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Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

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1 hour ago, Grames said:

In empirical politics we find non-monetized and non-consensual mutual loyalties bind human beings into families, clans, tribes, and nations; each of us receives a linguistic, cultural or religious inheritance as a consequence of being born into such collectives.  Locke neglects responsibilities that are intrinsic to both inherited and adopted membership in collectives of this kind, establishing demands on individuals that do not arise as a result of consent and do not disappear if consent is withheld.  

Well here we find a definite rub of contention. I'll leave aside the logic involved in how you can have a non-consensual mutual loyalty, here. But how does one "receive" or "inherit" a duty towards such a collective that establishes demands on individuals regardless of whether one consents? How is this demand "established"? How is it "received"? How is it "inherited"?

A moral necessity to perform certain actions just intrinsically present, without regard to any ends of the individual, is something from a duty-based paradigm of ethics. If this is the deeper ethical structure underlying Hazony's conception of "nationalism," then ultimately this may indeed forebode a rejection of liberty. The demands of duty towards our inherited collective establish a "moral pull" on us that we cannot alter. But if one were to reject this ethical paradigm and accept an account of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics that is sufficiently individualistic, social, pluralistic, and objective, then one may have trouble being bothered by such collectivist guilt trips. Next he'll be claiming liberalism promotes the "atomized individual" gasp!

Nor does the rest of the argument really follow. Arguments about the family can take place within a liberal polity. Arguments about the family cannot really proceed on equal footing when the political/legal system structurally prejudices one form of familial connection over another. Who then is trying to force someone to submit to their pre-determined universalist vision? It is possible the relationship between the ethical order and the political/legal order is neither direct nor isomorphic. Even if there are familial obligations (consistent with an Aristotelian-Randian account of human flourishing, eg., oikeiôsis) it hardly follows this is a concern of politics. The domain of moral obligation may be wider than the domain of political/legal action, so we'd have to know what justifies, if anything, moving from one to the other. ("Family is a human good" to "you must be forced by the political/legal system to maintain any given familial memberships in such and such form.")

But regardless, it's hard to see how this is an argument for nationalism² or that nationalism² is an argument for family-tribal statism?

(1) there ought to be varies national states, instead of one-world government (nationalism²)

(2) there are responosibilities that are intrinsic to both inherited and adopted membership in collectives of this kind, establishing demands on individuals that do not arise as a result of consent and do not disappear if consent is withheld.

Both 1 and 2 are coherent with each other, but does 1 necessitate 2? Clearly not. Is 1 and 2 then serving as a package deal for nationalism³ ("You must be forced by the political/legal system to live for the sake of family, clan, or tribe, that this constitutes moral service to the unchosen group, the group into which you were born, the group to which you were predestined to belong by the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient power of your body chemistry"[VOR 117])? Is 1 really the guiding principle doing all the work in this version of "nationalism," or is 2? If so, how is this brand of nationalism not just plain old tribalism and statism?


Edited by 2046

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4 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

You have to chose because humans are both selfish and groupish by nature. The concept of an unaffiliated individual is the product of a world view that only acknowledges our selfish nature but not our groupish nature and therefore is not accurately aligned with objective reality.

Selfish yes, but only groupish by choice.  The concept of an unaffiliated individual is fundamentally what a free trader is, and currently represented in objective reality as a capitalist.  Individual choices regarding affiliation are primarily influenced by rational egoism or emotional egoism, yet subject to approval by local authorities (groups), therefore not groupish by nature but by circumstance.

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Chapter V Nationalism Discredited

Marxists and liberals are both motivated to discredit nationalism.  Marxism looks toward world revolution and ultimate withering away of the state, so has no use for nations or nation-states.  Liberalism might concede some need for a government to secure property but cannot justify dividing that function up over different parcels of land, so also has no ultimate use for nations or nation-states.

World War II brought catastrophe and monstrous moral crimes to Europe.  The post-war attempt to understand what had happened and why was the opportunity used by Marxists and liberals to blame nationalism for the war.  

I Hitler Not a Nationalist

But Hitler was anti-nationalist.  From endnote 51:  In Mein Kampf, Hitler explicitly rejects both the liberal social-contract state and the national state built by unifying disparate tribes on the basis of language and history, calling such states “misbegotten monstrosities.”  For Hitler the state had a role in nurturing a race, which would come to dominate the globe as a master race.  Neither the nation nor nation-state had a place in his system.  From endnote 52: Anthony Smith in Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (1979) characterizes Hitler's scheme as "biological imperialism" utterly incompatible with the existence of a plurality of independent national states. From Münkler, Empires (2007) Hitler’s entire purpose was “to destroy the nation-state system and to return to an imperial order.”

And it would have been a return.  Hitler's "Third Reich" was modeled on a "First Reich" which was the Holy Roman Empire that lasted a thousand years and with its aspiration captured by the motto of Emperor Frederick III, Austriae est imperare orbi universo, “Austria is destined to rule all the world”.   In World War I Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote to his fighting men in 1915 (in an "Order of the Day" found on captured soldiers), “The triumph of Great Germany, destined one day to dominate all of Europe, is the sole object of the struggle in which we are engaged.” [Hitler would have read that and absorbed much else like it in contemporary Austrian and German culture.]

