July 30, 2019 | Reading Time: < 1 minute
I sparked a teeny-tiny debate Monday. The subject of yesterday’s Editorial Board was nationalism. I made the case that the president, contrary to popular opinion, actually hates nationalism. Nationalism, I said, is about equality. Donald Trump hates equality. Ergo, he hates nationalism. I was being a bit cheeky. Too cheeky? The president is of course…
Nationalism, I said, is about equality. Donald Trump hates equality. Ergo, he hates nationalism.
I was being a bit cheeky. Too cheeky?
The president is of course nationalist in the fascist sense of the word. Everyone who has said so is correct in saying that that kind of nationalism is evil—even when it does not result in genocide.
My point was to revive, at least among liberals, awareness that there’s more than one kind of nationalism, and that our country has a long and deep nationalist tradition, good and bad.
Another point, though unstated, is that we need to meet Trump’s nationalism head-on with an equal and opposite political idea, and I don’t think Scandinavian social democracy qualifies, as some suggest.
The Civil War was battle of opposing nationalisms. One prevailed but the other never died. And here we are. Trump is indeed a nationalist. But he also hates nationalism. There’s a reason for that.
My friend David Perry argued that there’s no good nationalism. Read that here.
I said there is a good kind. And we need it. Read that here.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition open and available to all. Find him @johnastoehr.