Post-2001 and the Third Coming of Nationalism (Nationalism and Global war) - Arena Journal

Post-2001 and the Third Coming of Nationalism (Nationalism and Global war)

By Arena Journal

  • Release Date - Published: 2003-01-01
  • Book Genre: Religion & Spirituality
  • Author: Arena Journal
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Post-2001 and the Third Coming of Nationalism (Nationalism and Global war) Arena Journal read online review & book description:

Yeats foresaw the imminent era of nationalism and Fascism in a famous poem of the 1920s, 'Second Coming'. Today his words can hardly avoid assuming new significance as other 'rough beasts' come forth in the wake of September 11. Their appearance compels us to look back and recognize some analogies with earlier versions of militarized authoritarianism, and not only with the British and Roman Empires that have recently been so favoured. The story of national-ism is distinct from that of national identities and claims for nationhood or liberation. The latter asserted themselves from the eighteenth century onwards, and were clearly linked to other Enlightenment themes. The former was a later development of the same process, emerging only in the 1870s, after the Franco-Prussian War, the American War of Secession and the formation of the Italian and German states. Nationalism was distinctively a 'great nation' or supremacist idea, even though reproduced or aspired to everywhere else in the imperialist climate of 1870 through World War I ... and later. It has re-emerged in globalizing conditions, post-1989, contrary to every prophecy of the neo-liberal clerisy. However, global circumstances are unlikely to lead to a 'third coming' or ideological takeover like that of the post-World War I period. Things have evolved too far in other directions and appear more likely to favour a return to national-identity politics minus--or against--the militarized '-ism' again prominent in the United States post-2001. Current reactions against the latter may indicate such a shift. I suspect that W. B. Yeats' Spiritus Mundi must by now be disturbing all serious students of globalization who read poetry (so far, probably not enough of them). In the 'Second Coming' he intuited a desert monster--with lion body and the head of a man, and a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun--the rough beast of futurity shambling towards its inheritance, quite unlike the progressive bloke liberal theorists had been looking out for in 1922, or indeed that 'Last Man' imagined by Francis Fukuyama, way back in 1992.

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