Saturday, 11 February 2017

Ayn Rand on the Right and Wrong Kinds of Nationalism

In Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A, Ayn Rand says that there can be more than one kind of nationalism depending on how the term is interpreted. She says this in response to the question: What is the value of nationalism?

This is how Rand describes a wrong kind of nationalism:
“Nationalism as a primary—that is, the attitude of “my country, right or wrong,” without any judgement—is chauvinism: a blind, collectivist, racist feeling for your own country, merely because you were born there. In that sense, nationalism is very wrong.”
Here’s her description of the right kind of nationalism:
“Nationalism properly understood – as a man's devotion to his country because of an approval of its basic premises, principles, and social system, as well as its culture – is the common bond among men of that nation. It is a commonly understood culture, and an affection for it, that permits a society of men to live together peacefully. But a country and its system must earn this approval. It must be worthy of that kind of devotion.” 
Nowadays it has become cool to despise all nationalists as racists and collectivists of the worst kind. But Rand did not hold such an opinion. She thought that if the country is “worthy of devotion” then there is nothing wrong in people being devoted to their country. She regarded nationalism as a common bond between rational and free people who have knowledge of culture.

I have pointed out in my earlier article, “Ayn Rand’s View of Nationalism and Globalism,” that Rand was an advocate of intelligent patriotism.

Related:

Ayn Rand’s View of Nationalism and Globalism

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