The liberal error of conflating nationalism with racism

Many liberals believe in good faith that decreasing the appeal of even benign forms of nationalism will prevent the growth of more noxious forms. But this is manifestly not the case.

Denying Western countries civic nationalism will help rather than hinder white nationalism. The failure of responsible political actors to address widely held concerns about borders and sovereignty, as well as the non-assimilation of some immigrant communities, has demonstrably helped more extreme political actors fill the vacuum. Eradicating nationalism altogether — or conflating its every iteration with racism — is not only morally wrong, but counterproductive to boot.

In the United States, minor political parties don’t have the same prospect for electoral success, but conflating Americanness with whiteness will yield similarly negative results, especially in our polarized political culture.