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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

HAIL EUROPA

I'm excited about the way things are developing with the E.U. Who'd a thunk it? Just juggling all those languages must be a task in itself. (see Eddie Izzard-Dressed To Kill) I see this as a trend, and would like to see similar things happen in this hemisphere. Of course there's no way ANYBODY in Washington is going to be comfortable relegating specific power to an international body, but hey, it seems to be working over there. As information gets easier to manage, I don't see why more international centralization isn't a good thing. Personally I think war is a wasteful expenditure of time, money, and life. Any alternative is a good one. Remember, nationalism is right up there with religion in the body count department.

Comments:
Following the demise of the USSR, I shared your opinion about nationalism as dangerous thought, especially after how the whole Yugoslavia thing degenerated, but after reading some chaos theory related to this, it has certainly centered me on this issue. Basically, chaos theory dictates that gentrification is as dangerous to our survival as rabid fanaticism and nationalization. It's the old "wouldn't it suck if we were all the same" adage. The centralists of Europe are really struggling with this even with something that is so commonsensical to Americans as consolidating their monetary systems. It�s a very interesting study from the American perspective. Americans are a paradox society when it comes to nationalism. Melting pot assimilation has been engrained into the fiber of our being. We have a very common idea of what kind of people make up America and the process of where we came from. At the same time, being an American patriot as it relates to love of country and culture, we are a self-loathing group (you know how strongly I feel about this). Where as in other countries, and I dare say this is not just a Eurocentric paradigm, they are very much a proud bunch who revel in their national identity. Most of this I believe is tied to the cultural and language part of the equation. In the old world countries, culture, language, and country are joined at the hip. Contrast that with America where we have the cultural freedom to retain as much of our cultural identity as one wants, and at the same time demand assimilation, as well as the need to learn the dominate language, it�s a lot more of a complicated identity, but unique nonetheless. The American melting pot is not a myth, it is OUR culture. Yet, we don�t celebrate it, we apologize for it, or we let the dingus�s of America (the Toby Keith types) define the world perception of the American patriot. American oozes it�s own culture much of which is great. The world community embraces some of it, some of it is loathed and the same is true conversely.

In the end, I have changed my opinion on nationalism. As the world gets smaller, it will be that much more important to retain national and cultural identity in the better interest of keeping things interesting and different i.e. closer to the edge of chaos from stability. This is where I think the French are dead on and why I don�t mind speaking their language, eating their food, not taking showers, (sorry, could resist), etc� when I�m a guest in their country. They are a proud bunch and why not? Europe should walk softly with this centralizing shift. There is no need to erase what is most interesting about that corner of the world just because they have economic penis envy of America. It�s not worth it. We have enough chain restaurants here, why would I want to go to Europe and eat at Applebee�s?

Of course nationalism achieving fanatical status is a worry. Violence in the name of nationalism and cultural preservation is naturally reprehensibly, and most importantly, it�s a futile struggle. Can�t get behind that at all. I�m not one to condone violence at soccer games, which are exactly what these riots are about. My belief is that the best aspects of nationalism preservation get ruined when religion is tossed into the trifecta noted above.

What do you think�?
 
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