Liberal Nationalism

Among other freedoms and rights the civilized country has to offer to its citizens the right to national self-determination is on the focal point. Immigrants and their descendants want to preserve their national identity even living in a country with the culture much different from that in their homeland. European and American politicians and civil rights campaigners do their best to provide them with this right enacting responding laws and statutes.

They also held educational companies for the native dwellers to acquaint them with the cultural customs of ethnical minorities. This helps to develop tolerance and understanding between these two groups. The history has proved that if the national minority is pinched in its rights and freedoms it often tries to secede from the state. In case people are not given the rights to national and cultural self-determination, they will fight to have their own country where they can live according to their social and religious prescriptions.

It is also that the try of secession is rarely made if the coexisting nations don’t have substantial cultural and religious dissimilarities. Politicians, sociologists and researchers often disagree on this item. For example, Sabrina P. Ramet in her article “The So-Called Right of National Self-Determination and Other Myth” suggest the right to national self-determination shouldn’t be introduced at all, as giving this charter to one ethnical minority will inevitably lead to the griping the rights of other ethnical groups and of the majority altogether.

Giving the example of the imaginary nations Fyromese and Fopogese, she explains that the ethnical groups that coexist on the same territory are often utterly intermixed, so that is impossible to separate them, if one of them demands autonomy, without pinching of their freedoms and charities, as the part of the Fopogese will have to live in the Fyromese-dominated state and vice-versa. (Ramet, 2000, p. 96) After reading Ramet’s article a lot of questions arise, some of which are: “Is it possible to provide the national minorities with the right to self-determination not harming the other citizens?”, and “In what way should it be done? ”

Y. Tamir in her book “Liberal Nationalism” suggests the solution. She says that the right to the national self-determination should be individual. Her beliefs is that the national minorities must have “the rights to define the meanings attached to this membership , that is, they should be the ones to decide on the cultural practices they wish to adopt and on the ways of expressing them”(Tamir, 1993, p. 37).

She also suggests differentiating the national self-determination and the principle of self-rule, which she defines as the “right of individuals to participate in the determination of the aims and the policies adopted by the political group they belong to. ” So it’s clear that groups who possess the self-determination rights do not always have the opportunity to affect the global political decisions made by the leaders of their countries. In contrary G. B.

Levey in his work “Liberal Nationalism and Cultural Rights” says that it is the principle of a liberal autonomy that “generates the civil rights for culture” (Levey, 2001, p. 683). He notes that the often the demands of cultural choice that dictate the organization of the liberal state. As we can note different approaches to this problem exist. Every person should be given a right to practice his/her customs and beliefs unless they affect others badly. As we all know, the wars which usually accompany the attempts of succession increase the world political tension.

And, of course, they lead to the deaths and suffering of the hotspot dwellers. It is important to find the balance between giving the national minorities the rights to national self-identification and not allowing them to destabilize the political situation in the country.

Works cited:

1. Sabrina P. Ramet. The So-Called Right of National Self-Determination and Other Myth. Human Rights Review, 2000, Vol. 2 Issue 1 2. Y. Tamir. Liberal Nationalism. Princeton University Press, 1993 3. Geoffrey Brahm Levey. “Liberal Nationalism and Cultural Rights”. Political studies University of New South Wales, 2001, vol. 49