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Flashback666

National pride

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Flashback666

The recent debates over the functioning of the EU in this forum, and the recent Olympic games news, has led me to want to pursue the notion of national pride and individuality.

 

My key thought is this - every individual on the globe belongs to his or her own country, whatever that may be. In my case, this country is the United Kingdom, and whilst there are many other branching topics which could be raised, such as the erosion of the UK's identity through cultural diversification, I still feel in general that there is a unique aspect to being 'British'. Some could call it pride - a feeling of belonging to your country, and this pride often over-rides any chances of you feeling close to another nation.

 

An example would be the divide between the French and the UK. In recent EU debates at a political level, Jacques Chirac has basically come acropper, because he recently said, rather sneeringly, what have the UK ever given Europe other than mad cows disease? Now, if I had been in Mr Blair's position, I would have retorted along the lines of - well, we helped stop the nazi tide, and bailed your froggy legs out of two world wars. Fortunately, I am not the prime minister, and such words did not come forth into the political arena. However, my sense of indignity when I heard Chirac's comments, and the very initial instigation of said comments, is my case in point. There is a conflict - a pettiness that will simply not go away.

 

If we could overcome this pettiness at an individual level, then continents could be more unified, but is it possible to overcome such differences?

 

And would we want to? I actually rather like insulting other countries. There is not necessarily any malice in such a thing, just a delight in stressing our differences.

 

And taking this further, does this mean that bodies such as the EU are a waste of time and effort, and the world should simply be left to enjoy its differences?

 

I for one, think so.

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BenMillard

I for one, think not.

 

Firstly, it seems rather desperate that one would feel the need to take credit for the accomplishments of other people. How could I feel pride over the wars faught by people long before I was even alive? I had nothing to do with them. Similarly, how could I feel pride over the accomplishments of British scientists such as Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin? I didn't influence a single word of their works. It makes no sense for me to feel that the abilities of other people are an indication of my own ability. It is also a bit pathetic since I would rather hope to undertake worthwhile endeavours myself instead of merely getting drunk in remembrance of other people's.

 

Secondly, with regards specifically to Britain, if a citizen of that nation (as I am) feels that its history does in fact indicate something about themselves, then any such citizen should be deeply ashamed of themselves. The British Empire was the most brutal empire in human history, far worse than that of the Holy Roman Empire, Holland, Spain, Eygpt, China, Japan or any other. One third of the world was enslaved for the benefit of London aristocrats. That is the largest accomplishment of Britain; global exploitation of human slave labour to serve a fantastically wealthy minority. If that says something about you, by all means embrace your patriotism.

 

Thirdly, the differences between nations are irrelevant. All that is relevant is what aspects of government, geology, culture and so on make a nation the the most beneficial for its population and the rest of the world. Currently there is no nation which is significantly better at aiding the global community. Wealthy nations still exploit weaker ones while they have not the resources to run beneficial projects. Therefore, celebrating cultural difference is a thoroughly pointless exercise. Educating and learning about the methods and histories of one's own nation is only part of the picture; humans are a pretty much globally occurring species. To figure out which methods do create beneficial nations one must be interested in all parts of the world, in all peoples and in all human history.

 

 

In conclusion, "National Pride" is an unproductive and narrow-minded thing to practise. Institutes which seek to unite humans, such as the UN and EU, are productive as they enable a wider perspective to be cast upon problems which nations may face. They provide the means for nations to assist each other in developing and reforming so that they be of greater benefit to the population their purpose is to serve.

 

 

BTW, I'm pretty sure the term "froggy" as a reference to the peoples of France is intensely racist. That's another thing British patriots have to carry on their shoulders; centuries of rampant racism.

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Flashback666

 

Firstly, it seems rather desperate that one would feel the need to take credit for the accomplishments of other people. How could I feel pride over the wars faught by people long before I was even alive? I had nothing to do with them. Similarly, how could I feel pride over the accomplishments of British scientists such as Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin? I didn't influence a single word of their works. It makes no sense for me to feel that the abilities of other people are an indication of my own ability.

 

I take your point, and raise it 2 dollars/pounds/euros (please choose/delete currency as appropriate).

 

I think what I was referring to is more of a feeling of relating more closely to those of your own nation that those of other nations. I might indeed not feel that I contributed towards some past invention or key stage in scientific thought, however I might feel that as belonging to the same nation that produced that person, I was closer to some sense of time spanning identity than say someone from Germany or Japan or wherever. It would not be a reflection on my own aims, ambitions or abilities. It would simply be a sense of belonging.

