On the future of nationalism

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by José, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. José
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    José Gold Member

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    This thread is basically my reply to post number 25 (also posted here) by William Joyce:

    Dixie Chicks to Split Up After Grammies?

    http://usmessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=45950&page=2

    Since the subject we were discussing there (the meaning and the future of nationalism in human societies) is at least two million times more important than the subject of that thread I decided to create a new thread and post my reply here.

    People can say whatever they want about Joyce’s racist ideology but the guy is a hell of a debater and I will be honored if he decides to continue the discussion here.
     
  2. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Originally posted by William Joyce
    You and Natalie Maines could not be more wrong about this. For the past century, the West has been trying to do just this, only to find that you can't crush this instinct any more than the hunger, sex and money instincts. "Nationalism" is based on the idea that a nation is its people, and a people are connected by blood and tied to the soil. A nation is not "an idea" or a flag or a boundary on a map. A nation is a people. A common people. To be a patriot is to be loyal to your people.

    But ignoring this, or attempting to kill it, results in the same catastrophes that communism brought us. Look at Iraq. We ignore the tribalism there, and pretend that magical "democracy" will fix it. It won't. The tribes are blood tribes.

    Look at Yugoslavia. As soon as they took out the dictator, the ethnic groups reverted to natural status.

    Natalie Maines doesn't get why patriotism is important because she doesn't even know what it is. She's only off the hook because she does seem to distinguish our country from "where you live," which is pretty accurate, today. It's hard to be patriotic about America when it's run by liberal elites who want it (and you) destroyed, and populated with every race, color and creed, all squabbling and fighting each other and demanding that whites pay up
     
  3. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Joyce, a nation is based on the stupid, scientifically laughable idea that people should unite behind all the microscopic ethnic differences that “separate” the human family (race, language, traditions) instead of the massive amount of similarities that we all share as a single species.

    All the ridiculously small ethnic differences that humans have been using to “justify” their tribes and all the wars, massacres, slavery that inevitably result from the conflict of interests between these tribes PALES in comparison with the OVERWHELMING amount of similarities we share.

    Don’t turn to science to try and justify nationalism because it is a losing battle.

    If there ever was a clear cut case of SCIENCE/RATIONAL THOUGHT vs. HUMAN STUPIDITY, it has to be the “case” for nationalism so many people try to make.

    There is only one species of the genus Homo, Joyce. It’s us, Homo Sapiens. The last species of humans to share the earth with us disapeared 30.000 years ago and even they (Neanderthals) can hardly be considered a distinct species since our ancestors could interbreed with them.

    Need I say more?

    Compare all this genetic closeness with the more than 350.000 known species of beetles. From the lady bug to the rhinoceros beetle, the world has literally millions of beetles that are truly distinct species (unable to interbreed).

    Tribalism would make sense in a civilization of beetles.

    Tribalism dividing (and threatening) a single species is a monument to human stupidity.
     
  4. José
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    José Gold Member

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    I agree with your points regarding Iraq and Yugoslavia, WJ.

    Just reread my post and you will find the same argument there, expressed with other words:

    “I think nationalism is a necessary evil. At this moment in the cultural evolution of our species, humans can’t reach a consensus on the laws that should rule the ideal society.” (and also the microscopic ethnic differences that are used to “justify” nationalism).

    As I said before, human stupidity makes nationalism a necessary evil that will most likely have to be tolerated for centuries to come.
     
  5. José
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    José Gold Member

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    You say that any attempt to ignore or kill nationalism result in catastrophes and you are absolutely right.

    If someday humans finally get rid of this social plague it will be the result of the evolution of human society itself.

    No politician can sign a decree today establishing the end of tribalism.

    But let’s take a look at a few “catastrophes” brought by nationalism itself.

    Why does the world needs at least five major space programs (american, european, russian, japanese and chinese)?

    Is the fact that all the experts on this highly specialised field are working separately for their own national programs instead of joining forces on a unified space program good of bad for space exploration?

    Wouldn’t the space exploration and colonization be much more advanced with a united space program?

    The world does not need such a wasteful duplication of efforts, tribes do because only national space programs can bring them full economic advantages and international prestige.

    And this same needless duplication of efforts so harmful for space exploration can be found in practically all areas of knowledge.

    Medical research, particle physics research, environmental studies (to detect potential threats to humans) you name it.

    I can only wonder how much more advanced space exploration would be if all the experts in this field worked together on a unified space program with a budget twenty times higher than each national program. Or how many more advanced cancer research would be with the same unification.

    It is really hard to quantify the tremendous negative impact tribalism and its consequent duplication of efforts has on all branches of science and technology.

    But the waste of resources by duplication of efforts created by nationalism is just a drop in the ocean when compared to the amount of resources wasted on arms.

