The Best Article I’ve read in the WSJ

In an unusual occurrence, I found a pretty good WSJ article today in which the author argues that nationalism (what I’ve called friendly-competition nationalism or neighborly concerned nationalism in private conversations) might solve some of the problems with poorly assimilating Islamic cultures around the world:

To wit, for most people everywhere, humanity is “too large and too diverse” to provide meaningful communion. “I cannot prove that the nation-state is the only viable form,” he says. “But what I’m sure about is that to live a fully human life, you need a common life and a community. This is a Greek idea, a Roman idea, a Christian idea.”


Then again, the 19th-century marriage of liberalism and nationalism ended in a very ugly divorce in the first half of the 20th century. What about the dangers of reviving nationalism today? “There is no a priori guarantee that it could not devolve into something nasty,” Mr. Manent says. “But if we don’t propose a reasonable idea of the nation, we will end up with an unreasonable idea of the nation. Because simply: However weakened the idea of the nation, nations do not want to die.”

The article was written in response to what is, regardless of what people think of its source, a piece of political wisdom of an older, saner age:

America is a sovereign nation, and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.

The reason I was always, and will always be reticent to identify with a particular political party is the tendency of the current parties to frequently engage in endless wars, endless invitations to those dispossessed by those wars to live here, and endless nation-building in response to the destruction wrought by said wars.

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