The Israeli Historian and futurist who is Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s favourite author lectured at the Central European University (CEU). He said that without abstract hallucinations like nationalism our species would never have become dominant in the world, but nationalist politicians in the USA or Israel divide their nations and turn their people against each other.
“I will talk about nationalism.” – Yuval Noah Harari started his speech adding that his family is from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the Nazis killed many of his relatives. He said that he will talk about the positive side of the nationalism because only a few people know today what this notion means – index.hu reported.
He said that nationalism is something rather new, the process leading to its creation started only approximately 10 thousand years ago. Therefore, the nation is not coded in our genes; our biology contains only the importance of being part of a tribe where people personally know each other. In contrast, in the case of a nation, at least 99 pc of the people are unknown for us.
We just hallucinate that we belong together
but this is the basis of our cooperation resulting in such miracles like the pyramids, money or supermarket chains.
According to Harari, breaking up with nationalism would lead to a global catastrophe and chaos and not some kind of liberal dream. Indeed, one of the main causes of today’s global crisis is that the ties, cemented by e.g. nationalism between the people, are weakening. Good nationalists always pay the taxes, do not cheat and instead of their oligarch friends, they entrust the best entrepreneurs to do a job. Furthermore, a good nationalist does not hate foreigners but loves their compatriots.
According to him, today’s nationalist leaders work against the national cohesion of their people when
they turn them against each other to divide and conquer.
For example, pro-Republican Americans are more afraid of their Democrat supporter counterparts than the enemies of their country. In fact, nationalist leaders only try to deepen already-existing wounds like migration; thus they divide their people – Harari highlighted.
“What does it mean to be Hungarian?” – he asked. Hungarian cuisine is, for example, surely Hungarian but it uses paprika (pepper) which came to Europe from the Americas. So real Hungarians should stop eating paprika and dishes prepared with it? – he asked. Thus, he concluded that each nation is in constant change. He said that even the supporters of unlimited immigration are wrong since the
cohabitation of huge crowds of different people inevitably causes tensions.
Therefore, immigration needs time and the support of the natives.
Furthermore, he added that migration in itself is just a minor problem humankind has to deal with in the near future. The real questions are:
Nationalism cannot solve any of these problems, he highlighted, since nobody can build a wall to prevent climate change. Harari’s solution is globalism during which nations would create a global government like FIFA which was created by the national federations to organise soccer everywhere in the world. So those who like soccer world cups are globalists – he concluded.
Regarding his discussion with Mark Zuckerberg, he said that the founder of Facebook is a naive but kind person and is like many tech-gurus in the Silicon-valley who are very good at creating gigantic global networks but
they do not know how the world works and do not know History.
Below you can watch the whole lecture: