Doug Casey on Nationalism and the State.
Nationalism is, most importantly, a psychological attitude. It amounts to making your nation-state a major element in your life, where you view yourself not so much as a human being or an individual, but as an Italian or an American or a Congolese or Chinese or what have you. Nationalism makes you see yourself, and others, as part of a collective.
Of course, there are different flavors and degrees of nationalism. “Patriotism,” for instance is automatically considered a good thing, wherein you reflexively support what your nation-state does. But it’s really just a euphemism for nationalism. It’s nationalism made righteous, with overtones of hearth and home, as opposed to politics. Then you get “jingoism” when patriots get overenthusiastic.
I think it’s a mistake to automatically give your loyalty to any large group that you belong to just through an accident of birth. For instance, should you have been a Soviet patriot just because you were born in the USSR? Should you have been a German patriot while the Nazis were in power?
Nationalism amounts to saying “my nation-state is the best in the world because I happen to have been born there.” It’s really a very stupid psychological aberration because it places an accident of birth above much more important things like your ethics, desires, and attitudes.
Nationalism, no matter what flavor, can be a very dangerous thing. It brings people down to the lowest common denominator. It encourages groupthink.