First, it is important to properly define nation, which obviously central to nationalism.

I could not agree more. SOOOO many of our political dustups come from using terminology differently.

Many have defined the United States as a nation, but it can be argued that the United States is not one nation.

This point is well taken, but historically, we have striven to be “one nation” under the general concept of the “melting pot”. Obviously, this cultural assimilation has gone well for some, and taken longer for others. In the 1880’s, the Irish were not included in the “pot”; mostly because they had the audacity to be Catholic. Then, southern Europeans had a harder time than some others; my maternal grandfather had to go to the mat, back in the 1950’s, to sponsor a neighbor to be a member of his country club, because that neighbor was (horrors!) Italian, and the club had never had an Italian member before. AND, at the same time, there was an entirely different country club a few miles away for Jews.

Just in the 1950’s.

However, although the melting pot melts slowly at times, it is essential to the creation of “one nation”, and has been since our inception. If we were to abandon it as a goal, we risk decomposing into interest groups which are constantly warring with one another for resources. (Which, come to think about it, is where our politics currently is.)

Abandon the melting pot, and doom ourselves to eternal political gridlock. Doesn’t sound great to me.

The classification of the United States as a single nation is tricky and requires an entire discussion of its own.

Quite. My treatment of this topic above could go on for a long time.

Nationalism can be defined as loyalty, support, and devotion to one’s nation, even in disregard or at the expense of other nations. This term can be broadly applied to many political movements throughout history, ranging from Nazi Germany to Gandhi’s push for India’s independence.

I think you’ve written probably the best working definition possible. And well demonstrated through your examples that “nationalism” can be positive or toxic, depending on implementation.

The term alone is harmless, and it cannot denote good or evil by itself. The efforts of those of the left to equate nationalism with elements of imperialism is a dishonest tactic. This recent mischaracterization of nationalism is likely due to people wanting to criticize Trump for using the word. Basically, nationalism is guilty by Trump-association.


Poland has around 38 million ethnically-Polish people living within its borders, but there are another 22 million people with significant Polish ancestry living outside of Poland.

Excellent point.

Commentators on the right have done a poor job of defining nationalism for one of two reasons.

Well, hang on. Although what you’re saying is correct in places, it does not apply to commentators who are well versed in history. And let’s not forget the even more toxic definitions of “nationalism”, which are the left’s attempts to make “white supremacy” synonymous with nationalism.

They either believe that nationalism is a synonym of patriotism or they don’t wish to sound divisive or insensitive.

No. You left out “haven’t really thought this through very much” which is a disease common to pundits on both the right and the left.

It is important that nationalism is correctly defined and honestly discussed so that, in the future, we can properly understand new political developments that may arise due to its growing influence.


Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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