Many thinkers have idealized nationalism and see nothing but only virtues in it. They defend it on the following grounds :—
1. It recognizes the birth-right of every set of people living in a certain country to have an independent existence. As Burn puts it, “There is some special quality in every group which must be preserved in the interests of whole humanity.
This quality can only be preserved if each group of people has an opportunity for characteristic development of its own laws and institutions”. Not only each nation gains in its individuality, but also humanity as a whole adds to collective wealth.
It has offered an opportunity to every set of people to contribute their distinctive share to the world civilization and literature.
2. It has created a healthy spirit of national rivalry and as such it has resulted in growth of culture and better standard of living. Nations advance politically by contact, competition and an antagonism.
Just as destruction of individuality may destroy genius, so the attempt to make all groups of men exactly alike under the control of a common government, will destroy their special character.
3. The states that are unified by national sentiment are always stable and their laws are always better obeyed than states that are only held together by subjection to a common authority.
Moreover, it is only in national states, that the democracy can function properly and people willingly submit to the will of the majority.
In the words of Burgess, “the national state solves the problem of the relation of sovereignty to liberty, so that while it is the most powerful political organization that the world has ever produced, it is still the freest”.
4. The spirit of nationalism inculcated a desire among the subject people to free themselves from the domination of the foreign rule.
It was only under the influence of this spirit that India and other Afro-Asian countries liberated themselves from the exploitation of Foreign imperialism.