Internationalism has morally managed because of the destructive work of global corporations and transnational military alliances. As a result, the Nation has experienced a surprising Renaissance as a supposed shelter against globalization. She made it out of the mothballs of history again on the Agenda, such as the development in Eastern Europe, Italy and the United States, but also the successes of the AfD in Germany. Unfortunately, the rediscovery of the “own” was accompanied by a devaluation of the “stranger”. We should shake off the terror of oversize, as it is manifested in entities such as the EU and NATO, and reflect on the small spaces. In them, people can experience familiarity and discover the feeling of being able to make a difference. However, a mythologically inflated concept of Nations is the wrong way. For the Nation is nothing but a narrative, which its narrators submit and has demanded of Man millions of blood victims.
Admittedly, size also has advantages. “Giant states” reduce the risk of its parts being at war against each other. Helmut Kohl has always tasted us with this Argument. This is not wrong, as cruel wars between France and Germany used to be the rule. Today we hardly have to fear wars on our Terrain anymore — we prefer to let others bleed. In addition, we feel that peace is in the Western Hemisphere only because the powerful have agreed on the wrong thing almost everywhere.
We feel the shadow sides of the oversized. Let us assume that the EU would gradually turn into a dictatorship. There are enough approaches to this and not only in the “evil” states of Eastern Europe, but also in the good “still intact democracies”. The state of the surveillance is being expanded everywhere, Paris became the city of the bats on the occasion of the yellow-West protests. Suppose it gets worse, then where can resistance fighters flee?
The shadow pages of oversize
There were customs borders and controls throughout the 19th century in central Europe, but they could also mean grace for innocent people. If you were searched in a country for an offence, you fled a few kilometers across the border and was in safety. Those who did not get along with the Federal Republic 30 years ago could seek asylum in the GDR, and vice versa. Overcoming the border from East to West became dangerous, but the option of a socialist state system meant for many hope. Today, there is no longer any “opposing state system” that would offer resistance fighters refuge against authoritarian capitalism.
In a small state, a few thousand determined citizens can overthrow an unjust regime. In a “Monster” like the EU, the police forces of several countries will come together in such a case. In the event of a major event, such as an economic summit, participants are aware of the combined potential for repression of 10 or 20 sub-states. A “repression tourism” of foreign police units is becoming fashionable, for example in Heiligendamm in 2008 or Stuttgart in 2010.
In large state structures, there is also a growing disparity between the few who lay down the rules and the many who obey them. The fact that the legislators are “democratically legitimized” does not provide much comfort.
Representative democracy in fact means that we choose those who subsequently impose their will.
The state power emanates from the people and then no longer returns to him.
The tyranny on Stand-by
Even Leo Tolstoy felt uneasy about any rule. The people can be reins, which converge in a central place, argued the writer. So only a particularly perfidious individual must take this reins, and the tyranny will take its course. This is the great danger posed by the giant structures such as the EU or NATO. Their structures are frightening perfect. There is a shelling in Brussels, and millions of people from Greenland to Crete have to stand firm. In recent years, the infrastructure for surveillance and Repression has been greatly expanded, with extensive respect for Human Rights. The people so bent into safety. However, if the political Wind turns, then the Repression wakes up like a sleeping court Dog.
An important Argument against oversized confederations of States is of an economic nature. The growing state debt in exponential curves today forces all peoples a sense of life in the absence of a way out. Political conflicts are all about slowing down supposedly alternative deteriorations. “It can only get worse” - this mood creates Depression in many and UN-directional Aggression in a few. The citizen feels seized by a downsizing bird, to which he knows nothing to oppose. He does not recognize any relationship between what he subjectively does and what he objectively suffers.
Objectively responsible for the bleeding of public and private households is the interest rate dynamics. Based on a grotesque legal logic, creditors are becoming more and more liable to those who have nothing to do with the emergence of debt. If many individual debtors fail to meet the burden, the community will be held liable. If that doesn’t work anymore, the taxpayers of other countries will be there. In a mosaic of small, mutually independent states, everyone could more easily operate for themselves. If an economy collapsed, insolvency proceedings could be initiated. A new start or system change would be easier.
“Lack of alternatives” — the end of democracy
In large, like-minded state structures, it is easier to talk to people without alternatives. This is, of course, a drastic reflection of the situation in all neighbouring countries when similar conditions prevail. Looking at neighbouring small states, at least some of which are experimenting with alternative economic forms, would encourage people. The policy of the Alternative humiliates, however, the citizens, and effectively means the end of democracy.
The voter, who only gets different shades of the principle of neoliberalism, feels bogged down. Just like the German television viewers, who in 2011 were allowed to choose their contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest from twelve different titles by Lena Meyer-Landrut.
