Nationalism is a form of extremism

Sara Varela


Nationalism is a disease. A disease we must work hard to eradicate before the world gets into World War III. Many confuse nationalism with patriotism, and sadly think they mean the same thing. Well, it isn’t. 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines nationalism as “loyalty and devotion to a nation exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

In contrast, they define patriotism simply as “love for or devotion to one’s country.”

In other words, nationalists lack tolerance or respect for any other country than their own, while patriots understand that their country is great but can be better.

Violence like what we witnessed back in August in Charlottesville, Virginia is just a little snippet of what’s to come if we don’t fight back this disease. 

Nationalism was what got Trump elected in the first place. It was his promise of building walls that appealed so much to his base. But building walls in a globalized world is both dangerous and stupid.

It’s dangerous because it’s allowing terrorist organizations like ISIS and AlQaeda to say “we were right, they hate us.” 

It’s stupid because thinking that isolation is an advantage in a globalized economy is ignorant. 

But America isn’t the only nation suffering from a “nationalist outbreak,” as I like to call it. Europe is suffering from it, too. Over the past 70 years, more or less, globalization came to be as countries sought economic, social and political partnerships. But over the past two years, we have witnessed the rise of right-leaning parties all over.

After Trump came Brexit, and rightist movements awoke in places like The Netherlands, France and Germany. More recently, we witnessed Catalunya’s controversial declaration of independence.

What all these movements have in common is arrogance and hate. They are bringing out the worst in people.

Loving your country is not bad, it’s something we should all do. But we must cultivate tolerance, respect and appreciation for different cultures, nations and people. Patriotism is something to be proud of. Nationalism, on the other hand, should be something we are embarrassed of, and ultimately something to be eliminated from our world.