tv Yoram Hazony The Virtue of Nationalism CSPAN December 29, 2018 11:30am-12:46pm EST
i was fortunate to political events that put me on the path. >> do you consider trent lott, not necessarily mere politics, your friend? >> i met him several times since then and i also have to remind him that my mother actually worked for him and he said, the problem was him ãb considering his president, i'm not sure we have as many differences as we once did. >> dear madam president is the name of the book an open letter to the women who will run the world is the subtitle. jennifer palmieri of the author. by the way, book tv taped a longer interview with jennifer palmieri, you can watch that on our website at booktv.org. thank you. >> thank you, my pleasure. >> keep an eye out for more interviews from the national press club's book fair to air in the near future. you can also watch them and any of our programs in their
entirety at booktv.org. type the authors name in the search bar at the top of the page. >> let's get started with today's event.thanks very much for joining us here at the heritage foundation on a day when the rain has condescended to hold off. i appreciate that. and i appreciate everyone joining us today. i want to give a special welcome to our audience on c-span's book tv. i daresay that our speaker today will be featured on and off on c-span for the next six months and in his case absolutely deservedly so. i want to start off by giving a slightly personal anecdote in introduction to our speaker today. many years ago, many many years ago now, i taught international relations at masters loot level
at yale and i started my first class by giving my students a quotation from the work of john a hobson's interior realism of study first published in 1902. hobson, to give you a brief bio, was a left economist noted ãband member of the independent labour party after world war i. from the heritage point of view he was probably not a soundman. but nonetheless on page 11 of imperial study in my edition hudson's right nationalism is a plane hide waited two internationalism and if it manifests divergence we may well expect a perversion of its nature on purpose. nationalism is a plane highway two internationalism? i'm not sure if our guests today would agree with that sentiment or not, i tend to not disagree or agree but make a point that there's a world we lost, a world in which nationalism was even to a man of the left like hobson a respectable and constructive
belief. not only have we lost that world, we've lost track of the ideas that made hobson's claim intelligible.after all, he put it on page 11 and evidently expected his readers would understand what he was saying without a whole lot of preliminary introduction. and how many readers today understand what hobson was saying? i can tell you in my years of teaching only one student who i gave this quotation to was ever able to make any sense of it at all. so we really have lost the ability to understand the idea that nationalism even from the perspective of hobson's point of view is constructive. that's a problem. it's not just a problem because we can't understand hobson and the many many other scholars and statesmen who wrote and worked in that tradition, it's a problem because that tradition is largely responsible for the world as it is organized today.into a world of states and in some
cases nationstates.today i'm proud to introduce a speaker who not only knows that tradition but who can defend that tradition. not just as a good thing in its time, but as a good thing today. doctor yoram hazony received his ba from princeton in 1996 and his phd from rockers 1993. 1994 he cofounded the shalom center in jerusalem and today the president of the hartsell institute in jerusalem. he is also the director of the john tuples and foundations object in jewish philosophical theology. he is the author of four books, including the book on which he will be speaking today, let me always display the book for everyone's interest. "the virtue of nationalism" published last month by basic books. after he speaks we will have time for audience q&a and after that he will be signing copies of the "the virtue of nationalism", which is on sale outside the auditorium. please join me in welcoming doctor yoram hazony to the heritage foundation. doctorb&.
[applause] >> thank you ted for the warm welcome. and thank you all for coming out. it's a stormy season in the united states. both in terms of the weather and politically. and i'm sort of in an unusual position because generally wherever i go people accuse me of provoking all sorts of unnecessary troubles. here i am in the unaccustomed position of maybe, maybe, being able to could turn tribute some ideas that could calm the waters deliberate. but i don't want to promise too much. i don't have a good track record in common waters. let's start with the immediate obvious background.
nationalism is just about almost certainly the most discussed political idea of the last several years. it's accused and associated with an extraordinary range of evils. but it's beyond that it's also correctly applied in analyzing all sorts of important current events. beginning with brexit, the united kingdoms vote to leave the european union. well, what can i say. [laughter] some analogies are just called for. to leave the european union in 2016. nationalism is associated with the rise of donald trump in the
united states in 2016. it's associated with electoral victories for openly national governments in italy, across eastern europe, and in other countries and the democratic world among them israel, india, and japan. it's not an exaggeration to say that the democratic world has taken a turn toward nationalism. and understanding what this is and what it's about is probably the most important challenge for political analysts or political theorists in our time. adding to the interest in the subject is the fact that we just haven't seen anything like this since world war ii at least. the progression in the direction of movements that are
reasserting in the democratic world a desire for national independence, for self-determination, the claim that the governing ethos, the governing policies, of the major western powers are against self-determination that they are suppressing self determination. as i said before, most people seem to see it as something dangerous. something horrifying. i'm not going today to defend specific individuals, specific administrations, specific political parties. but i do want to defend the trend itself. i don't have a crystal ball, i don't know whether the italian nationalists are capable of governing italy well.
i don't even know how the trump administration is going to turn out. maybe you do. but i don't. so i'm not going to be placing bets on particular nationalist government, what i want to focus on is the question of whether the trend itself is to be considered frightening, horrifying, terrible, destructive, or whether in fact the trend and the direction of more national independence, a world of independent national states, whether that's to be welcomed. i'm going to be speaking about nationalism and imperialism. this is an over supplication, like any piece of bold political theory, it simplifies the material, always to a certain extent too much, in
order to clarify. it simplifies to clarify so that we can understand. that means that i will be making certain assertions that i am then going to have to hedge and pull back a bit and i promise to apologize when you call me on it and i will hedge and pulled back a bit. that doesn't at all and undermine the value of the basic effort. we have here a subject that is extremely widely discussed, the subject is drenched in confusion. and i believe it's possible to clarify in a way that it makes sense. two definitions, first of all, when we speak of nationalism what are we talking about? in my book i refer to a well-established political tradition that sees nationalism
as a principal political standpoint that understands the world is governed best when it consists of independent nations that are permitted to chart their own constitutionally, religious, and legal course according to their own rights. this is traditionally in nationalist circles opposed to imperialism. where imperialism is understood as any attempt to view the political order of the world as governed best when as much as possible it's brought under a single government or regime of law that is been enforced on as many nations as possible and theoretically the entire planet is that can be practically pulled off. these conflicting definitions
reflect an ancient political argument.they are not something new. there is in academia probably most of you are familiar that's in academia a tradition in academic tradition of describing nationalism as though it's some kind of modern phenomenon, something post-french revolution or after that. i don't see it that way. i understand, i understand the nation to be something that can be identified going all the way back into antiquity. and in fact in the classics of western civilization we have, among the pillars of the classical tradition, we have the hebrew bible, which is a set of texts and a among other things deals extensively with the questions we are going to be talking about with the questions of tribes, nations, empires and takes positions with respect to them.
and in the biblical tradition the world consists of nations. the world consists of nations and nations of peoples. in fact, early modern political theory is very largely indebted, certainly, especially in the anglo-american tradition to the translation of the bible to the translation of the bible into english.so that if you want to know what do our forefathers and the anglo-american tradition, what they understand by a nation? one of the easiest ways to do it is to open up the king james bible, which uses the terms nation and people thousands of times. and to understand what it was they were reading in their bible when they read the bible every day. and how they learned what a nation is from that.
the history of western political thought can be understood as a seesaw battle between on the one hand, a roman heritage. the roman heritage is simply imperialistic. the romans much like the babylonians and the syrians and the persians before them understood their role as to conquer as much of the world as possible. by the way, this is not just some kind of brutal will to power. they had a humanizing side to it. a theory of what they were doing. the theory was, and this theory is for all the differences that these ancient empires have between them, this was in common that every one of these universal empires, which sets out to bring the four corners of the earth to submission, they all claim to be doing it for the same reasons, which are to bring peace and to bring prosperity to the world.
this is a view that says the world is divided into tribes and nations and they are all killing each other and the purpose of the empire is to impose a single law which will bring peace and prosperity. in this roman vision of bringing peace and prosperity, the pax romana as it's called. then is the inspiration for what he did attempt to do that also western history. in those attempts include the holy roman empire, which was a german project of the third rome of the russian empire, which also descended from rome. polian of course, who saw his project of uniting europe and then governing the entire world as inspired by the roman empire and specifically by caesar. and in its own twisted distorted way, nazi germany is
also an attempt to do rome one better according to the whites of its theorists. the other side of the seesaw is this biblical tradition. the bible rejects these empires. inputs on the table a different form of local government, which it considers to be just. that is the government of the self determining, independent state, living among many other such self determining independent states.so moses speaks to god of heaven and earth, and so you would think that god of heaven and earth would tell him the same thing that the other gods tell the other national leaders, god conquered the four corners to the earth and bring them to submission to begin a peace and prosperity but that's not what happens. what happens is the god of
israel as far as we know is the first got in history to give orders to his people. and we find in deuteronomy that moses telling the people that god has given us borders because he's given the other lands to other nations so that they can have their independence.and if we cross those borders would get published. underlying this idea is a vision of what could possibly bring freedom and well-being to the world which is at odds with imperialism. this is a view that suggests that each nation pursues its own traditions and its own understanding, then the world will more quickly go to justice. this jewish vision would be of academic interest if it weren't for the impact that it has had on christianity and christendom. we see that in the middle ages. the old testament has a
shaping, a forming influence on nations as diverse of england, france, checks, but it comes really into its own in early eternity with protestantism and especially the calvinist and anglican attempts to re-envision christianity in closer dialogue with hebrew scripture. it's this western protestant engagement with the hebrew bible, which leads to the modern national states to the declaration of independence we can say of henry viii and the english from the holy roman empire and the papacy. it's a remarkable 200 years earlier how much like the
american declaration it really is. and then the independence of the official formal independence of switzerland and france and of other nations. by the time you get to the middle of the 17th century we have world order that is beginning to look like something that's familiar to us. different kinds of nations. some lutheran, some calvinist, some roman catholic. they still has to fight duress. but they compete within a framework of recognizing the legitimacy of the other nations. which is unprecedented. there's a formal legitimacy that the other nations have even though they are religious and constitutional traditions are completely different from ours. each one looks at the others may be to test them. but they grant them legitimacy. and that has been for three centuries at least up until
world war ii. that vision of the world in which i possibly cannot abide by the constitutional religious theories of the other state, the other nation, but i granted legitimacy and i don't have a goal of trying to snuff it out of the world anymore. that eventually becomes the world that we know in the 20th century. a world in which nation after nation around the globe is granted independence or sees as independence. some with better results, some with works. we all know that that's not the way the story ends. as late as world war ii the allies still thought they were fighting for a world of independent nations. the radio broadcast of the americans and the british emphasize that europe is being held captive, that the nations
of europe are capital to german imperialism. two nazi imperialism. the goal is to liberate them not in order to bring them under a different empire but in order to give each nation it's freedom. that's what national freedom used to mean. is that you kick out the empire and let them determine their own course. of course not the way things ended either because the soviet union was, as you know, a universalist empire seeking to bring peace and prosperity to the entire globe by imposing its vision. many of the people who i know personally who were deeply involved with fighting the cold war and its last stages when i speak to them they still remember things, they didn't see themselves as fighting in order to create a new world order that would be imposed by america, on the contrary, they saw themselves as fighting to free nations.
