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Humanism and Nationalism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Alan H
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Humanism and Nationalism

#1 Post by Alan H » November 23rd, 2007, 8:30 pm

Ah! Two -isms. Bound to get some discussion going!

I'd like to put down my thoughts on nationalism and its relationship with Humanism.

It's something I've felt strongly about for a while, but was rekindled by Phaedo's post in which he mentioned Paul Kurtz's article The Limits of Tolerance and something in an article in The Herald a few days ago.

In it, Kurtz describes a tolerant society and its limits. About ethnicity, he says:
At this point we ought to recognize that there is a humanist outlook now emerging, which is transcultural. It cuts across frontiers and the cultural divide. If you tolerate all ethnic differences equally you are going to conflict. We have to move beyond that. Ethnic groupings are accidental, based on geographical isolation, with cultures and languages developing over a relatively short period of time in human history. We are reaching a stage where ethnicity can be reactionary, regressive, and divisive. Let me qualify that: we are opposed to the oppression by the majority of a minority. In the Soviet Union, for instance, the Russians had repressed the Estonians, Lithuanians, and Latvians, and in the United States there is a long-standing repression of black culture by the dominant white majority. We obviously are opposed to this.

We favor liberation and tolerance, but a new planetary society is emerging. This global culture is authentically humanistic; it goes beyond chauvinistic ethnicity; it opens the door to a new, more inclusive ethnicity where we are all members of the world community.
Geographic boundaries are arbitrary; accidents of recent history.

However, I'm not as optimistic as Kurtz. "We are reaching a stage where ethnicity can be reactionary, regressive, and divisive," but I'm not sure I see that this has changed much in recent history, so I think it would be fairer to say that ethnicity is still reactionary, regressive and divisive. Humanists favour liberation and tolerance and Humanism goes beyond 'chauvinistic ethnicity'. The global culture he sees - to be tolerant and inclusive - must transcend national boundaries. I don't think that he means that cultural differences should be suppressed or restrained in any way, but that we must go beyond the boundaries created more by historical and geographic accidents than by wilful human action. We are all African, after all!

Of course, we currently do have nations and in Europe at least, we do see far more cooperation between these nations that there has ever been. For eastern Europe, this has been very recent - only after previous national or ethnic boundaries had broken down. I see this as welcome sign for exactly the same reasons that the UN was set up just after one of the bloodiest periods in human history. History shows that humanity benefits when countries talk to each other and cooperate and what happens when barriers are put up!

Although it is sometimes expedient to say I'm a Scot, I think of myself as a member of the human race first, and, if pushed, a Brit and then a Scot at the bottom of the list. I don't see that where my mother happened to be at the time of my birth has much bearing on anything and certainly not on how I should be treated by others nor how I treat them. Certainly, I have some Scots heritage (and some English - my paternal grandfather was from Birmingham), but, as a Humanist, I don't see that as defining me or my tolerance or respect for others - I don't tolerate the French because of the Auld Alliance, but because they are fellow humans. My tolerance stems from this shared humanity and it seems obtuse to base it in any way on where I was born. To place nationalism first is not to be Humanist. To place nationalism first is to place others beneath or at least at a distance. It spawns superiority and intolerance of others and other ideas.

In today's Herald:
However, academics found that, in some areas, those views are becoming more negative and there is still a "worrying hostility" towards English people, which actually increased over time among the sample of some 300 pupils. Attitudes towards Muslims had also deteriorated.
Is there a correlation between this negativity and the 'rise' of nationalism in Scotland?
When S4 pupils who had taken part in the original survey were asked whether they would be just as likely to vote for an English person as a Scot for the Holyrood Parliament, only 30% agreed, compared to 62% of the same sample in 2004. However, in other areas attitudes have become more positive. When pupils were asked if they would be just as likely to vote for a woman as a man, 86% agreed, compared to 80.5% of the original group.
These statistics are worrying and presupposes a superiority of Scots over English, perhaps akin to racism: the perceived superiority of one grouping over another. This also reminds me of the complaints of too many Scots running the Westminster government.

If Humanists were polled with the same questions, would we get 100% for both? I hope we would.

