Friday, July 30, 2010

Imagine There's No Country, cont.

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post with another thought about the Left's long-standing hostility toward the nation-state.

As many have noted, America is a nation of immigrants. Unlike most countrys in human history, its success as a nation has been achieved chiefly not by appeals to a common blood, nor a common race, nor even a common heritage, but rather by an appeal to a common creed. To be an American is to embrace the ideas that inform the first two chapters of the Declaration of Independence, that clearest "expression of the American mind", and to do so "freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." If you do so, then in a meaningful, but still unrealized sense, you are an American, and are so whether you come from Kansas or Kenya.

But because we are a nation defined chiefly by creed, some are tempted to embrace along with that creed, an illusion. As I mentioned yesterday, among the characteristics that define a modern nation-state is territorial integrity. Without it, a nation-state exists in name only, that is, it doesn't exist really. The illusion to which the Left is tempted is that, because of the unique success of the creed in fostering a genuine sense of nationhood, territorial integrity is unnecessary. Hence, "open borders" comes to seem to some a very real possibility. But open borders means no borders, and no borders means no country.

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