to free the nation the independent nations of the globe from the threat of being controlled by the soviet union. i think obviously these things are not sudden, there's a progression but i think that we can point to the fall of the berlin wall as kind of a turning point in the way that americans and europeans thought about the independence of nations this had been cooking all day since the 1950s the communist menace evaporates within a couple of years and as you know there were voices in the united states, individuals like irving kristol, jean kirkpatrick, who said we want our work, we freed the world. now let's bring the boys home. let's focus on the serious troubles that we as americans have at home.
they were kind of pushed aside by events as was margaret thatcher, proposed by her own party the conservatives in 19 d because she wasn't sufficiently synthetic to the european union and the idea of dismantling the sovereignty of nations in europe. and bending it around that time 1990, 1991, from the moment george hw bush, president bush declares the arrival of order, there's an astonishing consensus, democrats, labor and conservatives in the uk and all the major parties across europe, there is an astonishing consensus that really what needs to be done is to establish a new world order. a single rule-based international order to be imposed by force, which means american, possibly american fork. this becomes a project for an
entire generation. president bush declares that for a thousand generations mankind has struggled and sought to try to bring about this kind of a new world order and failed but it's going to happen now. in the 1990s. these are astonishing things. it sent chills down my spine. what was his vision? he said we are going to replace the rule of the jungle with the rule of law. the globe is going to be brought under the rule of law. this is in an absolutely remarkable claim, an american president not faced with the cold war against the soviet union. but out of a vision, he said he wasn't good at the vision thing but he's pretty good. i remember as a kid, i remember where i was the first time i was probably about 12 years old
the first time i or john lennon's "imagine", i thought when i was 12, this is a terrible song. [laughter] but i remembered thinking about this that at least, it's just a pop song, it's just a singer.but a lot of people grow up on this and when we reach the last 30 years one american administration after another european governments have bought into the idea that isn't possible for us to just have one law and one set of values and everybody is going to play by the rules as various american leaders have said, play by the rules. on the flipside of it was when he drove play by the rules then somebody is going to force it. who's the somebody? we know that that became the mission of american troops with allied contingents.
a way of advancing certain kind of world. my claim is that that kind of world is completely undesirable. it's simply not desirable. it's a utopian fantasy and it's a utopian fantasy utopian fantasy means they can't possibly work. i also think if it could maybe work it still not desirable. i will try in a few minutes to give you a sense of why i say that. the idea of a world of diverse nations we can compare it to the kinds of economic theories that conservatives, many liberals embrace. when we talk about the economy
we don't think that anybody should be planning it. we will think there needs to be one central decision-making body somewhere or even a net of them in order to determine how economy works. because we believe that diversity of powers that the dispersion of power and the competition among different firms that that gives the possibility of maximum innovation, competition, we will give the incentive, this is the theory, competition will give the incentive for innovation, innovation will lead to remarkable discoveries and advances and where one company is able to advance by discovering something and succeeding in it then others will be able to imitate it. and good things will therefore be able to spread throughout the economy. notice the competition, the dispersion of power and competition is the key. we are also familiar with the theory from domestic political theory. the freedom of the
anglo-american tradition arises in a context in which instead of having a single power that's executive and legislative and has all the power, the anglo-american tradition divides among multiple branches of government that compete with one another in order to maintain the system. these are commonplace. but when it comes to the world order to the entire planet, to the laws that are going to be holes on the planet and the enforcement mechanisms, all of the sudden all these free marketers, people understanding the importance of disbursement of power and competition and innovation all of the sudden they become central planners. all of a sudden a single rule of law can be imposed on the entire planet because somebody knows what those laws are it's not gonna do any damage it will actually supposedly good to plan the political order for the entire planet. personally i think this is kind
of crazy stuff. the only thing that makes it crazy is the fact that we been doing it for decades so it almost seems kind of normal. but i think it's kind of crazy stuff. what's the alternative? the alternative is what used to be called bounce hour.the dispersion of power. by the way, the purpose of balance of power among multiple competing centers, multiple competing nations, the purpose of that, i was taught when i was in college and graduate school, the purpose of it was supposed to be to bring peace and stability but actually went back and read the great theorist of balance of power and i couldn't find it. what you find is a fascinating thing. that the reason for the multiplicity of governments in a system of states, of nations, of independent nations, is