Of course, there are boundaries; there are countries. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) goes some way to pulling the various disparate national Humanist organisations together with a common purpose and a common awareness of each other. Also, there is a need for national organisations to deal with national problems and to campaign nationally. A few years ago the British Humanist Association (BHA) thought about changing its name the Humanist Society of England and Wales. Part of the reasoning was that Scotland had its own, blossoming organisation, the HSS, to take care of local issues (education, government, etc). Thankfully, it was defeated at the AGM. I am a member of both the BHA and the HSS (at least I don't think I've been thrown out yet!) and the BHA has much to contribute to the whole country because they deal with many aspects that are still reserved issues (social security, defence, etc). In fact the HSS was formed when the BHA was far less active than it is now because it was unrealistic to expect the BHA, based in London, to deal with the expected Scottish Parliament after the referendum in 1979. So, the HSS grew to influence Scottish education and politics.

There are HSS members who are members or supporters of the Scottish Nationalist Party. So what?. There are also Labour Party and Conservative Party members or supporters and perhaps even some who couldn't care less! But I have come across some ardent Nationalist Humanists; they seem to be vehement in their support of an independent Scotland. I think the arguments about 'Scottish' oil and what would happen to our fellow human beings (relatives?) south of a Solway-Berwick line on the map if Alex Salmond got his hands on the revenues is a separate discussion. But the SNP will think itself as having won, when much of the money currently spent throughout the UK by Westminster was available to the people of Scotland alone. I fail to see how this in any way fits in with a Humanist outlook. In fact, I see nationalism as anathema to Humanism. A Humanist organisation should not be seen to serve nationalist purposes if it is to retain the respect of its members.

This does not mean that it couldn't celebrate the culture and heritage of its home, but the basic tenet of Humanism that Kurtz portrays must always be to the fore. Humanism is not a national culture and Humanist organisations must not try to represent the culture of its members or of that country. They must transcend national boundaries and be seen to do so. If they fail in this, they will not be seen as tolerant; not Humanist.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Jem
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#2 Post by Jem » November 24th, 2007, 12:18 pm

I am broadly in agreement with what you're saying here, Alan. A couple of points:

You say there are some "very ardent Nationalist Humanists". I say that if they are as ardent as that,they are not humanists. Maybe we're still debating about what humanism is and says and does but isn't it fundamental to humanism that we're about co-operation for the maximum benefit of all humanity and that we should strive to achieve happiness for ourselves and others? Your example about keeping Scottish oil just for Scotland is an example of something I think can't be justified according to this particular humanist principle.

Digression: I hate it when Christians say that other people who call themselves Christians aren't true Christians because of one thing or another they said or did. I've heard gay Christians say those of their fellow Christians who condemn homosexuality as sin and Christians aren't really Christians at all and vice versa. It's all crap AFAIC. People who believe in the Jesus God thing are Christians and the rest is just flim flam as far as I'm concerned. Until recently, I always defended the right of anyone to call themselves a humanist but I'm beginning to feel differently. I feel some of these people give humanism a bad name. On this forum I think God and Chris were the worst culprits but there have been others. Apart from the ceremonies, I don't see anything humanist coming out of the HSS these days. Too many people are joining humanist organisations just because they are anti-religion and not because they are interested in humanism as a philosophy.[/Digression]

That said, I think the world is enriched by diversity of culture. Don't we all (well, most of us) love visiting other countries and not just because we're chasing the sun? When we go abroad we want to see examples of local architecture, hear local music, try local food, hear about local history etc. Although where we are born may be an accident of birth, it is surely part of being human that we take pride in our cultural heritage and this pride is given expression through our support for our sports teams, our beauty contest entrants, our song in the eurovision song contest etc etc. Even when our entrants in such things are shameful, we're still delighted when "we" do well! OK, I may not be speaking for you but I think for many people - probably the majority - that pride in and celebration of national culture and achievement improves the quality of life. In a nutshell it makes people happy and if it makes people happy in a way that hurts nobody else - then isn't that exactly what humanism is about?

