Nationalsim and Liberlaism
Submitted By PGozzy
To what extent is Nationalism Compatible with Liberalism?
It can be said that Nationalism and Liberalism are compatible and this is true as there is the existence of liberal nationalism however they aren’t compatible to the extent that they are the same as Nationalism has many different branches such as conservative nationalism. However Nationalism is more compatible with Liberalism than with other ideologies.
One way that it is compatible is through the Liberal Nationalism, it is the oldest form of Nationalism as it dates back to the French Revolution. Liberalism was founded on a defence of individual freedom, traditionally expressed in the language of rights. Nationalists believed nations to be sovereign entities, entitled to liberty, and also possessing rights most importantly the right of self-determination. Liberal nationalism is therefore a liberating force in two senses, first it opposes all forms of foreign domination and oppression. Secondly it stands for the ideal of self-government, Woodrow Wilson for example argued in favour of a Europe not only of nation states, but also one in which political democracy rather than autocracy ruled.
Another way that the two are compatible is that they are both forward looking ideologies, when it comes to race liberal Nationalist believe that everyone is equal, which is the same as Liberals who believe that everyone is equal.
Internationally Liberal nationalists agree with worldwide organisations such as the EU, as this promotes free trade and creates peace. This is why in recent years the Lib Dems have favoured remaining part of the EU, where the Conservatives want to get out of it.
However there is argument to say that Nationalism is not compatible with Liberalism and that is through the existence of other branches of Nationalism most notably Conservative nationalists. One way in which some nationalist are more compatible with conservatism is that nationalism can also be backward looking, because they base their nation on history and upon tradition.
Internationally some nationalists are actually afraid of joining international bodies, the former French president Charles De Gaulle agreed with this as he was suspicious of international bodies such as the UN and he didn’t like the idea of France possibly losing its sovereignty. As well as this De Gaulle was xenophobic meaning that he was afraid of foreigners, so this would make his ideas not be compatible with Liberalism.
Conservative Nationalists also feel that National patriotism and sentiment is the most important thing for nationalists which would disagree with Liberal nationalist who do find it important would call it the most important as they feel that self-determination was much more important as it is a core value of Liberal nationalism.
In conclusion it is clear that Nationalism is compatible with Liberalism and this is mainly through the idea of liberal nationalism, other branches aren’t quite as compatible with it but overall you can see that Nationalism is compatible with Liberalism.