Liberal Nationalism

multiculturalism and internationalism

Liberal nationalism applies liberal principles of individualism to the nation, viewing nations as entities entitled to rights similar to individuals. Liberal nationalists advocate for the nation-state as the ideal form of government, believing it to be the only legitimate basis for political rule. They see states as granting nations meaningful autonomy to pursue their national goals. Liberal nationalism champions individual freedom and the rights of nations, particularly the right to self-determination. This ideology opposes foreign domination and supports self-government through constitutionalism and representation. Rooted in the French Revolution, liberal nationalism spread across Europe, notably championed by figures like Giuseppe Mazzini and Simon Bolivar. Influential leaders such as Woodrow Wilson, Sun Yat-Sen, and Jawaharlal Nehru also embraced liberal nationalist principles. The concept of liberal nationalism reflects Rousseau's advocacy for popular sovereignty, emphasizing the 'general will.' Liberal nationalists envision nationhood as inclusive and civic-minded, requiring loyalty to national values for membership. They advocate for independent nation-states cooperating for mutual benefit, believing in the role of economics in fostering a stable and peaceful global order. The liberal vision is a world of independent nation-states engaging in free trade and fostering interdependency to reduce conflict. The European Union, founded in the 1950s, exemplifies this liberal nationalist ideal of promoting harmony among nations through economic interdependence, emphasizing reason and discussion over war.

Liberals worry that powerful individuals could harm weaker ones without enforced laws, just as liberal nationalists fear domination by stronger nation-states. They believe supranational institutions are needed to oversee global politics, leading to the creation of organizations like the League of Nations and the United Nations. Liberals advocate for collective security through groups like NATO and support the idea of national self-determination for a peaceful international order. They view nationalism as a unifying force that fosters respect for national rights and unity among nations. Liberals seek to prevent wars through economic interdependence and the establishment of international organizations to maintain order. This contrasts with critics who view liberal nationalist ideals as overly idealistic.