This collapse of the western value system comes at a vulnerable time when many countries, particularly in Europe but increasingly the U.S. and Canada, face a demographic implosion brought on by low birthrates among native-born people. Immigration under such circumstances should be more important but that’s a hard case to sell when newcomers are not expected to embrace what are castigated as regressive national values.
Once widely accepted across the political spectrum, the word nationalism is now quickly associated with fascism and racism. Trump’s combination of neurotic bluster and lack of self-control has made things worse, turning what should be a rational debate about the future of our civilization into a screaming contest. The assaults on our basic political values only benefit the worst forms of nationalist impulse.
The only obvious way out is not through a mindless defense of the past, but on preserving values, such as free speech and equality under the law, critical to liberal culture. In America today, and even Europe, many people whose roots lie somewhere else often adopt the basic ethos of democratic society. After all, they know firsthand the difference between a liberal and illiberal society.