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.