What do all of these proposals—and the many others offered at the conference, from censoring porn to cracking down on opioids to preventing trans girls from playing on girls’ sports teams—have in common? There is a tendency among the new nationalists to frame their movement as standing in opposition to supranationalism. Yoram Hazony, author of The Virtue of Nationalism, laments in particular what he sees as a push toward a homogenous “new world order” in which umbrella institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations override the rightful sovereignty of states.
Yet the true object of the nationalists’ ire is much closer to home: They cannot abide individual Americans making social and economic choices they do not like. For consumers, the question might be whether to buy foreign or domestic. For a business owner, it might be where to open a factory. For a parent, it might be whether or not to attend drag queen story hour at the local library. Regardless, the new nationalists have decided not only that there is a right answer from a moral perspective but that government should force you to choose correctly.
“Today we declare independence,” Hazony said, “from neoliberalism, from libertarianism, from what they call classical liberalism. From the set of ideas that sees the atomic individual, the free and equal individual, as the only thing that matters in politics.”