Faculty Publication: Remarks on The Virtue of Nationalism

Fred Baumann, Kenyon College Professor of Political Science, has published an article in the January – March 2021 volume 50 no. 1 issue of Perspectives on Political Science remarking Yorham Hazony’s book, The Virtue of Nationalism.

Abstract Summary

This article restates Hazony’s distinction between nation and empire and the characteristics used to typify them in his book The Virtue of Nationalism. In both cases, Professor Fred Baumann argues that the “ideal types do not account for the historical examples and are thus less useful than Hazony wants them to be.” He raises the question of the relation of great power alliances to empires and the fact that the nation is often an empire in relation to the sub-nations (or “tribes”) it rules over. Further, Baumann defends liberalism against Hazony’s critique, arguing that domestic liberalism directs nations away from imperialism. Moreover, liberal empires tend to be less harsh and more self-limiting than others. Finally, Professor Baumann addresses what seems to be an underlying question of the book, namely the causes of Western anti-Zionism, and argue that in addition to Hazony’s explanation of anti-nationalism, anti-Semitism is a contributing factor. To account, in part, for this, requires pointing to the universalist side of the Jewish tradition, where Hazony emphasizes its nationalism.

“Hazony masterfully blends a deep grasp of history, political philosophy, theology, and common sense with originality and clarity in what will be one of the most-discussed books of this dawning new age of the nation.”
– Patrick Deneen, Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

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