Musings on Nationalism (and Why It Shouldn’t Exist)

We shouldn’t care for our country’s people—we should care for the people of Earth.

Nationalism baffles me. Here we are promoting unity and peace among all nations but turn towards ourselves and say, “We should really love our country more than any other country out there.” Isn’t it subtle irony? The idea of achieving peace between different nations root in the idea of equality for all, that each and everyone is of the same importance albeit not in terms of financial stability but more of a citizen’s self-worth. Yes, our country is important but it is no less as important as the others that provide most of our needs through imports but also depend on our exports. We’re all cogs in one well-oiled machine, and if we focus on only one part, it will inevitably fall apart.

What is nationalism anyway? We hear ignorant denizens speaking the term with pride and passion with words like “Support your nation’s own,” so often that it lacks the initial reverb. Sure, be patriotic, buy your countries’ products but I doubt that that will amount to anything worthwhile. Nationalism doesn’t need to be shown in buying material possessions—that’s consumerism, a ploy to get you buying for a false cause, an easy way to earn a profit. Nationalism shouldn’t be based on that alone, it’s not a commodity, it’s not something intact.

One day in a distant future, we’ll wake up to find nationalism gone. Believe me, it’ll die out and I have no fear in saying that that will be a better day for mankind. For the longest time in the history of our race, the world will act as one nation and nationalism will be replaced by a word that hasn’t been yet conceived, a word that spans that of nationalism’s transformation from a frugal self-centered aim to a concept that encompasses the entirety of man’s existence as one nation, and when that day comes, the purpose of the well-oiled machine that is our humanity will come to fruition.

Ivan Kim E. Guno



4 thoughts on “Musings on Nationalism (and Why It Shouldn’t Exist)

  1. I see your point in saying that to achieve world harmony, we should love each country in an unbiased way. I think that you should think of nationalism as more of an intuitive or “commonsensical” duty. We were put here, so we have to take care of it (the Philippines). Of course we won’t take care of China because we aren’t there. We’d take care of our land, because we are here, since who else would be the stewards of the Philippines, if not us.

    I also think that buying local products (which are not limited to the commodities people usually think of when they hear “local products” such as dried mangoes, local chips etc.) but also goods like steel, plastic etc. would do good especially for a developing country.

  2. I think the thing to remember here is that just because we love our country, that doesn’t mean we can’t love any other. Love–for a country or for anything else–is not a limiting factor. You don’t have to take away any love for the Philippines to be able to respect all the others.

    But I do see your point that people are starting to misunderstand Nationalism and proclaim it blindly. There is indeed a false sense of Nationalism in some. Perhaps the proper kind would not be so bad for us, if people could practice being genuine about it.

  3. Loving one’s country over others does not necessarily work as a hindrance towards unity and cooperation among nations, much like how having a best friend doesn’t mean you would not feel unity in a barkada. I think, in terms of the Philippines in particular, some would contend that a sense of nationalism, in the first place, is what brought about the Philippines as an independent state, and may have also provided fuel for modern states to have gotten where they are today, which is emancipation from colonization (many more independent states now than over a century ago). Can nationalism be a bad thing? Yes, especially the extremist kind. But, a global nation? That, I think, would come when world cultures become close to homogeneous, when distinctions seek to exist. I doubt that would be a good thing, that would instead be the negative potential of globalization coming to fruition. In some aspects, such as in economic terms, it may provide benefits in terms of wealth to individuals, and it’s not like a lot of states still remain economically independent and devoid of trade. But, globalization definitely is not merely economic in nature, which I think is something to think and talk about further. – Jude Benedict T. Geron

  4. Forgive me if I sound ignorant, but since childhood, I too never saw nationalism as a good thing. Being an objective person, I rarely see symbolisms of freedom or abstract things such as a sense of Filipino spirit and community. More obvious to me, is logic. And it rarely supports nationalism.

    It may be too optimistic, but if all borders and countries were abolished, and all sense of patriotism an nationalism suddenly had no ground to stand on, I think the world would be a better, fairer, and more productive place. Wars and selfishness would still exist, being part of the human condition, but no longer on the massive scale we see today. Imagine all that could be saved! Funds that could be funneled into more productive uses than the manufacture of multi-billion dollar warheads to secure your country’s borders.

    Einstein is known to have said: “Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”
    I may not posses anywhere near the amount of brainpower nor contemplative virtue that he did, yet still I agree and cannot understand arguments to the contrary.

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