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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:08 pm 
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The other day I popped in on an Alt-Right rally at the Lincoln Memorial. I wrote down my experience for my blog: https://emilydoesphilosophy.wordpress.c ... ght-rally/

So I was wondering if anyone was up to discuss the Alt-Right's relationship to nationalism. Is it a logical conclusion of nationalism or is it a perversion of an otherwise harmless system of thought? Any other thoughts on the general subject of nationalism?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:24 am 
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Interesting. 10/10 would like to learn more about what nationalism and globalism actually are.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:26 am 
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Ha! I had read this blog post before you posted it here. (After you posted that LD sourcebook, I added your blog to my RSS reader.)

I'd love to learn more about historic and traditional definitions of both nationalism and globalism. I somehow get the feeling that both the far left and the far right misrepresent these ideologies. If you have resources to point me to, I'd love to read them. :)

I'm also greatly saddened by the reasoning ability expressed by so many who engage in political discussion, particularly political protests. (I believe that protests--by their very nature--encourage more physical displays of support for political candidates in place of rational discussion, but that's likely a discussion for another thread.) For instance, the boys you discuss who approach the woman saying "freedom of speech != freedom from criticism" nearly immediately jump to the "snowflake" defense instead of 1) knowing what the person they support actually thinks (I'm not sure I've heard Richard Spencer himself actually argue in support of sterilization of non-white peoples, but then again I don't generally read what he says. :P The few times I have read what he says, it's usually not quite as extreme as it seems to be portrayed, though.) or 2) taking any approach other than "Trump isn't Hitler." (Gosh. Both sides of that debate are inane.)

I 100% agree that we need dialog between people of opposing views. I feel like most people who are of somewhat far-right persuasions may realize that "the end of Western dominance is not the end of the world," but I believe their actual fear is the extinction of the West -- that it ceases to exist, not that it ceases to dominate. The places where Western thought has historically been preserved now seem to reject it; as a recent graduate of a liberal public college, I've seen first-hand where people have crossed the line from "let's present alternatives to Western thought" to "Western thought is bad and should die." ...and I'm not sure where I was going with this paragraph. :P But I do think it's a little counter to your second point -- you say the far right misunderstands culture, but your support for this is tantamount to "it doesn't matter if the West dies."

In response to the questions you raise in the OP:

Quote:
So I was wondering if anyone was up to discuss the Alt-Right's relationship to nationalism. Is it a logical conclusion of nationalism or is it a perversion of an otherwise harmless system of thought? Any other thoughts on the general subject of nationalism?

I don't understand the intricacies of the definition of nationalism enough to speak on it confidently. :( However, going from a naive interpretation of "a strong national identity combined with the belief that actions benefiting one's own nation are intrinsically better than those benefiting another nation," I'd argue that the alt-right we're seeing is a perversion of a harmless (possibly preferable) system of thought. But I'll withhold further judgment until I hear more from the more knowledgeable persons here.

My apologies for the winding, disorganized nature of this post! :oops: I'd try to make it better, but I fear I wouldn't ever post until the tread was dead from inactivity.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:37 am 
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(disclaimer: posting this to keep myself awake after a possible mild concussion from whacking my head into a cabinet in the middle of the night. 0/10, do not recommend, would not try again, did not pass go and did not collect $200. Please forgive any incoherence.) (EDIT: apparently the idea that you shouldn't go to sleep after a mild concussion is a myth. Ah well.)

First off, great post. I love philosophical discussion inspired by real-world interactions.

Second, responding to your question: I think there are varying levels of confidence in the superiority of one's own nation, and so no, the alt-right need not be a logical conclusion of nationalism. My parents (or, more likely, our parents) version of nationalism is something along the lines of "America is great because of the sacrifices and hard work of the people that have come before us and given us a system unlike any other." And they're right. But when pressed hard, they may also agree that there are groups of people (thinking of Fredrick Douglass' What to a Slave is the Fourth of July here) who deserve better and who are treated unequally.

The alt-right denies this, supremely confident in nationalistic superiority. That's the difference.

Third,
Quote:
And therefore, it bears repeating: culture is not a zero-sum-game. As a nation of immigrants, America is unique in that no single group has an exclusive claim on what it means to be “American.” Americans of all racial background have made important marks in the mainstream American cultural lexicon.