Interpreting Hitler's war as an attempt at German national self-determination fails to explain the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews.  Hitler pursued the Jews throughout Europe and then across the globe when he got the Japanese to establish a Jewish ghetto in Shanghai, China.  That could only have been conceived and attempted in keeping with a concept of universal empire [with a universal enemy].

It was nationalism that defeated Hitler.  The United States and Britain emphasized their war aims of liberating national states.  [They went out of their way to recruit French and Polish forces.]  The propaganda of the Allies was explicitly nationalist, even Stalin resorted to naked appeals to Russian patriotism instead of the standard communist "world revolution" claptrap.  [Because nations are real nationalist propaganda could be effective even in the Soviet Union.]   [The eastern front of WW2 was empire vs. empire in my opinion.  It was Siberian armies that mostly occupied Germany at war's end, not Russians proper.  Nationalism fought Hitler but can't be given sole credit for his defeat. ]

II A Clever Pivot  (my phrase)

Konrad Adenauer, World Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All (1955)


The age of national states has come to an end.… We in Europe must break ourselves of the habit of thinking in terms of national states.… European agreements… are intended to make war among European nations impossible in the future.… If the idea of European community should survive for 50 years, there will never again be a European war. 

Helmut Kohl, quoted in The Times, February 3, 1996


European integration is in reality the question of war and peace in the Twenty-First Century.… We have no desire to return to the nation state of old.

So let's get this straight.  The solution to the problem of Germany conquering its neighbors and integrating their economies into Germany's is for Germany's neighbors to willingly and peacefully surrender their sovereignty and integrate their economies into Germany's.  Germany gives up nothing important to them in the deal, certainly not the ancient ideal of empire.

Margaret Thatcher


“Germany’s preponderance within the [European] Community is such that no major decision can really be taken against German wishes. In these circumstances, the Community augments German power rather than containing it.”  Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 614.


Germany's status as a nation-state was and is not the problem.  Back to the author Hazony:


The German-speaking peoples of central Europe have themselves never been constituted as a national state. They have no historical experience of national unity and independence comparable to that of Britain, France, or the Netherlands. Moreover, these Western European nations had not feared the Germans because of their nationalism, but because of their universalism and imperialism—their aim of bringing peace to Europe by unifying it under a German emperor. It was this deeply entrenched German-universalist and imperialist tradition that had made it so easy for the preeminent German philosopher of Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, to assert in his Perpetual Peace that the only rational form of government would be one in which the national states of Europe were dismantled in favor of a single government that would eventually be extended to the entire world. In repeating this theory, Kant was merely offering yet another version of the German-led Holy Roman Empire.

III The Bad Drives Out the Good

The moral argument for the superiority of international government cannot coexist within the same political order with an array of independent national states and that moral argument.  [That moral argument hasn't been presented yet.]  The Soviet Union and its provocateurs and apologists throughout the West were quite satisfied with a moral argument against nation-states which was compatible with Marxism.  British and American liberal leaders supported the notion as long as it was for Europe only but they miscalculated.  The Kantian moral argument works against every nation-state's independence.

American armies in Europe since WW2 have insulated Europe from political reality.  Bordering on Russia and Muslim countries, European nation-states have neither the military nor conceptual capability to ensure their own independence and self-determination.  American largesse keeps them in a state of perpetual childhood, enabling them to repeat the claim that dismantling the nation-state is the key to peace.  But the presence of American armies alone would have kept the peace in the absence of any political unification. Because that is what empires do; they offer peace in exchange for the renunciation of independence including its ability to think as an independent nation and to devise and implement mature policies fitted to the life of an independent nation.

[endnotes 49-55]

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45 minutes ago, Grames said:

.  Liberalism might concede some need for a government to secure property but cannot justify dividing that function up over different parcels of land...

Why not? Sure, liberalism contains no a priori principle from which to deduce such a division of functions, there are many different ways of conceiving different types of government forms as liberalisms.

You can't start with "should we have one world government, or many?" and then go "liberalism doesn't tell me!" You have to start with the anarchist's challenge, what is government and why do men need it? If you start a chain of reasoning that ends up with you need a government to protect liberty (that is, basic negative individual rights and private property) then you have a rough outline of liberalism. You can then ask what kind of constitution would best accomplish this: should we have a liberal monarchy, a parliament, an aristocracy, etc., should we draw names out of a hat, and so on. You look at various institutions and ask what incentive mechanisms these have for making the government work, and the centralization-decentralization issue is a part of that. At that point, one can address whether one world government or various national states would be a better political/legal framework for liberalism within that. It's an inductive enterprise, and there may not be one specific transcendent or universal answer, no neat little principle, but you may end up with a range of best options for what is appropriate for a given geographic area, a given culture, at a given time, etc.

Edited by 2046

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On 11/23/2018 at 9:22 PM, Grames said:

, homogenization of the world’s universities by way of a system of international standards and peer review.

Relevant story at the Whats Up With That? blog:  Claim: Particle Physics is Stagnating Because of Groupthink.

It appears there because of the similar situation in climate science.

