This week Hobsbawn discusses the nature and development of the bourgeoisie, as well as the idea and power of nationalism. The nationalism aspect was what intrigued me the most. It is interesting to me that an ideology that was once used as a powerful tool in the French Revolution and liberalism. As it became a more widespread idea, governments manipulated it to become a way of spreading national propaganda and foster unity with in the nation. It is said to see how quickly a positive idea can turn into a weapon. Hobsbawn discusses how poly-ethnic states were divided by the burst of nationalism on the scene. Nationalism was used as a twisted into a tool of discrimination and racism. As it developed farther it had not only the potential for hating other nations, but for hating individual cultures and subcultures within their own nation.
Nationalism is not all bad. It can unify a country under a common goal. It can empower a national government. Nationalism has even torn down tyrannical governments. Something I don’t understand even though it isn’t in the text is anarchism. I don’t understand its purpose. A society based in chaos cannot survive. According to some scholars, individuals are natural ruled by their needs and desires. Without restriction of those needs and desires individuals are unable to rationally satisfy any of them. We establish systems of government in order to protect ourselves. Government represents a tradeoff. We trade some of our individual rights for the best chance as satisfying most of our needs. What is anarchy’s purpose? How is it effect? If everyone believed in anarchy wouldn’t our entire system collapse?