Review of

PragerU Video: Why You Should Be a Nationalist

Our summary: Yoram Hazony argues for what he calls the virtue of nationalism. The debate between nationalists and globalists is over whether we should aspire to a world of many independent nations or to be one unified super-state. Borders are crucial. National independence was the foundation for four hundred years, but since World War II, many have sought comfort in a simplistic narrative that independent nations are inherently dangerous.

Trying so hard to make it an either/or proposition

Jim Apathez Chicago, IL Published 19 Mar 2020

From my point of view, Yoram Hazony employs three unjustifiable tactics in his video.

First off, he defines the term “nationalism” in an aberrant way:

A nationalist believes that the world is governed best when nations are free to chart their own independent course, cultivating their traditions and pursuing their interests without interference.

This definition is at odds with the more convention usage. For example, Merriam Webster’s definition of nationalism has a somewhat darker connotation:

“loyalty and devotion to a nation, especially a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups”

Hazony is employing a definist fallacy: happy nationalism is unassailable by definition. It allows him to make the bizarre claim that “Hitler was no nationalist.”

Adolf Hitler

His second tactic is his treatment of globalism:

Nationalism is the opposite of imperialism—or globalism or transnationalism—which are all names for the attempt to bring peace and prosperity to the world by uniting mankind under a single political authority.

Hazony essentially equates globalism with imperialism.

And, third, he asserts a false dichotomy between nationalism and globalism/imperialism.

The debate between nationalists and globalists, then, is over whether we should aspire to a world of many independent nations—or to be one unified super-state.

Of course when he says this in the video, he’s referring to his personal interpretations of nationalism and globalism/imperialism, which is very much his way of comparing a world of sovereign nations to a world government. The way he presents it, he makes it seem as though there’s only two choices and no spectrum of in-between options, which is simply false.

Many forms of international cooperation are possible. For example, the EU could very well be considered a mix between Hazony’s nationalism and his imperialism, as individual nations in the EU still have a significant level of autonomy and some say over what happens in the EU government, despite each member state being distinct separate entities. He creates a false binary by presenting the options as if there’s no in-between hybrids of his nationalism and his globalism/imperialism.

A longer version of this review is available here.

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