The necessity of nationalism

The latter is Judis’ primary concern in both his book and a recent New York Times op-ed. In both he makes a strong case that “a common national identity is essential to democracies and to the modern welfare state, which depends on the willingness of citizens to pay taxes to aid fellow citizens whom they may never have set eyes upon.” Neglect of this fundamental truth has been accompanied by an embrace among many on the left of a “utopian cosmopolitanism” that “advocates open borders, free trade, rampant outsourcing, and has branded nationalist sentiments as bigotry.”

This has fueled an extreme reaction on the part of many working people, at home and abroad, who have turned to right-wing demagogues like our president as the only figures willing to champion national solidarity without shame or apology. Much better would be for the left to make the case for its preferred policies in terms of communal solidarity and national fellow-feeling — to work with instead of against “the nationalist reaction to globalization.”

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