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55 minutes ago, 2046 said:

It's an inductive enterprise, and there may not be one specific transcendent or universal answer, no neat little principle, but you may end up with a range of best options for what is appropriate for a given geographic area, a given culture, at a given time, etc.

This part doesn't sound far from Hazony's nationalism, given that Hazony does rule out the specific transcendent, universal answer.

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2 hours ago, Grames said:

This part doesn't sound far from Hazony's nationalism, given that Hazony does rule out the specific transcendent, universal answer.

That may be fine, but let me be clear on what my argument is. I'm saying transcendent and universal in form of argument, not transcendent and universal in geographic scope of its conclusion. We have already seen Hazony's favored nationalism³ requires deontic-like claims. It may be that for his nationalism², he is searching for some formal property of "liberalism" that will lead him to "we must have multiple states, and not one world government." But, as my argument above stresses, liberalism is a specific kind of solution ("basic, negative individual rights and private property") to a specific kind of problem ("what is government and why do men need it?" or more abstractly the problem of human community.) Thus, someone working from an inductive and largely Aristotelian-in-spirit framework doesn't require one truth to rule them all, or for norms that are deontic, or transcendent, or universal/universalizable, or that solve all political problems. We work in terms of principles where the fitness of said principles is determined by (a) what in reality gave rise to the need for them and (b) how well they solve those problems. Liberalism is one solution to one set of problems. Not-having-a-world-government (Hazony's nationalism²) is another (questions of centralization-decentralization in scope and structure.) For this reason we are not bothered by Hazony's "liberalism cannot justify dividing that function up over different parcels of land" problem.

Edited by 2046

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On 11/22/2018 at 7:15 PM, Grames said:

And what, pray tell, would be the point of spreading civilization?  What is civilization good for?

 Oh boy. You seriously expect me to explain what civilization is good for?

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43 minutes ago, Nicky said:

 Oh boy. You seriously expect me to explain what civilization is good for?

Lol no.  I never really expect much from you.  Just keep on being you with the snarky potshots.

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Chapter VI: Liberalism as Imperialism

Pharaohs, Babylonian kings, Roman emperors, Roman Catholic Church and now modern liberalism have the following attributes in common:

  • Have their universalist theory of the good
  • involves pulling down all borders
  • disdain obtaining consent of those yet outside their system
  • express disgust, contempt and anger at opposition

I Liberalism is not monolithic

  • American Pres. Bush I had in mind a new world order consisting of the U.S. enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions
  • Later U.S. President's preferred unilateral action but with allies as moral cover
  • Europeans prefer "transnationalism", wherein American and other military power is subject to international judicial or administrative organization based in Europe.

These debates within liberalism about how to go about imposing the liberal project upon the world are just the reincarnation of medieval debates between the Catholic Pope and the Emperor.

II Essential Liberalism is Dogmatic and Utopian

Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism in the Classical Tradition, 150


The greatest ideological question that mankind has ever faced… is…
whether we shall succeed in creating throughout the world a frame
of mind… [of] nothing less than the unqualified, unconditional
acceptance of liberalism. Liberal thinking must permeate all
nations, liberal principles must pervade all political
institutions, if the prerequisites of peace are to be created and
the causes of war eliminated.

“unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism” is dogmatic and utopian, assuming a final truth applicable to all mankind has been found.  It is now conventional liberalism that all that remains is to impose it.

Not every liberal is the same of course. Mitigating factors of biblicism, historical empiricism, even a moderate skepticism or just common sense still exist within some. But bible reading, historical knowledge, independent thought and common sense are all factors waning in strength.  The universal liberal empire has seemed to come almost within reach and dogmatic imperialism is the dominant voice. Modern liberalism has unwittingly adopted attributes of the medieval Catholic empire upon which it is modeled: doctrine of infallibility, inquisition, index [of prohibited books].

Public life in America and Europe has a new feature: public shaming campaigns and heresy hunts.  The goal of these is always to silence opponents by stigmatizing or rendering illegitimate a person, group or policy that resists liberal doctrine.  This started on university campuses and now public life in western democracies seems to be one big university campus. 

III Increasing demands for conformity are predictable and consistent with the ideal of a universal political order.  

Under the Protestant Construction, states that remained Catholic had to tolerate Protestant regimes, states with monarchy tolerated republics, highly regulated states tolerated states with more freedom.  Formal grant of legitimacy among governments became the model for tolerating dissent within the state as well.  Thus tolerance wanes as nationalism does.

[endnotes 56-62]

Edited by Grames

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Chapter VII: Nationalist Alternatives to Liberalism

 Opposition to the liberal political order has manifested in three ways.

I Neo-Catholic opposition

Focus is on the first principle, the moral minimum.

Catholic is used because of the intended reference to an updated version of medieval Catholic political theory espoused by some people.  Not all Catholics are included here if they do not espouse that view, and some who do are included but are not Catholic.  That medieval Catholic political theory is one focused upon maintaining some version of the moral minimum, a biblical minimum or one based on a theory of universal reason, as the foundation of the legitimacy of the state.  A neo-Catholic political theory can be compatible with a regime of coercive international law for the enforcement of human rights and individual liberties.  Neo-Catholics defend religious based views of marriage, family, abortion, assisted suicide, and the removal of Christian and Jewish symbols from government property.

