What relationship does liberalism have with nationalism


what relationship does liberalism have with nationalism

NATIONALISM AND LIBERALISM: THE PARADOXES OF SELF- DETERMINATION. The International It is published in its entirety. Dr. Zlatko Hadžidedić. Does liberalism's apparently expedient connection with. nationalism Liberals have, for the most part, accepted nationalism without worrying much. whether it. Nationalism, Capitalism, Liberalism: The East European Perspective modernization), as well as the connection of nationalism and democracy (as Hroch depicts . 25 According to Schöpflin, nationalism essentially does not have so much a.

In a liberal democracy there are affairs that do not concern the state. Such affairs may range from the practice of religion to the creation of art and the raising of children by their parents. For liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries they also included most of the activities through which individuals engage in production and trade.

Eloquent declarations affirming such rights were embodied in the British Bill of Rightsthe U. Declaration of Independence and Constitution ratifiedthe French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizenand the basic documents of countries throughout the world that later used these declarations as their models.

These documents and declarations asserted that freedom is more than the right to cast a vote in an occasional election; it is the fundamental right of people to live their own lives. Economic foundations If the political foundations of liberalism were laid in Great Britain, so too were its economic foundations. By the 18th century parliamentary constraints were making it difficult for British monarchs to pursue the schemes of national aggrandizement favoured by most rulers on the Continent.

These rulers fought for military supremacy, which required a strong economic base. Because the prevailing mercantilist theory understood international trade as a zero-sum game—in which gain for one country meant loss for another—national governments intervened to determine prices, protect their industries from foreign competition, and avoid the sharing of economic information.

These practices soon came under liberal challenge. In France a group of thinkers known as the physiocrats argued that the best way to cultivate wealth is to allow unrestrained economic competition. This laissez-faire doctrine found its most thorough and influential exposition in The Wealth of Nationsby the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith.

Free trade benefits all parties, according to Smith, because competition leads to the production of more and better goods at lower prices. Leaving individuals free to pursue their self-interest in an exchange economy based upon a division of labour will necessarily enhance the welfare of the group as a whole. The self-seeking individual becomes harnessed to the public good because in an exchange economy he must serve others in order to serve himself.

But it is only in a genuinely free market that this positive consequence is possible; any other arrangement, whether state control or monopoly, must lead to regimentation, exploitation, and economic stagnation.

Courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh Every economic system must determine not only what goods will be produced but also how those goods are to be apportioned, or distributed see distribution of wealth and income. In a market economy both of these tasks are accomplished through the price mechanism.

The theoretically free choices of individual buyers and sellers determine how the resources of society— labourgoods, and capital—shall be employed. Theoretically, when the demand for a commodity is great, prices rise, making it profitable for producers to increase the supply; as supply approximates demand, prices tend to fall until producers divert productive resources to other uses see supply and demand.

In this way the system achieves the closest possible match between what is desired and what is produced. Moreover, in the distribution of the wealth thereby produced, the system is said to assure a reward in proportion to merit. The assumption is that in a freely competitive economy in which no one is barred from engaging in economic activity, the income received from such activity is a fair measure of its value to society.

Presupposed in the foregoing account is a conception of human beings as economic animals rationally and self-interestedly engaged in minimizing costs and maximizing gains.

Since each person knows his own interests better than anyone else does, his interests could only be hindered, and never enhancedby government interference in his economic activities. In concrete terms, classical liberal economists called for several major changes in the sphere of British and European economic organization.

what relationship does liberalism have with nationalism

The second was an end to the tariffs and restrictions that governments imposed on foreign imports to protect domestic producers. In economic life as in politics, then, the guiding principle of classical liberalism became an undeviating insistence on limiting the power of government.

Left or Liberal?

The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham cogently summarized this view in his sole advice to the state: Classical liberals freely acknowledged that government must provide educationsanitation, law enforcement, a postal systemand other public services that were beyond the capacity of any private agency.

But liberals generally believed that, apart from these functions, government must not try to do for the individual what he is able to do for himself. Taking their cue from the notion of a market economy, the utilitarians called for a political system that would guarantee its citizens the maximum degree of individual freedom of choice and action consistent with efficient government and the preservation of social harmony.


Although they had no use for the idea of natural rightstheir defense of individual liberties—including the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speechfreedom of the press, and freedom of assembly—lies at the heart of modern democracy.

Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century Norman: Polity Press,14— Thus, Leslie Holmes defines post-communism as a product of the double-rejective revolutions, which consisted of the rejection of the external domination and of the totalitarian political regime.

Hall writes that nationalism provides a framework for new identities, which become needed with the loss of old references. Such basis has led to a merger of democratization and nationalism in the perception of the transition processes in Eastern Europe. Five Roads to Modernity, A Psychology and Sociology of National Senti The modern national state, like democracy, is based on the idea of equality and sovereignty of all citizens irrespective of the social status. Greenfield sees such arrangement as something primordial: Equality is indispensable for unity and liberty and is implied in these aims.

There cannot be any real unity and solidarity between masters and slaves, a highly privileged class and downtrodden serfs. Hall Oxford and New Yo Democratic politics were generally seen as an expression of inter play between forces operating within the nation-state.

Precisely in this sense nationalism had to be conducive to democratization in the former socialist countries. This paradoxical process is what makes the phenomenon of nation so difficult to grasp at the societal level. Individuals massively behave the nation as their single symbolic boundary only occasionally, when their other multiple symbolic boundaries do not efficiently resist the penetration of alien symbolic contents which perpetually challenge their integrity.