Not to quibble, but I think you're equivocating here. No culture not completely survives contact with another culture; there will always be some exchange, some change, or some shift in response to the other. So I'd say that culture *is* a zero-sum game.

Now, the moral quality and health of a nation is not a zero-sum game when it comes to the interplay between cultures, I would agree. I think civil society becomes better, both morally and in terms of survival, when one culture mixes one another. But culture itself is a zero sum game. Hence why many in the South are worried about the liberal elites--they see their ways of life eroding and disappearing, institutions which formerly were the foundation of society becoming husks of what they were before. Instead, universities and cities trigger a brain drain, removing what hope for revitalization anyone in the rural South may have had.

On this note, I highly recommend anyone interested in the topic this year to read/listen to Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:52 pm 
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Little confused by how you're defining culture here, Sharkfin, but curious. Is culture something that can remain "static"? Is there a particular thinker of culture you're adopting here?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:22 am 
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Mindbender wrote:
Little confused by how you're defining culture here, Sharkfin, but curious. Is culture something that can remain "static"? Is there a particular thinker of culture you're adopting here?

No thinker of culture that I know of, really. I'm using the term in the same sense that Emily uses the term--the attitudes/behavior of a particular social group.

I don't think that culture can remain static, no; even if isolation intensifies it. I was merely suggesting that the alt-right are correct to understand migration as a net loss to their home culture because exposure to another culture (especially in the context of migration) necessarily causes some changes. The real disagreement is whether that change is good or bad.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:48 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
I don't think that culture can remain static, no; even if isolation intensifies it. I was merely suggesting that the alt-right are correct to understand migration as a net loss to their home culture because exposure to another culture (especially in the context of migration) necessarily causes some changes. The real disagreement is whether that change is good or bad.

^^ This.

Another thought: If we are to freely accept other cultural ideas and large numbers of immigrants from these other cultures, what is the "end goal" of this policy? If cultures do merge like we suspect they do, then wouldn't we end up with one massive "unified culture" by the end of it? Strictly from this perspective, it seems to me that widespread nationalism would result in greater global diversity (even if we have locally homogeneous groups). If we truly want long-term diversity, it seems at first glance that throwing everyone into a "melting pot" is actually the best way to not attain that. I only say this because a common attack against nationalism is "muh diversity!" (a parallel of the non-libertarian's "muh roads!"), but I feel like that argument is missing the point and we need to focus on other aspects of nationalism...

(I'm a bit pessimistic in general... I actually think that people cannot perfectly blend cultures, so in-group/out-group dynamics---and thus, distinct/warring cultures---will always be a part of the human experience, but that just may be because I'm rapidly losing faith in humanity.)

--Andrew

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:54 pm 
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That concern makes more sense to me on face, but I think there's many particularities about culture and cultural development it doesn't account for like geography, environment, local and national government, family ties, etc., which can never be truly globalized or extrapolated. I think, as well, it is worth it to think about what we consider markers of culture to be. For instance, language is one of the most fleeting and endangered markers (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/world ... guage.html), but at the same time, more than half the world is estimated to be bilingual which allows for the development of entirely new modes and forms of culture that may not be possible in mass monolingualism.

That is to say, blending of cultures doesn't mean that everyone necessarily ends up with the same results. It produces many new possibilities and expressions, but certainly also endangers and elides others.

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"I...what? Why?"
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:58 pm 
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The culture discussion is further complicated by the existence of broader cultures made up of several distinct, yet blended subcultures. The USA is an obvious example but even more specific are large cities like NYC where the broad city culture is made up of smaller cultural sections.

To get a little picky with words I don't know if "American" nationalism is what we're experiencing with the alt-right. The latter term is becoming increasingly muddled, however. To some the term alt-right simply means someone with generally conservative views who doesn't feel represented well by the Republican party while to others alt-right means literally an armband wearing Nazi. The former person may actually hold some slight American nationalistic views while the later is more of a "Murican" sectarian these days. The truly racist nationalist doesn't so much represent American culture as they represent what they feel American culture should be. It's a strange distinction.

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