A Twelve Step Program for the World's Possibly Most Dangerous Drug, Nationalism

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Among the world's top most dangerous drugs--nationalism... (We might also take racism as being akin to nationalism...)

This drug's most obvious effect is (selective) blindness. The addict will filter and process everything through the distorted vision caused by this drug. Only the addict (and by extension his country) will be right in all situations, and others are suspect of blame, weakness, aggression, etc.

As with drug addiction, the addict will most likely vigorously deny the dependence, but it will be clear from their actions that, for the most part, they will only be able to place blame on others (other nations or people in other countries) and not take account for their own actions (often because this is indeed more difficult to do). While fault may indeed be found with others (or other countries and their people), this is often used as an excuse for failing to address and overcome the system of mutually enabling behavior which affects both addicts in their relation to one another--such as an unjust or weak international order cannot resolve disputes adequately and leads to further national animosities (and to look at one's own faults (and one's own country) in the process).

Here's a twelve-step program (based largely on the original one for alcoholics) to overcoming this dependence... They apply equally no matter your country of origin...

Note that, needless to say, none of this is professional psychiatric advice.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over nationalism—that our lives (and those of our fellow national and world citizens, and our international relations as countries) had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power (or at a minimum, a federated world power) greater than ourselves (and greater than our country alone) could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him (or at least to a higher representative authority which encompassed all people).
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (including ourselves as national citizens). [One of the most important and difficult steps, in my opinion - B.Z.]
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs as an individual and national citizen. [I don't really agree with the part about admitting it to another human being as far as small offenses by individuals, as I don't believe in humiliation before another human being, but I do believe disclosure may be truly needed in some larger cases for therapy or justice (e.g., like in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission or even payment of reparations).]
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character in ourselves and our country (and/or let a justly constituted international system of governance by the people of the world monitor and prescribe remedies for serious defects not handled adequately by our own national authorities).
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings as individuals and as a country. [Note that, as with addiction recovery, one need not focus blame excessively on oneself as a country or people, and there are advantages to taking note of steps toward progress, but without letting such pride or contentment degenerate into laxity or regression, or ignoring the need (as discussed in the next steps) to redress serious wrongs one (or one's country) has committed. - B.Z.]
  8. Made a list of all persons, peoples, and nations we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people or nations wherever possible (as an individual or country), except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we (as individuals or as a country) were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him (or at least seek to improve our conscious knowledge of, participation in, reformation of, and adherence to His current higher legal body for humanity, the United Nations and other international institutions), praying only for knowledge of His Will for us (or at least for knowledge of international opinion and consensus, as God favors unity except where unity is truly amoral, as in Hitler's Germany) and the power to carry that out (or at least that a justly constituted United Nations, comprised of our nation and others, will be given the authority and power by God to act as the executive for such consensus and act as the global policemen to adequately defend individual and national liberties as necessary, as our world so sorely needs).
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other nationalists, and to practice these principles in all our affairs (as individuals or as a nation).