At the same time, these individuals are permanently being suggested by the omni-present discourse of nation that the nation is the only proper unit within which they are to calculate their interests Brubaker ; hence, the nation is the only proper symbolic boundary with which they are to identify by behaving it if they are ever to reach the level of full self-realisation.

Therefore, the nation is to be regarded as an essentially oscillatory - though randomly appearing - social phenomenon, caused by occasional mass-behavioural projections of the discourse of nation onto the societal level. Modernity is an epoch in which political change not only ceased to be inconceivable but became regarded as desirable.

As Liah Greenfeld observes, the beginning of the epoch was marked by the emergence of first nations.

Nationalism and Liberal Democracy | HuffPost

For Greenfeld, that was the point when the entire people came to be regarded as the political elite. In my opinion, the modern concept of popular sovereignty emerged precisely at the point when the pre-modern political elites - hitherto overtly declared as elites whose political accountability was defined by the supposedly divine source of their legitimacy - came to be challenged and replaced by essentially invisible counter-elites.

Thus, by remaining invisible, the modern counter-elites never promoted themselves into declared, politically accountable elites: This complex of paradoxes has since become promoted under the umbrella-concept of the nation. As the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens stated: Thus the actions of both the individual and the people as a collective individual became self-referentially legitimised by their own free will.

Moreover, according to the discourse that promoted the nation as a sovereign people whose sovereign free will consisted of sovereign individual wills, the free will of the individual and the free will of the people were to be regarded as one. This concept left a significant room for manoeuvre to the invisible, self-appointed counter-elites to act under the assumption that their own sovereign free wills can not but be identical with sovereign free will of the people and therefore with sovereign free will of the individual.

Hence, freedom resided in oneness, that is, in identity. And this identity, by the very logic of the discourse, could be only one. Thus the nation - as the single point through which the will of the individual and the will of the people came to be identical with each other and with themselves - was to be perceived as the sole identity.

Yet, the doctrine of self-determination had to include the concepts which were to make its inherently paradoxical logic cognitively sustainable. Therefore, hitherto alien and otherwise divergent concepts of political change, of elevation of the people onto the level of political elite, of freedom through oneness, had to be promoted through the single discourse that included seemingly convergent concepts of liberty i.

The point of their convergence was to be conceived of as the nation, that is, as an umbrella-discourse under which all of these concepts were to be joined or seen as joined together.

It was exactly this ability of emphasis-shifting that created an illusion that, say, a strong emphasis on the concepts of emancipation and liberty and within these, on individual rather than on collective free willas well as on the concept of progress, constituted a separate political doctrine of liberalism; or, that a strong emphasis on the concepts of emancipation and liberty and within these, on collective rather than on individual free willand - consequently - on the concepts of unity and fraternity, constituted a separate political doctrine of nationalism; or, that a strong emphasis on the concepts of emancipation and liberty and within them, on collective rather than on individual free willas well as on the concepts of equality and progress, constituted a separate political doctrine of socialism.

In fact, all these concepts constituted the single doctrine of self-determination, whose presence in social reality was to be realised through the discourse of nation. Thus this paradoxical imitation of originality has become one of the most conspicuous features of the discourse itself: Some of these societies were already in the possession of states that were - for various reasons - susceptible to the discourse of nation and, consequently, ready to promote the nation as a unit within which both society and the state could calculate their - supposedly common - interests.

This arbitrary identification was, however, usually based on available distinctive traits, such as language, race, religion etc. Within the discourse of nation, these already-existing symbolic boundaries were to be perceived as imaginary borders of a future nation-state. As such, being practically available, they were logically chosen to support mobilisation and homogenisation of the targeted population which was yet to be identified as the nation. And, just as in the former context, it was the single discourse of the nation that conflated the will of the people and the will of the individual with the will of the emerging counter-elite to possess its own state.

Depending on particular givens of particular societies, emerging counter-elites were shifting the emphasis onto the concepts of which the discourse of the nation was composed.

National liberalism

Thus, for instance, within the pro-state form of the discourse of the nation which by itself assumed an emphasis on loyalty to the existing statethey would choose to emphasise the concept of liberty-in-unity; or, within the counter-state form of the discourse of the nation which by itself assumed emphasis on loyalty to an imagined counter-statethey would choose to emphasise the concept of unity-in-fraternity.

Within the former form, the mobilisation and homogenisation of the targeted population around the projected ideal of liberty would be conceptualised in rather individualistic terms: Within the latter form of the discourse, the mobilisation and homogenisation of the targeted population around the projected ideal of unity would be conceptualised in rather collectivist terms: Such shifts have created the illusion of two fundamentally opposed - civic-individualistic and ethnic-collectivist - concepts of the nation.

  • Chapter 3. Nationalism, Capitalism, Liberalism: The East European Perspective
  • Nationalism and Liberal Democracy

To answer the question of the inherently paradoxical relationship between the individual and the nation as a collective individual, it is necessary to closely examine the paradoxical logic of the doctrine of self-determination, whose expression at the societal level takes the form of the discourse of nation.

Thus, according to the paradoxical logic of the discourse, not only can the individual not be free without being a citizen: Hence, for the sake of its own freedom, the nation can not tolerate individuals who refuse to be free as citizens.

what relationship does liberalism have with nationalism

This, inherently paradoxical, conditioned perception, i. Of course, all these assumptions can remain logically valid only within the paradoxical logic of the discourse of nation. Thus paradox arises as the main logical device for thinking the doctrine of self-determination that, paradoxically, takes two supposedly opposed - liberal-individualistic and national-collectivist - forms.