Neo-Catholics fight rearguard culture wars while passively (or actively) supporting other liberal imperialist projects that undermine the independence of nations.

II Neo-Nationalist or Statist opposition

Focus is on the second principle, national self-determination.

This theory discards the concept nation and seeks to establish an individual's direct relationship to the state as man's highest end.  Rousseau and the French Revolution are the archetype here, which tends toward absolutism and atheism [atheism here only serving to remove any moral constraints on the state] and in practice a chronic instability in government.  This kind of petty nationalism may resist liberal imperialist projects such as the EU and unrestricted immigration but is uninterested in the biblical roots of nationalism or its moral standards which once restrained the excesses of individuals and the state. [This is what is denounced as 'unprincipled populism']

Neo-nationalism naturally leads to authoritarian governments, and this is used to support the false dichotomy that the only alternative to liberalism is authoritarianism.

III Traditionalist or Conservative opposition

Based on both principles.

"Conservative" here broadly refers to any political movement aiming to preserve the foundations of Protestant Construction (even those that are rooted in a non-biblical moral system).  The most important is the Anglo-American conservative tradition.  It is descended from the thought of John Fortescue, John Selden and Edmund Burke, embracing the principles of limited executive power, individual liberties, public religion and an historical empiricism that has served to moderate public life in Britain and America in comparison with other countries.

The Anglo-American conservative strand has proved most productive of sound government in English-speaking nations.  It is the alternative to liberal empire. [endnote 64]

ON THE SURFACE, BRITAIN and America sometimes give the impression of having become utterly unmoored from their biblical heritage. But these are still nations that were formed by the biblical message of freedom of the nation from empire, limitation of the power of kings, and fundamental precepts establishing the basis for a just and decent society. [endnote 65]


In the first part of this book I have offered a historical framework for understanding the confrontation unfolding between the forces of nationalism and empire that vie for the allegiance of Western nations in our time. I now turn to a general argument in favor of the independent national state as the best political ordering principle available to mankind.



endnote 64 quoted: 


On the conservative (or “traditionalist”) school in English political theory, see Quinton, The Politics of Imperfection; J. G. A. Pocock, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987 ed.), esp. 30–55, 148–181; Harold J. Berman, “The Origins of Historical Jurisprudence: Coke, Selden, Hale,” Yale Law Journal 103 (May 1994), 1652–1738; Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience; Kirk, Rights and Duties; Ethan Alexander-Davey, “Restoring Lost Liberty: François Hotman and the Nationalist Origins of Constitutional Self-Government,” Constitutional Studies 1 (2016), 37–66; Haivry, John Selden and the Western Political Tradition; Haivry and Hazony, “What Is Conservatism?”

endnote 65 quoted:


Long after the Enlightenment made it unfashionable for political theorists to cite passages from the Bible, biblical ideas continue to be handed down from one generation to the next, just without the citations. As Michael Lind writes concerning the contemporary United States, “Calvinism and the common law together have produced what is perhaps the most biblicist national culture in the world.” Michael Lind, The Next American Nation (New York: Free Press, 1996), 272.


Edited by Grames

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[reminder that comments in square brackets are mine, and what text I present outside the brackets is heavily paraphrased]


Chapter VIII: Two Types of Political Philosophy

Philosophy of politics has, since the ancient Greeks and into the modern liberal university, been a philosophy of government.  

I. Philosophy of Government
Assumes people will organize themselves as a state. A state being a community sufficiently cohesive that it can be ruled by a single government independent from other governments. [Greek political philosophy started with the city-state.  Cities on islands or which were walled were the obvious discrete political units of that time and place.]

Such a philosophy inquires about:

  • Form of the state (monarchy, aristocracy, democracy i.e. the who should rule)
  • should the authority of the state be concentrated to dispersed
  • should the state be formally designed with a constitution
  • who gets to decide when a constitution is violated
  • should a state guarantee individual rights, and what rights

II. Philosophy of Political Order 
Humans have not always lived in unified independent states, so the existence of the state should not be assumed and political philosophy should ask more fundamental questions.

[I would characterize this as starting political philosophy with a close look at actual anarchic societies, rather than dismissing them as a "politically atomistic" chaos from which the state is born.]

philosophy of political order inquires about:

  • what causes the internal cohesion necessary for a state to be at internal peace, or to be formed at all
  • is the state formed by consent of individuals or the unification of existing political structures
  • comparing and contrasting the state to clan, fuedal, or other forms of political order
  • if a state is the best order, should there be one or many states

Philosophy of political order "seeks to understand the causes of political order, and on the basis of this understanding, to determine what are the different forms of political order available to us and which of them is best."

III. The Dangers of Not Observing Epistemological Hierarchy [terminology inserted by me]
Whatever is assumed without argument comes to be regarded as self-evident, whether it is true or false.

