It begins with an etymological description of the word ‘nation’ and how a people precede a state not vice versa, and, therefore, “one cannot define the nation by reference to the state”, which is a valid point.
It then lists four arguments in support of ethnonationalism.
The argument from particularism
The pragmatic argument
The argument from fairness
The argument from diversity
Let us analyze each one separately.
“Argument from Particularism”
In the “argument from particularism”, the author describes nation as an “extended kinship group”. And since we prioritize our family and its interests over others, the same can be said in the context of a nation.
The subtext is “evolutionary” that sees Man as a descendent of ape-like ancestors whose behavior should be studied within the parameters of empirical sciences.
To quote from the essay:
One sees that in nature, animals keep to their own kind. They move together in groups based on their shared characteristics and look after their own group. Humans are in physical terms really just a very intelligent species of primate, and the same basic principles and laws apply to them as to every other animal.
Now, here is a problem.
Whereas it can be said that animals “do move together in groups based on their shared characteristics and look after their own group”, they do not do this under some order of morality and ethics.
Besides, intra-group infanticide and killings are regular occurrences within the animal kingdom.
The exigencies of leading a pack often result in ruthless massacres of potential rivals irrespective of their age and stature.
A lion does not think twice before attacking a little cub.
Would a particular human ethnic group benefit if it adopts such savage in-group competition where heads of families clash violently among themselves? They would extinct themselves with their own hands.
It is the moral and ethical framework that governs the parameters of human relationships.
Why should a son/daughter listen to his/her father/mother?
Why should he/she respect his/her elders?
Why should a man look after his children?
Why should a mother take care of her newborn?
Why should she not abandon her offspring?
Why should she not have the right to kill them?
Why should I show kindness to those younger than me?
Why should I be gentle towards my co-ethnics?
Why should I be respectful towards other ethnicities/races?
In essence, a moral argument for ethnonationalism can only be raised on moral and ethical foundations, which I do not think the “evolutionary” perspective can provide.
(To be continued)