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Excepting the Catalans, none of the New Nationalism has a clear raison d’etre. But it would be a grave misjudgment to dismiss nationalism as a force in the 21st century. The conventional wisdom has been overturned too many times in the past two years. The same conventional wisdom that deprecates the New Nationalism was shocked by the Brexit vote and the Trump victory in the United States. The nationalist protest vote in Germany has left the AfD in political isolation, but it has so weakened the reigning Volksparteien that Germany is hard-put to assemble a functioning coalition government. Hungary, Poland and now the Czech Republic and Austria have elected nationalist governments that have dug in their heels against the EU’s immigration policies. And the Catalan insurgency is far from over at the time of writing: the new parliamentary elections that Spain’s central government has called for December look likely to return a separatist majority, leaving the country in an intractable constitutional crisis.

The New Nationalists emerged in response to specific irritations: EU meddling in the UK, hollowed-out manufacturing and surging immigration in the US, the migrant wave in Germany, and so forth. But there is a deeper motivation for the nationalist resurgence. This could be seen in November in Poland, when 60,000 nationalist marches paraded through Warsaw, many under signs declaring, “We want God!” Polish nationalism contains chauvinist and anti-Semitic elements at its fringes, to be sure, but the religious fibre that set Poland in opposition to the Soviet Union is not entirely attenuated.

The spiritual centre of the Catalan nationalist movement lies at the ancient Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, where Father Sergi d’Assís Gelpí has preached support for separatism from his pulpit. Four hundred Catholic priests, including several bishops, signed a declaration in support of independence in September, so outraging Spain’s central government that the country’s ambassador to the Vatican filed a formal protest. There are economic grounds for separatist sentiment in Catalonia, certainly. Spain’s richest province contributes a disproportionate share of Spanish taxes, and the Catalans would rather spend their money at home. But tax grievances did not motivate Catalans to interpose themselves between the ballot boxes and Spain’s National Guard during the October 1 referendum and sustain hundreds of injuries in the confrontation.

Donald Trump’s election victory stemmed in part from an economic protest vote, notably in the rust belt states of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. But Trump also garnered a higher proportion of the evangelical Protestant vote than any other candidate in US political history, by a margin of 80-16 among white evangelicals, according to exit polls cited by the Washington Post. He also won overwhelmingly among America’s small but indicative community of Orthodox Jews. It may seem odd to think of the thrice-married and occasionally vulgar Trump as the champion of America’s religious Right, but the data are unambiguous.
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Pan Cogito
December 10th, 2017
4:12 AM
@Alan Vainman Do not dispense the f-word before trying the perfect fit it makes for you. You no more understand Trump than you do, it appears, the greater mysteries of life. God--and you may translate it as "the Energy of the Universe," the Great Wheel of Karma or whatever--often chooses a broken vessel to carry the most precious nectar. Maybe Spengler would consent to write an essay titled "The music and the men," illuminating for fool vainmen what shits the vessels we know as Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and Chopin were and why their music attained the highest degree of luminosity.

Surak
December 5th, 2017
10:12 PM
Anonymous: America is indeed experiencing a wave of fascism, but it is not at the hands of the nationalists. It is at the hands of ANTIFA, BLM, and university students, faculty, and staff beating to a pulp, or attempting to murder, those people who believe that nations are allowed to have borders. What name would you apply to the belief system that commanded the decapitation of a British policeman, and the systematic rape of a continent's women? AnonymousHegelman: Most of the world's sacred systems prohibit murder. Only one religion's scripture commands the murder of all non-believers.

Rick Groves
December 5th, 2017
3:12 PM
In America, enlightenment values used to be held sacred. This was the key differentiating point about America. It was not based on arbitrary lines on a map nor wrongly held ideas about the superiority of one's own tribe. It was an idea of a polity held together by the commitment to liberty and justice. Cultural practices evolve by their nature. That's what they are and what they do. Holding cultures sacred is misguided and destined to create conflict as that inevitable evolution pushes forward. The path forward is not through embracing the arbitrary and superficial and trying to entrench and protect it. It is finding core, deep values that benefit all peoples and following those ideas where they lead us.

AnonymousHegelman
December 5th, 2017
9:12 AM
When people talk of the sacred, they usually mean murder. All of us have a sense of the sacred. We just differ as to what precisely.

Anonymous
December 5th, 2017
4:12 AM
there is no such thing as a new nationalism, as there is no such thing as an illiberal democracy. There is a good, old fascism.

Matt
December 4th, 2017
9:12 PM
Anglo-American identity is built on the individualism of Appalachia and the pragmatism of Colonial Virginia as much as the Utopianism of the Puritans.

Warren Bonesteel
December 4th, 2017
4:12 PM
A great start...but... imposing your own belief system upon a movement comprised of several billion people, from a wide variety of ancient and modern cultures and sub-cultures, who hold a wide variety of religious and spiritual beliefs? That supposition is unfounded. Instead of religion, try 'freedom' and 'personal liberty'. I think you'll find a better fit, with that premise.

Marvin J. Greenberg
December 4th, 2017
8:12 AM
I greatly appreciate the way Goldman takes the usually superficial level of political discussion to a much deeper level, as he does in this essay emphasizing the vital importance of the sacred.

Surak
December 4th, 2017
2:12 AM
Alan Vanneman, America will not go gently into that bad night of sharia. Enjoy Europe, while its women are not yet required to wear burqas!

Alan Vanneman
December 1st, 2017
3:12 PM
"occasionally vulgar"? Don't you mean "constantly vulgar and utterly meretricious"? What fools these mortals be.

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