Assuming the existence of a cohesive independent state trains the mind to assert the existence of such states even where there are none, or to assume such states can be brought into being easily.  [This brings to mind American military adventures in Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya.] Concerning their own states, such minds will take for granted cohesion and independence and will blithely advocate policies that erode cohesion and independence while thinking their state will remain as sound. [Paris is burning again today because of this mistake by French leader Macron.]

The Hebrew Bible is a large text with much pre-state politics in it.  It is a useful source for inquiry into the causes of the formation, cohesion, independence and destruction of a state, as well the possibilities of living outside of a state.  

Closing quote:


What follows is a study in foundational political philosophy. Rather than assuming that reasonable men will necessarily form a cohesive and independent state, I will consider the underlying causes of political order and examine the ways in which these causes shape the alternatives that are open to us. On the basis of this examination, I will suggest that the best form of political order is an order of independent national states. In particular, I will argue that such an order is superior to the other principal alternatives that are known to us: the order of tribes and clans, which preceded the state; and imperial order.

[zero endnotes]

[Hazony does not use the terminology "epistemological hierarchy" but he plainly spells out that political order is prior to the emergence of states.  Therefore a study of states cannot be well founded without a study of political order.]

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[warning: this is a long post]

Chapter IX: The Foundations of Political Order

Politics, Done Empirically [these bolded topic headings are my creations, the text of each chapter is a single smooth presentation]

definition of politics: "the discipline or craft of influencing others so that they act to accomplish the goals one sees as necessary or desirable."  [This is a good objective definition as opposed to a normative definition. ref: The Principle of Two Definitions  It establishes a category of observable actions much broader than just 'the actions of or concerning governments'.]

Individuals can obtain some values acting alone.  Other values either require or are much easier to obtain by working with others.  But others have their own values, and may be indifferent or hostile to our values.  The fundamental problem of the individual living in a social context is the political problem of influencing others to act to gain or keep one's own values.  [Translated into Objectivist jargon.]

[Objectivism names one solution to the problem of influencing others: the trader principle.  But that is a high level abstraction and a normative one at that.  In the spirit of descriptive empirical investigation a lower, intermediate level of abstraction is appropriate. ]

One solution to the problem of influencing others is establishing a group of like-minded people.  Examples of standing bodies or collectives of individuals are: family, clan, tribe, nation, state, army, religious organization, business enterprise, and chess club. 

definition of institutions: human collectives that persist over time, keeping particular fixed purposes and forms (ex. the name, procedures for deciding and acting at the group level, facilities, etc...)

An institution teaches, persuades, or coerces its members to abide by its own accepted general rules and procedures before action is needed so the collective can act reliably and promptly, rather than persuade or coerce individuals anew as each action is called for.

Three Possible Motives for Individuals to Join Collectives [no claim this list is exhaustive]

  • individuals will join if threatened with reprisal
  • individuals will join if offered payment or other advantage
  • individuals will join if they see the interests and aims of the institution as their own

In the face of ongoing cost, effort or adversity the motive of payment creates the weakest institutions because of the possibility of withdrawing or defecting to a different institution based on a cost/benefit/risk analysis.  Intimidation against individuals or their loved ones can produce more stable institutions but only so long as a credible threat can be maintained.  The strongest institutions are those wherein the individual sees the interests and aims of the institution as their own.

Example: Consider a soldier who takes up a rifle in the hope of establishing the independence of his people after a long history of persecution. Such individuals do not need to be coerced to fight, or to be well compensated for their services.  The identification of the  interests and aims of the collective as his own is what moves him to acts of bravery and self-sacrifice that no intimidation or promise of pay could elicit.

Human individuals are capable of regarding the aims and interests of a collective or institution of which they are members as their own, and of acting upon these aims and interests even where such action will be detrimental to their lives and property.  No convincing account of how strong human institutions are built can be made unless this capacity is at its center.

Extension of the Sense of Self

The human individual is by nature fiercely concerned to ensure the integrity of his or her own self.  Self refers to the body which has a biological fight to flight reflex.  The same fierceness also applies to the protectiveness over land or possessions, defense of one's reputation when accused or insulted, and the defense of loved ones.  All of these—property, reputation, family—are all experienced as if they are also a part of him insofar as his consciousness has embraced them. [They are integrated to some degree into his self-concept, his sense of identity.]

This capacity to regard others as part of one's identity is not restricted to kinsmen, but can include a friend, townsman, platoon member, or any other human being based on some possibly abstract grounds. [How much is Ayn Rand through her works part of our identities even for those of us who have never met her?]  "What we see across the range of human activities and institutions, then, is that the self of the individual is by nature flexible in its extent, and is constantly being enlarged so that persons and things we might have supposed would be outside of him and alien to him are in fact regarded as if they were a part of himself."  [Inserting endnote 2 here:]


This extension of the self is described by Hume, who argues that we feel pride and shame with respect to things that are “parts of ourselves, or something nearly related to us” (A Treatise of Human Nature, 2.1.5), including pride in one’s family and country (2.1.9). He then concludes that such pride is in fact love (2.2.1). For a similar theory in light of recent research in psychology, see Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (New York: Vintage, 2012), 256–318.


definition of loyalty: the attachment that results when an individual includes a certain other within the purview of his or her self.

definition of mutual loyalty: the bond established between two individuals when each has taken the other into his extended sense of self.