 

I think this point could be demonstrated further by making the examples a little more interesting. A native of an isolated country such as Tibet or Nepal, could spend a lot of his life focusing on herding animals from valley to valley, combating all manner of foul weathers and environmental conditions. He would feel a deep afinity for his ancestors, who did the same job as he does, and passed on their wisdom through families to him. That same person would not, however, relate closely to some TV journalist who is air-lifted in by helicopter and who consequently tries to recreate that same passage for the world media. The journalist might be tolerated, but anything he says would not be taken as worth much to the native.

 

Any attempt to overcome this difference would fail, and indeed there would be no point in trying to do so. National identity and pride would be too strong to overcome.

 

You make the point that on your own individual level you would not be affected by the actions of others before you. This may be true, but this does not mean that individuals on a more general level would agree with you. National identity has to come from somewhere, and whilst you might not be feeling it, I would argue that more people do than do not, otherwise this identity and affinity for one's own nation would not be present. And it is.

 

 

Secondly, with regards specifically to Britain, if a citizen of that nation (as I am) feels that its history does in fact indicate something about themselves, then any such citizen should be deeply ashamed of themselves. The British Empire was the most brutal empire in human history, far worse than that of the Holy Roman Empire, Holland, Spain, Eygpt, China, Japan or any other. One third of the world was enslaved for the benefit of London aristocrats. That is the largest accomplishment of Britain; global exploitation of human slave labour to serve a fantastically wealthy minority. If that says something about you, by all means embrace your patriotism.

 

 

This is a rather knee jerk appraisal from you Cerbera. I know you have a general stance against the evils of monetary flows and capitalism, but this is quite a narrow and selective viewpoint even for you. Looking back upon history, it is easy to pick out things like this and decry them as evil and shameful. Perhaps they were. But, at the same time, the Empire was a powerful driving force that caused the barriers of cultural difference and segregation to be beaten down. It might have been done in a forceful and often distasteful fashion, but is the end result not at all similar to what organisations like the EU are trying to accomplish, except through so called actions of diplomacy? The Empire forced British culture onto others, swamping 'barbarian' attitudes. Yet barbarian attitudes were simply those attitudes and values that did not agree with the British ideal of the time. The EU appears to wish to create a uniform conglomeration, ruled by a central core, whereby one overarching interest is served. Please see British Empire.

 

So, if you are so against British history and its destruction of others, perhaps you should view the EU in a less favourable light as well.....

 

 

In conclusion, "National Pride" is an unproductive and narrow-minded thing to practise. Institutes which seek to unite humans, such as the UN and EU, are productive as they enable a wider perspective to be cast upon problems which nations may face. They provide the means for nations to assist each other in developing and reforming so that they be of greater benefit to the population their purpose is to serve.

 

They are not productive in the slightest. They simply cause sparring nations to jostle and try and gain a victory over the others, to improve their own relative position within the grand scheme. So, internally they do not work, as the recent Chirac episodes have proven: he simply wants the UK to be beaten back and have France's position strengthened. I have not seen racial prejudices wiped out within the EU arena - please see recent actions of Spanish football fans towards black players. I have not even seen a common view taken towards conflicts external of the organisation in question. The row over Iraq and who sent troops and who didn't is a prime example of this. We did not take a 'wider perspective' of the conflict there. The EU simply created an atmosphere of uncertainty and dithering, irrespective of whether we should have been there or not.

 

 

BTW, I'm pretty sure the term "froggy" as a reference to the peoples of France is intensely racist. That's another thing British patriots have to carry on their shoulders; centuries of rampant racism.

 

I am sure I have had this argument with you before, and if not you then it was someone else with a similarly poorly informed grasp of the concept of what racism actually is. Calling a Frenchman a frog is not racist. It is a slang expression - a gesture of humoured slating. You know doubt take on the opinion that snowmen are racist because they are white, and that being a vegetarian is racist because they are shunning the food of the US - the hamburger. Here's a newsflash. None of these situations are racist, and were a Frenchman to hear me call them a frog, they would laugh, shrug off the comment as being what it was, and call me an anglo saxon nob or something similar.

 

Get a grip on the real world, and don't get so hung up on such petty issues as name calling. For that is all they are.

Edited by Flashback666

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