Hazony discusses the double standard that reviles nationalist behavior by some countries and accepts it in others:
The Americans are reviled, and their behavior deplored, for exercising independent judgment in the pursuit of their interests as a nation, whereas no such scandal is attached to China or Iran exercising independent judgment and pursuing their own interests. Again, it is the national independence of a ‘European’ people that should have reached moral maturity and should know better that is driving the anger and hatred (216).
When a little kid announces, “Mommy, I’ve gone potty!” it’s cute and greeted with delighted applause. But if an adult does it, we find it disgusting. The liberal mentality, Hazony says, treats first-world countries like adults who should be too mature to engage in something as disgusting as acting in their own national interest. But when countries considered inferior do it, that’s OK because nobody holds them to the same high standard.
What’s really curious here is not the double standard, which is something we’ve all noticed many times. It’s the horrified repulsion of anything that smacks of defending national interest. People are trained to feel this repulsion because it brings enormous profits. To somebody else. They are schooled to cheer the dismantling of the nation-state that will make them poorer. But it’s OK because in return they get a sense of moral superiority.
What Hazony’s book misses is developing his ideas a bit further and taking them into the terrain of profits and gains. But he’s clearly not a Marxist, so for him it’s all ideas, Kant, morality, etc. I always find such an analysis insufficient but I fully recognize that other folks might see my obsession with the capital as boring and pedestrian.