@mandude: It is used to evoke emotional support for all kinds of ideologies or to validate the position of dictatorial regimes. Granted, it can be used to muster support for good ideas as well but I think we should replace the idea of nationalism with that of global solidarity.
And it is used to create great works of art, and it is used to protect cultures on the brink of annihilation. Should the Maori revival be swept aside because it's fueled by nationalism? Perhaps the Basque people should just settle for being Spanish. Obviously, I take for granted you don't think like that, but my point is, these movements would be dead if it weren't for nationalism.
Global solidarity is just an inversion of nationalism. Instead of 'blocking global progress to serve local interests', you'd just be serving global interests at the expense of local interests. And that might be very well for you, if you live in one of the large influential nations, but if you're on the fringes, it means cultural death.
But that's only if it's used poorly. I think global solidarity is important, but I think we have to be careful with it. Similarly, I don't see why the whole world should throw nationalism away, simply because some have been less than careful with it.
I should hope you don't mistake the whole of nationalism for only a toxic kind of it. One can be devoted to their country in many ways without using that devotion to justify the subjugation of other peoples.
There have been many fierce nationalists, who at the same time were pacifists, and have made the world a richer place for having been in it.
@slag: I was more trying to find a distinction between why I didn't mind Tommy Vercetti & company while still hating Vincent.
It's an interesting topic. I also liked the protagonists of GTA III and Vice City, but disliked Vincent (and CJ).
I think it's because Claude and Tommy Vercetti know that what they're doing is evil, and they don't care. There's a unity of intention and action that makes stepping into their shoes a bit easier.
On the other hand, CJ thinks he's only doing right by his neighbourhood, and Vincent is acting out of childishness. They don't want to be evil, but they do evil things. So as a player, I'm forced to take on their intentions and their poor judgement. It doesn't work because it's these two things that are the source of conflict. The game is basically asking you to be your own obstacle.