freedom. the only way to have freedom of the system is to prevent anyone power from going so strong that they can impose the law on all the other powers. in other words, the classic theorists of early modern freedom in the international arena his view is precisely the opposite of what administrations have been pursuing for a generation. ... ... competition among nations gave us the ideals of limited government, of experiments in
democracy, of the balance of pour manage branches of government, the concern for individual liberties, the free market. all of these things politically, economically, all of them arise within nation states. holland, england, scotland, the united states. they're part of the competition among independent national states, each one doing its own experiment, each one an experiment what it means to live as a nation. and by the way you can also add the great advances in science and art. there wouldn't have been a newton without the intense competition of the english who found french rationalism to be appalling, and thought the english could do science better. wouldn't be the modern university system, which you may like more or less, without the
prussian disdain for the way that english and friend do scholarship and the competition and the desire to say, we can do it better. and you can just continue. almost anything that we value arise from the modern national state system. i it can be a development of earlier biblical or christian or other kinds of developments but these things explode into their -- into the powerful reality we know today out of the competition of independent national states. let me just point to -- let me just emphasize with respect to freedoms internally in nations, because of course, world of independent nations means that some will be freer than others, some more to our liking than others. they're all not just going to do what way want them to . do that's the whole idea. a world of independent nations means diversity, even great
diverse at the and we won't appreciate necessarily every single thing that is going to happen in different nations. but cor the following alternative. we have on record not one single example in all of history of an imperial state, a state which is defined by the concept that the nations of 0 he world should be brought as much as possible under a single rule of law. we have not one example of such a state that developed traditions of limited government. we have not one example of such a state that developed traditions of democracy and power sharing among the tribes within the buyer empire. there's no such thing. the fact is, it's the national cohesion of the national state, the mutual loyalty of a given people, which allows experiments to take place, and that is the basis for all of our freedoms. one last thing and then i'll
stop. we live today in a world in which tolerance is frightenly disappearing, tolerance of alternative points of view. this is obvious throughout the west, but it's not -- it's plenty obvious in the united states. when i was growing up in college and i was publishing my conservative magazine on my college campus a generation ago, of course there were plenty of people who didn't like us because we were conservative and people who said so. but nobody ever dreamed -- none of us, none of the people involved ever dreamed that if we had a strong point of view about some issue of public importance, that we wouldn't write it in our college conservative magazine. all of us believed in this idea that -- ideas that are within
the framework of being to some degree moral, decent, according to some group of people, that would youy just say them and people might not like you but they wouldn't destroy your career. they wouldn't destroy your life. they wouldn't take you out and effectively eliminate you as a participant in the public life of the country because you express an opinion that wasn't the one that was permitted. i unfortunately i raise my children today to think twice and three times before they express their opinionsen and i'm not proud of this. i'm ashamed. i'm ashamed and frightened. i find is horrifying this where is we have getten and one of the most important thing is think that we can do in attempting to analyze and theorize but what is going on, is to figure out how it could be that america went so quickly from being a country in which dissent and new ideas and
innovative ideas and different ideas were tolerated, to one in which if you say the wrong word you're finished. my proposal is that this is a direct result of the transition of american leadership, american elites, from a mindset, a nationalist mindset, which says, in our nation, we do it one way, in other nations they'll do it's different way, and even though we don't necessarily approve, that's the way the world is best governed, when we tolerate the existence of other regime that don't do things our way other, traditions that don't do things our way. some point in the last generation, leading americans, public fishings off head a transition to an ill polarrallist mindset, one that says my marxist point of view is
the only possible true point of view, or my liberal point of view is the only possible true point of view. and i don't think that any nation in the world should be exempt from having my point of view by the one that is ultimately imposed on it. a person who thinks like that, who has hand imperialist mindset, who can't really understand how someone could think something different, that's exactly the kind of person who, when it comes to politics at home, is going to be willing to say, you'll know what, there's really only one legitimate point of view. if i think there's only one legitimate point of view for the whole planet, how can it possibly be. if you're at home i would allow my very neighbors to think something different. tolerance is one of those precious to goes that arose within the order of independent nations in early modernity.
