Christopher Lee / The New York Times

Why Nationalism Works

And Why It Isn’t Going Away

Nationalism has a bad reputation today. It is, in the minds of many educated Westerners, a dangerous ideology. Some acknowledge the virtues of patriotism, understood as the benign affection for one’s homeland; at the same time, they see nationalism as narrow-minded and immoral, promoting blind loyalty to a country over deeper commitments to justice and humanity. In a January 2019 speech to his country’s diplomatic corps, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier put this view in stark terms: “Nationalism,” he said, “is an ideological poison.” In recent years, populists across the West have sought to invert this moral hierarchy. They have proudly …

View More on Foreign Affairs