Country. Although there is some flexibility betwixt the two middle members of the list.

Jaxk's avatar

Frankly I think you’re all over thinking this. We seem to feel it is important to prioritize god, country, and family as if they are opposing ideals. They’re not. I can’t think of a single event in my life where I had to choose between them. They are compatible. Whats good for your family is good for the country and vice versa.

In the US our government officials swear allegiance to the US constitution. Not the world or other countries but to the USA. That’s where my allegiance lies as well. Not to the detriment of family or god but in harmony with them. The Constitution guarentees equal treatment for all and supports the rights of all. There is no provision for which religion or which race or which ethnicity. We’re all the same. We’ve spent much blood effort to clarify that point. Having national pride or believing that the USA is the best country in the world is not a bad thing nor does it exclude the other countries believing the same thing about their country. The Constitution lays the foundation for our society as well. There is no royalty nor are their peasants. Those ideals are enshrined in our Constitution and our society. The truth is I love this country just as I love my family. Actually I love this country because I love my family.

I consider that nationalism.

rojo's avatar

^^ Really @Jaxk, I think what you are feeling is called patriotism, not nationalism.

Jaxk's avatar

@rojo – There’s no question that Patriotism is a part but it’s more than that. Our system of government, our society, and yes our fiscal system (capitalism). I love it all. I know it doesn’t always work properly but we fix those things as they emerge. Our system of government allows that. That’s why I love it. You may want to lump all this into Patriotism but I don’t think it fits. You also may want to say I’m just dead wrong. That’s OK too. In fact that’s one of the things I love about this country, we can disagree.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I assume it’s from the old Latin Pro aris et focis is a Latin phrase used as the motto of many families, military regiments, and some educational institutions meaning “For God and country” or literally “For altars and hearths”, but is used by ancient authors to express attachment to all that was most dear and venerable.

God is above all, then you sacrifice for country even leaving your family behind to serve. To me it makes perfect sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I agree it all can coexist, God, country, family, without having to choose. I say that’s most true when all three things are healthy.

What I mean by elected officials putting country first is, if for example a President has a family member dying (God forbid) and an international crisis happening at the same time bordering on war that needed immediate attention, in my mind his obligation is country first. The needs of the many would outweigh the one. The chance of this happening is low. He could take his red phone calls by the bed side of the relative if he needed to.

What you described is patriotism to me, I feel it very strongly too. But, let’s say the country started going down the wrong path, following what is not American to you, following along, because you identify strongly as American is where it becomes nationalism to me. From what you described, I feel sure you would not go along with the government systematically shooting people in the street because of their race or religion. If America turned into that (God forbid) you would put morality first, not country first. Hopefully, people witnessing this situation would do what they could to turn the country back to its ideals of equality and freedom.

Although, I admit I would probably run. I just said that on a Q, I have my passport. But, I’m likely to be one of the minorities they come after. Im not talking about a “they” existing right now, I’m just saying if.

When I think of Nazi Germany, I think of a bunch of people just following right along like robots. Knowing how methodical Germans are stereotyped to be, and generally actually are, it just adds to my picture. Not that I think German people are naturally more regitimented or cruel or racist for that matter, I don’t. I think just the opposite. I think Nazi Germany can happen anywhere under the right circumstance.

Putting one’s country first, or race first, it just sounds scary to me. I do think that is different than wanting America to do well and be a leader in the world. To me that is not “country first” that is citizens first. Because our country is best when our citizens (and residents) in our country live good, free, prosperous lives. We used to brag about it in our country. A strong middle class, education for all, opportunity for all, a merit system, a democracy.

@KNOWITALL Honestly, God first generally comforts me. I feel like most people who live by that are not going to be ok if the government starts doing immoral acts, no matter how much they thought they liked the president or police commissioner, or whatever government official. I’m not talking about Trump, I’m talking in general for all. I think we saw it when the Methodist church cane out officially against separating children from their parents. Probably, many who signed the petition from the church voted for Trump is my guess.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie – I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. The difference between us is that I don’t see nationalism as allegiance to a political leader but rather to the country or nation. Hitler was a dictator. I don’t think there is any question about that.I don’t support dictatorships anywhere. It’s why I am violently opposed to communism. That is not our country and it would take a revocation of the constitution to make it so. All those things you said we brag about (or bragged about) were not the result of a specific political leader but rather the result of a Constitutional Republic, abundant resources, and the ability to improve your lot in life. Nationalism is not putting a person first and shooting people in the street is not good for the country, family, or god. Prosperity is good for the country and family, not to mention the rest of the world. The country and it’s citizens are interwoven. What happens to one happens to both. You can’t do something that helps or hurts one without having the same effect on the other.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk Exactly right. It’s all interwoven, the people and the country.

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