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#3 Post by DougS » November 25th, 2007, 3:45 pm

Jem wrote: OK, I may not be speaking for you but I think for many people - probably the majority - that pride in and celebration of national culture and achievement improves the quality of life. In a nutshell it makes people happy and if it makes people happy in a way that hurts nobody else - then isn't that exactly what humanism is about?
Put like that it seems a fair point but I still don't agree with it. I see architecture, music, arts and handicrafts and interesting food etc as the products of human creativity and that is all that matters. If I look at a Lowry or a Constable, I'm not thinking "Yay, an Englishman created that, aren't we great?". Yes, of course when we travel we want to sample local culture - we do so because we seek new and interesting experiences. We want to see and sample things we don't get at home. But you won't catch me thinking, "Wow, these croissants are delicious - what a talented people the French are to have created them in the first place!" Although cultural diversity is interesting and harmless most of the time, AFAIC it's a false and unnecessary division between people and this why excessive pride in one's nation runs counter to humanism principles.

By 'excessive pride', I mean pride in place of fairness and common sense. I will happily wave the England flag for the national team at a soccer or rugby match because a match is much more exciting if you are rooting for one side or the other. But if the team are pants and are beaten fair and square I don't throw an almighty cathartic tantrum over it as I have seen other supporters do. It's just a game, for crying out loud, and I still appreciate the top quality play of professional footballers even if they are on the opposing team and wiping the floor with us.

I have to say I'm surprised to hear that HSS members have chosen a new happy human logo with the St Andrew's cross on the front. Leaving aside the fact that it's a religious symbol - which alone I would have thought renders it inappropriate - it is also the national flag and seems to me to be reinforcing the national pride message that I feel is a contradiction of the humanist message. I would certainly hope never to see the BHA logo with a Union Jack on it!

:shock:

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Alan H
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#4 Post by Alan H » November 25th, 2007, 10:02 pm

DougS wrote:I have to say I'm surprised to hear that HSS members have chosen a new happy human logo with the St Andrew's cross on the front. Leaving aside the fact that it's a religious symbol - which alone I would have thought renders it inappropriate - it is also the national flag and seems to me to be reinforcing the national pride message that I feel is a contradiction of the humanist message. I would certainly hope never to see the BHA logo with a Union Jack on it!

:shock:
From Wikipedia:
According to legend, in 832 A.D. King Óengus (II) (or King Angus) led the Picts and Scots in battle against the Angles under King Aethelstan of East Anglia near modern-day Athelstaneford in East Lothian. King Angus and his men were surrounded and he prayed for deliverance. During the night Saint Andrew, who was martyred on a saltire cross, appeared to Angus and assured him of victory. On the following morning a white saltire against the background of a blue sky appeared to both sides. The Picts and Scots were heartened by this, but the Angles lost confidence and were defeated. This saltire design has been the Scottish flag ever since.
If that isn’t authoritative enough for your liking, try the Saltire Society:
The early legends of St. Andrew declare that he was crucified, but the belief that he asked to be put to death on an X-shaped cross, being unworthy to die in the same manner as had Christ, is a much later development: no example of a saltire associated with St. Andrew is known before the year 1000. In Scotland, it first appears on the Seal of the Chapter of St. Andrews Cathedral, about 1180. Relics of St. Andrew had been venerated there since about the eighth or ninth centuries.
The blue flag we know today is not attested until 1540, by which time there existed a legend that King Angus of the Picts had been inspired to victory over the English army by a vision of a St. Andrew's Cross against a blue sky. Since that time, the Saltire has been the national flag of Scotland. Its use went into a decline after the Union of 1707, but as Scottish national feeling rose again in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it came into prominence again, and is now seen flying all over Scotland.
So, it seems incontrovertible: the Scottish flag in the new HSS logo has a religious origin, it’s called the Saint Andrew’s Cross, the colours are based on a religious vision of a white cross on a blue sky before a battle and has all the negative (and un-Humanist) connotations of nationalism that I highlighted in the OP. :shrug:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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#5 Post by gcb01 » November 26th, 2007, 3:49 pm

Yes the satire has religious origins (or perhaps more accurately, meteorological ones) but has long since been regarded as a national symbol. I recall in the sixties the lion rampant was more popular but since then its Royalist associations have perhaps accounted for it losing out to the satire.

If and when Scotland becomes independent then we can debate what flag we'd like.

