A favourite excerpt of mine from my favourite philosophical tome, The Ego and Its Own. Kinda supports my observation of nationalism and the ilk being humanism writ small (and, conversely, humanism being an expanded nationalism, both assuming an intrinsic worth and obligation in shared proximity, phenotype, planet, etc).
Ridiculous is he who, while fellows of his tribe, family, nation, rank high, is – nothing but “puffed up” over the merit of his fellows; but blinded too is he who wants only to be “man.” Neither of them puts his worth in exclusiveness, but in connectedness, or in the “tie” that conjoins him with others, in the ties of blood, of nationality, of humanity.
Through the “Nationals” of today the conflict has again been stirred up between those who think themselves to have merely human blood and human ties of blood, and the others who brag of their special blood and the special ties of blood.
If we disregard the fact that pride may mean conceit, and take it for consciousness alone, there is found to be a vast difference between pride in “belonging to” a nation and therefore being its property, and that in calling a nationality one’s property. Nationality is my quality, but the nation my owner and mistress. If you have bodily strength, you can apply it at a suitable place and have a self-consciousness or pride of it; if, on the contrary, your strong body has you, then it pricks you everywhere, and at the most unsuitable place, to show its strength: you can give nobody your hand without squeezing his.
The perception that one is more than a member of the family, more than a fellow of the tribe, more than an individual of the people, has finally led to saying, one is more than all this because one is man, or, the man is more than the Jew, German, etc. “Therefore be every one wholly and solely – man.” Could one not rather say: Because we are more than what has been stated, therefore we will be this, as well as that “more” also? Man and Germans, then, man and Guelph? The Nationals are in the right; one cannot deny his nationality: and the humanitarians are in the right; one must not remain in the narrowness of the national. In uniqueness the contradiction is solved; the national is my quality. But I am not swallowed up in my quality – as the human too is my quality, but I give to man his existence first through my uniqueness.
History seeks for Man: but he is I, you, we. Sought as a mysterious essence, as the divine, first as God, then as Man (humanity, humaneness, and mankind), he is found as the individual, the finite, the unique one.
I am owner of humanity, am humanity, and do nothing for the good of another humanity. Fool, you who are a unique humanity, that you make a merit of wanting to live for another than you are.