Nationalism vs Liberalism

What do these terms mean? Is “nationalism” putting your country first and giving the people a sense of self-identity, bonding and security? Is “liberalism” the view of equality for all?

For almost three decades a global, liberal ruling class has tried to put down the spirit of nationhood—blind to the people’s pride in their country. The liberal elite had a dream of everyone being “citizens of the world”, a grand utopian vision of the people mingling in an ever-shifting ethnic and racial global community!

You wouldn’t be British; you would be European!

You wouldn’t be American; you would be Asian-American, Hispanic-American, African-American, etc.!

But as the Brexit referendum and the American presidential election have made clear: many people don’t like the liberal elite’s dream!

To many people their national identities are important to them. Their flag is a symbol of pride, belonging, security and bonding.

Most people don’t want to live in communities that are endlessly changing. They want stability and a sense of belonging—exactly the things the people associate with their national identity.

Many liberals call this “racist” and they sneer at the people they are supposed to be leading. “How dare these common people refuse to embrace our ideas?”

The new US president’s nationalistic appeal found fertile ground because the liberal project has many flaws.

The liberals thought they were bringing in a new golden age with globalization, mass immigration and open borders. BUT, in fact, they revived the thing they wanted to erase—nationalism!

So, what’s the answer?

In my mind, neither extreme nationalism or extreme liberalism is the answer. Compromise is the way.

The world desperately needs patriotic, pragmatic leaders. Leaders who are open to co-operation and understand people and their national communities, open to progress but also respectful of tradition. They must be tolerant of differences but not obsessed with extreme diversity.

It probably will be a long time before we see leaders like the above. But in the meantime maybe we should give the leaders we have a chance to see what they can do.

Also published on Medium.

6 thoughts on “Nationalism vs Liberalism

  1. I am white, I am English. I am a woman over 65. I AM IN A DEFINITE MINORITY HERE.

    You does not respek me coz I is white………


  2. I believe the current situation(Brexit and Trump) will turn out okay. It has come about because for years the leaders have not listened to the people and have become disconnected.

  3. I’m hoping that the next 4 years bring about the change we wanted. I never liked Donald Trump but I want him to be the best President ever. I am still a liberal conservative. I’d like to see the best parts of everything stay and the bad parts discarded. I don’t really believe that is possible but I can dream can’t I?

  4. It’s strange really, I’ve travelled to many countries – the ones where communities look after each other are usually in the poorer ones, such as Vietnam, where family is important. Yet here in the West, we seem to place a high importance on status, superiority, and ego. After travelling to such far flung areas of the globe, I feel proud of my upbringing in Liverpool. Everyone wants the best for each other, and we are brought up to believe no one is above us nor below us. While in New Orleans recently, I was shocked at the division within its society, division of class, race and social status. You see in Liverpool we don’t have black or white people, rich or poor, gay or straight….we have PEOPLE, and each is just as important as the other, and thus deserves the same opportunities irrespective.
    When a society needs an underclass to function, then something is wrong. I suppose it comes down to that age old question here in the West…do you want standard of living or quality of life? It’s a pity we don’t have leaders that aspire for both for their people.

  5. Having spent weeks avoiding any mention/sight of Trump on Twitter…and recovered from 1 day of shock when he won,I have to accept reality !…even enjoyed tracking down his Mother’s Scottish genealogy…{^_^}

    One good piece of news : I gather that Churchill’s bust is to be restored to the Oval Office !…got a wave from the Great Man in 1946 !

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