Persons experiencing mutual loyalty remain independent persons, and may experience competition, insult, jealousy, and quarrels as independent persons do that are spouses or siblings.  But as soon as either of them faces adversity, the other suffers this hardship as if it were his own and in-progress disputes are suspended or forgotten.  When the hardship is overcome, they experience a sense of relief and pleasure, of walking together in joy, each recognizing the happiness of the other as his own.  These experiences of adversity and triumph establish a strong distinction between an inside and an outside: an inside, comprising the two individuals; and an outside, from which a challenge arises against them and in the face of which they experience a joint suffering and a joint success.

Institutions that are Small and Strong

Institutions constructed principally out of bonds of mutual loyalty are the most enduring and resilient institutions.  

The family is the strongest and most resilient of all small institutions known to human politics, precisely due to the existence of such ties of mutual loyalty between each member of the family and all of the others.  Bonds of family loyalty can be either birth ties or adoptive ties (spouse to spouse and spouse to in-laws are adoptive and parent to child can be adoptive).

The squad or section is the small scale military unit of about 10 men, led by a junior officer or sergeant.  The capacity of this unit to function under extreme duress depends on its ties of mutual loyalty, founded upon each individual's personal acquaintance with all the others and extensive experience of relying upon them for support during training and combat.

[Other examples include: small towns or villages, churches, local political factions and unions, and street gangs.]

Political Order is Hierarchical

Larger scale political institutions of every kind are built upon small institutions such as the family or the squad.

Heads of families can be brought together in an association of mutual loyalty to one another, creating a clan.  A clan may number in the hundreds or thousands and may be scattered over a considerable territory.

Heads of clans can unite to form a tribe that may have tens of thousands of members.

Heads of tribes can come together to form a nation whose members number in the millions.

This process of consolidation is familiar from the Old Testament history of Israel and from the histories of the English, Dutch, Americans and many other nations. [Note that when consolidation happens the lower layers are not dissolved, they persist.]

[Thus the four part hierarchy Hazony uses is: family, clan, tribe, nation.  Settling on four is somewhat arbitrary, the scheme could be elaborated upon by distinguishing more layers but there is less room to remove layers.  From endnote 7:]


Steven Grosby points out that in the Bible, the clan (mishpaha) is clearly described as a subdivision of the tribe (shevet), and the family (beit av) is a subdivision of the clan. The twelve tribes are subdivisions of the Israelites as a people (am). Steven Grosby, Biblical Ideas of Nationality (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2002), 15–22.

Transmission of Loyalty up the Hierarchy

For a child raised within a clan it is not possible to directly develop a bond of mutual loyalty with most other individual members of the clan. But his parents, who have direct bonds of mutual loyalty to the other heads of families, experience the suffering and triumphs of the clan as if these were happening to themselves, and they give expression to these things. And so the child, who experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as if they were happening to him, is able to feel the suffering and the triumphs of the clan as his own as well. Thus even a very young child will feel the harm and shame when another member of his clan is harmed or shamed by members of a rival clan. In this way, the child’s self is extended to embrace the entire clan and all its members, even those whom he has never met. And because of this extension, he will be willing to set aside even bitter disputes with other members of his clan when a threat from the outside is experienced as a challenge to all.

[also from endnote 7:]


Accessible discussions of the order of tribes and clans appear in Mark Weiner, The Rule of the Clan (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013); Azar Gat, Nations (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 29–66. See also Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society, ed. Fania Oz-Salzberger (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995 [1767]), 85.

Like ties of loyalty to the clan, the bond of loyalty to one’s tribe or nation grows out of loyalty to one’s parents: The child experiences the suffering and triumphs of his tribe or nation as his own because he experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as his own, and the parents feel and give expression to the suffering and triumphs of the tribe or nation as these unfold.

endnote 5


This transmission of family, clan, tribal, or national loyalty to the children growing up in a given family does not happen automatically or in a uniform way. The intensity with which these loyalties are felt varies with the presence or absence of circumstances of danger to the family, clan, tribe, or nation in question. It depends, too, on the intensity with which the parents experience the challenges to their family, tribe, and nation, and the sensitivity of each child. Some children resist the loyalties of their parents and are more strongly influenced by those of a teacher, clergyman, or military commander who becomes, as it were, a second father or mother to them. And of course, even childhood loyalties can be broken or weakened when the trust implied by them is betrayed.



definition of cohesion: the bonds of mutual loyalty that hold firmly in place an alliance of many individuals, each of whom shares in the suffering and triumphs of the others, including those they have never met.  The concept of cohesion can be applied at any scale. endnote 6:


This use of the term “cohesion” comes from John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, in Utilitarianism, on Liberty, and Considerations on Representative Government, ed. Geraint Williams (London: Everyman, 1993 [1861]), 241; Henry Sidgwick, The Elements of Politics (n.p.: Elibron Classics, 2005 [1891]), 233, 276. As Sidgwick writes, “What is really essential… to a nation is… that the persons composing it should have a consciousness of belonging to one another, of being members of one body, over and above what they derive from the mere fact of being under one government; so that, if their government were destroyed by war or revolution, they would still hold firmly together” (202). It refers to the same phenomenon that Mill also calls “fellow-feeling” (392); which appears as “bonds of sentiment” in J. G. Herder, Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind, in Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. F. M. Barnard (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1969 [1784–1791]), 324; and as the “sentiment of solidarity in the face of other groups” in Max Weber, “The Nation,” in From Max Weber, trans. and eds. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1946 [1921]), 172.

