In This Review

The Virtue of Nationalism
The Virtue of Nationalism
By Yoram Hazony
304 pp, Basic Books, 2018
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At a rally in Texas last October, U.S. President Donald Trump was delivering his familiar “America first” message, complaining about “corrupt, power-hungry globalists,” when he tried out a new line: “You know, they have a word—it sort of became old-fashioned—it’s called, ‘a nationalist.’ And I say, ‘Really, we’re not supposed to use that word,’” he added, grinning. “You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.” As the crowd cheered, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Trump nodded. “‘Nationalist’: nothing wrong with it. Use that word!”

As Trump correctly noted, in recent decades, “that word,” and all it suggests, has fallen out of favor. For most political thinkers and elites in the developed West, nationalism is a dangerous, divisive, illiberal impulse that should be treated with skepticism or even outright disdain. Yes, nationalism helped give rise to the modern state

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  • YAEL TAMIR is President of Shenkar College of Engineering, Design, and Art, in Israel. From 1999 to 2010, she served as a Member of the Knesset for the Israeli Labor Party. She is the author of Why Nationalism.
  • More By Yael Tamir