Michael Barone on Liah Greenfeld

The paradox of conservatism in a revolutionary nation has been noted by others. Its revolution gained the sympathy of the conservative paragon Edmund Burke. More recently, the scholar of nationalism Liah Greenfeld has written that “America’s young society is nonetheless one of the oldest nations on earth, and the only one without a pre-national history.” ….
In my view, history recent and remote provides a strong basis for Yoram Hazony’s claim in The Virtue of Nationalism that “the best political order that is known to us is an order of independent national states.”6 The nationalism he has in mind was first advanced, he argues, as does Greenfeld in Nationalism: A Short History, in England and the Netherlands in the 16th century. One might call it almost a family project, of the Tudor dynasty, which soon went extinct, and the Orange family, whose king was seen in the audience in this month’s US-Netherlands women’s soccer championship game….
Those who decry nationalism, like the Economist, hear the word and think of Nazism. Hazony and Greenfeld see its roots in Europe’s free societies and argue that nationalism, rightly understood, tends to produce civil equality, promote human dignity, and foster political democracy. Trump and Brexit, for all their rough rhetoric, do not in my view refute that view.

Conservative tradition in America

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