Nationalism Is A Weird Ideology – OpEd


Nationalism is a weird ideology. It would be easy to imagine that it was cooked up by rulers looking for a means of keeping their victims submissive and cooperative.

A nationalist gives moral priority to others within the boundaries of his nation-state, or at least to his fellow citizens there, and he acts accordingly in political affairs. Yet even in a small nation-state, practically all these people are complete strangers. One has never met them, never will meet them, has only the foggiest idea of the sort of people they are. Maybe they speak his language, but many do not. Maybe they are of the same race, but many are not; and even if they are, so what? Maybe they share his cultural affinities, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they are not even decent people; in fact, many are complete creeps or criminals. Why should anyone give any kind of priority to them merely because they happen to be located within the boundaries of the same tax farm?

Nationalism is, among other things, a gigantic aggregation error. It takes a huge, enormously diverse collection of people and imagines that each and every individual in the collection is somehow better than each and every individual in other nation-states. The more you think about it, the more idiotic it becomes.

This article was published by The Beacon

Robert Higgs

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

One thought on “Nationalism Is A Weird Ideology – OpEd

  • November 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    There is the small matter of the social compact, which the writer has forgotten. Taking responsibility for anyone crossing the border means taking financial responsibility, as well. The federal government collects taxes from its citizens who have been made promises in return, like Social Security and Medicare. The US is facing insolvency if we don’t get our act together. We cannot afford to pay the immediate and ongoing social costs of impoverished people flooding in. Beyond the financial aspect, the arguments in this piece are probably the weakest of any you have ever run in Eurasia Review.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *