Michael Lind vs. NWW, 4/30
We should also discuss Lind Monday evening
Paradoxically, the global triumph of the more culturally homogeneous nation-state over the polyethnic empire as the dominant form of territorial organization in the world has been matched by the repudiation of the very idea of the nation-state by most prominent Western intellectuals. . .
Another anti-nationalist faction is made up of centrist neoliberals and right-wing libertarians. Their view of the world is shaped by free-market economics. Countries are impediments to free flows of goods, services, labor, and capital. Commerce-obstructing borders should be eliminated, or at least made as porous as possible. In the neoliberal-libertarian utopia, countries would have no more moral or political significance than zip codes.
I remember when John Fonte called me a “tranzie,” meaning a transnationalist. I plead sort of guilty. I like specialization and trade, and I like giving people the freedom to choose where to live. I think that people who come here by choice are mostly people I want to live with. I prefer them to the people who were born here and are ungrateful about it.
If to be an American is to believe in the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, does that mean that any human being on earth who believes in those ideals can demand to become a naturalized citizen of the United States? What about Americans who reject the Lockean liberal ideals of the Declaration of Independence—American Marxists, say, or American communitarian conservatives? Should they be tried as apostates from the civic-patriotic creed, stripped of citizenship in Creedal America, and deported?
You’re giving me ideas, Michael. . .
Lind expresses frustration with those who argue that the only way to avoid another Hitler is to thwart nationalism. But I think it is fair to say that even if nation-states do not foster violence, when it comes to preventing violence the state is not the, er, final solution.
The claim that people everywhere cherish individual rights is dubious. The claim that humans are nepotistic social animals who generally prefer communal autonomy to rule by invading ethnic foreigners is far more plausible.
I wish that we could have Lind join us on Monday evening, May 2, when we will discuss North, Weingast, and Wallis. They talk about a “natural state” in which only clans that are in the ruling coalition enjoy property rights and the ability to form large organizations; and an “open-access order” in which everyone enjoys those freedoms. I do not recall their treating “national identity” as a factor in either type of order. Maybe they are tranzies.
Most Americans take it for granted that there is an American people or nation with its own particular culture and traditions, and that the human race in the world as a whole is divided among culturally distinct peoples or nations, who should be able to choose their leaders rather than be ruled against their wishes by foreigners. And they are right.
He sounds like Yoram Hazony, another person who would be good to have this Monday evening.
Centrist neo-Liberals do not oppose the nation-state. They oppose market interventions -- whether trade restrictions, immigration restrictions or NIMBYism -- that reduce national welfare. The are happy that these policies are also good tor other countries and even more so if those countries adopted them for themselves.
Lind was pretty strong and accurate about nation-states:
"most post-imperial successor states are less ethnically diverse than the former empires as a whole, and many fit a broad definition of a nation-state, in which a majority, though not necessarily all, of the citizens belong to a common linguistic and cultural community whose members may but do not necessarily share a common ancestry."
As Czecho-Slovakia (the spelling unacceptable to the majority Czechs, one reason for the velvet divorce) broke up into Slovakia and the Czech Republic (recently named Czechia), both became ethnically less diverse. Yet the 400-500,000 Hungarian Czechoslovaks were just 3% of 15 million CSSR, but are now about 10% of the 5 million Slovak Republic (a party needs 5% of the vote to get into Parliament).
In stating "the repudiation of the very idea of the nation-state by most prominent Western intellectuals", Lind is certainly accurate about many, if not most, intellectuals highly critical of the nation-state. Especially those EU folk in Brussels, whom many central European leaders oppose on cultural grounds, as well as the power to punish. Lind notes:
"liberals hope that the sovereignty of nation-states can gradually be eroded by supranational institutions like the European Union and by doctrines like the “responsibility to protect” which, by allowing outside powers to invade countries with illiberal or undemocratic regimes, weakens the post-1945 prohibition against aggressive war."
But Slovakia, thanks partly to the Christian Democrats, has put into their constitution that marriage is between a man and women, tho not quite defining it scientifically by chromosomes. Czech Vaclav Klaus, a free market hero, was also against excessive EU regulation on economics. Today the Poles and Hungarians are led by nationalists.
One of my fav intellectuals, Rod Dreher, has long been supporting Hungarian Orban, who recently won another very democratic re-election as Prime Minister. Rod has long been promoting Orban's focus on Hungary first, family friendly, Christian friendly, pro-birth policies as a model for US Republicans. Maybe DeSantis is looking at that:
Orban's party is kind of corrupt, which Rod disapproves of but Orban & critics of conservatives emphasize. Orban's group has gained dominant influence in the media, but there is plenty of liberal criticism against him, which remains completely legal.
Rod has also noted that Hungarians, today, still remember and oppose the WW I ending Trianon Treaty, which hugely reduced the size of the Hungarian empire. About a third of Slovakia was taken by Hungary in WW II while they were allied with the Germans. Under the commies after WW II, Hungarians in Slovakia got some special benefits, which were not huge but enough to entice many Roma (Gypsies) to register as Hungarian - which makes it tough to know how many registered Hungarians are actually mis-registered Roma.
Lind doesn't talk explicitly about Hungary, tho it provides a good example - there are large Hungarian minorities also in Romania (Transylvania was more Hungarian), and Serbia / late Yugoslavia. Orban has offered citizenship in Hungary to all such Hungarian minorities, and this is quite unpopular with the majority in these neighboring countries.
Lind does mention the Russian minorities in the surrounding states which are now majority non-Russian. Only one language can be the primary first language learned in any area - or the main one taught in gov't schools. Even multi-lingual Switzerland has cantons teaching German, or French, or Italian, and even Romansh. [Swissinfo: "In the 1920s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini believed Romansh to be an Italian dialect and declared that the south-eastern Swiss canton of Graubünden therefore rightly belonged to Italy. " ]
For myself, I wish the world would be evolving towards a more tolerant Swiss model of Confederacy, of cantons or smaller admin areas, with less central power and more local power.