Dr. Yoram Hazony on Liberalism, Nationalism, and Globalism


[Music] this is Mises weekends with your host Jeff dice [Music] ladies gentlemen welcome back once again to Mises weekends I’m so pleased to be joined from Israel the author of a brand-new book entitled the virtue of nationalism his name is dr. Yoram hezonia and as he explains to me it’s my bad american ish pronunciation of his last name not the hebrew and so his new book is something that we rushed out and got via Amazon I read it a couple of weeks ago and it’s asking some some really important questions and it’s getting a lot of play out there in Time magazine he was recently on the Laura Ingraham show etc etc this is someone you ought to be following on Twitter so doctor let me ask you this first there’s some books out there right now talking about the failures of liberalism this book is different from my perspective anyway it’s making the it’s ask Elyse asking the question is nationalism inherently illiberal right well I I think some of the books that you’re talking about our are looking at liberalism as though liberalism just is equivalent to the American experiment and and and and so they’re there there are people I think for not not entirely for bad reasons who are saying look we’re look where America’s ended up right now and they’re asking whether there’s something fundamentally flawed about it now my point of view is is somewhat different I I certainly don’t think that the American Founding was was a miss founding or a mistake I I see it as one of the greatest and no ballistic experiments in in political history but I I definitely am sympathetic to the view that that in the last generation or two or three it depends on what you what you’re looking at what you’re counting that things have definitely moved away from what I see is the kind of classical American nationalist vision which was a vision of America as an independent nation conducting its own experiment which was going to contribute and contributed greatly to to all mankind through this experiment since the fall of the Berlin Wall especially we’ve heard both from Democrats and Republicans and this is echoed across Europe as well a an enthusiasm for a project of imposing a unified law on the entire world and I understand that the most of the people who are behind this are very well intentioned and very well-meaning and I think they simply don’t understand that the the elimination of the concept of the world of independent nations each one of them pursuing its own course and conducting its own experiment is itself a very great danger to the American experiment and to various other countries it if you are a liberal I myself see myself as a conservative but if you are a liberal and you believe in American liberalism you should definitely be extremely worried about the the move to create a a worldwide liberal Empire which is going to dictate to America how its liberalism or how its government and society are going to work because Germans and French don’t see things the way that Americans do well this is so interesting because you have a chapter entitled liberalism as imperialism I love that title there’s a sense a growing sense that Westerners are and especially Americans are trying to impose something on the rest of the world and that’s liberalism generally in the form of social democracy and you seem to be one of the only people making this point I don’t know if I’m I don’t know if I’m one of the the only people making the pointing to the problem but I I may be one of the main people saying saying imperialism is when you decide that a that your values the way you see and do things are completely universe Eliza bolide in anytime in place and be that you’re so right that you simply have to impose it on others by force and without quite noticing it this definition of imperialism is exactly what Americans Democrats and Republicans have slipped into in the last generation not only thinking that their own ideas can can be universally applied which you know that we can we can argue and debate but even that they should be imposed which gives us a foreign policy that well as we can see from from Yugoslavia to Somalia and and Iraq to Libya one attempt after another to try to to impose by force a and American view of what the world is supposed to be like it hasn’t worked out well for those nations and it hasn’t worked out well for America and so I think it’s very important to to think now about political ideas and political ideals and where exactly we want to stand on these things but but here’s what what bothers me is a lot of the same people who believe in universal precepts that good ideas ought to be good ideas everywhere political precepts for example are the same people who spent the 20th century talking about democracy doesn’t each level of supranational governments necessarily sort of attenuate democracy attenuate the individuals ability to live as he or she wants that’s what that’s exactly what we see in Europe people people keep talking about the European Union as though it’s an experiment in democracy and it’s not there it’s nothing like a democracy it’s precisely the severing of the the self-government of different nations in Europe and their self-determination it’s ending it I just just take a look at the weight the way that the that the Germans are are deciding what’s going to have been economically in Greece or the the Italians just elected a new government they have who they want to be finance minister and Brussels vetoes their Finance Minister I mean I mean you can’t even you can’t even imagine something like this taking place and and it’s here it’s taking place and people are saying this is the this is democracy this is not democracy this is this is actually exactly the way that democracy dies well it’s interesting to me of course we are big fans of both Luda GaN Mises and Friedrich Hayek most of both of whom you quote and your book it’s interesting to me though that you use the same term Mises frequently use and it sounds old-fashioned now self-determination don’t hear that phrase anymore what did you use that purposely what did you did you did you did that strike you and Mises his book liberalism well I think self-determination is is a very popular term among nationalists it’s something that that if if you hang out with the kind of people who are are thinking about national independence it’s it’s actually a continent it’s actually a Content term and I’m not a great fan of