Don’t Fight Nationalism. Use It for Good

A statue of George Washington outside the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, Va., February 8, 2019 (Jay Paul/Reuters)
The more the political Left abandons the field of nationalism, the greater will be the political Right’s power to deploy it.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE N ationalism, supposedly a relic of the two centuries between the French Revolution and the fall of the Soviet Empire, has proven surprisingly resilient. Should we be alarmed at that? A realistic assessment of human history should tell us that nationalism is one of the fundamental passions of humanity, like self-interest, the drive for power and status, or the sex drive. As with all passions, our goal should be not to eliminate it but to subject it to the constraints of reason and experience.

Fused to those companions, nationalism can be healthy in modest doses. When taken straight, it can be much

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