I’m giving a talk at NYU on Thursday on theme of my new book, The Case for Nationalism. I had taken out an ad in the student paper for the talk, it was all set to go, and then yesterday I got a notice for refund to my credit card from the assistant director of student life, a woman named Nanci Healey. This seemed odd. Had something gone awry? Sure enough, the ad had been canceled. Apparently, it doesn’t meet the editorial standards of the paper, although no further explanation has been forthcoming.
The ad invited people to learn why their pre-conceptions about nationalism are incorrect:
That this is ruled out of bounds goes precisely to a point I make in my book. The greatest killer of the 20th century was trans-national ideology, especially Communism. But I’m sure I could take out an ad for a laudatory talk about Karl Marx or socialism and no one would bat an eyelash, in fact would welcome it. But if you want to say, “Hey, Alexander Hamilton, arguably the greatest American nationalist, had a point,” or “You know, nationalism has been part of the American mainstream, from the time of the American Revolution onward,” or, “Gee, it’s a very good thing that we live in a world of sovereign nation-states,” no one wants to hear it.
For folks at NYU, by the way, the talk is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Silver Center, Room 207.