Nationalism vs. Cosmopolitanism – Defined

This is the first in what I hope will be a multipart treatise entitled: Immigration, Migration, and Cosmopolitanism in the United States.

For a Nation that was founded by immigrates, built of the dreams of immigrates, and populated by immigrates from all over the world, the United States has a long history of victimizing immigrates. Over the course of this multipart treatise, I aim to attempt and answer the question of why this is the case? In doing so, I think that there are really two major views that at play that need to be defined: Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism.

In its broadest sense, nationalism is the passion that a group of people have for the nation that they live in. A nation being a collection of a people that share a similar background*. These two things are most notably seen in the 20th and 21st centuries as being applied to the nation-state*. Very often it is the case, in the last one hundred years, that a peoples nationalism has been used to motivate them against those that do not look, think, worship, or have their same ‘values’. Nationalism has been used to create a nativist attitude toward those that live outside the boarders of the state thusly fostering a belief that such-and-such nations people are somehow objectively better then any other peoples. This sort of nativist outlook may lead states to become closed off from the world and generally unwelcoming to those outside their boarders.

Whereas there is a, relativity, simple definition that one may give to Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism is not as clear cut. The main reason for this is that there really are two major views on what the word means. Both hold a very real and important place in the discussion of global ethics and global justice, but, for the time being at least, only one is of interest for this treatise. In the interest of clarity I will give both. These are modern, 19th to 21st century, definitions.

One: As a reflection, and extension, of capitalism. Wherein, as capital out grows the boarders of its founding, it must find new markets to hand off its superfluous wealth. Cosmopolitanism here can, in a way, be understood as market globalism; capital without boarders.

Two: As representative of the unifying qualities of all people around the globe. That, regardless of ones state, or nationality, the people of the world are inherently equal and in that equality have a shared interest. It is this definition that I will focus on for the duration of this treatise.

In the coming works I will attempt to deliver the responses that these competing views have in the United States when it comes to immigration and migration.

*Yes, this definition of a nation is problematic. Greater and deeper discussion of what makes a nation has been discussed by other. For the purpose of this work I believe this definition will do.
**The validity of the notion of a nation-state, or how one can even remotely call anything a nation-state, is obviously debatable in the pluralistic nature of, at least Western, states today.

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