Characteristics of Nationalism – Government Essay

Characteristics of Nationalism – Government Essay
Nationalism is characterised by an attachment of superiority to one’s country, an aspiration for its continuity, prosperity, and maintaining a high regard and respect for the laws, principles and policies of that

country. A country is an artificial body composed of several persons. In short an ‘association of men’. Its purpose ranges from providing protection to providing an identity to its, citizens, its members. At this point, I would want to draw the most defining distinction between a country and a government. The government constitutes all non- political and political personnel in service of the country. This will range from the President to the last civil servant where as the country is constituted of both the servants (individuals in government) and the masters (the ordinary citizens). It is from this distinction that I declare that nationalism is not concerned with a particular form or composition of government but rather the entire body of the country. Nor is it concerned with people sharing a history or even a common culture or geographical location but rather people bound together under the title of ‘citizen’ by the same constitution.

Superiority to one’s country entails supremacy of ones nation over all others. This further implies that the nationalist will always place he’s nation first before any other country or individual irrespective of whether the contending individual is a member of the same nation or not. It further means the secondment of the nationalist’s personal beliefs, principles, ideas, friends, relatives, family and even there own liberty and life be it in his/her personal or public life or relationships when in conflict with his/her country. For the nation takes dominance in a nationalist’s life. For example, Nelson Mandela who sacrificed twenty-seven years of his life to make his country a better place. Eriya Kategaya, put aside his principles, pride and political career to serve his country. This he did in the face of heavy ridicule and claims that he was a turncoat for joining a system he had publicly decried in the recent past. In my opinion is this ‘turn coat’ act was merely a sacrifice of his beliefs, principles and political career for the benefit of his nation, an affirmation of Uganda’s superiority to his personal beliefs, principles and political career. To a nationalist it is the nation, which justifies everything, there is nothing done for personal gain everything done is in the name of the state and for the state. A nationalist understands this and labours in this vain. To a nationalist superiority further means economical, political and social independence of his country. A nationalist ensures that all decisions and actions of his country are with out any outside influence. This does not mean that he will not seek advice from an ‘outside source’ only that all done will be in the interest for the country and nothing will be done by the country as a result of some unlawful pressure or even advice. Unlawful in this regard means having the effect and purpose of compromising the country’s continuity, prosperity and even its priority status before the nationalist. To a nationalist Superiority of his/her nation means that the nation to which he belongs to is first priority and its unwavering independence in its actions and decisions.

Nationalism to the nationalist entails a requirement for the prosperity of his country. This prosperity will fall in to two categories economical and the health prosperity of the country, which he understands are necessary in order to fortify the countries superiority and ensure its continuity. We should note that the two counter each other. For an economically weak state cannot demand its supremacy nor even sustain it. Take for example the African countries after being awarded there independence where economically weak as a result they where and still are un-able to independent decisions. A fact evidenced by developed countries directly influencing the actions and decisions of African countries through so-called Grants and loans that often come with attached strings that are detrimental to the nation. Hence, we find these countries not being able to make free decisions in the superiority context explained earlier. Nor can a physically weak or sickly people demand the nation’s superiority or even inspire others to be nationalistic; they cannot foster its continuity. Therefore, a nationalist will always vie for the economical and health riches for his country.

Nationalism also means having, and maintaining a high respect, and regard for the laws, policies and principles upon which the country is founded and which make the existence of the country possible. This translates into the observance and compliance with the country’s prevailing policy and law. This also covers the international law and policy that his country is subjected to. He understands that a failure to adhere to these can only result in to the disintegration of the country, for this form of disobedience often translates into civil war, which facilitates demise of the country’s continuity, prosperity and even superiority. Another motivating factor for his adherence to the policy and law since it is deemed made by the country it self. The legislators when making law are the country, for they are representatives of the people in the country and when they come together to make law they are the personification of the country. Since in them are the considered the multitudes of the country. But should the law or policy serve to bring about the demise of the country, to be precise should such policy or law threaten the country’s superiority, continuity and prosperity and do so with out some other countering policy or check then a nationalist will not sit back and adhere to it he will actively resist and fight it. However, ordinarily a nationalist is passively obedient to the policy and law of the country; he understands that there can never be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ law or policy. The definition of good and bad continuously morphing and changing, depending on the period in time and upon the chosen line or angle of apprehension, the prevailing leadership, and from place to place. There can never be good or bad policy but there can be nationalistic policy or law one that serves to foster the continuity, prosperity, superiority and respect for other policy and law of the country.

Nationalism also calls for the continuance of the country. Continuance means ensuring that the country is forever superior and the country’s prosperity maintained. This will entail spreading the spirit of nationalism to other individuals irrespective of the country they belong. Continuance also means that the nationalist will actively express the nationalistic feelings i.e. a nationalist physically manifests his country’s superiority, respects its law and policy, and labours for its prosperity, all in the context described above. This comes from the notion that being nationalistic means not merely sitting back and harbouring a love for one’s country but rather putting this love into action.