We have been told a great many lies. One of the big ones is that a Nation is just a group of people with shared core beliefs. We are told that if you come to America and follow our laws, and love the constitution, and wave an American flag, then you are American. Well as Ben Franklin said “Half the Truth is often a great Lie”. It is true that a Nation has a shared core belief system, but the fact that a Nation has a shared belief system is not proof that separate peoples holding a shared belief system makes a Nation. The trick is in the last part of the previous sentence, we contradict ourselves (we assume too much) when we say that separate peoples, once they have a shared belief system, are now a Nation. Does not one have to then immediately ask, “well what makes them separate then?” We all agree that there are separate peoples, who have separate cultures, separate religions, separate tastes. If those separate peoples all agree on some core beliefs, does that mean that they all belong to the same Nation?
Let us think about the United Nations. All of the Nations that join must, if not overtly, tacitly subscribe to the beliefs of the UN, namely it’s charter, but none of us would say that the United Nations is a Nation. We all know, that although they all have a common core belief, they are still separate. So, separate peoples can have some of the same core beliefs (I may even venture to say all of the same beliefs), and yet still should not be considered one Nation. Separate people do not simply cease being separate once they have the same beliefs.
I think at this point I have to declare that what I am trying to say is that a Nation is more than just it’s beliefs. Let me explain it in a personal way. There is something that we are, that you are, as individual people, something at our core, that remains throughout our lives. In fact, this thing which we are, was there even before we were born, and will be there after we are gone (it exists within our Nation), irregardless of what we do or think. If we take all of our personal beliefs, they do not add up to make the complete picture of who we are. A man may believe all kind of crazy liberal ideas when he is young, and end his life as the most staunch conservative, but all his life he never ceased being who he was. Just because he changed his ideas, does not mean he changed who he is. The wind may blow across the sea, the storm rage, or the sun may shine on a perfectly calm day, either way, the sea is still the sea. What I am trying to say is that there is something deeper, something permanent inside of us, and especially inside of Nations, and although our views and beliefs may change, although our systems of government may change, that does not change (or to be more precise, changes on a much longer time scale), and those people that share a similarity in this sense, in this more permanent sense, are more our brothers than the men whom we share beliefs, beliefs which are passing.
Below is an exchange between Margaret Thatcher And Enoch Powell.
Powell: ‘No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.’
Thatcher (it was just before the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands): ‘Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.’
Powell: ‘No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.’
This exchange is very interesting. When Powell essentially says he would fight for his country no matter it’s beliefs, he is saying that it is the people, it is his countrymen that he would be fighting for, after all, that is really all we are ever fighting for.
Let’s look at something else. What makes a family a family? Is it a shared belief system? Well it is and it isn’t. Often times a family may have the same belief systems, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes a man may have a friend with whom he shares more beliefs than his own brother, but there is still something between the man and his brother, that isn’t there between the man and his friend. A family may adopt a child, a child who is raised just as the natural born children are raised, but, however uncomfortable it is to say, there is still something different with the adopted child. What is that thing? What is that bond? I bring up family, because it seems to me that a Nation, properly defined, is simply your extended family.
Think of it another way, if you could somehow magically remove all the Chinese from China except for a very small percentage. Then you import millions of Cherokee babies, then you allow those babies to be raised by the remaining Chinese. Do you think that China would be exactly the same as if you had just left all the Chinese, or do you think that those Cherokee babies would bring something specifically Cherokee? Not Cherokee beliefs, for they would have been raised by the Chinese, but something still Cherokee?