The Limit of Consolidation

Nation can develop attachments to other nations.  The English-speaking nations are sometimes referred to as a "family of nations" due to both common descent from English influence and experience of common struggle against the Axis powers of WWII and then against the communist bloc of nations during the Cold War.  The Hindu peoples of India have a similar relation to each other founded in common struggle against Islamic and English domination.  What has never been seen is a genuine movement toward mutual loyalty of the entirety of the human population worldwide.  That would require a worldwide common adversity as an impetus.  

[The conclusion from this point is that a world government is compatible and possible with an imperialist political order, but a nationalist political order will not have impetus to organize itself beyond international agreements among groups of nations.]

Biological Kinship Not Essential to Mutual Loyalty

Long years of joint hardship and success are essential to establishing ties of mutual loyalty, not kinship.  The husband-wife bond is adoptive, families can adopt children, clans can adopt families, tribes adopt clans and nations, tribes.  An isolated individual, having been cut off from his own family due to war or disease will invariably attach himself to a new family or a new clan, lending his strength to theirs and gaining their protection. 

The constant regeneration of bonds of mutual loyalty implies that there can be no society whose member individuals are without loyalty to anyone other than themselves.  Even in modern society, where the traditional order of clans and tribes is weakened or supplanted by formal state structures, collectives built from bonds of mutual loyalty are visible everywhere: there are still churches, political chapters, schools, and other community organizations equivalent to the clan level.  On a national scale, powerful religious, ethnic, sectoral, and professional associations vie with one another as if they were tribes.   The attraction of individuals, even under the modern state, to ally themselves to collectives is a constant.  [I would call it a facet of human nature, an attribute of the identity of humans.]

[Anecdotal evidence from an entirely different perspective: the progression of American situational comedies from family situations (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Brady Bunch, All in the Family, etc...)  to modern "found family" situations (of Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Big Bang Theory, etc... ) The depiction of mutual loyalty remains the same and is necessary to the format which seems to work as well even without depicting kinship.]

Health and Prosperity of a Collective

Words such as 'brotherhood' 'health' and 'prosperity' when applied to collectives are metaphors drawn from the life of the individual, but the underlying referent of the usage is real.

"Health and Prosperity of the Family" refers to at least three things:

  1. physical and material flourishing - health and property and their increase
  2. strong internal integrity - the bonds of mutual loyalty, honoring differences in age or status, minimizing discord
  3. the extent and quality of the cultural inheritance that is transmitted by the parents and grandparents to the children (3 is a significant means of accomplishing 1 and 2)

The individual at all times experiences the strengthening or weakening of his family as something that is happening to himself. And because this is the case, he is constantly moved to take action to defend and build up the family in its material prosperity, in its internal integrity, and in its capacity to transmit an appropriate cultural inheritance to the children.  Thus parents will take employment not to their liking in order to feed their family, spouses humble themselves for the sake of peace in the home, the older devote long hours teaching children even though the children have a limited ability recognize the value of what they are taught.  All of this happens not out of altruistic impulse to help a stranger, but because strengthening the family is experienced as strengthening themselves.

In principle the health and prosperity of every human collective can be measured in much the same way as that of the family.  When individuals take into their own hands the task of strengthening the tribe or nation, they do so not out of altruism, but because strengthening the tribe or nation is experienced as strengthening themselves.


     Human beings constantly desire and actively pursue the health and prosperity of the family, clan, tribe, or nation to which they are tied by bonds of mutual loyalty: We have an intense need to seek the material success of the collective. We work to strengthen its internal integrity by ensuring that its members are loyal to one another in adversity, honor their elders and leaders, and conduct the inevitable competitions among them peaceably. And we toil to hand down the cultural inheritance of the collective, its language and religion, its laws and traditions, its historical perspective, and the unique manner in which it understands the world, to a new generation. Remarkably, this last concern—for the transmission of the cultural inheritance of the collective to future generations—is often experienced as a need no less powerful than the desire to feed and clothe our children. Even in a family ravaged by poverty and near starvation, the efforts of the parents to transmit this inheritance to their children does not cease. One need only interfere with the language people speak, with the religion of their community, with the customary rights by which they conduct their affairs, or with the way they raise their children, to quickly inflame them and drive them to the brink of violence. Because these things impinge on the internal integrity and cultural inheritance of the family, clan, tribe, or nation, they are experienced with such bitterness, and give rise to such consuming anger.

No universal ideology—not Christianity or Islam, not liberalism or Marxism—has succeeded in eliminating or even weakening this intense desire to protect and strengthen the [particular] collectives to which an individual also belongs.  As that desire is derived from the individual desire to defend his own life and improve his material circumstances it cannot be and should not be diminished.

