Pros and Cons of Nationalism


Nationalism can be more than feeling patriotic about one’s own country, values, or efforts. It can also be a feeling of superiority. “We are the greatest nation on the face of this planet,” is a statement which is born from a sense of nationalism. It advocates for independence, but there are also certain costs that come with such a perspective. Here are the pros and cons of nationalism to consider.

What Are the Pros of Nationalism?

1. It develops the infrastructure of the nation.
National pride means caring for what is yours. When there is a strong sense of nationalism, then there are programs in place to care for roads, bridges, and other needed infrastructure items. This also means good-paying jobs are generally created to build these needed items.

2. It inspires people to succeed.
The American Dream is an example of nationalism. The idea that someone can come to the US from anywhere, pursue their own version of happiness, and achieve what they want to achieve in life is an effort many wish to have access to having. People are inspired to succeed because of their desire to be independent.

3. It gives a nation a position of strength.
One should always negotiate from a position of strength. Thanks to nationalism, a nation can be as strong as it can possibly be as a community and this can give it global negotiating power.

What Are the Cons of Nationalism?

1. It often leads to separation and loneliness.
Nationalism’s superiority often causes a country to not only be independent from the rest of the world, but also separated from the rest of the world. Treaties can become more difficult to form. It can become difficult to have a strong import/export market. This is because the focus is always on the self first.

2. It can lead to socioeconomic cliques.
Nationalism just doesn’t occur at the community level. It also occurs at the individual level. This leads to people separating themselves based on labels they create on their own. This can be based on wealth, religion, ethnicity – anything that makes one person different from another.

3. It can lead to war.
When two nations focused on nationalism clash in their ideals, both will feel that they are right and the other is wrong. If either feels like their values are under attack, then nationalism can also become the foundation for war.

The pros and cons of nationalism must be carefully balanced for this to be a positive experience. Being patriotic is fine. Assuming your personal patriotism is better than everyone else around is what brings out the negative.