Social Question

roundsquare's avatar

Why are people nationalistic?

Asked by roundsquare (5517points) April 28th, 2010

Really two questions here.

1) Why are people so nationalistic about the country they are born in? Its not like they made any choice to be born in that country. Mostly, they had no choice on where to grow up.

2) Should people be nationalistic? I.e. should they take pride in the country where they were born and grow up?

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16 Answers

Bagardbilla's avatar

Because they cannot see the common humanity of those beyond their immidiate circles.
We all live in concentric circles of relationships, and sometimes lose site of the fact that just because our lives are setup that way due to culture, society, social norms, religion etc, does not mean we shouldn’t question it, and try to be bigger then our collective constraints.
As for the second part of your question, I believe we are only as wealthy as the poorest person on the planet, as satiated as the hungriest child going to bed on an empty stomach, as… You get the point.
It’s because of I got mine you get yours mentality that we have the “have nots” strugling to get a piece from the “haves”. This the root cause of wars, terrorism, and I’d venture to say most conflicts in the world.
So… we should all be proud to be what we really ARE:

aprilsimnel's avatar

I always thought true pride came from one’s own accomplishments, so I don’t see what “pride” in characteristics one had nothing to do with came from. I mean, I’m not proud of the type of hair I have because I happened to be born with hair, but when I manage to French braid it without major lumpiness, I’m proud that I can do that. But that’s just me.

I have no idea why people get so nationalistic. It’s almost like sport teams to me. Perhaps it’s a primitive “tribal” response we haven’t seemed to be able to shake as a species.

DarkScribe's avatar

Do you mean “Jingoistic”? Nationalistic hasn’t quite the same meaning.

wonderingwhy's avatar

1. I would think there are many reasons. Perhaps because they grew up there and became ingrained with the ideals of the nation. Maybe it’s a “pride in heritage” thing. Maybe they feel indebted due to their opportunities and successes. Perhaps they feel the nation embodies their beliefs. It could be they feel more “welcome” or less marginalized in their nation. Maybe some just want to belong or because they see others doing it. Perhaps they’re afraid not to. Perhaps they see their nation as a way of standing up for what they feel is the right way.

2. Overall, I don’t see a great value to it. At some point it seems it would be in our best interests to move past it in a more united fashion, but not until we learn to reconcile our differences and recognize our inherent rights a tad more clearly, consistently, and peacefully.

slick44's avatar

@Bagardbilla… Good for you.great answer.

CaptainHarley's avatar

People are nationalistic because sometimes the nation replaces the tribe as the primary organization in their minds.

Blackberry's avatar

These types of people are usually ignorant of the world around them, or if they are educated, feel their country is better. To put it on a smaller scale, one person can think their neighborhood is better than another. It’s a very immature way to think.

CaptainHarley's avatar

If we could find a way to transfer loyalty from the tribe and nation to humanity as a whole, a huge number of our problems as a species would evaporate. Of course there would be new ones, but at least war between nations would tend to fade away. Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening in my lifetime.

CMaz's avatar

Because we thrive better as a pack.

That common bond, includes you with others.

mattbrowne's avatar

To thrive better as a pack is a valid positive reason.

To distract the nation from home-made problems and put the blame on others is a powerful negative reason.

CMaz's avatar

@mattbrowne – I would see that as a byproduct of it. :-)

laureth's avatar

“Us vs Them” is hardwired into the human psyche somehow. If it weren’t nationalism, it would be “my religion is better than yours, heretic!” or “the Detroit Red Wings are better than the Colorado Avalanche” or Sneetches with stars on their bellies are much better than Sneetches without stars. Anyone outside the Monkeysphere is fair game.

roundsquare's avatar

@DarkScribe I actually do mean nationalistic. I wonder why people take pride in something that they had no control over.

I guess the answer is pretty much what I feared. People like to be part of a group and against another group. Sad.

One thought, I wonder if the size of the “fundamental tribe” is growing. I.e. is the size of the main group people associate themselves with has grown from tribe to village to etc…. to nation. If so, might it grow to world eventually? Or does it max out at some point so that there can be an Us vs Them?

DarkScribe's avatar

@roundsquare DarkScribe I actually do mean nationalistic

I don’t have a problem with a person being nationalistic, which is simply another word for patriotic. Jingoism can be a problem, where people can be almost aggressive about regarding their country as superior to other countries,

roundsquare's avatar

@DarkScribe My problem with it primarily that it doesn’t make sense (at least to me). I don’t see any reason to be nationalistic. As, why should you value the good of your country more than the good of other countries.

I can understand it if people do it just because they think it will benefit them positively. But I have a tough time in people caring about their country more than another country just because it is where they were born/grew up/etc…

Edit: I agree that jingoism is worse, but I’m struggling here with a logical problem as well.

Snorkledorf's avatar

I’ve lived too long outside of my birth country to harbor any nationalistic tendencies anymore. Who do I think are better, my friends in country A or my friends in country B? If country A convinced itself that country B sucked, would I join a “country-A-patriotic” attack on country B, where half of my family lives? I can’t see the world in those terms anymore.

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