Magazine June 24, 2019, Issue

An Israeli Academic’s Case for Liberal Nationalism

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with President Donald Trump at the White House, Washington, D.C., March 25, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Why Nationalism, by Yael Tamir (Princeton University Press, 224 pp., $24.95)

The left-leaning Israeli political theorist Yael Tamir has written a book decidedly provocative to those who are left of center. Not only does she sing the praises of nationalism, but she exhorts her fellow liberals to embrace nationalism as a unifying force to overcome ethnic, religious, and class divisions that plague the modern nation-state. However, the book’s arguments about nationalism are not provocative at all, or should not be, to those who are right of center. In fact, conservative intellectuals from Aristotle and Joseph de Maistre to Robert Nisbet and Paul Gottfried have recognized that the market alone is wholly

This article appears as “What Makes a Nation” in the June 24, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Andre M. Archie is an associate professor of ancient Greek philosophy at Colorado State University and the author of Politics in Socrates’ Alcibiades: A Philosophical Account of Plato’s Dialogue Alcibiades Major.

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