it arose any wake of a political nord which the states, the different kinds of governments officially tolerated unanother and in the wake of that some of them began to extend toleration to their own citizens. we need to find a way out of where we are. the best way to find -- the best we to get out of where we are, i believe, tuesday revisit the imperialis assumptions ehave adopted, those are strong words and not immediately persuasive to everybody, but i'd like you to take them home and think about them. the imperialist we have each of us inside of us that says, no, no, no, i have the appearance. we americans have the answer. we germans have the answer. the polls can just do what -- run their done trip they way they wont to because we germans happen the answer. we know how the pols are supposed to rein it. that's the kind of thinking that means in italy, a finance minister that is proposed by an elected democratic include elect
government can in effect be deposes on say sew from brussels because the germans and the elites have a better understanding who should be the finance minimum center italy. -- minimum center italy. ese to complain but the europeans. that kind of thinking has come to america. easy to complain and say it's only on the left. that kind of thinking has come to conservatives in america and we need to find a way to overcome it. i believe we can. our traditions are healthy, good, strong, and we can over come it. that's why i wrote the book. i promise i'll hedge and apologize where necessary so you can start testing me on it. thank you all. [applause] >> thank you very much. i'm going to take the normal prerogative of the host to ask a couple of questions and one is,
perhaps somewhat supportive, and one is perhaps somewhat challenging. you can answer -- you can duck and dodge or you can take them both in the order you prefer. you write on page 26 -- and on page 24 of the book, that in some senses no nation, even in the world of nationalism, is an island. that there is a certain moral minimum, a certain god-given standard of national conduct. you don't describe what the moral minimum is. even in a world of independent sovereign, self-ging states. you simply set out there is some sort of minimum. could you expand? what is the minimum for the conduct of even the ideally constituted independent sovereign nation state in the
world of other such entities. and then second a little less supportively, you quote jon stewart mill, considerations on representative government, and you say, might maybe quite rightly, that mill danes a common 19th century point of view in argue its, quote, necessary condition of free institutions they boundaries of government should coincide in the main with those of nationalities. in other words, the english nation, if i take this right, should be composed of the english. the german nation should be composed primarily of the germans,phone nation, and on and on. what do we get a world like the world we have, where nationalities salted and distributed all over the map and where if you want to achieve this world you have to move people around to suit borders or move borders around to suit
people and those borders will be very complicated if the people aren't moved. >> those are both super questions. the problem of morality and international system -- i mean, it's not even -- it's not that much more tractable than the problem of morality generally. every national tradition, every religious tradition, they all have their understanding of what morality is, and it was a famous common place among the early modern -- the common lawyers in england that you couldn't resolve. there's no way to simply using
reason to figure out what should be the morality everywhere. john sullivan, the great 17th 17th century political legal theorist, he wrote the principle author of the petition of right which makes him the principle author of the first draft of america's bill of rights so should be better known and this view was there has not existed in the history of the world a single principle on which philosophers can't disagree. in other words, no matter how obvious it seems, there are fish ol' fers who are capable of disagreeing with it. if the most brilliant men and women of -- in history have not been able to come to a consensus on any significant subject, it's unlikely we here are simply going to sit down and figure out
the answer to what the moral minimum is. the moral minimum in early modern europe was associated with the ten commandments. both luther and calvin believed that the biblical ten commandments were an appropriate basis for natural law, and they thought the legitimacy of nations depended in the abstract, depended on the question of whether the rulers were creating a -- in which these commandments were being obeyed. now, i can definitely understand that in a world in which people don't even read the bible anymore, much less think that it can guide us in fundamental moral things, we're going to have a significant argument about what the moral minimum should be.
maybe some nations will even think there isn't a moral minimum. certainly think that as jews and christians, as members of the anglo-american tradition, we're never going to give up, i hope, the idea there is a moral minimum which is universally relevant. but knowing what the minimum is, even if you can figure out exactly what it is, i rush to emphasize is not the same thing as believing that it's your responsibility or that it's practical for you to impose it on other nations. so, let me take the most extreme case. if we're dealing with a case like rowan da, or cambodia, there's no question, hundreds of thousands of people are dying. maybe millions. i certainly don't want -- this is -- i don't want to turn good principles into an absolute
dogma or doctrine, it's important if we're going to do empirical thinking -- to understand that our principles, even if they're true, they may have limits so even if national independence is a wonderful principle, it stale may have limit. there's a limit. i certainly think, and i hope you'll all agree with me, that if america or some other nation has sufficient power to be able to go into rwanda or cambodia to go in to put a stop to it and to get out rather than having to occupy the country for the next 50 or 100 years, if it's plausible that could happen, there's a serious case to be made, i would definitely defend it. but there's emotional obligation to go in and put an opened to the killing. i'd like to draw a very sharp distinction between that and the kind of moral obligation that
today circulates in which if a regime is autocratic, not a democratic regime, doesn't recognize viz liberties they wail we do then quite a few people -- i mean, surprisingly, many people in public, responsible public positions, will say that those regimes-not legitimate. this is like kind of french revolution kind of stuff. the idea that every regime be history of the world has been illegitimate, until today and still is illegitimate because it doesn't fit my understanding of morals. i urge rejecting this kind of thinking. i think it's absolutely good for an american president, faced with an abuse -- let's say the
