Postnationalism, briefly, is a rise in globalism and a fall in nationalism. That is, the reduction in power and recognition of national states and culture as well as an increase in the power and recognition of supranational and/or global entities. Examples of supranational entities are the European Union, NAFTA, and NATO. The primary example of a global entity is the United Nations. The concept is similar in nature to globalism however I would say they are not synonyms as postnationalism focuses not only on the rise of international entities, but also the destruction of national ones.
In 2015, Justin Trudeau said that Canada was “the first post-national state”. Although there is far from a precise definition of what a post-national state is, the Liberal government, in its first year, has taken many actions that can be viewed as being post-national. Trudeau’s government took in between 35,000 to 50,000 Syrian refugees in the last year. The government provided $100 million to the UN High Commission of Refugees. International students and temporary residents are to receive credit towards immigration for time spent in Canada. Canada is to drop the Mexican visa requirement for entry to Canada on December 1st, 2016. Lastly, Trudeau has unofficially launched a bid for a UN Security Council seat. Altogether, Canada is absolutely headed in a more post-national direction.
I believe this is something to be celebrated and is a part of the reason why I like the Liberal Government more than I thought I would. My view is that a good government should always have postnationalism as the ultimate goal. There was once a time when western countries instituted state mandated racism and sexism. Nowadays these are widely viewed as extremely immoral positions although they have not been completely eradicated. I have a similar view regarding nationalism: it is currently the status quo however it is immoral and will one day be widely viewed as immoral.
What makes nationalism immoral? History is filled with many examples that paint a clear picture of the consequences of nationalism. Hundreds of wars have been fought due to nationalistic conflicts resulting in millions of deaths. The core component of fascism is nationalism. And just as important as nationalist action is nationalist inaction. People with a lot of resources choose not to help other nations because they don’t care about other nations. Wildfire in Alberta? “Here’s a hundred dollars”, “I want to volunteer in any way I can”, “The government should be doing more”. El Niño causes massive famine in Africa? “Yawn, there’s always some problem in Africa”, “I don’t want warlords taking my money”, “The government should stop sending foreign aid. Canadians first”.
It is the “Canada first” mentality that is perhaps most troubling. In January, 2014 Stephen Harper visited Jordan and announced $100 million in funding to help Jordan with more than half a million Syrian refugees. The primary focus was to set up education infrastructure for the Syrian children. Unsurprisingly, a large number of people complained online that Canada shouldn’t be doing this. They talked about how there are homeless people in Canada and that the government should not provide foreign aid as long as there are Canadian problems. This line of reasoning was also used arguing against letting Syrian refugees in. It should be obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that $100 million will do almost nothing to alleviate homelessness as well as general Canadian poverty. The money will get much more bang for its buck helping set up schools in refugee camps. Additionally, we still have the option of using an additional $100 million to accomplish whatever it is that these people think we can do with it. People who have this “Canada first” mentality are a subset of the Canadian population but a significant and powerful one.
So what is the best way of going about this? How do we eliminate nationalism? I do not support the immediate elimination of countries and the destruction of borders. I mean, if everyone wanted this I’d be game but I don’t think it is the best way of going about this. As I said earlier a good government should always have postnationalism as the ultimate goal. That means actively trying to create free trade agreements, open borders, and the merging of nations. This has already been occurring for quite a while and so my plan of action is to continue down the path and speed up the process. One particular proposed merger that I’ve been following is the East African Federation (pictured below). There are currently many proposals for greater cooperation between countries. Ideally, most of them will be realized.
I am also against acts of nationalism for nationalist sake. Unlike the conspiracies of children being indoctrinated with socialist thinking there actually is an indoctrination going on that we are all well aware of: the indoctrination of nationalism. All schools have Canadian flags placed all over the place. Every morning children are expected to stand and in many cases sing the national anthem. This serves no usefulness other than to increase the patriotism of the students, to drive a wedge between them and all other nations, to tell them that Canadian’s are important and non-Canadians aren’t. As far as I can tell there is no practical usefulness from these nationalist actions. I would support the elimination of this kind of nationalism. There is an administrative use for having countries but there is no benefit in worshiping nationalist symbols.
I am not against allowing people to have Canadian flags or singing the anthem. People have a freedom to wave the Canadian flag and sing the national anthem. But I would remove it from public buildings such as schools. Additionally, I am not against Canadian culture. I have no problem with the Junos, TIFF, sports teams, Canadian foods, etc. I am against worshipping Canadian symbols whose only purpose is to be a national symbol.
Ultimately, the world is moving towards a more globalist, post-national kind of world but it is facing an uphill battle. Generations of people have grown up with highly patriotic sensibilities. Postnationalism is hitting resistance in every part of the Earth. We will only be able to move forward if we understand the immorality of nationalism and view patriotic symbols as historical curiosities.