Conte but I do love love this expression I I don’t I’m not a I’m not a big expert in in Mises and I’m eager to learn more I quote him in the book from from the 1920s 30s when he and Hayek were thinking about the the world is kind of like like a big extension of the the austro-hungarian Empire and I don’t know so much about what they they thought in later life about in the independence of Nations so I’m eager to learn more about it well if I’ll push back a little bit and and I’ll say that I think Mises might have seen a bigger role for the nation-state than perhaps some of his pulled quotes from liberalism would suggest and we will also post with this interview an article by Joe Salerno which is very much on this topic but but nonetheless I I personally am pleased that you sought out and quoted Mises as an ad Tarr of liberalism in that sort of 20s genre you know you bring up Kent and and one thing is of course he had this idea that the only the only way will have perpetual peace the only way reason will reign supreme is if we get rid of these old clunky nation-states and finally have this this this global governance and so it’s it’s not just something new and to me there’s an awful lot hubris in that perspective and and we never call it hubris we just liberals today just assume that that we should all see the rightness of this yeah I agree with you right you know I remember as a kid when I first heard John Lennon’s Imagine and and I thought oh my gosh I must have been like twelve or something and I thought well what a horrible song but but then I thought you know it’s just it’s just a pop song and then you know then as an adult I you know after the fall of the Berlin Wall we suddenly start hearing about the New World Order from from from George HW Bush President Bush is telling us that for literally for a thousand generations mankind has striven to has tried to reach this moment and failed but now we’re actually going to achieve it and what is it it’s the replacement of the what he called the replacement of the law of the jungle with but with the rule of law now that concept of a worldwide rule of law that’s exactly the content idea and it’s amazing to think about it that the two hundred years after contents it’s it’s Republican President George Bush who becomes the spokesman for the idea that the Security Council of the United Nations or some other kind of world bodies are capable of legislating a law for all nations that’s going to bind all of us and I I think that you Bruce is exactly the right word it is it’s an astonishing absolutely astonishing piece of arrogance to think that your mind or your organization or your philosophy is is so fully proven that there’s no need anymore for the competition of of different philosophies and different legal systems and different experiments because because we’ve reached the final answer and I think in in in in that sense my my view of this actually does I I think fit very well with with Mises and Hayek was their their understanding of the limitations of human reason the limitations of the ability of a particular individual or theory to grasp the whole how about competition within a nation-state though you have an interesting chapter about the myth of the federal solution you point out some of the failures of the US Constitution the failures of the EU to represent individual nations interest what do you think of subsidiarity localism secession generally i well secession is a different different subject but subsidized impediment CIDI arity there is a way of understanding these things that i’m completely in favor of i mean i I don’t I don’t argue that federalism should not be used my argument is that that people who think that a worldwide federalism right that that’s the point that I’m responding to is that people like Kant who think that federalism can be a solution for the whole globe I I think that they they don’t understand that the purpose of federalism is to grant the greatest possible autonomy to lower levels and I’m completely on that that side of political theory I think that the the the closer you are to to the ground to to to a local population in terms of decision making the more likely it is that the decisions are going to reflect in the actual needs and concerns and interests of the people in that in that sense federalism is great but federalism also means that there is a central federal government and that central federal government always has a responsibility I think people may often miss this it has a responsibility to set the boundaries for what is legitimate in the subsidiary States or locales so examples are the American federal government determining that that slavery was not going to be illegal in the United States which you know a decision that I certainly support or the American federal government deciding that it was going to stamp out polygamy in Utah these are examples that I support you can come up with many other examples that I think are more questionable from more recent federal decisions by the American government but the point is that federalism has two sides to it on the one hand the greatest possible autonomy within a certain range of subjects on the other hand it always is the federal government that’s determining what the legitimate ranges and when it comes when you start talking about federalism out if federalism works when when there’s a certain common air commonality of civilization and culture and so the great majority that people say in the United States are are willing to accept the boundaries that the federal government is imposing but now try to do think about that on a global scale that commonality doesn’t exist by having a world federal government basically what you’re saying is that somebody’s going to determine for the whole planet what what the bounds of legitimate experiments are and and there’s nothing you can’t imagine something more dangerous than that even if it could be benevolent and decent for one generation what’s it going to be in the next generation oh you just don’t want to create none of us want to see a world power that has that kind of authority because human beings are just flawed it they’ll be decent for for the first ten years and then you know just imagine what’s going to happen so I don’t ever want to see a worldwide federal government and it’s not because I’m against federalism federalism has to work within Nations but one of the great points you make is that the concept of a nation-state could actually limit the contagion in terms of war and famine and all kinds of problems yeah this is this is an important point also frequently underestimated I mean I think I think people are more familiar with the idea that that the family unit is a bulwark against tyranny I think I think that’s something that’s been often discussed in the literature is the fact that each family is basically each family units is is basically a sphere in which the the the the father the mother create in effect they create a value system that’s unique to them and they inculcated in among their children and that ability to inculcate over decades a certain way of viewing things that is in fact a great bulwark against tyranny because you get when you get a a a tyrant who says I want everybody to be the same I want everybody to be the way I the way I want them to be it’s people who were raised in solid families who are immediately the first to say well you know I’m sorry I have other loyalties besides you know the loyalty to the dictator I can I understand understanding that’s independent of the dictator I think this is very well understood I think less understood is that the variety of national states the diversity of independent national states works just like the diversity of families and independent families except except on a much larger scale it’s it’s the the unique nationalisms of different independent nations which have always stood up as the as the most powerful resistance to worldwide Empire to universal imperialism and to universal ideologies so I mean if you just take world would take world war two people don’t you remember this this way necessarily but I think it’s very clear that what what happened in World War 2 was the Allies when people talk about the Allies they’re talking about the Allied nations the way that the Allies present themselves in radio broadcast to Europe was Hitler is an imperialist he’s in his aim is to enslave the world our goal is not to replace his empire with our empire our goal is to replace his empire with independent nations our goal is to free the enslaved nations and give them independence now it’s American nationalism and English nationalism in the end even Russian nationalism because historically what happened was that even Stalin gave up on his Marxist claptrap during World War two in order to rally the Russian people by declaring that this was a Great Patriotic War and so in the end the force that defeated Hitler was was was these three nationalisms you know plus French nationalism and polish nationalism and it is the the unique love of a given nation and its way of doing things that is the strongest political bulwark that we have against every Empire every attempt to impose a single view on the world no that’s that’s a fantastic answer I agree completely you know you’ve got this new article in Time magazine you’ve spent a lot of time in the United States recently you’ve seen all the divisive nough Swift rump and you point you know you talk about commonality and federalism what give us some advice what could that commonality be it you point out in the u.s. it’s not about whiteness but neither is it about some abstract idea of what it means to be American that there’s got to be something more concrete than that I feel like we’re we’re searching for it look the the Americans are part of the greatest political tradition of you know of the last thousand years which is the the the anglo-american tradition of nationalism limited government individual liberties and that tradition has to a large extent been uprooted both from from from the public consciousness in english-speaking countries and also in academia where their most most departments that teach that study and teach political theory or political philosophy or or law or history of ideas most of them are at this point divided between professors who are some some some version or another of Marxists and professors who are some version or another of let’s call it revolutionary liberals liberals who think that think that the ideas they believe in come from Pure Reason without any kind of historical experience and that there’s no need to know anything about that 1000 years of development of the anglo-american political tradition and III think those traditions have to be returned to America America has in fact the greatest traditions of of any nation in the world but it doesn’t study them and it doesn’t appreciate them and let me just give you an example of what I of what I’m talking about there right now today on the bestseller list and in public debate there there are quite a few professors and other intellectuals best-selling authors who talk about the United States as though it was a miracle that took place in seventeen 1776 or 1787 and what they leave out is is the fact that the American Constitution is an adaptation of the traditional English Constitution to the American context sure now what what I’m talking about is is due process of law the the idea of checks and balances limited government the the the property is a cornerstone of individual liberties and economic prosperity the bicameral legislature you can just go on and on and on but that’s not the only side to this tradition this tradition was also a religious tradition so I I think I think there’s still a lot of health America as I know it but I do think that people are going to have to step forward and say look we have old and good traditions and those traditions you know they can be updated a little bit for for our time but those traditions are what held our people together and without them all sorts of terrible things can come and I’m I’m afraid for that well we’re out of time all I can say is it’s a good thing you’re in academic working in Israel where you can say these things yes nobody says I’m in the u.s. ladies and gentlemen the best way to follow dr. Yoram hezonia is probably via his twitter account there you can find out his book which is an amazon which is doing well you can find him his article in the current issue of Time magazine doctor we appreciate your time so much and we congratulate you on all your success ladies and gentlemen have a great weekend subscribe to Mises weekends via iTunes you stitcher and SoundCloud or listen on Mises org and YouTube you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Herzl Institute. Ok. Has this something to do with Zionism? May be, or? So his positions are understandable and quite clear. But believe me he’s anti Trump.

  2. I disagree. Kant had the utmost respect for human autonomy both in political self-determination, as well as, a moral obligation upon oneself. The premise of Kant advocating a New World Order in the form a forced universal government is neither how I interpret nor understand his political writings.

  3. This is how democracy dies? Perfect! This is exactly what I want, democracy is a terrible system (including American republicanism) and should disappear from the face of the earth. Democracy is just the illusion that people can live at the expense of everybody else.

  4. What Kant suggested and the alleged universal rule of law (which doesn't exist anyway) is not the same thing. Where is the study that identify the Profs that teach… into the two claimed camps? The traditions… is not what kept the US people together. The traditions and the Us people have been changing over time and the US people have not been kept together but grown apart.

  5. Thank God $Hillary Lost…The Entire World Dodged A Bullet..And The Fact She's Still Running Around Mouthing Off…Shows There's No Justice…

  6. We don't live in a capitalist society in America. The War on Drugs, the prison industry, and the military industrial complex are a prime example. We live in a bastardized version of capitalism. It's far more akin to the Soviet state-capitalism, with its most vital organ, the gulag system. I'm sure they had quotas to meet for the amount of people they had to imprison for arbitrary reasons. They could have outlawed vodka and cigarettes to achieve the same result, but everybody in power would be obviously guilty. Vodka and cigarettes would have been much harder for any crooked big government goon to hide than cocaine or amphetamines. How can we call ourselves capitalist when something that can be used responsibly is denied to responsible customers? Are we to accept a big government prohibition just to prevent irresponsible use by irresponsible users? Couldn't the vendor use discretion with regard to whom they sell, as occurs with alcohol?
    That of course is simply a supplemental item for consideration.

  7. I'm a liberal. But I believe true liberalism will only be achieved through capitalism. Capitalism is the natural system for human cooperation. I believe the market will regulate itself far more efficiently than big government is doing. I suspect less federal regulation in a great many problematic industries, from the meat industry to the mining industry, would tend toward a self-amelioration of many disagreeable aspects of those industries from a liberal perspective, in the context of smaller communities with greater personal investment in their local communities through vastly a liberated sovereignty at the local level.
    It was the videos on secession that attracted me to this channel. Some of what I've found doesn't completely resonate with me, but the majority of it does and that definitely attenuates the cognitive dissonance I feel from hearing some familiar trigger words being used from a much more agreeable angle. Such a system of reduced federal government, preferably removed and replaced altogether through secession, would even allow for agrarian collectives of socialists to exist in harmony alongside capitalist cities and rural communities. And it would breed diversity with regard to communty options for immigrants from other states or, hopefully, counties. Local sovereignty is the key to maximum liberty.
    Something most conservatives don't seem to realize is most true liberals have a very similar outlook, from what I've experienced. There are liberals giving liberals a bad name, and people who are not liberals at all (i.e. Obama, the Clintons), who are the farthest thing from liberal, largely misidentified as liberals. I also feel greatly at odds with people whose politics I generally identify with. I hope, for the sake of liberalism, more liberals begin to see the error of their reactionary behaviors and start to embrace good political science from places they might not totally agree with, like Mises, but which has, in my opinion, a compelling strategy and potential for positive change.

  8. (((tribal))) overrepresentation in the fake "anti"-Islam movement. (((tribal))) overrepresentation in the "open-borders" movement. (((tribal))) overrepresentation in the fake/controlled "nationalist" counter movement. Controlling the whole geopolitical narrative via the MSM and(!) the "alternative" media.

  9. Five minutes in and here we go again: presenting US foreign aggression as if it were about "imposing American ideas". No it wasn't and it isn't. Just plain old aggression for global hegemony and (self)deceiving double talk about "democracy".

  10. Totally well done, a true intellectual and unafraid to show his depth of knowledge. Knows what he's talking about, and is good and positive about what to do and how to do it. Thanks very much.

  11. Democracy is pathway to socialism, and socialism is the pathway to communism. Vote for getting in, and have war to get out.

  12. I may be a chauvinist but war grows out of different types of nationalism. Liberal values include freedom of expression. Although I disagree with Hazony, he is entitled to his self expressions. Freedom is so complex that rhetorical propaganda does it no justice.

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