The Virtue of Nationalism

Yoram Hazony. Basic, $27 (304) ISBN 978-1-5416-4537-0
Herzl Institute president Hazony (The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel’s Soul) argues that nationalism, by which he means support of national sovereignty, is preferable to globalization, which he considers imperialist. Critics of recent populist movements consider nationalism to be rooted in racism and xenophobia, but Hazony defines it as opposition to supranational hegemony, a nation-level live-and-let-live policy. Whereas Nazi Germany is usually cited as the epitome of nationalism gone awry, Hazony argues that Hitler’s attempt to form a Third Reich over Europe was not dissimilar to the Catholic empires of the Middle Ages; in the author’s view, the founding of modern Israel in 1948 was a nationalistic response to the horrors of imperialism. The European Union and the United States are pursuing imperialist projects, he argues, and their focus on imposing one vision of the good at the expense of nations’ self-determination puts “the entire Protestant order in jeopardy.” His response to claims that nationalism leads to bigotry and hatred is to say that such behavior also exists among “anti-nationalists” and is more a feature of human nature than specific to nationalism. Though Hazony’s cynical views of Catholicism and the liberal world order, not to mention his waving away the behaviors and beliefs of self-identified nationalists, might strike some as controversial, this is on the whole a thought-provoking book. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
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