I am a subscriber and an avid fan of PragerU. With that being said, I was deeply disappointed in the poor presentation presented by Yoram Hazony. But before I dive into that, I want to make it clear, on a spectrum between nationalism and globalism, a spectrum with which Hazony deviates, I am in full opposition to the latter. America is one nation under God, not any international body. And since, on this spectrum, I would be a nationalist, it became readily apparent, early on in the video, that he was making a fallacious case to advance nationalism.
Bad Appeal to Credibility
But it wasn’t long ago that great political figures such as Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, David Ben-Gurion and Mahatma Gandhi, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher recognized what I call the virtue of nationalism
Yoram Hazony begins the ascension of his argument by appealing to the credibility of figures who captured his ideal sense of nationalism. Woodrow Wilson was a Klansman who is not ideal when further arguing that nationalism is separate from racism. Teddy Roosevelt was a staunch anti-capitalist, contrary to the”virtue model” later explained by Hazony, and gave us the 16th and 17th Amendments. Mahatma Ghandi was a pedophile and his form of nationalism wasn’t for all peoples in India. Three out of his six role models are misfires.
Denial of History – Literally Hitler
It is agreeable that one can be a nationalist and support trade. But when Yoram Harony plainly states that Hitler was not a nationalist, but an imperialist, Hazony transplants the premises of his argument into a fantasy-land where his fallacious word tangles can thrive. Yes, Hitler was absolutely a nationalist. He was also a socialist. He was also part of a worker’s party (pro-unionized labor). Nazi was an acronym compiling three ideas. One of them was nationalism. However, Hitler being a revanchist was the least of his crimes and the most justified of his actions. Nationalism and racism are not mutually exclusive, as Hazony’s idols demonstrate. He could have delved into Nazism, building a case that the internal us vs them, class warfare, mentality fostered by Adolf Hitler, gave rise to the Holocaust to a far greater extent than nationalism ever did. To the Nazis standing up for the German worker meant that the non-ethnic Germans had to eventually be eradicated. He could have explained the the Holocaust greatly strained Hitler’s nationalist effort. But instead, Hazony made the fantasy argument that Hitler was an imperialist, not a nationalist.
Denial of History – “Nationalism stops at a nation’s borders”
Yoram Hazony asserts that imperialism and nationalism are opposite. This argument is perhaps as bad or worse than the former. It is essentially: a=/=b and a=/=c, therefore b=c. Except history shows that nationalism and imperialism are not mutually exclusive, no more than socialism and nationalism (fascism). Did the Germans practice imperialism? Sure, though the British, French, and Soviets (who would have eventually invaded Europe) were all threats to a rising Germany and other axis powers. One cannot be a German-nationalist and insist that Germany abide by the Treaty of Versailles. The Japanese are a much clearer example of imperialism, though they were a poor imitation of the British Empire.
The once mighty British people are a shadow of their former selves. But it was not the rejection of nationalism that caused the sun to set on the British Empire, rather the rejection of imperialism. British imperialism made the isles a formidable force in Europe winning campaigns in World War One while simultaneously fighting a stalemate in Europe. In World War 2, Britain, because of its global expansion was able to combat the axis powers in Europe, Africa and Asia. These policies kept the British well supplied in World War 2, along with American friendship. After the Second World War, Britain relinquished its global grip creating international trade out of what was once domestic. It is much more clear that this policy shift contributed to the British eventually joining the EU.
America too practiced imperialism. We didn’t reach from sea to shining sea by our national interest staying within our nation’s borders. In, fact during our nation’s founding, our diplomats wanted Britain to cede Quebec to the United States during the negotiations that ended the American Revolution. The Treaty of Paris did not appease these ambitions, and America later invaded Canada during the War of 1812, rekindling this idea. But through the Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, various Indian wars, it would be difficult to argue that America did not advance its national interest through the practice of imperialism.
Every Nation is Equal Mentality
Yoram Hazony argues that nationalists prefer a world of many nations, each one believing that its government should seek the interest of its own nation. I wholeheartedly would discount myself from nationalism if this were the case. I believe in nationalism, opposed to globalism, because the United State of America is the greatest civilization in history, without equal. America is a nation built on values: God, liberty, and union. These values make America great. The nationalism that Hazony supports is an ethnic group fighting for independence with the hopes of becoming freer. Only this doesn’t happen all that often in history. In fact most rebellions under the guise of freedom are really just “we want different rulers, ones that look like us.” They don’t advance liberty and don’t always end well. The Dutch independence praised in the video was scathed by the Founding Fathers in the Federalist Papers. One would be hard-pressed to argue that Iraq is better off independent than a British or French colony, same with Libya, Syria, Haiti, Cuba. We could also examine the Liberia experiment. History demonstrates that nationalism does not inherently lead to freedom. In fact, his own examples of Wilson and Roosevelt were terrible for individual liberties. This is why nationalism is not mutually exclusive with so many ideologies, both evil and benign.
A nation is only as good as its values, and without these values, Americans would be celebrating mediocrity. No nation is entitled to an individual’s unwaivering support, just because their rulers look like you. However, in America, nationalism is an ideology that celebrates and seeks to protect the values that America is founded on. Yoram Hazony failed to build up a substantive case for nationalism, instead devoting his life’s work to raising a false idol, rooted in fantasy, to a pervasive though incomplete ideology. PragerU chose a poor spokesperson for this message, giving ammo to critics with claims that “Hitler wasn’t a nationalist.” That is the first PragerU video I’ve hit the dislike on, not simply because of disagreement, and hopefully the last.