Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump stated, “We’re placing America first … we’re caring for ourselves for a change,” after which declared, “I’m a nationalist.” In one other speech, he acknowledged that below his watch, the U.S. had “embrace[d] the doctrine of patriotism.”
Trump is now working for president once more. When he introduced his candidacy, he acknowledged that he “want[s] each patriot on board as a result of this isn’t only a marketing campaign, this can be a quest to avoid wasting our nation.”
One week later he dined in Mar-a-Lago with Nick Fuentes, a self-described nationalist who’s been banned from Fb, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and different platforms for utilizing racist and antisemitic language.
The phrases nationalism and patriotism are generally used as synonyms, equivalent to when Trump and his supporters describe his America First agenda. However many political scientists, together with me, don’t usually see these two phrases as equal – and even appropriate.
There’s a distinction, and it’s essential, not simply to students however to common residents as properly.
Devotion to a individuals
To know what nationalism is, it’s helpful to know what a nation is – and isn’t.
A nation is a bunch of people that share a historical past, tradition, language, faith or some mixture thereof.
A nation-state is a homogeneous political entity principally comprising a single nation. Nation-states are uncommon, as a result of almost each nation is house to multiple nationwide group. One instance of a nation-state could be North Korea, the place nearly all residents are ethnic Koreans.
The US is neither a nation nor a nation-state. Reasonably, it’s a nation of many various teams of individuals who’ve a wide range of shared histories, cultures, languages and religions.
A few of these teams are formally acknowledged by the federal authorities, such because the Navajo Nation and the Cherokee Nation. Equally, in Canada, the French-speaking Québécois are acknowledged as being a definite “nation inside a united Canada.”
Nationalism is, per one dictionary definition, “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” It’s a particular person’s robust affinity for many who share the identical historical past, tradition, language or faith. Students perceive nationalism as unique, boosting one identification group over – and at instances in direct opposition to – others.
The Oath Keepers and Proud Boys – 10 of whom have been convicted of seditious conspiracy for his or her position in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol – are each examples of white nationalist teams, which consider that immigrants and folks of shade are a menace to their beliefs of civilization.
Trump has described the occasions that befell on Jan. 6, 2021, as having occurred “Peacefully & Patrioticly”. He has described those that have been imprisoned as “nice patriots” and has stated that he would pardon “a big portion of them” if elected in 2024.
There are various different nationalisms past white nationalism. The Nation of Islam, for example, is an instance of a Black nationalist group. The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Regulation Heart have each characterised it as a Black supremacist hate group for its anti-white prejudices.
Along with white and Black racial nationalisms, there are additionally ethnic and lingustic nationalisms, which usually search larger autonomy for – and the eventual independence of – sure nationwide teams. Examples embody the Bloc Québécois, the Scottish Nationalist Get together and Plaid Cymru – the Get together of Wales, that are nationalist political events that respectively advocate for the Québécois of Québéc, the Scots of Scotland and the Welsh of Wales.
Devotion to a spot
In distinction to nationalism’s loyalty for or devotion to at least one’s nation, patriotism is, per the identical dictionary, “love for or devotion to at least one’s nation.” It comes from the phrase patriot, which itself might be traced again to the Greek phrase patrios, which implies “of 1’s father.”
In different phrases, patriotism has traditionally meant a love for and devotion to at least one’s fatherland, or nation of origin.
Patriotism encompasses devotion to the nation as an entire – together with all of the individuals who reside inside it. Nationalism refers to devotion to just one group of individuals over all others.
An instance of patriotism could be Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech, by which he recites the primary verse of the patriotic music “America (My Nation ‘Tis of Thee).” In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King describes “nationalist teams” as being “made up of people that have misplaced religion in America.”
He contrasted that with nationalism, which he describes as “the behavior of figuring out oneself with a single nation or different unit, putting it past good and evil and recognizing no different responsibility than that of advancing its pursuits.”
Nationalism vs. patriotism
Adolf Hitler’s rise in Germany was achieved by perverting patriotism and embracing nationalism. In keeping with Charles de Gaulle, who led Free France towards Nazi Germany throughout World Conflict II and later turned president of France, “Patriotism is when love of your personal individuals comes first; nationalism, when hate for individuals aside from your personal comes first.”
The tragedy of the Holocaust was rooted within the nationalistic perception that sure teams of individuals have been inferior. Whereas Hitler is a significantly excessive instance, in my very own analysis as a human rights scholar, I’ve discovered that even in up to date instances, international locations with nationalist leaders usually tend to have dangerous human rights information.
After World Conflict II, President Harry Truman signed the Marshall Plan, which would supply postwar help to Europe. The intent of this system was to assist European international locations “break free from the self-defeating actions of slim nationalism.”
For Truman, placing America first didn’t imply exiting the worldwide stage and sowing division at house with nationalist actions and rhetoric. Reasonably, he considered the “principal concern of the individuals of the USA” to be “the creation of circumstances of putting up with peace all through the world.” For him, patriotically placing the pursuits of his nation first meant combating towards nationalism.