Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

National Identity

Nationhood is a modern idea. No older than the 16th century. But already it's out-of-date. In a world of cultural fluidity and mass migration and cheap travel and the internet it makes no sense to give your loyalty to some more or less arbitrarily designed geographical entity. I'm English. But what is England? I have tried (very hard) to define Englishness for myself- and it always seems to come down to Morris dancing and cream teas. And Shakespeare. Never forget Shakespeare. But Shakespeare belongs to the world, no-one wants our Morris-men and cream teas are disgusting. The best things about any nation get taken up world-wide and only the silliest, most trivial things are left behind to define it. In reality the English are a people who eat curry and watch American movies. Nationhood is a idea that holds us back, that makes us timid, and it's time we outgrew it.
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