Who knew that that hottest new thing in the early 21st century would be an old thing—the nation state? Nationalism acquired a foul odor in the 20th century, but ever since Brexit and Trump upset the cosmopolites from Berkeley to Brussels, the idea of nationalism has crept back into favor, at least with many conservatives.
I’ve written my own short overview of the issue a couple years ago now, but was delighted to spend some time talking with Samuel Goldman of George Washington University about his new book, After Nationalism: Being American in an Age of Division. Sam offers three portals into thinking about the character of American nationalism, and ends up settling on roughly the same answer I do—that a sensible American nationalism is best anchored in the creedal principles of the country, including especially the Constitution and all that has gone into our constitutional traditions. Needless to say, this legacy is under massive attack today.
Sam is the executive director of the John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom and director of the Politics & Values Program at George Washington University. His first book, God’s Country: Christian Zionism in America, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2018. In addition to his academic research, Goldman is literary editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Quarterly and a contributing editor at The American Conservative. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
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