On the end of nationalism and the raise of value sharing communities

The love it or leave it of nationalists, doesn’t make much sense in a world of ideas, instead of flags. Why would anybody choose to die for a flag? Beyond my knowledge. I don’t think a German United Kingdom would be much different today.

Before you hit at me with the holocaust that followed, let me remind you that the angry and mad ideas of Hitler’s Nazi Germany were nurtured by impossible war reparation demands from the Allied victors (worth almost 37,000 tons of gold, around one-third of the world’s entire above-ground supplies at the time). The huge demands led to the money printing presses working overtime, and from there, a short step away from hyperinflation and social unrest. Culture medium for opportunistic megalomaniacs.

For thousands of years empires came, conquered and collapsed to leave behind a vacuum of power, filled up by those who could provide “security”. From there, a step to noblemen with their own armies, who could stretch their forces up to a frontier point. In my opinion, country borders and democracies have stopped social and human development for the last couple of centuries, and the raise of the “us and them” ended up in millions upon millions of pointless deaths.

I was never keen on flags and nations, it sounds so much something of the past that these days only the gullible crowds can fall into nationalism. For years I have been asking people whether they would enlist to fight the Germans in Europe, fascism in Spain, or whether they would skip the thought and continue minding their own personal business.

I guess nowadays we value our individuality over ideas or the common good. Or perhaps we eventually realised that those were not our ideas in the first place, and if I am good, we all should be. Ahh! The power of the market economy and conspicuous consumption! Who would say that the markets would become a power for good! Marx must be twisting in his grave.

As a Continental European, Spanish and Catalan living in a small town in the UK, Buckinghamshire, it is difficult to transform my city, region, country, continent origin into a new island, county and town feeling of belonging. When I mix with the usual London crowd -Eastern Europeans, Caribbeans, Arabs, Africans, Scots, Irish, French, Chinese, you name it- I don’t have any problem as long as we have something in common.

I have been living around the world for a number of years and I think that everything is down to sharing the same values. I consider myself an atheist, but it is true that I feel more comfortable around people with European Christian background. However, when they start talking about God, it freaks me out and I just want to run away.

Communities were built around a protective noble, and hence under the fist of a violence monopoly. In the 21st century, we no longer have to put up with oppressive governments, we can vote with our feet and move to the next corner of the world where we can feel comfortable by people who share our values.

And that is what I found in all the people I find myself hanging out with. A devoted Muslim Malay doctor, a British-Nigerian civil engineer with identity issues, an Ecuadorian entrepreneur obsessed in protecting his family, South African professionals trying to settle down abroad, a Philippino fashion student with second thoughts about being part of the main planned obsolescence industry, a Spanish facility manager with a drinking problem, or a conservative English secretary who is expecting her first baby.

We couldn’t be more different, but the link is that we share some values, not the same, just some, and that is as much as I can expect from society. Any society. How can I feel nationalism in my veins if that means sharing just a couple of imposed values that make no sense and disappear under close scrutiny? For country and Queen, if you want to be a good British man or woman. C’mon…

Last April 23, our high street was blanketed with St George flags, and since he is also Catalonia’s patron saint, it made me feel even more in tune with my place of birth. But that remind me of the weakening strength of traditions, the ultimate grandfather of values. At the end of the day, I am 1000 miles from Catalonia and I feel that we worship(ed) the same Saints, dress the same way, have the same leisure activities and our common dreams are no other than having a nice house, car and salary.

Right and wrong can no longer be learnt from your community. Nowadays what is right or wrong is a personal decision. No matter where you are, they will take your money and assets through market bubbles, inflation, deflation and raising taxes. But at the end of the day it is our shared values that make us enjoy sharing a pint down the local pub.

If only it were that easy. One thing is for sure, leave it to governments and nationalists and you will be worse than a porcelain workshop in China’s Sichuan province. If you haven’t yet, read The Sovereign Individual and let me know your thoughts.

.Calvin

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