Nationalism is often used incorrectly as a synonym for patriotism. There are important distinctions to be drawn between these notions.
Patriotism refers to a sense of pride in the achievements of one's nation and fellow citizens. It can also describe a devotion and commitment to serve and protect your country.
Patriotic sentiments should be distinguished from the subjectivity and prejudice associated with feelings of nationalism which are based on common descent, language and religion.
The legitimate aspiration to protect and fight for one's country is completely different to the aspiration to protect and fight for one's ethnic origin and religion. In the instance of patriotism it is the duty of every citizen, without exception, to protect their country from an aggressor. In the instance of nationalism people are distinguished by nationality and creed, which excludes many individuals and communities from both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Australia is a multi-ethnic country which requires every citizen to be fully committed to its security and prosperity irrespective of their ethnic origin or religion. Patriotism and national identity are the foundation of our country's survival and growth, guaranteeing its continuity for the benefit of present and future generations.
Australians who identify themselves on a racial basis are misguided. For some it is high time they understood that the British Empire is dead. It is time to transfer their nationalism into patriotism and accept Australia as a multi-racial society united by the love of country.
To take a major step towards developing patriotism, it is necessary for all ethnic groups to learn to identify with multi-ethnic Australia as one nation, united by the same aspirations.
Unfortunately, some politicians and commentators often get bogged down in dogmatic interpretations of the multi-cultural system. This has resulted in the deterioration of some individuals' and consequently some communities' devotion and commitment to Australia as it has had the negative effect of encouraging them to give priority to their countries of origin.
Australia is a country of opportunity where people are independent and allowed to flourish, develop their individuality and reach their greater potential; making it one of the best countries in the world. These privileges deserve to be protected at all cost.
People adopting Australia as their new country should remember that it is now their children's country too and as such it is now not only their obligation but also in their interests to protect it for the sake of their offspring. Such loyalties should take priority over nationalistic concerns.
Assimilation of migrant parents into society is an essential step towards the elimination of conflict with their children, especially children who are happy to adopt and embrace Australia as their own and be part of the community. Children want to belong and be part of society, rather than be isolated by antagonism.
Because of its exclusive nature, nationalism is as divisive as religion. Just read the news. Without religion and nationalism, the world will be a better place.
Despite the fact that some countries display superiority and arrogance towards other countries a few signs indicate that the world is moderating. The gradual entrenchment of globalisation and free-trade in international relations is gradually leading to the diminishment of nationalism.
Globalisation and free-trade dynamics result in a country's gradual loss of control over its own economic sovereignty, as economic outcomes are decided by international agreements between participating countries. The economic outcome in turn influences social outcome, which diminishes government manipulation and control over many aspects of the life of its citizens.
My hope is that the expansion of globalisation and free-trade as principles of international relations will foster patriotism (true patriotism based on genuine principles of national identity rather than nationalism) to be embraced by all the nations of the world. Nationalism, based on origin and religion, would become a thing of the past.
Nationalism will be overshadowed by patriotism and a global common purpose when free nations start to elect wise and moderate leaders. Hopefully, the Bush-Cheney era will never be repeated.
Many other social, political, religious and environmental issues are discussed in Hani Montan's book titled "Thorny Opinion". The book can be previewed on Google Book Search and Amazon.com, and can be purchased from Amazon.com and BookSurge.com.
Australian readers can purchase the book directly from the author by emailing email@example.com ($20.00, postage free within Australia)