The smoke of ultranationalism that clouds public policy sphere

Unanimity, regardless of ideological differences among the leading political parties, in sanctioning the amendment of the constitution in order to make path for the corrected political map was definitely a feat in the Nepalese mainstream political landscape. It confirmed the strong presence of nationalism and patriotism among the political leaders of the country attempting to represent the diverse sovereign people of Nepal. Moreover, the patriotic display of solidarity by the political leaders representing the Madhesi ethnicity towards the State was a major win for the country as well. As, it drew significant confidence towards achieving nation-state within the federal democratic republican State of Nepal whilst past political directions of the parties representing Madhesi ethnicity clearly connoted ethnic nationalism at an alarming level that even brewed ground for secessionist motives.

The feeling of nationalism among the leaders of the country and the general people undoubtedly raises the spirit of the constitution. Also, literature concerning political science warrant civic nationalism as a vital ingredient for the indefinite preservation of a State. After all, it is through civic nationalism among the people that generates a sense of national identity within themselves while creating adequate room for the liberal values of freedom, tolerance, ethnic equality, and individual rights to foster. However, it is when nationalism gathers excess amount of sensation in the country enough to clouds political and policy decision making following the unfathomable tendency to uphold nationalistic beliefs at the cost of political and economic rationality that it becomes a burden. Commonly interpreted as ultranationalism, such height of nationalism at least severs political decision making that supports international cooperation, trade, and relations amongst others. Most importantly, such philosophical beliefs barres the nation from adopting policies based on liberal values and international cooperation that pertain to free trade, international mobility, foreign investment & ownership, and labor mobility. On the contrary, such ideas that compose of free market system is the only speed lane to economic prosperity and development for underdeveloped economies as Nepal.

Henceforth, signs of growing ultranationalism in the country triggered by perceived international hostility can instead have ramification in the public policy sphere of the country enough to hinder progressive economic policies. In fact, the surge in ultranational sentiment across the political leadership and general mass may even make it almost impossible to raise or hold discourse on policy measures that lacks populist agenda but hosts logic for long-term economic growth. As such, it can create a sense of fear of being reprimanded by the baton of ultranationalism among law-makers and policy experts to advocate for policies that is politically incorrect by the order of nationalist sentiment though being rational. Such policies may even pertain to simple unpopular ideas as liberalizing trade and investment that can increase competition for domestic producers at the benefit of the consumers.

In fact, the worst is that the veil of ultranationalism can push the country into the flawed idea of self-sufficiency and forced economic equality through state redistribution. Such short-sighted agenda filled with populist mileage and easily laddered by the thrust of ultranationalism can unfortunately push the country into the classic case of nationalization and big government before it is too late to recognize that the country have been drifting on stark emotions towards failure.

In conclusion, while the country is riding the tide of excess nationalism amid territorial encroachment by the neighboring government and perceived conspiracy of a bilateral donor to achieve post-modern colonialism, it is important to keep such sentiment in check such that it does not cloud decision making in larger public policy sphere. After all, history observes economy functioning on strategy and logic to have secured progress than others hallucinating on ultranationalism and pure sentiment.

Prience Shrestha

Prience works in the research department at Samriddhi Foundation. And, he attempts to specialize in the field of Development Economics


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