Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Conceptions of Nation-State

In talking further with friends, I have come to an understanding as to where the base of our differences lie on issues relating to Israel, Greece/Turkey, and a few other areas. These friends percieve the Nation-State and its role to be very differently than I do. To them, nations exist to serve peoples, which roughly equate to nationalities. Nations openly promote the customs, language, and culture of that people, and to an extent act as the memory of the people. People who are not of the ethnicity are at best long-term guests in the nation. Some others I know take things further and state that it is a shame when people marry outside their ethnicity, because it erodes the unity of both groups. My perspective is rather different -- I also feel that the State should serve the people, but my notion of the people is not tied at all to ethnicity. The people are instead defined through a generation of residency and very rough cultural ties. The state also has an obligation not to simply advance the interests of its people, but also to an extent the interests of all humanity. This primarily extends to being fair to outsiders, but also suggests humanitarian efforts. It is, to my mind, acceptable to be selective in who is integrated into the state, based on cultural grounds, when necessary. This should never be done on purely racial grounds. My concept of State would be multiethnic and attempt to permit a free mix of cultures within that are compatible with such a notion, provided also that said cultures are compatible with universal sufferage.

From what I understand, my viewpoint was almost nonexistant back past the early 20th century. I can understand why these friends think they way they do, based on where they're starting from. I do suspect though that they're not being as thoughtful as they could be, comparing their positions on Israel/Palestine to those on Greece/Turkey.

To me, it's not at all a bad thing when interracial couples form. It bothers me a lot when I see racial preferences of the sort I often see. At some point, I should explore this further with these friends. Of course, nationalism, of any kind, bothers me too -- so often it leads to incredibly stupid justifications because people decide with their emotions on things that they can't really argue for.

Tags: philosophy

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