Feature Editorial

About Nationalism and Cholesterol


Most of us are aware that there is good and bad Cholesterol. The bad LDL must be under 100 mg/dL and the good HDL must be over 60 mg/dL.

Well, there is good and bad Nationalism. It took me a while to realize that because I never talked about it in the past. Now, when the President and others have, I understand that today’s view of nationalism in the media is not what it meant growing up in France during the 1940s and 50s.


My confusion surfaced when discussing the label during a recent DFW World Affairs Council event: I obviously was not on the ‘same page’ as the speaker. I got it straight once I did some checking. Last week, I shared what I found about nationalism with The Book Club of Heritage Ranch Democrats before we reviewed “Perilous Partners” (Co-authors: Ted Carpenter and Malou Innocent). Indeed, the Nationalists, who after WWII led their countries to freedom from colonialism, are prominent in many of the book‘s chapters.
Notorious ‘Good” Nationalists

Here are notorious ‘Good’ Nationalists while missing many: Mahatma Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela and Ho Chi Minh. Some freedoms were acquired peacefully, others with as many as one million lives lost, but they contributed to the astonishing growth of The United Nations which has gone from 51 members in 1945 to about 200 today. I did not forget George Washington and his companions, the framers of our constitution.

Nationalism is defined as being loyal and devoted to one’s nation. It manifests itself in different forms, such as:

  • Desire for or advocacy of national independence motivated by the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination. Example: USA, Algeria, Haiti, India, Indochina, Kenya and many more.
  • Identification with one’s own nation, devotion and support for its interests or culture — possibly to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations. Example: ‘Made in the USA’ campaign.
  • The belief that a nation will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals. Example: Their nationalism is tempered by a desire to join the European Union.
  • Excessive, narrow or jingoist patriotism; chauvinism, racism, supremacism … Example: Apartheid, Fascism, Nazism, Zionism …