Book Notes: Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism, Part I

The greatest contribution of this book to the discussion of nationalism is that Hazony doesn’t refer to the alternative to nationalism with the vague terminology of globalism, transnationalism, or post-nation state. Instead, he uses the term “liberal imperialism,” which I haven’t encountered before but find productive and insightful.

There are many things I didn’t like about the book, such as, for instance, the obsessive and utterly unjustified attempts to link the rise of modern nationalism to the Protestant tradition. Nationalism is the child of the Enlightenment, and some of the greatest enlightened thinkers were French. It is no accident that the first grand success of nationalism was Napoleon’s mobilization of soldiers. And Napoleon’s greatest defeats happened when his used nationalism to advance imperialist goals and was rebuffed by nascent nationalisms in Spain, Russia, etc.

In any case, looking at nationalism as an alternative to imperialism (currently, of Germany in the EU, the US everywhere else, and, I’d add, Russia in Eastern Europe) is very productive and I don’t know that it’s been done by anybody else before.

People hate long posts, so I’ll break this one up in a bunch of smaller ones.

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