In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, this month’s Globalisation Outlook moves away from the newsletter format to a short essay on the politics of national identity. A summary of the main points is below. The full essay can be downloaded here.
THE NATION STATE REMAINS THE LAST BASTION STANDING AGAINST SOCIETAL BREAKDOWN AND THE EROSION OF OUR DEMOCRACIES
– The political left has always been the champion of identity politics. The politics of national identity is the only area that has been ceded to the right.
– Identity politics is a consequence of groups feeling marginalised or excluded. The rise of globalism and ‘the multicultural society’ has fueled the rise of a politics of national identity – just as cosmopolitanism led to nationalism in the past – a past from which we have seemingly not learnt enough.
– Some argue that all forms of identity politics based on group marginalization is itself what fractures civil polity and becomes counterproductive.
– Globalism is as much a form of identity politics as is nationalism – and can be just as divisive. It simply appeals to a different tribe of people.
– For many, globalism is seen as robbing them of their emotional home – the comfort of a familiar cultural environment with which they strongly identify.
– Globalisation has fractured the concept of a ‘political economy’. While political legitimacy still rests with the nation state or sub-national units, economies have become trans-national. It is debatable whether our democracies can survive such a fracture.
– As we contemplate the continued erosion of our social fabric, it is worth asking: with the waning of religion, ethnicity, geography and common cultural norms, what is it that will hold our societies together?
– We argue that the nation state with a shared narrative, a common set of cultural norms, and the feeling of solidarity that is essential to maintaining a welfare state, remains the last bastion of societal cohesion. Those who continue to undermine the nation state should be wary as to whether our democracies and societies can survive their efforts.
– Recognizing that a multi-religious society is not the same as a multicultural one, Germany has called for the development of ‘an Islam for German Muslims that belongs to Germany’
– We argue for a revival of internationalism (or inter-nationalism) – the nurturing of willingly given cooperation between culturally and socially cohesive nation states – to replace the identity politics of globalism.
– As for the EU, we believe that Germany is right in resisting Macron’s man-in-a-hurry attempts at further integration. Such changes need to be evaluated in generational time frames not electoral cycle ones.
– The danger lies in fueling the nationalist backlash by emasculating the cultural and social cohesion provided by nation states well before European culture and solidarity are strong enough to have any hope of filling that void