Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Nationalism Trumps individualism


Here’s a good discussion on FEE for Groundhog Day, “When ‘the Nation’ Trumps the individual”

Economic nationalism, it is argued, pits the country above the individual (or family), the region or community, or international order.  Economic nationalism does not care if individuals are forced to make inequitable sacrifices at the whim of nationalist government.

That sounds like the theories of Vladimir Putin, who, after all, doesn’t like gays because he thinks homosexuals deprive him of babies and future Russian lineages.

It reminds me of the 1960s world of the military draft and of student deferments.  The lives of women were more worthy of protection than those of men, and those of intellectually smart men were more worthy than those of the humdrum.

Nationalism is often associated with exaggeration of the external threats from “the others”.  If autarky doesn’t work out, well, then, go take some more land from your neighbors.  That’s what the Nazis did.

Nationalism of course is associated with protectionism, with exaggerated pressure on employers to use only native labor. It is just one more step to resistance to automation, or the idea that some people become productive on their own without employing other people.  Yes, I get the flak.  I’m supposed to feel responsible for whether people at book publishers or in physical bookstores have jobs.  I'm supposed to worry about whether I am popular, and on whether others can expect me to fight for them and have their backs.

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