Nationalism and Morality
In the introduction to “Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe” George Mosses provides links between development of modern nationalism and middle-class morality. Mosses claims that since the end of the 18th century middle-class morality and nationalism has reached powerful alliance and together they could be defined as the modern standards of respectability including the questions of sexuality. Together nationalism and morality created the standards of what to consider moral and amoral. Mosses writes that nationalism influenced middle class and presupposes development of morals and manners, as well as influenced human attitudes towards sexuality, but nationalism didn’t tend penetrate the privacy of tête-à-tête relations. Mosses argues that nationalism, instead, tended to define collective dimensions of middle class sexuality and to reveal the connections between sexuality and public ideologies.
Mosses admits that virility and manliness were of importance for national character. Men who seemed to lack the mentioned characteristics were considered abnormal. The alliance between nationalism and middle-class morality became, as the author states, rather totalized aimed at keeping everyone at a fixed place: males and females, native dwellers and foreigners. Nationalism created a rigid code of morals and manners which were followed strictly. So-called euthanasia program was launched to clean the nation from ‘outsiders’. Mosses states that nationalism and religion are parts of modern development, and, therefore, it is necessary to find ways hot to humanize them as they can hardly be eliminated. Mosses surely challenges respectability in his book tending to show the real connections between morality and nationalism. The key idea is that together nationalism and morality became ‘historical villains’ and their intolerant and constructive sense had led to genocidal motivation.
Mosses, George. “Introduction: Nationalism and Respectability,” in Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe. Howard Fertig, 1985, pp.1-22.