National or Enlightenment Liberal Identity?

Source: Free Association
by Sheldon Richman

“National identity strikes me as identity politics writ large, grand blood-and-soil tribalism. But [Ayaan Hirsi Ali] doesn’t see it that way. And while I favor decentralization, secession, and people’s efforts to free themselves from distant and unaccountable rulers (such as Brexit), we ought to acknowledge that nationalism has a pretty poor record. (Hirsi Ali concedes this in the case of Germany.) A staunch nationalist is not likely to favor secession because the nation-state is taken at the sacred irreducible political unit. … While cosmopolitan enlightenment liberalism may be reconciliable conceptually with a benign, pacifistic version of nationalism (as Ludwig von Mises thought), whether it is likely in practice in our time is another matter entirely. These days nationalism — Buy American! Protect American jobs! — spawns trade protectionism, obsession with borders, and other measures that create friction between countries and risk the outbreak of war.” (01/07/22)