IN the span of three short days, a former mayor of the country’s remotest major city, and a Filipino-Australian born in far north Queensland have strengthened — electrified really — our sense of nationalism.
The easiest way to see this as not an exaggeration is to think of that exclamation expressed, separately, when the Balangiga bells were returned on December 15 to the Philippines after President Duterte’s intense lobbying and when Catriona Gray won the Miss Universe title on December 17: “Proud to be a Filipino!”.
To realize this on a deeper level, one has to understand the groundbreaking insights on nationalism of the late Cornell University political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson, which he explained in his academic bestseller, the 1983 book Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.
For starters, we have to disabuse our minds that, contrary to what an unfortunately growing number of “globalists” — really little brown Americans — claim, it is nationalism, or the intensity of a people’s sense of belonging to this association called the nation, that has been the biggest factor in all countries’ growth and prosperity.
This is an incontestable fact of history around the globe. It is only when these countries have become rich nations that they have espoused “globalism,” a tactic one Korean nationalist economist claimed was a form of “pushing the ladder away” after they’ve reached the summit of their countries’ development.
Most important organization
The nation is the most important organization modern man belongs to since its situation mostly determines his fate. Just think of the grossly contrasting fates of an ordinary Filipino worker’s family if he stays here or migrates to the US.
Anderson pointed out though how difficult it is for a people to be nationalistic, since the nation is really an “imagined community.” It is different from “real communities” such as the family, the clan, the tribe, or even the fraternities to which it is just natural to have an allegiance to, since we get to be acquainted with each and every member of these organizations. These are after all simply collections of relatives or friends we know.