It seems to me, that ninety nine percent of the people on this planet don’t understand why the US is so strong, when it is made up of so many different races of people. In a meeting with the OKW, Hitler was asked about America, when the USSR and Briton were annihilated, what would be the next step. Hitler replied nothing. American cannot survive long, with blacks, whites and asiatics living together, they must necessarily hate and kill each other… Was he wrong.
Because the US is not a nation of whites or Blacks or Latinos or any other color, it is a Nation of Capitalists. We are united in our greed. The pragmatic capitalism that De Tocqueville defined as individualism. People learn English because it is the language of capitalism in the US. People fit in because they want to get ahead… Like every single person in the world, whether they admit it or not. Except people with trust funds, bestowed by some rich relative, in the certain knowledge they are inept, the trust funder detests the money grubbing of their inferiors… Us.
It is not a coincidence that immigrants to the US tend to do better than native citizens. Immigrants tend to be risk takers, else they would have never left their home country. This attribute, along with a strong work ethic, combined with the American capitalist system, allow immigrants to do very well here. Not as many native born citizens are risk takers, Americans may be more risk taking than other people in general, but the percent of immigrants who are risk takers is 100%, while the percent of any given non-mobile population can never approach that number..
Most other nations rally around some form of racial identity. Yes Virginia, we fought WWII to eliminate nationalism, but it is more a force in the World today than ever before. People want to live with people who look and act exactly like themselves. The Yugoslavian war was an example of this. Czechoslovakia and the breakup of the USSR are others. The Basque separatists and Chechnian conflicts continue, as do many others around the globe… Nationalism today is alive and well despite the deaths of millions to stop it.
But in the US nationalism is different. We, most of us, don’t rally around a racial ideal, we rally around a meritorious ideal. The more this ethos is promoted the more US society can absorb different people into itself. Nothing focuses the mind on priorities better than money.
But as these nationalistic countries, out of a sense of jealousy, focus more and more on some view of fairness, that is tied up with national and racial identity, they will have a lower and lower standard of living, polarizing people further and further, into smaller and smaller views of nation.
Like the City State period; In that time people viewed the nation as the city they lived in. Their view of their personal good was inextricably tied to the city state in which they were born in. If they were captured by the neighboring city state they were made slaves. If their city was overrun their families would be tossed from the walls. Their good was the State’s good. And their view of who were their fellows was limited to the people within the walls of their city.
As City States gave way to Nation States people’s view of nation widened. But today it seems people’s view of nation is swinging back to ever smaller definitions. Some argue that this is an inevitable recoil from the breakup of the colonial period. Which has some merit, except for the fact, so much nationalism is happening in Europe where the colonization was done… from, not to. Presumably the Basques didn’t have a problem being part of Spain when Spain was awash in money from the New World, or when Lucullus outwitted the Roman Aristocracy in Iberia until he was stabbed in the back by the people he had saved.
There are many flavors of Nationalism some less caustic than others. Regardless of the definition of nation it is in the best interests of all people to define their nation as anyone living in your geologic local, who is working towards bettering the lives of their families and are participating in the political life of the national community. Race and ethnicity are quickly becoming outmoded terms as the people of the world become more mobile. In a few hundred years, as long as humanity doesn’t fall back into a dark age, there will be very few people who can claim one “nationality” as most Americans are multi national in their lineages
That is why the US continues to absorb people from the world over all calling themselves Americans. We are united… in our wants, to want a better life for our children, to want the things that will make our lives easier, the want of independence and our want to be free to enjoy the fruits of that independence. Americans focus on wants and disregard how much other people have. As Veblen said, in America people don’t resent wealth because they might someday have it…
People are united in greed but are disunited in jealousy.