Given Scotland's seperate legal and education systems, I don't see having a Scottish identifier on the logo is any different from having the word "Scotland" in the name of the Society.

I would prefer the satire on the log to be more like a small badge which would also avoid the various misinterpretations that have been put on it.
Regards

Campbell

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#6 Post by Diane » November 26th, 2007, 4:33 pm

The 'satire'? :wink:


I'm don't think the religious origins of the flag matter particularly but I do see a difference between having the country in the name of a national charitable organisation and having the flag on the logo. People want to know an organisation's 'catchment area'. A flag is an expression of national pride which is irrelevant to humanism.

Would a happy human wearing tartan be better, worse or just the same?

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Alan H
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#7 Post by Alan H » November 26th, 2007, 10:28 pm

Diane wrote:Would a happy human wearing tartan be better, worse or just the same?
...dancing the Highland fling, perhaps?

At least that would be some kind of a celebration of Scottish culture (that some, at least, would be able to identify with), rather than nationalism. However, it would still be naff.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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#8 Post by fullerwiser » December 10th, 2007, 9:54 pm

The whole idea of national pride has always been suspect to me. I have only existed since 1974, so how exactly can I be proud of the accomplishments of Americans before me? And how can I be proud of the accomplishments of Americans period, unless that American is me?

People who are proud to be a citizen of the country they were born in are fooling themselves. It was not an accomplishment to be born into a given country. It is an accident of history that they were born there. If you become a citizen of a country of your own volition, I can see cause for pride. But just showing up into the world in a given place shouldn't make anyone proud.

We're all accidents of history and genetics, and the only things we can truly take pride in are the things we have done ourselves or in concert with groups we have chosen to engage in. Thus, I can be proud of the near-majority of my countryfolk who voted against Mad King George in 2004, because we all joined in a concerted attempt to remove bad leadership. But to take pride in simply being a member of a given country...I don't get it.

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#9 Post by whitecraw » December 11th, 2007, 12:21 am

Nationalism can like anything else be humanistic or anti-humanistic. It will be humanistic to the extent to which it ascribes fundamental non-negotiable value to real flesh-and-blood individuals, just as they are, and anti-humanistic to the extent that it devalues those individuals in relation to supposedly ‘higher’ things, like a people, a culture, an ideology or an identity.

There’s a useful distinction that’s sometimes made between civic nationalism and ethnic nationalism. Civic nationalism can sometimes be humanistic, while ethnic nationalism can never be humanistic. In civic nationalism the state derives its legitimacy from the active participation of its citizens in its institutions, irrespective of the ethnicity, culture, identity or values of those citizens. Membership of a civic nation is considered voluntary, and it is a condition of civic nationalism that one can refuse membership and the rights which membership brings. In ethnic nationalism, on the other hand, membership of a nation is considered hereditary. It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group and with their ancestors, and usually a shared language. The state derives political legitimacy from its status as the homeland of the ethnic group and from its function to protect the ethnic group and facilitate its cultural and social life as a people.

For all its whining tartanry and heirskip patriotism in the White Blether Club at the foot of the Royal Mile, the Scottish National Party has in recent years sought to redefine itself as a party of civic nationalism in order to broaden its appeal beyond Scotland’s Wee Schottlanders. And to that extent it has become more humanistic.

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#10 Post by Alan H » December 11th, 2007, 12:23 am

FW

I think I agree with all you say, but I'll try to reply more fully tomorrow.

However, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about being proud for something your country has done (except 'countries' don't do anything - people do). I just do not get it. I don't get, for example, why I should feel proud about Glasgow getting the Commonwealth Games in 2014. I had nothing to do with it and nobody asked me about it. What have I to be proud of?

