In our current political climate, both in the US and Europe, the age old dichotomy of left versus right has faded. What is coming to the forefront is a matter of nationalism versus globalism. Both terms seem vague, encumbered, and looming. As towering as it seems, it is the defining pivot of sufficient sovereignty or utopian solidarity. In the following I aim to lay out the bones of each, an analysis or survey, of what temperament is composed of.
Globalism is a vague word, as is neoliberalism. They are tossed around too easily, and one may struggle to define the weight it carries. At its essence, globalism aspires to unite all people, all nations, all religions, in a form of solidarity and good will. It is a fool’s myth to say it aspires to have a ‘one world government’. No, that is not required, what it does seek out is a unified agreement from all nations, all peoples, all cultures, to conform to a neoliberal hegemony. By neoliberal, one means a free market and near-limitless commodification, across all cultures. In the past it has been dubbed the ‘McDonaldization’ of the world. While dated, this remains fairly true. Globalism aspires for the international realm as a whole to conform to the corporatization model, that is, the commodification for profit anything that can be commodified. Rhetorically it is veiled in speeches of progress, of multiculturalism, of secular humans and human rights, of democratic and Western values. This is the banner which it wraps itself in to appeal to the humanitarian sentiment, the bleeding heart which yearns for utopian unity. At the core, it is about power, the conforming of cultures to the Western neoliberal hegemony only means submission and membership to that which is the defining hegemon. Whether it be through forceful interventionism or significant international trade deals, it is about power and extending the hegemonic mesh.
In the superficial it speaks of diversity, but the only diversity it cares for is skin deep. It appreciates diversity as long as that diversity conforms to neoliberal humanist values. It cannot tolerate diversity in content, for diversity in content implicitly means conflict. In rhetoric it sings of ‘one human race’, of ‘one world’. It looks out upon a world of borders, conflicts, differences and sees only its own idealism reflecting back. . In disregard for differentiation it brings in refugees, alien cultures, alien religion, and yet brings them in despite the inevitable conflict it will bring. Foreign interests and foreign people are of higher importance than ones own nation, ones own people, because through the lens of idealism there is no difference between the two. Borders exist only technically, a technicality treated flippantly. The globalist lives in a post-border, post-nation world, despite reality blatantly contradicting this delusion. The cosmopolitan declares himself a citizen of the world, as if we all are, and yet this is not the reality of the situation. Globalism is an idealism which sees not the world as it is, but sees the world as it wishes it could be. It is not the utopia of communism, it is more pragmatic only because it must be. Globalism is Kant’s democratic peace theory with the US at the helm and commodification-for-profit in its heart. It sees no deeper meaning in culture or existence other than use-value. It is quantification and horizantalism to the utmost, differentiations be damned.
In stark contrast is nationalism, a term that carries heavy and sometimes troubling baggage. It has been taken to fundamentalist degrees in the past. It has been taken to raw knuckle xenophobic degrees. While globalism cannot see the Other and declares us all as one. Xenophobic nationalism sees the Other and fears it. This must not occur and nationalism must be freed from this baggage. What is nationalism in essence is but this; a nation puts its people first and foremost in all matter, that is its function, its purpose, it exists to be for the people and the people for it. Nationalism is a threat to globalism. It is threat because it soberly declares its individual sovereignty and does not desire to conform to the neoliberal hegemony, or whatever hegemony reigns at the time. It stands as its own, autonomous. It reserves its differentiation, its uniqueness and individuality. It doesnot desire to dissolve into this ‘melting pot’ of globalism. It remains an individual, separate, different from its neighbor. It is healthy to learn from ones cultural neighbor, but remain different in content. Neither isolation nor in solidarity. Nationalism is the ice cube that refuses to melt into the idealistic ‘one world, one human race’. Nationalism refuses to commodify itself, quantify itself, melt into the horizontal ‘unity’.
What nationalism is called a devil for is its own inherent purpose that is caring for its people first and foremost. It is called selfish, isolationist, petty, and so forth, only because the current set of morality is self-destructively slavish. That which is meek, which kowtows, which humbles itself, which allows itself to be used, which praises the Other and flagellates itself…this is what is called righteous, the very things that will drive it to its own destruction is called righteous and good. Nationalism refuses this. It places its own people first, feels no guilt nor shame, it creates its own values according to its own, it is selfish in that self-preservation is selfish. This is not immoral. This is strength and retaining upright in-itself. Nationalism accepts the devilish pretense a neoliberal hegemony views it as…but more importantly it cares about its own, and exists only to protect and love its own.
Without a doubt both poles are full of idealism. It becomes messier when applies to real world politics, domestic and international. It becomes messier when it comes to culture and the spreading of knowledge. Nothing is sharply cut in politics. In the direct application of policy and relationship there are nuances upon nuances, like the grain found in wood. Nonetheless, these idealisms are the heart which beats inside either force. Globalism will seek to create a monoculture, a one people, a purposeful blindness to differentiation. It is all in the name of progress and humanitarianism, but it craves nothing more than furthering its hegemonic mess and commodifying whatever it touches. Nationalism wishes for each nation, including itself, to take care of its own first and foremost. There is no question. Foreign interests, foreign people, these are second to its own people. It does not seek to dissolve into an international melting pot. It is driven to retain its individuality and content. It appreciates, adores, and recognizes the fullness of differentiation.
Nothing is clean. Interdependence permeates every topic, every subject. No nation is an island. But one must ask how much one appreciates differentiation in content? Is it not differentiation that makes existence worth living and the world worth seeing? Differences are rich, as they should be. The task of globalism is to level it, to make it horizontal, to eliminate difference. It has no awareness of vertical depth of content. It sees only a unit, a quantity, to be acquired and commodified, to be assimilated into a corporate monoculture, all in the name of progress and humanity.