    One of the immediate consequences of dividing mankind into different national groups is the creation of a myriad of different, and often conflicting, interests.

    In order to protect their own interests tribes spend a significant amount of resources on a completely useless activity: the development, production and aquisition of military hardware and the training of people who operate them.

    This is a completely unproductive economic activity in terms of benefits for our species that consumes an incredible amount of the riches produced by mankind.

    All this driven by the need of tribes to protect themselves against each other. Tribes inhabited by the same species whose members often just happen to speak different languages. I would call this stupidity but I don’t really want to insult stupid people.

    It’s impossible to even imagine the stage of development mankind would find itself in if all the military budget of the entire world were channeled to scientific/technological research.

    But nationalism does not limit itself to drain resources that could be used to advance human society, Joyce.

    Guided by their paranoid fear of the “other”, nations are constantly wasting resources to develop more efficient ways to destroy their enemies and, somewhere along the technological development of a fragmented civilization, uranium and its devastating destructive power are finally discovered and used to develop arms capable of settling old grudges and nationalist resentments once and for all, destroying the civilization in the process.

    This is the ultimate argument against tribalism, Joyce:

    The absolute insanity of a “rational” species destroying its own civilization to advance the “interests” of its own faction (a faction that is undistinguishble from all others except for minor cultural differences).

    Knowing the human obsession with nationalism first hand, I can “understand” people who choose to ignore the more “harmless” colateral effects of nationalism such as the duplication of efforts, the waste of resources on military budgets, the inability to coordinate an effective strategy to protect the global environment etc, but if the prospect of the nuclear erradication of our species (or at least it’s partial destruction causing a huge setback for humans) is not enough to convince you that tribalism is an evil I give up. You’re a lost case.

    It’s quite ironic when you say that any attempt to ignore or kill nationalism result in catastrophe when the very survival of our species is threatened by nationalism through the weaponry tribes have created, developed and disseminated in an effort to further their own national interests.

    People who oppose nationalism does not need to ignite any catastrophe even if this were their goal. Nationalism itself does a pretty good job.

    But all these arguments mean nothing to you because your only concern is the white race.

    I agree with you that nationalism, racial segregation are the best way to preserve ethnic identity and I hope you have the intellectual honesty to admit that the replacement of all forms of tribalism by the political stability only a planetary civilization can provide is clearly in the best interest of our species.
     
  6. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Joyce, when people start “predicting” the future, as we are both doing here, it is terribly hard, if not impossible, to resist the temptation of projecting our own values and hopes onto our vision of the future.

    This is, to a certain extent, what we are doing here:

    You consider nationalism to be a basic human instinct and worth protecting because your main concern is the preservation of the white race.

    I consider nationalism as an evil because my main concern is the welfare of mankind.

    John wrote the Revelation as a projection of his own values (the final defeat of evil and the moral judgement of every single human being).

    So we are, in a certain way, doing the same thing religious prophets and futurologists have been doing for centuries: presenting our own values and aspirations as if they were credible predictions.

    But regardless of the fact that our predictions tell more about ourselves than about the future they were supposed to foretell, one of us is obviously wrong.

    The future of mankind will be either tribalist or supra nationalist but it can’t be both cuz these two historical courses are mutually exclusive.

    So these are the big questions that remain unanswered:

    Will mankind be able to overcome its ethnic differences and develop a sense of identity as humans or will it continue to be divided along ethnic, nationalist lines, mired in a hellstorm of brutal tribal conflicts?

    Do rational species go through the same stages of development individual human beings go through?

    Do rational species and their civilizations experience stages of development similar to childhood and adolescence in which they identify themselves with superficial traits like race, religion, language and are therefore like spoiled children, unable to control its self-destructive temper tantrums and outbursts?

    Do rational beings and their civilizations finally reach a point in which all kinds of national, religious and racial hatreds are finally superseded by a truly planetary society?

    Or is this analogy between individual rational beings and their civilizations incorrect? Is it just wishful thinking coming from a bunch of idealists who wants to see humans as they should be and not as they really are?

    Is tribalism an instinct as deep rooted as hunger and sex, as Joyce states, in which case we have an eternity of tribal conflicts ahead of us whose final (and grim) outcome we know all too well?

    Comparing nationalism with primal instincts like hunger and sex is absolutely delusional, as I will explain later, but the fact is that I must be painfully honest again and recognise I don’t have a definitive answer to this question (will nationalism disapear someday?) and Joyce doesn’t have either because the only civilization we know is our own human civilization.

    In order to answer this question with absolute certainty, we would have to make contact with at least one civilization much more advanced than ours (both socially and technologically).

    Only a comparative study between our own civilization and at least another one (preferably many more) would give a definitive answer as to whether or not the socio-political structures of matured civilizations tend to overcome factional divisions that characterised their past.
     
  7. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Even though I’m well aware of the fact that, in our civilization at least, social progress lags far behind our technological progress, I still have a really hard time envisioning mankind in the year 10.000 still trapped in this tribal madness, still considering a few microscopic cultural diferences as being more important than the world of similarities that unites us as a single species.

    I think (or at least I hope) that, as human civilization matures, the human sense of identity will slowly shift from a tribal identity to a biological one (an identification as members of the same species). Technology could also help the maturing of human civilization. Hopefully, the instantaneous communication systems that already link the whole planet (here we are, people from all over the planet using one of these systems to communicate) will gradually erase long standing cultural and national barriers helping to create a truly planetary culture.

    I also remain open to the possibility that humans will eventually abandon nationalism not because they will someday finally reach adulthood as a species, but simply because the amount of energy consumption necessary to power their technology/economy will have become so gigantic that they will have to harness the potential resouces of the entire planet. Only the replacement of the nation states by a truly planetary civilization will be able to provide the high degree of cooperation necessary to obtain energy at this global scale. There may also be enormous social, political and economic pressures to forge a planetary civilization, generated by a global economy 150 times bigger than today’s.

    I personally would prefer that tribalism finally met its end through the maturing of the human species and not because of any economic advantage in discarding these national values.

    Anyway, there isn’t really a bad way to bury the tribalistic mindset once and for all, given the amount of harm this ideology has caused to our species.

    We must also bear in mind that nation states are a relatively new phenomenon on the historical stage. Before the rise of capitalism power rested mainly with feudal principalities. Monarchs and emperors tipically ruled over their tiny locally governed communities and nothing else. Germany did not exist until the late 19th century when Bismarck created the modern german state from literally thousands of German principalities and Prussia. The same happened to the mini italian states that were in an almost permanent state of war until 1870.

    So history tells us that nations are not a frozen, eternal concept as Joyce would like us to believe. His assertion that the feeling of belonging to a nation is as deep rooted as instincts like hunger and sex is also, for the same reason, a gross exageration/distortion of reality.

    As a matter of intelectual honesty, I can’t discard the possibility that my hope to see our species finally overcome the brutal nationalist, sectarian, religious and racial hatreds that still haunt us is just wishful thinking on my part.

    I can’t prove the end of tribalism is anything more than my own values projected in a hypothetical future that has no connection with reality. But Joyce can’t do it either.

    In the absence of contact with another civilization far more advanced than ours, only History will eventually tell who’s right.
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    What standard are we going to use to determine if this new "civilization" is more advanced than us Earthlings' ?
     
  9. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Well, let me see...

    In 2008 a humanoid alien named Klaatu arrives in Washington D.C..

    As Klaatu exits the spaceship he is met by soldiers. Klaatu says he comes in peace, on a mission of goodwill; he holds and activates a small device that opens with a snap: before he can explain, he is shot and wounded by a soldier who assumes the device is a weapon. He is taken to a hospital.

    Klaatu escapes from the hospital in order to be among the people and soon after he befriends Dilloduck.

    Dillo gives Klaatu a tour of Washington, D.C., including a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where Klaatu learns with dismay that "all these people were killed in wars". Dillo is confused, and Klaatu explains that they do have cemeteries "where I'm from", but there are no wars.

    Klaatu is shot again, this time fatally.

    Concerned about what his giant robot Gort would do in the event of his death, Klaatu had taught Dilloduck the command "Klaatu barada nikto" just in case. In a dramatic encounter, the huge robot nearly kills Dillo before he can overcome his fear enough to blurt out the command and then repeat it.

    After these words are spoken, Gort carries Dillo into the spaceship, retrieves Klaatu's corpse, and brings him back to the spaceship where, with the use of equipment on board, Klaatu is miraculously brought back to life.

    After Klaatu is revived, he steps out of the spaceship and speaks to the assembled scientists. He warns Earth’s leaders not to take their tribal conflicts into space, or they will face lethal consequences. Humans, he tells them, can either decide to abandon warfare and peacefully join other spacefaring civilizations or be destroyed as a threat.

    After this life changing experience Dillo and the rest of mankind finally conclude:

    “José was right, rational species do overcome nationalism as they reach maturity”.

    : )
     
  10. José
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    José Gold Member

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    Look, making contact with other civilizations would be the litmus test of this speculation.

    Only through a comparative study between our own civilization and others much more advanced we would know for sure whether civilizations are able to overcome their internal divisions that typify their infancy.

    But don’t make me sound like someone who actually believe such cosmic encounter is likely to happen because I don’t.

    To get a definitive answer to this question, it’s much more likely we will have to wait some 2.000, 5.000 or 8.000 years, for the final verdict of human history (provided we are smart enough to survive our own adolescence).
     

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