Am I even proud to be a Scot? No. I have not heard a rational explanation why I should be. That is why I have the views I have about nationalism.
:shrug:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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#11 Post by Jem » December 11th, 2007, 12:00 pm

whitecraw wrote: There’s a useful distinction that’s sometimes made between civic nationalism and ethnic nationalism. Civic nationalism can sometimes be humanistic, while ethnic nationalism can never be humanistic. In civic nationalism the state derives its legitimacy from the active participation of its citizens in its institutions, irrespective of the ethnicity, culture, identity or values of those citizens. Membership of a civic nation is considered voluntary, and it is a condition of civic nationalism that one can refuse membership and the rights which membership brings. In ethnic nationalism, on the other hand, membership of a nation is considered hereditary. It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group and with their ancestors, and usually a shared language. The state derives political legitimacy from its status as the homeland of the ethnic group and from its function to protect the ethnic group and facilitate its cultural and social life as a people.
Wiki presents the standard view of civic and ethnic nationalism as a dichotomy of nationalism set against each other. I recently read an essay which argued that they were two intermingling components of one ideology of nationalism. "The key distinction between the two is their focus, the point around which people begin to identify and imagine themselves as a community".

I think nationalism as Alan talks about it in the OP is, very simply, national pride - what exactly it means and whether it's something humanists should have. I think if you ask many people whether they are proud of being Scots, English, French or whatever and, if so, why, their response will be on the lines of, "Of course. This is a marvellous country, we've got great history, culture, traditions, sense of humour, Rabbie Burns..democracy...invented the telephone...discovered penicillin..yadda yadda yadda..."

All of which is absolutely fine, AFAIC.

It's the next stage that I have my reservations about. The flag waving - not just on special occasions - but anywhere. You see the Saltire in cars, in shop windows, in pubs...why ffs? There seems to be a preoccupation with our "Scottishness" - our unique Scottish identity, whatever the hell that is - and wanting to present ourselves as distinct as possible from our nearest neighbour which, to me, is indicative of a small country mentality and has nothing to do with humanism.

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#12 Post by fullerwiser » December 11th, 2007, 4:15 pm

As far as I can see, the only benefit of having a sense of national identity would be a resulting concern and involvement in improving and sustaining the community that sustains you.

In my "citizen of the world" mentality, it can sometimes be difficult to attach to my geographically local community, which nonetheless exerts a tremendous amount of force on my life. I can complain to you folks about bad schools, bad laws, and the like, but I have yet to set up a meeting with my local councilperson or school board member to express my concerns.

I like the idea of Civic Nationalism, that seems more logical, and ties into my point above. Perhaps I could use a dose.

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#13 Post by Alan H » August 5th, 2008, 8:05 pm

This letter was in today's Herald:
********************************************************************************
Countries Are Just Administrative Conveniences (from The Herald )
http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/let ... iences.php
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Countries are just administrative conveniences
YOUR LETTERS August 05 2008
Comment | Read Comments (45)

There are many strange things about the proposed question about "national identity" in the next census (The Herald, July 31), and one of them is that it seems to rest on the common assumption that everyone "feels" something or other, national identity-wise.

It needs to be recognised that some of us - and not the least sane of us, either - may not feel anything, national identity-wise. Sure, I know that if I have to get a passport it needs to be a British one, not, say, a Peruvian one, and so in that sort of context I'll say I'm British, but such mundane phenomena do not require me to "feel" anything at all, national identity-wise. To many of us, countries are just administrative conveniences and nations are false gods.

God, love, friendship, art, science, nature, music, sport, family, work, morality, health, fun, sex, knowledge, contemplation, beauty, poetry, creativity, food, community - can anyone seriously say that these alone are not enough for the good life for any human being and that human fulfilment is not complete unless, as well, we nourish a partisan enthusiasm for something called Scotland or England or Britain or . . . (substitute the name of some other geo-political entity)? When I was a child it used to give me a thrill to see all the red on the world map, but isn't there something about putting away childish things? And while presumably each of us has some way in which he or she habitually thinks of themselves (is that what is meant by "identity" here?), it is eminently possible that "I'm Scottish/English/British/Indonesian/whatever" may figure little or not at all.

None of these entails that a person may not have a genuine yearning for his or her homeland, but homeland may not be identical with what is enclosed within state borders (I might yearn, say, for the border hills, irrespective of the England/Scotland boundary, or for the islands or for the west country), just as my ain folk need not be identical with holders of the same passport.

Paul Brownsey, Bearsden, Glasgow.

