Again on Hazony
By Alberto Mingardi
On the new issue of the Cato Journal (which, by the way, includes articles by Deirdre McCloskey on P.T. Bauer, Charles Calomiris on how to restore the rule of law in finance, Martin Hutchinson and Kevin Dowd on the impact of British finances in the Napoleonic war on the Industrial Revolution and Jim Dorn on the late Leland Yeager) I have a longer review of Yoram Hazony’s The Virtues of Nationalism.
The review systematizes arguments I’ve made before, on this blog, here and here. In the review, I quote Elie Kedourie’s book on Nationalism, of which I’ve became a genuine fan, but perhaps I should I also mention Lord Acton’s splendid essay on the principle of nationality. To me, the one and the other are really two pillars of a sane way to look at nationalism.
I think (I fear) Hazony’s book will be greatly influential because it provides some of his readers exactly with the political philosophy they are looking for. Timing is key, and Hazony’s work comes exactly at the right time, providing an eloquent, and sometimes elegant, justification for some blends of contemporary conservative politics. Perhaps, on the other hand, he claims so much for nationalism, that the book will not “stick” as much as I fear. Anyway, I shall confess I am rather surprised by the enthusiasm it has been greeted with by many conservatives. Kedourie was part of a conservative milieu, the one that coalesced around Michael Oakeshott. They were all very suspicious of social engineering, which is a healthy feature of conservatism. It comes as a surprise to me that many conservatives today, being understandably skeptical of big international institutions, deny how artificial nations very often are (think of Italy, of course).