Apart from political content, however, globalization itself promotes the feeling of powerlessness. Citizens are subjected to such enormous processes at European and global level that they cannot have any significant influence on them. You feel like an ant is coming up against a truck. The many appeals of well-meaning activists,” we “ must at last do something, many then feel rather tiring. While we increasingly realize that we need to do something, at the same time we feel that we can do less and less. Political activism thus becomes a desperate reaction to the perceived powerlessness.
In books and articles, authors repeatedly summon global networking, the attachment to all being. This is spiritually, ecologically correct and politically realistic. But it’s a double-edged sword because it overwhelms us. Why do I have to fear as a citizen of Upper Bavaria Pfaffenwinkel, whether the US population once again chooses Donald Trump as president? Why should I be interested in what is happening in the minds of Chinese business leaders? Why do I have to worry about the EU’s agricultural policy decisions, even though there is enough fertile soil in my area?
Terror of complexity
We suffer from the Terror of complexity. He’s robbing us the feeling of being part of our reality. The consciousness of Dignity arises, however, especially from the Manageable, from the family, the village, the Region, maybe even the Nation. There “I am who”. Many therefore want a protective membrane around their own Person, their own apartment, their own village, their own country. This is unreasonable, but psychological reality. We’re all one, but the lack of any sense of comfort makes us sick. The more unstable of us develop a defense against everything “strangers”. The prejudiced hostility towards foreigners is favoured by the dynamics outlined above.
The disintegration of the EU could be the “next big thing” on the political agenda. It lies in the nature of oversized. The disintegration will hardly emanate from the” central “ nations such as Germany, but from the periphery: from countries that are tired of imposing fines on them for their poverty. This decay does not automatically have negative consequences. Switzerland’s example shows how a smaller state can exist without wars and with its own understanding of democracy. Living in peace with France does not mean to form with it a state unity. Germany, too, must not be afraid of “micro-state”, only of oversized transnational corporations and banks.
Freedom does not have to suffer under” solitary confinement “ unless it is understood by the freedom of the financial markets. We do not only wish to be free from harassing, but also the freedom to do something that has a noticeable effect. This is possible rather in a small framework. Therefore, the real domain of individual freedom is the manageable.
The moral bankruptcy of the transnational
So is Neo-nationalism the solution? Should we apply for an AfD party book and place portraits of neo-conservative heroes Angela Merkel, Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán on our house altar? I mean, no. Ultimately, the resentment of the National idea is a consequence of the moral bankruptcy of supranational structures and global flows of capital and goods. The two great wars of the 20th century made nationalism obsolete, so it is due to the recent development of a completely demarcated neoliberalism currently applied to internationalism.
The Nation, as hocks and consorts hold them up, is not the solution, that would be, as if to cure a sick with poison. It is precisely the neo-nationalist countries such as Italy, Hungary and Poland that would be reason enough not to want to be part of this “association” anymore. It is, however, a serious matter for discussion in this house as to whether to save drowning in the Mediterranean or better let it drown out in terms of migration policy.
Administrative units have different sizes: municipality, district, state, nation state, supranational state grouping (EU). If the larger administrative unit fails, the retreat to the smaller unit means hope for change; in the case of problems within the smaller Region, it may promise hope to seek protection from the larger family of nations.
Given the desolate state of the EU, as an Alliance, has written on war, politics, Social and dismantling of democracy on the Flag, I have some understanding that some are looking for in a resurgent nationalism of their salvation. As long as this is not associated with”victory Salvation” calls and nations are only regarded as a medium-sized administrative unit, from which, in the most favourable case, the horrors of globalisation and Europeanization can be contained. A small boat can now be changed more quickly than a large Tanker.
Within the eco-movement, too, there is quite a lot of talk about the regionalisation of energy supply and the product cycles. This saves transport costs, makes it independent of global corporations, keeps smaller regions and communities self-sufficient. The great driving factor in internationalism is its manic desire to juxtapose almost the entire world population as in a huge competitive arena. Everyone against everyone and everyone for Profit. Children have to compete against other children nations in front of capital-flowered judges, African tomato farmers compete with European tomato Canes multinationals. Internationalism as a pontificating General attack on the inner peace and self-esteem of billions of people.
National pride as a collective narcissism
So far, the scale of my sympathy seems to be affectionate to the small-scale. However, I do not know a reasonable reason why the Nation is still partially mythically charged within the Holarchy of nested administrative units and linked to values such as “pride” and “identity”. In my view, there are only a number of unreasonable reasons for this. Arthur Schopenhauer described the national pride as”the most favorable kind of pride”. “In the absence of individual qualities which he could be proud of”.
Erich Fromm interpreted the national pride as a collective Form of narcissism, as self-prosthesis. So pious writes in” the soul of Man “ aptly:
A society that does not have the means to provide enough for most of its members (…) must provide these people with narcissistic satisfaction of the malevolent nature if it does not want to cause discontent with them. For the economically and culturally poor, the narcissistic pride of belonging to the group is the only source of satisfaction. The disadvantaged class knows only one satisfaction: the bloated image of themselves as the most wonderful group in the world, which feels superior to another racial group, which is considered inferior.