[Retrieved: Tue Aug 05 2008 20:03:36 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################
He got a fair bit of support. I commented:
Paul: thanks for saying so eloquently what I hope many of us feel. I am human first and foremost. I am Scottish last and least, with European and British somewhere in between, but only if really necessary.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#14 Post by gcb01 » August 6th, 2008, 11:38 am

Nationalism is just like religion, a form of sectarianism that divides us and leads to different groups competing and sometimes fighting each other lit. and fig.

Having said that if Scotland ever won the world cup I would get pissed for weeks. (no danger there then)
Regards

Campbell

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Alan H
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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#15 Post by Alan H » August 6th, 2008, 11:32 pm

In today's Herald:
********************************************************************************
Proud Of The Saltire (from The Herald )
http://www.theherald.co.uk/search/displ ... altire.php
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proud of the saltire
Comment | Read Comments (40)

Des McNulty, Labour's transport spokesman, says the rebranding of Scotland's rolling stock is "a huge waste of money". This exercise is needed at this time because Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), transferred over-ground train operations to Transport Scotland in 2004. The new livery will complete that changeover and avoid confusion.

Can I remind Mr McNulty that the new colours are Scotland's blue, as in the saltire, and not the yellow and black of the SNP. The saltire should be seen on our trains, stations and anywhere else as appropriate. We should be proud to fly our flag.

Linda Clark, (Councillor, Banchory and Mid Deeside), Banchory, Aberdeenshire.

Going with the fuzzy logic of George Foulkes's recent claim that the intended new saltire livery on Scotland's trains is "independence by creep", does this mean that keeping the trains disparately coloured and un-uniformed is "Unionism by stasis"? I would be interested to know where else Mr Foulkes thinks the use of this deadly flag may influence how the public may vote. It is more likely that independence will come about by the Scottish public rejecting outdated, Scotophobic havers as articulated by Mr Foulkes.

D Nicholson, Queen's Cross, Aberdeen.

[Retrieved: Wed Aug 06 2008 23:30:38 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################
What exactly does 'Proud of the saltire' (or any other flag) actually mean to people?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#16 Post by Alan C. » August 7th, 2008, 12:31 am

Alan H
What exactly does 'Proud of the saltire' (or any other flag) actually mean to people?
It means zilch to me, there is only one race, the human race of which we are all a part, and the sooner people realise and accept this, the better off we will all be.
Nationalism is maybe what you fall back on as a reason to "hate" if you don't have religion :shrug: A lot of people in this world seem to have this need to hate.
Me! I can get along with most folk :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#17 Post by fullerwiser » August 7th, 2008, 3:26 pm

Alan H wrote:What exactly does 'Proud of the saltire' (or any other flag) actually mean to people?
I've long rejected the notion that anyone can be proud of anything that they themselves are not directly responsible for. I'm forever hearing people speak of how proud they are to be Americans, or men, or women, or Kennedys, or any number of things that they had absolutely no part in acquiring.

I'm an American because of the actions of my ancestors. I have no reason to be proud or not proud about that, it was something that happened completely independently of my will. When I suggest this to pridemongers, they simply wave the flag higher.

I remember marching in an anti-war protest in DC a few months before the Iraq debacle broke out, and of course there was a small clutch of toothless wonders off to the side with a big map on a stick. Moscow was circled in black marker, with the admonition to "Go back home!" I shouted, "I'm from Fort Worth, you fuckheads!!" but then one of them started drooling, and I realized the futility.

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#18 Post by Moonbeam » August 19th, 2008, 10:23 am

I don't consciously feel proud to be British because it's something I can't help but I do feel pleased to see GB doing well in the medals tables.

:puzzled:


Even more puzzling....I do feel ashamed to be British when British governments do terrible things.

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Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#19 Post by gcb01 » August 20th, 2008, 11:04 am

Moonbeam wrote:I don't consciously feel proud to be British because it's something I can't help but I do feel pleased to see GB doing well in the medals tables.
Remember it's Team Gee Bee, a new country no one had heard of before these games.
Regards

Campbell

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Alan H
Posts: 24062
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Humanism and Nationalism

#20 Post by Alan H » August 20th, 2008, 12:37 pm

gcb01 wrote:Remember it's Team Gee Bee, a new country no one had heard of before these games.
They're Australian, aren't they? :shrug:
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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