Against ‘Nationalism’

The Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) flutters during a protest the day after a banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 2, 2017. (Enrique Calvo/Reuters)
The term is too evocative, and its connotations too various, to function as shorthand for political ideas that need to be unambiguous.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I srael figures prominently in the latest segment of the episodic nationalism debate at National Review. Rich Lowry praises Zionism as a model of nationalism. Models are helpful. We point to them when we need to talk about a concept but are not sure how to define it: “I know it when I see it.” In Suicide of the West (1964), James Burnham compiled a long list of politicians, publications, and institutions that “everybody knows” to be liberal. He distilled their shared essence, as he saw it, and constructed a critique of it. We can apply his method to the question

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