The problem with people in the intelligentsia is its utter incapacity to conduct a class-based analysis.
So many people say to me, “But I’m a citizen of the world! I don’t need a nation! Immigration worked out so well for me, how can there possibly be a problem with it?”
It worked out brilliantly for me, too. I’m doing fantastic. But we, the ultra-educated, cosmopolitan, multilingual citizens of the world are a tiny minority. For the overwhelming majority of the people who are dragged around the world by globalization things aren’t that peachy. Their communities are destroyed, families are separated, and national economies are rendered completely dysfunctional. While your kids go to fancy schools, travel and speak a buttload of languages, theirs join gangs, flunk out, and lose the capacity to have a single language they are really fluent in.
It’s supposedly easy for you to live without an attachment to a nation or a community (we all say so but it’s not even true) but what about those who perceive the extraction of this attachment as a deep wound?
Have you seen the caravans of Central American migrants marching with their national flags? The people in them are completely sincere. There is truly nobody more patriotic and more deeply enamored of their country and culture than Salvadorans. The people in these caravans don’t give a toss about your cosmopolitanism and the 15 languages you speak fluently. They want to eat their pupusas and watch their home team with a bunch of neighbors at home. They aren’t like you but they are not inferior to you. They won’t have the money to pay for therapy for themselves and their kids to process the trauma of this displacement but they aren’t inferior. They still count in their own right and not as proof that “everybody is on the move” and hence my and your voluntary and leisurely displacement was a 100% awesome thing.
The US destroyed Central America throughout the 1970s and 1980s when it brutally implanted neoliberalism in these countries. The US is still destroying Central America today and using the treacly verbiage of human rights and cosmopolitanism to mask the same old neoliberal policies. And I care about that more than about constantly repeating how great it all worked out for me.