The Virtue of Nationalism

The Virtue of Nationalism

Book - 2018
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In The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony contends that a world of sovereign nations is the only option for those who care about personal and collective freedom. He recounts how, beginning in the sixteenth century, English, Dutch, and American Protestants revived the Old Testament's love of national independence, and shows how their vision eventually brought freedom to peoples from Poland to India, Israel to Ethiopia. It is this tradition we must restore, he argues, if we want to limit conflict and hate--and allow human difference and innovation to flourish.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781541645370
1541645375
Branch Call Number: 320.54 H339
Characteristics: viii, 285 pages ; 25 cm

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dennismmiller
Jun 04, 2019

In the early twentieth century, all right-thinking people were nationalists - at least two of the great moral touchstones of the era, Wilson's Twelve Points and Gandhi's Indian independence movement, were founded on the principle of national self-determination. This changed after the Second World War, both due to the rise and fall of fascism and the perceived need for supranational mediating institutions during the Cold War's nuclear-armed superpower standoff and the growth of international commerce, with the result that by the end of the century all right-thinking people were globalists. In The Virtue of Nationalism Yoram Hazony makes the provocative contention that this shift endangers both international peace and individual liberties.

Central to Hazony's argument is an act of rhetorical sleight of hand in which he defines nationalism and imperialism as antithetical philosophies of government, attributing every positive development to the former and every misstep to the latter. This is, of course, both philosophical and historical nonsense, requiring him to cast medieval localist feudalism as somehow more imperialist than the European nations at the height of colonialism. This, in turn, involves a bizarre misconception of the Holy Roman Empire as an entity from which the nations of Europe "won their independence" at the beginning of the modern age, while even in his description the early modern European states appear less as consciously limited entities respecting each others' sovereignty than as competing empires. Turning his attention to the contemporary world, he insists (plausibly) that international institutions, when given the power to interfere in the affairs of nations, will always seek to expand that power despite actual prohibitions, but then pretends (implausibly) that nations, which must of necessity sometimes interfere in the affairs of their neighbors, will self-consciously limit themselves in obedience to abstract principles.

Hazony makes a compelling case against globalist institutions as necessarily technocratic and therefore anti-democratic. Even more significant is his observation that, left to itself, rational calculation can never instill the kind of loyalty that is necessary for the self-sacrifice that alone can sustain community. Unfortunately, the book overreaches in its central argument and is then undone by its own inconsistencies.

k
klimekk
May 11, 2019

Hazony argues that we will be forced to choose between a world of independent states, or a renewal of universal empire-in the form of the European Union or American hegemony. The Virtue of Nationalism makes clear that anyone who values their freedoms should fight for a world of nations.

Enough to reject that book. I don't want to read something so clearly garbage
Anyway - none of known to me nationalists were fighting for a "world of nations"
The only what I saw is fascists of different countries supporting each other .

p
patrickhill67
Oct 08, 2018

The nation state should now be seen as a necessary corrective to the unholy alliance between extreme leftist utopian multiculturalism and cynical corporatist globalism. Moving the pendulum back towards foundational liberal enlightenment values that created our modern nation states is a good thing. Unfortunately this runs counter to the prevailing narrative put forth in many mainstream media institutions such as the NY Times.

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