Extreme nationalism is dangerous


When I read articles from sites like The Blaze, two things always come to mind: how proud they are to be an American, and how bad they think the rest of the world is.

Ann Coulter, author of ¡Adios, America!, said, “Mexico is farther along then many of the peasant cultures we’re bringing in, and Mexico is still in the slash and burn stage of capitalism,” according to The Blaze.

Peasant cultures. Cultures not comparable to the glorious United States.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of our country. But there is something very dangerous about looking down on the rest of the world.

Sure, the rest of the world isn’t perfect, but neither is the United States.

Any high level of nationalism, in any country, is damaging. And if we look at history, it’s not difficult to understand why.

When Europe colonized, they used the poem “White Man’s Burden” to justify dividing countries among themselves. The Europeans at that time considered their culture superior to the Africans and took it upon themselves to “civilize” them.

Most of the modern-day problems in Africa can be traced back to when Europe carved it up.

During World War II, the main root of both Japan’s and Germany’s aggressions were high levels of nationalism. Much German propaganda was devoted to claiming Germans/Aryans as the superior race and that Germany should rule the world.

Some of the Germans believed this, and one of the main causes of the Holocaust was that some people truly believed those who were dragging Germany down should not exist.

Similar to Germany’s goal, the main aim of Japanese propaganda was to promote Japanese culture and show the people of Japan was better than Western Imperialism.

The consequences of Japan’s actions are still felt today, especially in China and Korea. Tragic events like the Nanjing Massacre and Japan’s annexing Korea could have been avoided if nationalism had been kept in check.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, nationalism in the United States was dangerously high. Somewhere in the  nationalism and fear, we allowed many people to be tortured unethically in an effort to obtain information, leading to the disastrous situations of torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Not even the great United States of America is exempt from the negative effects of nationalism. We must remember events in history because the lessons we learn from them are vital.

There’s a difference between celebrating the 4th of July and patronizing other cultures.

We are not the best country in the world because there is no “best” country in the world. All countries are completely different and calling other cultures “peasants” or “ignorant” just because we don’t understand them will only alienate and anger the rest of the world.

Nationalism is a good thing; it helps a country flourish and stay united, but those who take it to extreme levels will find they are creating a divided and corrupt world.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll