Britain Culture wars 

National identity is the key to life and liberty

The former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband, now head of the International Rescue Committee, last month delivered the Sir Martin Gilbert lecture at Highgate synagogue. Under the title “Brexit and the anti-liberal moment”, he argued that Brexit was both cause and symptom of the destruction of the “liberal democratic idea”. First, cards on the table. I am a staunch, clean-break Brexiteer. I nevertheless respect many who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum out of their anxiety about the costs of leaving the EU which, although I disagree with them, is…

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Culture wars USA 

Illiberal liberalism and the onslaught on western values

In the never-ending uproar over U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration’s recent move to lift a ban on traditional Christian adoption agencies went relatively unremarked. Under President Barack Obama, child-welfare agencies were refused federal grants if they wouldn’t place children for adoption with same-sex couples. Last week, the White House reversed that ruling on the grounds that such agencies would no longer be forced “to choose between helping children and their faith.” This followed a notable speech last month at the University of Notre Dame law school by U.S. Attorney…

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conservatism Culture wars 

Nationalism has been a dirty word for too long

There are many different definitions of nationalism. In his new book, The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony defines it as “a principled standpoint that regards the world as governed best when nations are able to chart their own independent course, cultivating their own traditions, and pursuing their own interests without interference”. The alternative, he says, is imperialism, which is inherently tyrannical through seeking to unite mankind under a single political regime. If the nation state fails to survive, western society will revert to premodern tribalism: group fighting group for power…

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