Was Einstein right about Nationalism?

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In recent years we have seen a rise in nationalist ideas. This is something that many people support while others fear and argue that it is a bad idea for humanity. So what exactly is nationalism and is it something that we should fear or embrace?

Nationalism is a strong identification with one’s county, its people, and its cultural identity. When you hear that initially, it sounds pretty normal. Everyone loves their country and they want what is best for the people in that country. However, there comes a point where nationalist beliefs can lead to racism, discrimination, and cruel behavior.

This website is based on Facts and therefore has no interest in discussing a belief system. Everyone has a belief based on where they came from in life and it is not for me to say who is wrong and who is right. Yet there are facts that we can discuss.

The fact is that we were all born somewhere and we had little or no say in the matter. This means that while we can be grateful to have been born in a country with opportunities it does not give us the right to deny opportunities to others or to gloat, simply because we happened to be born there.

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Albert Einstein once said that “Nationalism is an infantile disease, it is the measles of mankind”. Einstein who lived through World War Two was clearly arguing that to have such a belief system based on something so random is pointless. Einstein actually answered this when asked if he looked at himself as a German or a Jew. He said it was possible to be both and that he looked at himself as a man.

In reality, what we are above everything else is a living being. If we want to take pride in something to do something to help a group. We should aim to help all living things. This would likely work out the best for us and everyone else. Of course, it is not always so simple.

In many countries, economic downturns have resulted in unemployment. Globalization has been pointed out as a leading cause and people who once worked in American factories believe that because they are shut down and the same factory now exists in Europe that globalism is to blame. However globalism is on the whole better for the world economy and while jobs may be displaced because of globalism, more wealth is created in America as a result.

As a result of the influx of migrants and poor economies, many countries have seen a growth in Nationalist policies. The Trump administration and the Brexit campaign are the best examples but most developed countries have seen some nationalist growth in recent years.

While it is important to protect the economy we must not do so at the expense of others or by denying people the rights that we enjoy. Our central aim should be to do better without damaging the lives of others and where we can, to do what we can to ensure everyone can do better.

These are simple ideas to live by and if everyone followed this thought process the world would be a healthier and happier place. There is no place for greed and selfishness in society and we should do what we can to get rid of it.

Some of this may have strayed from fact into opinion but there are those that argue that any form of nationalism is divisive and therefore at its base hateful and dangerous. We must be careful because history has a tendency to repeat itself and the horrors of world war two are now that far in the past.