The Problem with Nationalism, Illustrated with Christmas

To get straight to the point, what I believe today’s nationalists and neo-segregationists fail to understand is that the basis of every human culture is (and always has been) synthesis. No civilisation is authentic, monolithic, pure; the exact opposite is true.

Look at your average Western nation: its numbers Arabic, its alphabet Latin, its religion Levantine, its philosophy Greek… need I continue? And each of these examples can itself be broken down further: the Romans got their alphabet from the Etruscans and the Greeks, who created theirs by stealing from the Phoenicians, and so on.

Our myths and religions, too, are syncretic – sharing, repeating, adopting and adapting a large variety of elements to suit their needs at any given time: the angelic halos found in the Abrahamic faiths, for instance, bear a striking resemblance to the sun-disks of the ancient Egyptian beliefs, and the Christian image of God, as seen in ‘The Creation of Adam,’ is clearly inspired by Zeus, the head of the Hellenic pantheon.

Indeed, some interpretations of Christianity hold that Jesus’ birthday was moved to December so that it could be celebrated safely, disguised as the Roman festival of Sol Invictus. With Christmas just around the corner, it might come as a surprise to learn that the traditional Christmas Tree originated in pre-Christian pagan beliefs.

Even the language of our creation, the DNA itself, is ‘impure’, defined by a history of amalgamation: not only between different nations of Homo sapiens but even between different human species!

Now, to clarify, I don’t mean to argue against patriotism here. There is nothing wrong with loving your country, or hoping to contribute to its betterment.

However, when ‘loving your country’ devolves beyond the somewhat nebulous notion of statehood and shared history into an active discrimination against people of different nationalities, races, or creeds, it’s no longer about love, but hatred. Hate is counterproductive – it gives nothing back. And, as illustrated above, it stymies growth and change, innovation and improvement.

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