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Monday, July 22, 2019

Anti-Nationalism is Anti-Individualism

Ayn Rand’s objectivist followers have wild nightmares about the future—they foresee an apocalyptic future where the world is being ruled by nationalist and religious dictators. They attack nationalism in the name of saving the world from the apocalyptic future that only they can foresee and to promote individualism.

They are downright convinced that nationalism is incompatible with individualism. But I believe that you cannot promote individualism by attacking nationalism. Whenever nationalism is destroyed, there is a rise of the worst form of collectivism—it’s called identity politics. If people are not allowed to identify with their nation’s history and culture (which is what nationalism is), then they will identify with their race, religion, social status, political ideology, sexuality, or cult.

The rise of identity politics divides the nation into a number of warring factions, which try to further the interests of their own group at the cost of other groups. This provides the intellectuals and politicians with the opportunity of acquiring power by playing one faction against the other. When everything in the country becomes politicized, then there is a sharp fall in the nation’s political and cultural standards. All this has a baleful impact on the nation’s quality of life.

By saving the country from the menace of identity politics, nationalism can be conducive for creating an environment in which individualism can prosper. It is to her credit that Rand has admitted in a few articles and interviews that nationalism is in general a good thing, but these articles and interviews are not popular with the modern objectivists.

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