murder in cold blood of a journalist -- i think it's good for an american forgot say what the thinks. it could be good for the american president to use the leverage that he has in order to try to press for changes. this is always been the case in politics and never going to stomp people always leverage their views and try to get other governments to fall into line where they think it's important. nothing wrong with that. there is something wrong with thinking that every time that somebody deviates, every time somebody deviates on immigration policy or their idea of how supreme court is supposed to worker their idea of how an economy is suppose supposed to work or how immigration is supposed to work, anytime somebody deviates, we have the answer, time to start strong-arming them. there is a line between a concerned nation that is engaged
with the world and wants to see it improved, and am imperialist nation that simply can't understand the limits of her own abilities to judge other civilizations and other nations. with regard to the other point, -- what was the other point -- [inaudible] >> look, part of being realistic is that -- is recognizing there is no way to create a world of perfectly crafted nations in which borders are, as mill proposed, borders are exactly congrues with national identity and mutual loyalty. it's not possible. every single solution you come up with for some local conflict, the british versus the irish, the jews versus the arabs, the
pakistans verse the indians and every other conflict between nations that you're going to come up with, every single one of them there's going to be a range of possible places where the border should be and legitimate and reasonable arguments on both sides. the same thing can be said about who gets to be independent. in india there's 1700, i'm told, 1700 independent national -- independent languages. every single one -- and thousands more dialects. every single one of those -- i think the numbers of people involved. every one of those languages is being spoken by millions of people who could in some -- under some circumstances reasonably say, we should be independent, too. one of the main arguments made by my book and that i make in the become is to say, look, there's no way to understand the kind of practical tradeoffs going to be made unless you
recognize that a world of independent nations is a compromise. it's a pragmatic compromise. i'm turning it into a wonderful moral vision, but at its heart this wonderful moral vision is bases on a pragmatic compromise. at one stream there is anarchy. which means not of individuals but every single family, every single tribe, every single clan will conduct its own foreign policy and all be constantly in tension with one another and at war with one others. human beings lived like that through most of their history. that's where abraham is living. sitting on a hill with his goats and sheep and a tent and retainers and needs to go to war against some king so the gathers some other clans together and they go to war. every family is an independent poll -- foreign policy. that's one stream of a total
freedom which is also constant violence. the other extreme there's eliminate all the freedom and suppress all the violence with a world empire that just makes decisions and says, no, not going to fight. the national state is a compromise between these two extremes. there's the idea of having a world in which they'll be a significant degree of freedom for many nations, it is not utopia. doesn't perfect things. this always going to be small peoples that are not strong enough to be able to have an independent nation of their own. take israel, well-known example, there's a people called the drews. through the middle east there are two million drews, maybe less, roughly. in israel there's 200,000 drews. so this is an independent national group. they have their own religion,
they're mon mow thityic people, not muslims, christians, jews, they have their union religion and own flag and see themes as a nation and completely reasonably but they don't have a homeland. maybe some day in seare, will be able to create a small homeland for the drews. maybe. but for the time beings there's no such possibility anywhere on the horizon. so, what do you try to do? well, maybe leak the navajo in the united states, still 300,000 navajo who speak their own language, many of. the raise their children in this language and call. thes the navajo nation with reasonable justification. they don't live under exactly the same laws the united states does. so, we have kind of the same situation with the drews. although we don't have the history of persecuting the drue
that the american native -- the native americans have again through. but still, these are real peoples, they're at this opinion in history too small, don't he have the military economic power to be independent and we should be looking, if we're just and deposit, we should be looking for a way to give them autonomy to allow them to teach e -- teach their own languages and religion and to allow them to feel that they're free, while at the same time understanding that they're a protectorat people. they can't exist independently so you have to come to some kind of deal with them that will respect their self-determination at the same time as they respect the overall political structure of the larger nation in which they live. that is the goal. with regard to moving populations, forcible moving of
populations is a decision of last resort. i think that there are many, many places in the world where the problem is not that we aren't moving the population. the problem is the western powers are not interested in borders, in helping establish borders that reflect the actual national constitution of the peoples of the region. so, obvious example is america's consistent and consistently incomprehensive incensesive theres an iraqi nation that never existed in history and that iraqi nation can be created by some kind of set of actions that are done by the iraqi government with the help 0 others. this is completely preposterous and always was. the kurds are a people -- there are 30 million kurds. if there's a nation on earth that deserves consideration for independence, it's the kurds. 30 million people.
and honorable history going back to the meads. they have their own language. few peoples have been as persecuted as the kurds are at the hand of the turks and arabs and iranians and yet the americans, fighting side by side with the kurds as the only reliable ally in northern iraq and syria, consistently refuse to give them tanks. consistently refuse to help them in their bid to become independent. now, not every people can become independent. maybe the drews can't. but this is a crazy case where america is arming the allies of the iranians, the shiite militias and giving. the tanks instead of helping their own allies, the kurds. this kind of thinking comes from being unwilling to recognize that there is such a thing as a nation, a nation is a real -- an actual existing entity of people who are mutually loyal to one another and have their own traditions and cultures.