With regard to the fetish “Nation”, even the most stupid and obvious peasants succeed. A politician who is in high demand takes a staged attack to the pretext of summoning the unity of the Nation.
“I don’t know any parties anymore, I only know Germans!“on the occasion of the beginning of the war in 1914, the German Emperor Wilhelm II said in striking parallel to the rhetoric of George W. Bush after September 11, 2011.
The songwriter Reinhard Mey said: “stupidity and pride are made of the same wood.“Of course, what here is interpreted individually and devalued strongly, has also a collective, indeed sociopolitical reason. Because how does the self-worth deficit that tempts people to inflate with borrowed grandiosity à la “we are Pope”, “we are football world champions” or “we are export world champions” stir up? Ultimately, the devaluation of the individual as a cog in the gears of the capitalist mega-machine.
Appeasement narrative of the ruling classes
Socialists and Communists interpreted the nation above all as a distraction and appeasement narrative that the upper classes had devised for the lower classes. Above all as a divisive narrative with which the feat of workers being hounded in bloody wars could succeed. Victims shot at victims instead of both of them coming up against the perpetrators. This accusation proved to be all too justified at the latest with the First World War. Consider an episode from the history of the SPD: On July 25, 2014, the party executive announced in the central organ “Forward”:
Danger is in default. The world war is looming! The ruling classes, who enslave you in peace, despise you, want to exploit you as cannon fodder. Everywhere, it must be heard in the ears of those in power: we do not want war! Down with the war! Long live the international fraternization of nations!
Beautiful, proud and insightful sentences, as one would like to hear similar today in the face of the re-heating Of the Cold War. Even then, only six days later, on July 31, the “forward” presented the desired opinion of the party executive:
When the fateful hour strikes, the paternal companions will do their duty and will not be surpassed in any way by the patriots.
Interestingly, in recent statements by the left, the nation appears partly as a positive force, as a lever to tame “capitalism” (Sahra Wagenknecht). Wagenknecht, who withdrew from public political life for the time being because of burnouts, made it clear in an interview with Jakob Augstein in 2018 that the nation is not a mythically inflated fetish for her, but simply that organizational entity, of which from the most likely to defend against negative consequences of globalization:
It’s not about the nation. The point is that there are no institutional conditions for democracy and social security systems outside or above the member states. Only the states can, if they want, tame capitalism again.
The Nation as a Collective Agreement
A few words about the fashion term “narrative”. The Israeli bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari interprets Homo Sapiens above all as the species that is able to tell and thus rise above all other life forms. Great narratives, fantasy spuns basically, enabled the scattered flocks of people to unite into larger, even gigantic units. The miracle, unattainable for animals and archaic human beings, became a reality: that living beings who did not know each other face-to-face cooperated and understood themselves as parts of a higher unity.
The adhesive to bind such different individuals together in far-flung places were narratives: gods, myths, holy scriptures, ethical catalogues of rules and works of law, not least nations such as “Germany”. “Fictions enable us to cooperate better. The price we pay for this is that these fictions also determine the goals of our cooperation,” Harari writes.
We have become so accustomed to the validity of these narratives that we no longer perceive how much they are actually native to the airy realm of the Spirit. Philosophically speaking, the nation is not a “thing in itself”, it springs from the consciousness or the idea of a human collective.
The nation is the result of a collective agreement. It exists as long as a large enough number of people believe in it.
To make it clear, money is also the product of an agreement. Paper and giral money in particular do not have the slightest value in themselves. However, people believe that such a paper slip corresponds to the value of a bottle of wine (€5) or a tank filling (€50), that purely virtual columns of numbers on a bank statement even authorize us to buy a house (€500,000). “Germany” is also basically such an airy entity.
The narrative tyrannizes the narrator
It becomes particularly absurd when people allow themselves to be tyrannized by their own narratives. What is made of man and what they have projected out of their consciousness into the world of the material submits to its Creator, man.
Always and everywhere, women and men of flesh and blood must pay homage to spiders such as gods and spirits, honor, faith, the national flag, or the national anthem. These narratives were offered human sacrifices in the order of millions. And apart from the great religions, no deity has seen more blood than “the nation”.
What is Germany anyway? First of all, it is an administrative unit which has the same legitimacy as municipalities, federal states, the European Union and so on. Moreover, the country is almost charged with feelings and associations. As a Germanist, a lover of literature and music, I know German culture quite well, Feel connected to it, especially German Romanticism. There is nothing to say about this, as long as there is no “above all” feeling. On the other hand, Germany is a historically based, legal construction that is neither alternative-free nor immutable. Today, the former states of the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR belong to it, while Austria, South Tyrol and Silesia do not. 150 years ago there was no all-German state at all, only today non-existent or no longer belonging to Germany such as “Kingdom of Prussia” and “Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine”.
