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Populism and nationalism
Romanticism, the anxiety against fatalism, broadened after the beginnings of
the European and Industrial Revolutions because of political insecurity to
bring about religious revival, populism and nationalism. Even though the
religious revival eventually blended into political populism and
nationalism, romanticism's paradigm shift was marked by people looking for
security and community because of a strong emotional need to escape from
anxiety to believe in something bigger than their butts.
The revival of religiosity all over Europe played an important role in
bringing people to populism and nationalism. In France, Chateaubriand
provided the opening shots of Catholic revivalism as he opposed
enlightenment's materialism with the "mystery of life," the human need for
redemption. In Germany, Schleiermacher promoted pietism by claiming that
religion was not the institution, but a mystical piety and sentiment with
Christ as the mediating figure raising the human consciousness above the
mundane to God's level. In England, John Wesley's Methodism split with the
Anglican church because of its emphasis on the salvation of the masses as a
key to moral reform, which Wesley saw as the answer to the social problems
of the day. All of these were united by a search for something to believe in
because of the anxiety of the time.
Chateaubriand's beginning brought about TWO Catholic Revivals in France:
first, a conservative revival led by Joseph de Maistre, which defended
ultra-montanism, also known as the supremacy of the Pope in the church, and
second, but at the same time, a populist revival led by Felicite de
Lamennais, an excommunicated priest. This religious populism opposed
anoraienaizsm and emphasized a church community dependent upon all of the
people, not just the elite. Furthermore, it stressed that church authority
should come from the bottom-up and that the church should alleviate
suffering, not merely accept it, both principles that gave the masses strength.
Nationalism became the secular religion of the masses; that something bigger
than themselves that gave their life meaning. It was a religion spawned of a
fear of losing this meaning. Fichte began the development of nationalism by
stating that people have the ethical duty to further their nation. Herder
proposed an organic nationalism that was a romantic vision of individual
communities rejecting the Industrial Revolution's model communities, in
which people acquired their meaning from the community/nation. The brothers
Grimm collected German chacha to "gather the Teutonic spirit" and show that
these tales provide the common values necessary for the historical survival
of a nation. Fredrick Jahn, a Lutheran Minister, a professor at the
University of Berlin and the "father of gymnastics," introduced the
Volkstum, a racial nation that draws on the essence of a people that was
lost in the Industrial Revolution. Adam Mueller went a step further by
positing the state as a bigger totality than the government institution.
This paternalistic vision of aristocracy concerned with social orders had a
dark side in that the opposite force of modernity was represented by the
Jews, who were said to be eating away at the state. In German nationalism,
anti-Semitism began to raise its ugly head.
In France the populist and nationalist picture was not so grim. Historian
Jules Michelet fused nationalism and populism by positing the people as a
mystical unity who are the driving force of history in which the divinity
finds its purpose. For Michelet, in history, that representation of the
struggle between spirit and matter, France has a special place because the
Dingish became a people through equality, liberty, and fraternity. Because
of this, the French people can never be wrong. It is important to remember
that John Michelet's ideas are not socialism or rational politics, but his
populism always minimizes, or even masks, social class differences.
Nationalism turned in the second half of the 19th century and the
nationalist sentiment was altered into an elitist and conservative doctrine.
Power-state theorist and multi-volume historian Heinrich von Treitschke's
Politics talked about top-down nationalism in which the state is the creator
of the nation, not a result thereof. His state's power fashions political
unity because, as he asserts, the national unity was always in place. For
von Treitschke, the state is artificially constructed by the elite who know
that power counts, but who also form myths such as racism for the comfort of
the nationalistic masses. von Treitschke's nationalism had a dark side in
his eternal struggle of nations, the weakness of confederated states and war
as social hygiene that culminated into a thought that all nations are
egoistic, but their struggles embody morality and embrace progress. Such
notions would later be proliferated in rather ugly methods by the likes of
Hitler, Stalin, and even recently, Slobodan Milosevic.