we can't give. the all independence. but in some cases we can afford to be more humane if we understood the principle of national freedom and try to bring peace to at least some parts of the world that don't know peace but redrawing the borders according to national and religious lines. >> i think we definitely have some time for questions. we have microphone in the back. so, let's go to the woman in the front here. if you can wait for just a second while the microphone circulates. i ask that you keep your question in the form of question. to the speaker. in deference to everyone else. thank you. >> i'm debrawise, center for security policy. that was terrific presentation. my question is a little different but probably related to the question that ted asked on the morality. i understand that different cultures and people have different definitions of
morality but i've always struggled with the idea of recognizing as legitimate -- as a legitimate nation a regime where the people didn't elect them. if they've selected them and they have different value, that's one. if if the didn't election and they're tyrannical and violate human rights, i wonder if you can address that. >> sure. i understand the difficulty and i sympathize with all my heart. i feel the same thing. i think that all of us have been badly educated on the subject. the problem with these -- with our completely natural feelings to want to see other governments be the way that we think governments are, is that -- it's reasonable to have them but the question is, what are you going to do about it? in the end it's a practical
issue. the united states does not have the ability to create a democratic regime in -- even in iraq, much less in china or in russia or in many other places in the world. that ability does not exist. if you are willing to do -- to go to any length, like let's say you're willing to drop a couple of atomic bombs and cause untold death and suffering and then create an occupation which would extend for a generation or two or three, then maybe you'd have the hope of being able to do it, maybe. i mean i'm still skeptical, but nobody has the -- nobody should have the kind of napoleonic
willingness to sacrifice millions of lives in order to establish a government that we will consider to be more legitimate. a., we have no reason to believe that we are actually capable of making it come out that -- the way we hope. , even if we did have reasonable hope of making it that way, the moral decision that the hundreds of thousands of lives or millions of lives that are going to be lost in that kind of a war, even if we're just thinking of on the ground in some foreign country, that tradeoff i think is not one we should be making. >> i wasn't really saying that we should go in and bulldoze places and. >> what do you want to do? >> i wonder if we should necessarily in our own minds have a different -- just even in diplomacy, always consider iran equal to us and consider them
equal, have equal deference or know in the back of our mind that they're a nation state because there's north else we can do but they're not equal to us and that it give us us a wiggle room when we can or do something or advocate or ignore something or -- whatever the case might be. i'm not saying we should go in and commit mass murder. >> i think that statesman should definitely, within the extremely complicated balance of judgment that you come up with when you're pursuing a policy -- policies are never simple. never only one reason for them. there's multiple reasons on each side. the ability to effect what we consider to be a more moral outcome in particular cases where we feel that we can influence things without doing tremendous damage in other areas, that is part of being a
decent human being and part of our politics. i definitely think that is true. >> the gentleman with the scarf had his hand up. >> my name is -- i'm from business league in south africa. my question is, between your -- you're very positive about nationalism today in the same study you said its a decent -- imperial influence, and that's -- very astute observation, and then around nationalism goes bag to antiquity. with the formation of sovereign states in the middle ages i want to ask you if what we saw there was indeed nationalism? when france was formed by louis xiv and many a similar situations, wasn't that imperialistic impulse? very few people outside of paris
could speech french -- speak french so france wasn't initially an imperialism that created the france well knowed to even though i'm in agreement with your positive decent influence of nationalism today. >> it's an excellent question. when i said at the beginning that i'll have to pull back some, this is a very good example. there's no question -- i think historically, that -- i mean i'm talking about nations is a thother kind of -- that they just exist, but they don't exist. they come into being. and the way they come into being often involves all sorts of violence and coercion in order to create what later becomes what appears to be a unity. i don't actually think that -- one of the opinions i try to emphasize in the book, i
don't -- i reject the idea that a nation is homogenous. that is island of like you have to be a nazi -- literally a supporter of nazi glimpse order to want purity in a nation. nations are not homogenous all nations consist of tribes and consist of very different cultures, very different tribal groupings or regional groupings. they've have been growth together in a single nation through other process which is in some cases largely voluntary, out of self-defense, let's say, and in some cases involves a lot of coercion. the truth is that most of the actual historical examples involve both, even though you can make the distinction between a nation freely created and one that didn't. so, the united states is an
example. people like to point to the united states as, look, this example, the states came together voluntarily. first of all, i'm not exactly sure that rhode island came together voluntarily. i don't know. but i say that lightly but i'll say more seriously that the construction of the united states involved a -- an underring of -- consistent understanding on the part of the americans that there is a -- there are cultural boundaries to diversity. so, for example, no american territory was ever included in the union, admitted into the union, unless it first had gotten a majority of english speakers and the -- had brought the territory under common law.
