By Joe Harker
According to Albert Einstein, nationalism is an "infantile disease, the measles of mankind". Charles De Gaulle compares it to patriotism where "love of your own people comes first", whereas nationalism is "when hate for people other than your own comes first". Throughout history most people who have spoken about nationalism have agreed that it is a bad thing, a more extreme form of patriotism that goes beyond loving your country to hating others because they are not your country.
Many political parties describe themselves as "nationalist parties" but would be quick to reject the idea that they or their supporters are really nationalist. Most likely they would prefer to describe themselves as patriots, though there are fewer parties that describe themselves as such.
Author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, has come under fire for her recent critique of Scottish nationalism. She said it "contains traces of bigotry" and argued against the idea that Scottish nationalism was better or less harmful that other kinds. She said: "When blood and soil ethno-nationalists are marching with your supposedly 'civic' marches, your nationalism doesn’t look too different to any other country."
Rowling posted a series of screenshots of abuse from nationalists, though admitted that they were in no way representative of Scottish nationalism at large. She was met with strong criticism from Scottish nationalists and newspaper The National.
Nationalism is a word packed with negative connotations but most who describe themselves as Scottish nationalists are likely driven more by love for their country than the hatred of another. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes nationalism as "loyalty and devotion to a nation", a far more pleasant definition than the portrait of an angry, insular ideal that whose main motivation is hatred for another nation.
For many there is a concerning lack of boundaries between patriotism and nationalism. Rabbil Sikdar of the Huffington Post believes the current World Cup has "brought out the good and bad of nationalism".
On the good side are fans from all walks of life supporting their countries together. Race, gender and sexuality are not reasons to be divided as all are united in support of their nation. On the bad side there is violent behaviour from fans and vitriol directed at other nations.
Former US President Barack Obama believes there is a "global rise in nationalism" with social media networks fueling social divisions. He worries that people are feeling more scared than ever and adopt nationalism as a result. The way information is presented to the public means they could be told about the same event from different sources and have wildly different reactions. Those that deliberately stoke fear and drive people to nationalism is highly dangerous.