Nationalism and National Integration by Anthony H. Birch

By Anthony H. Birch

A concise and stimulating research of the idea of nationalism, and the theories, method and difficulties of nationwide integration. even though nationalism is the main profitable political ideology in human historical past, its success in getting the world's complete land floor divided among realms has resulted in substantial difficulties in integrating the ethnic and cultural minorities inside those states. Nationalist theories are nonetheless debatable, whereas the method and common mess ups of nationwide integration are problems with crucial value within the modern international. Birch's argument is illustrated via special and topical case reviews of nationwide integration within the uk, Canada and Australia: the uk, with the Welsh, the Scots, the Irish and the colored minorities; Canada, with its Anglo-French tensions, its cultural pluralism and its indigenous peoples claiming the appropriate of self-government; Australia, with its expanding ethnic range and its failure to combine the Aborigines.

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Subsequent nationalist thinkers bore the character of users and diffusers of nationalist theory rather than that of producers. Louis Kossuth’s campaign to gain political autonomy for the Hungarians, Palacky’s activities on behalf of the Czechs, and Mazzini’s endeavours to stimulate the Italians into creating a united Italy were all examples of nationalistic campaigns by intellectuals who had been deeply influenced by the nationalist doctrine generated by the theorists we have mentioned. There were other examples in nineteenth-century Europe, and though it is always difficult to credit specific intellectuals with changing the course of history, there can be no doubt that the cumulative effect of nationalist ideas was to undermine the authority of the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires.

Quoted in Herold, 1955, p. 118) This far-sighted remark is put into historical perspective by the fact that during the last three decades of the nineteenth century French state schools were teaching their pupils the virtues of the Republic while Catholic schools were recommending the advantages of a monarchy, as a hangover from which national disputes about the case for giving state grants to Catholic schools continued until as late as the 1950s. In practice all state educational systems socialize their pupils regarding the virtues of the nation to which they belong, though some do so more openly than others and the virtues stressed naturally vary.

In adopting this position Hegel has been said to have provided a new justification for the Machiavellian doctrine of raison d’etat, a doctrine that had for long been out of favour among liberal and progressive thinkers. ’ It was, he said, ‘almost like the legitimisation of a bastard’ (Meinecke, 1957, p. 350). While this was a perceptive comment on the intellectual history of that period, it should not be taken to imply a lack of moral sensitivity on Hegel’s part. Presumably everyone who is not an anarchist would now agree that in some circumstances the state can rightly do some things (like putting people in prison) that no individual could rightly do.

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