there's an exception of louisiana, which was allowed to have a napoleon nick code and even there only on condition that it be americanized by translating it into english and the pap knoll janik courts would be conducted in english. the mormons. the campaign by the federal government to eradicate polygamy. again, this is a -- an understand offering what the boundary of being american is. so english speaking, common law, mon nothing my, -- mon nothing my. mon nothing my. the american government until a few decade ago continued to fund the effort to christianize to teach christianity to the indians. it wasn't that america was a fro
country and trying to christianize everyone in the united states. weren't trying to christianize the jews but they did have an understanding what the limited of what being an american was, which didn't allow for american indiana religion. they believed it would be -- was important to bring them to christianity. now, the fact -- the realistic fact that nations have these kind of implicit definitions of what can be included within our nation and what is excluded and those are used to shape the nation, sometimes in admirable ways and sometimes in not admirable ways. i think that that fact is important to keep in mind. especially today when the united states is really pushed the lack of concern for how to maintain
the unity, the cohesiveness, the integrity of the nation is really pushed the lack of concern for it to such an extreme that i don't know about you but i really worry that the united states is in the process of splitting into mutual delegitimizing tribes in a way that might not be recoverable. it's frightening. so whenever we talk about a nationings we have to talk both about the diversity of the nation federalism, the way in which we give autonomy to different part of the nation and make exceptions, allow freedom as much as possible on the one hand and on the other hand the necessity, if the country -- if the nation is going to have any future, the necessity of being able to point to boundaries beyond which diversity is just not acceptable, and therefore try to concern yourself with some kind of central core that
at least the great majority of the nation is going to continue to be committed to as an active part of conducting national affairs. i'm sorry that sounds less pleasant than just organizing a state by consent under john lock's theory but it's more realist yikes. >> the time for one more question. this gentleman will get the last question and i just remind everyone that after our speaker finishes, books are for sale in the front lobby if you would like to buy one and i'm sure our speak we're be more than happy to sign it for you. so, please. >> i'm alex, congressional intern at the senate across the street. so you said during your presentation that you consider that there was not a thing -- not an example in history of
super national entity that was functioning and self-governing, at least successfully. you said it did not exist. so even though i don't agree with that because i'm also french -- >> functioning as a limited government or a democratic government. >> as a limited government. >> of course imperial states -- lots of. er andalstates existed but none of them developed the traditions of limited government and individual liberties and democratic governance we saw develop in national states in western europe. >> all right. but that was not my question. want to play devil's advocate for this. so, would you consider on the other side that for me in my opinion there's such a thing at a nation state but there's no concrete example of a nation state today. maybe japan would be the one resembling what could be considered a nation state but i don't consider it to be such a thing as nation state today in the world. >> why do you so not consider?
>> because if we consider a nation state be the ultimate control of nationalism and creating a nation -- a state around peoples, which is a nation, right? people living in the same territory and creating a state out of that. for me there's no such thing today as a nation state in the world like that. simply cannot think of an example. if you have done. >> sure. america, britain, france,. >> i'm french. >> okay, it's true the french have been giving up their sovereignty to the european union but friar that it was a national state. >> i don't consider so and i'm proeuropean, french citizen, proud of it. also i consider myself to be a nationalist, so let's say -- >> what is wrong with france in how does it not meet your standards? >> because i believe that this idea of always scapegoating all the issues on the european which
is the easy way out of every issue we have today in our country, talking about franks, have similar issues in the united states. for me, nationalism is not a problem. i'm not saying that at all. but it's also compatible with the creation of a supernational entitiy that would be self-governing to some extent. my question would be do you think there's an incompatibleity nationalism and real estate of a supernational entity. >> yes, they are absolutely completely incompatable. every time that a power of -- the power of an independent state is relegated upward to what i'm calling an imperial power, power that does not recognize national borders, every time that you do that you weaken the national state and you strengthen the imperial state. we are already at a point where
the european union -- many countries in the european union have something close to 50% of the laws being legislated by the nondemocratic bureaucracy of the european union, and i mean, that just is the medieval imperial mod. a there's a bureaucracy, makes decisions, controlled by somebody from some other nation. that is the opposite of the national state model, which is -- if you go back to the original biblical model, the king and the prophets and the priests are all supposed to be drawn from your nation. doesn't mean there aren't competent people from somewhere else built in idea is your people is going determine its own fate, not that some other people are going to determine its fate. that's the key to the whole thing. and so there's an absolute tradeoff, and we have to decide.
we can't -- we can't pretend we don't have to decide. each of us has to decide whether we ourselves to the extent we have any influence, prefer to see a world of independent nations, each one pursuing its own course or whether we think that the considerations -- there are real considerations -- on the balance go in direction of a police which an international bureaucracy, like the european union, is going to in the end govern as many nations as possible and maybe the whole world. that's a choice each of us has to make. we have to decide which side we're on. i know which side i'm on but i propose that regardless of what side you're on that you read my book which at least puts to the ideas, i think in a clear light so you can help you figure out which way to go. thank you. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you for joining us here at the heritage foundation. as i said before, books for sale
in the front sprayway. thanks to the speaker for a wonderful and provocative presentation. thank you. >> 2019 is about to begin and booktv is returning to our nonfiction roots for "in depth" department. our monthly three-our interview and call-in with an author has written books on policy, science, history, biography and more. we'll kick off the new year with best selling author david korynn, the washington bureau chief for more than jones magazine well discuss his books including, where roulette the inside story of putin's war on america and the election of donald trump. on sunday, january 6th, from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. eastern, mr. corn will join us live to