The devotion of individuals to particular non-universal collectives creates persistent division among mankind.  But division is necessary for diversity, innovation and advancement.  The separate nations of mankind are as validly viewed as walled gardens as fortresses, where what is original and different is given a space of its own to be tested.  The figurative walls of language and culture provide both a means to nurture beneficial innovations in laws, morals and industry as well as means to inhibit the spread of what is destructive and misguided.

[I put in all these endnotes to show that Hazony does not coin neologisms nor invent the definitions he uses. ]

[endnotes 1-17 , the endnotes of part two are their own series]

Edited by Grames

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Salting the thread with some actual Rand content:



Nationalism vs. Internationalism

NOVEMBER 4,1962—The issue of nationalism versus internationalism-as I pointed out in last week's column—is approaching a climax and requires a clear-cut stand. It is one of the deadliest and least defined of today's issues.

Championed and propagated by "liberals" for many decades, internationalism is collectivism applied to the relationships of nations. Just as domestic collectivism holds that an individual's freedom and interests must be sacrificed to the "public interest" of society—so internationalism holds that a nation's sovereignty and interests must be sacrificed to a global community.

The United States is, perhaps, the only nation that has taken this doctrine seriously and is its greatest victim. Our domestic policy, we are constantly told, must be determined by our foreign policy and subordinated to the requirements of the world situation; international problems come first, domestic problems second.

But the current controversy over Britain's entry into the Common Market has blasted that doctrine, creating an eloquent paradox. "It is the Conservatives, or Tories," wrote an American newspaper, "hitherto the principal exponents of British sovereignty and empire, who are taking Britain into a union with the Continent. And it is the Laborites, the internationally minded Socialists... who now lead a charge against making Britain 'a province of Europe.'"

Contrary to all the internationalists, it is domestic policies that are of primary importance, not foreign affairs. A nation's own political system is its first concern. And the basic issue in today's world is not such superficial and artificial questions as nationalism versus internationalism, but capitalism versus socialism.

The basic principle of capitalism is voluntary trade to mutual benefit, among individuals and among nations. The basic principle of socialism is forced self-sacrifice, in both fields.

It is only on the basis of individual rights and interests that the interests of a nation can be defined and protected; it is only on the basis of national interests that any sort of international cooperation can be achieved.

There is a crucial difference between joining a semi-capitalistic type of international organization, such as the Common Market—or an altruist-collectivist type, such as the United Nations.

Observe that the U.N. is achieving the opposite of its alleged goals. It demanded the sacrifice of national interests; instead, it has led to the worst kind of primordial nationalism: to tribal racism.

The Common Market cannot be said fully to represent capitalistic principles. It is a "mixed economy" whose policies are pro-capitalistic, not explicitly, but implicitly and by default—just as the United States, at present, is a "mixed economy" moving toward socialism, not explicitly, but implicitly and by default.

The Common Market is a precarious structure guided, not by firm political principles, but by the expediency of the moment. Starting from war-time ruins, it turned to freedom, not as a philosophy, but as an expedient, and adopted one aspect of capitalism: free trade. The results were miraculous.

The position of capitalism in the Common Market today is that of socialism in the semi-free economies of the 19th century: a principle smuggled into an economy and left unidentified. Socialism was not accepted by the world as a consciously chosen program or system; it won gradually, in single steps urged by the intellectuals and adopted by the pragmatic, range-of-the-moment policy of governments that refused to consider the consequences of their actions.

Every government control imposed on a nation's economy created problems that required further controls that required still further controls, and so on. It is by such steps that a prosperous world was brought to the misery of socialized bankruptcy.

A similar process, in reverse, now confronts the Common Market. One liberated area of economic activity interferes with government planning and requires the liberation of further areas that require the liberation of still further areas, and so on. (This is the reason why the Common Market cannot include a socialist Britain.) If the Common Market is to retain its achievements, that is the process it will have to follow.

Whether it will, depends on the theoretical perceptiveness and courage of its leaders. Long-range destruction can be achieved by blind, short-range pragmatism; long-range success, cannot.

A growing prosperity will bring growing demands for unearned benefits by statist pressure-groups; if they are not resisted, they will undercut the Common Market and wreck it. But they can be resisted only by the political philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism, explicitly adopted and upheld.

How much destruction will the world have to endure before men realize this?

The politicians of the Western world are clinging desperately to the collapsing status quo—to the fiction of a workable "mixed economy"—dreading the necessity to identify the issue. The future depends on the emergence of statesmen who will challenge socialism not by silent expediency, but by proudly open conviction.



Edited by Grames
added article's title/headline

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57 minutes ago, Grames said:

...the basic issue in today's world is not such superficial and artificial questions as nationalism versus internationalism, but capitalism versus socialism.

Not a bad point there, Miss Rand. Indeed,  the nationalism vs.  internationalism question is superficial and artificial. Nationalism has no virtues, nor does socialism, nor does internationalism per se. Only capitalism does, and international agreements only have virtue to the extent that they facilitate individuals' freedom to trade and move between states.

P.S. You really should be more careful about the ghost of a dead individualist philosopher taking over you fingers and posting corrections to your collectivist book review, Grames. It's hurting the cause.

Edited by Nicky

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