Each 'Cue Card Libertarianism' entry forms part of a series intended to introduce newbies to the terms used (or as used) by libertarians. The series so far can be found archived here, and the Introduction here.
NATIONALISM: A specie of the genus collectivism, in one of its most toxic forms. Collectivism takes many form: in one form (Marxism) the individual is made subordinate to one's class; in another form (racism) to one's ethnicity; in yet another (Islamofascism), to one's religion. In its nationalist strain, the collective to which the individual is subordinated is – the nation. The nation, right or wrong. The nation, over and above other nations. The nation: to sacrifice for if called on.
It shouldn't be necessary to point out that nationalism -- like all forms of collectivism -- is at odds with the libertarian philosophy of individualism; or that it places an accident of birth over individual rights. Nor should it be necessary to point out the natural political expression of overt nationalism: “The man of fascism," said Mussolini, "is an individual who is nation and fatherland.”
Nationalism is a refuge of despots. It is the means by which they gull their subjects into making sacrifices for the nation, and into fighting foreigners imbued with the same poison about their nation. It is the lifeblood of both war and statism.
Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism – with love of one’s country when it is right, and when it upholds rights. Such a country is worth loving – and worth fighting for if threatened. It would not conscript its citizens to do so – and nor would it need to.
This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here.
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