The thing about baseline nationalism – not even “radical” nationalism, just that sort of normal set of underlying nationalist principles that everyone adheres to who believes in the legitimacy of nation-states, which is most people – is that you don’t even need to say, for instance, “it’s okay for the government to put people in camps and torture them because they’re not Australian.” You don’t even need to formulate that as a coherent thought in a way that might result in you *dealing* with it, because it’s simply taken for granted as a fundamental truth. Your brain does you the favor of gliding right over it so you can get on with writing your internet screed about how the conditions “probably aren’t that bad” and people are only attempting suicide and children are only falling comatose as a trick to be allowed into Australian hospitals, which just proves even more they shouldn’t be allowed to come here, on and on, etc. etc.

It is a mistake to think that only extreme nationalists, only violent nationalists, are the problem. The normal everyday nationalism that is so commonplace we often don’t even register it as *being* nationalism is – perhaps after gender – the most widespread and deeply entrenched system on this planet for *licensing* violence done by others, for turning violence into something sanitary and bureaucratic and amoral, for allowing people who are not fundamentally indecent to nevertheless avert their eyes from damning evidence of human suffering. It is a social pathology. A disease.

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