When animals cross the Bavarian-Bohemian border, they don’t know that they’re leaving “Germany,” they just don’t care. We human beings, on the other hand, notice it when we enter Germany, for example, that we are being stopped and harassed by customs officers — especially recently, again, for fear of refugees. “The Germans” is a community of people over which the same politicians wield power, while in Austria other equally questionable politicians do. To put it bluntly, “Germany” doesn’t really exist at all. There are only individual people, animals, plants, landscapes or buildings. From these we construct a thought structure on the basis of collective agreement and call it “Germany”. We build border facilities around it, put up signs at the borders: “You are entering Germany now.”
Negative fixation on one’s own country
Recently I saw a little boy with leather pants in a tavern. All the people stared at him: “how sweet”. The boy, who is born as a blank sheet, is thus made clear: “You are a Bavarian”. Thus we become nationalists as the sum of what we were suggesting. In a long process of socialization, we then identify with what we have been told about the peculiarities of a national.
This is true even for leftists who value being considered cosmopolitans. They are only negatively fixated on their country and so emotionally bound to it. Consider the so-called anti-Germans and battle cries such as “Germany be scared!” “ “Germany, you nasty piece of shit!” or “Do it again, Bomber Harris!” This expresses group-based hostility to human beings, which is directed against the own group of “inland people”. Those concerned think that their hatred would be less repulsive if it were directed inward, and would like to see it understood as an honest self-criticism and a sense of history. But it would be better not to hate at all, certainly not collectively.
Those who are related to their own country with stubborn dislike are not free of them.
In the negative, the nation can also serve as a narrative for the management of “collective guilt”. You can keep people emotionally small and extract money from them by reminding them of the guilt of the collective to which they belong. Often there are also honest efforts of well-meaning people to deal with, for example when they remind us that “Germany” has covered “Russia” with a war that is deadly for millions of people. Or “Germany” should finally pay “Greece” reparations after occupying and plundering the smaller country during the Hitler dictatorship. In both cases, this injustice really came from Germans. But justice in the collective is always associated with individual injustice. People who were never perpetrators would pay money to people who were never victims. It takes a very powerful narrative to justify such a strange process.
“Belonging” instead of “National Pride”
Of course, international law should not be respected, but valued, especially at a time when it is repeatedly violated drastically by the terrorist organisation NATO and its members. From a pragmatic point of view, it may be preferable to maintain the narrative of “nation-state” in order to prevent worse, such as a globally unrestricted right of the strongest. Or the psychological homeization of billions of people. In itself, however, the nation is “empty of independent existence”.
What holds and binds us even if we reject the binding power of the nation? The Italian singer-songwriter Pippo Pollina calls one of his great CDs “Belonging”. This is interesting because Pollina is anything but a national chauvinist and is “still” connected to his homeland, as anyone who hears his songs knows. For me, “belonging” is a beautiful and also warm term. I have nothing against connection.
I am connected to all Germans by a quantum of shared experience and history. But I am also connected with the collective of the wearers of glasses, the men of the 40-year-olds, the lovers of classical music, the politically rather “left” and so on. The problem for me is not to admit that I am German; There can be problems if one inflates this Germanness to such great significance in comparison to other characteristics that everything else seems secondary. Such a proud German would then begin to hate a dark-skinned or Jewish person before he could discover in conversation that both share a love of Schubert’s music or flowers.
No antidote to negative consequences of globalization
So my attitude to the term “nation” remains ambivalent, and my article may seem contradictory because the subject around it is complex.
The nation appears helpful as a “leverage” to defend itself against the global perpetrators of international banks, corporations and military alliances; the term becomes disastrous if it serves to incite the hatred of the victims towards other victims and, for example, incites German globalization losers against those from Africa and the Arab world.
The concept of nations, as used today by people with AfD and Pegida mentalities, is not helpful in stopping state repression. This is rather reinforced in the course of an authoritarian-patriotic myth-formation.
This concept of nations is also not a real antidote, antidote, against the negative consequences of globalization, the continuing exploitation of man by man. For this, the neo-nationals do not distance themselves enough from capitalism; Rather, they help to return dissatisfied, anti-migration skeptics to the ideological comfort zone of the neoliberal mainstream before seriously rebelling. The “conservative revolution” (Alexander Dobrinth) appears only colored by a pathos of nonconformism, by a sham rebelism that faithfully plays along with the game of the powerful.
“German drunk with happiness”, this is how the group BAP described the mood during the reunification in their song “Because we are who”. Let us remain sober when we try to drive us back into a patriotic tumult. And let us remain cordially addressed when it comes to perceiving the needs of our fellow human beings, even of the foreign ones.