Friday, January 07, 2005


I started reading “Reason before Passion” by Kevin Christiano on Trudeau’s biography and school of thought, over the holidays. Fascinated and blown away, I couldn't get my thoughts together to write anything down!

Definitely challenging to understand Trudeau, I decided only to quote him here on "Nationalism vs. Federalism":

“Nationalism is not a constant and everpresent force in human affairs. Rather it is a relatively new development.”

“Conceptions of nationhood are based on will, not reason. They are little more than a state of mind. Nations try to will themselves to statehood. Therefore, states are made, not born. “

“Therefore, a mysterious process of consensus-building must be undertaken to make the state appear natural and permanent. This gum or glue of state consciousness is nationalism.”

“Nationalism arises then, from an irrational will to form a state not in existence, or to obey and thereby solidify one after its founding. Because nationalism is created as the unthinking hand-maiden of the state, it too will pass when the preservation of the state and its natural values ceases to be important.”

“In the meantime to promote nationalism without an awareness of the historical functions of the nationalist ideology is dangerous. In theory, nationalism need not destroy rationality and freedom; in practice, it does.”

“Federalism replaces the drive toward national consensus on all matters with a habit, both rational and realistic, of compromise. A federal system thus reduces the need for nationalist emotion and the risk to individual liberty that accompany it.”

“Canadian patriotism therefore consists in an ardent defense of the federal system and a rejection of claims to nationhood that would short-circuit its operation.”


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