WHAT is nationalism? The word has taken on a new interest since the Brexit vote, the Trump presidency and the rise of popular or peoples’ parties in Europe.
Is it a betrayal of patriotism, as the French president averred at the World War I centenary, or something to be asserted as had President Trump the day before? Is it a dirty word or does it need defending? Or something else?
In his recently published book, The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony presents a refreshingly different explanation of the need for nationalism as the ideal form of social and political organisation.
Nationalism, in his world view, is a necessity (not a moral vice of ‘us riding roughshod over them’) as the antidote to imperialism. Globalists or modern-day liberals were wrong to believe that ‘unfettered national self-determination’ was the reason for (responsible for) two World Wars and the Holocaust. Imperialism was. Hitler was an imperialist par excellence. Yet through this distorted prism, ‘nationalism’ is the brush that all modern nationalist or populist movements are tarred with – not least by those with their own modern-day imperialist agendas.
As well as exposing this false narrative, Hazony points to the choice we are facing in this renewed clash between nationalism and universalism. A choice between a world of independent states and (the renewal of) the ideal of the universal empire is being forced on us.
If we want freedom and meaningful democracy, it is the first we must fight for. Far from being the scourge of mankind, the love of national independence is the best hope for its humanity.
Hazony sets out his step-by-step argument for why we have to fight to preserve a world of independent nations in this brilliant new PragerU video, which you can view here.