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Journal Article

The Myth of Benign Group Identity: A Critique of Liberal Nationalism

Jamie Mayerfeld
Polity
Vol. 30, No. 4 (Summer, 1998), pp. 555-578
DOI: 10.2307/3235255
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235255
Page Count: 24
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The Myth of Benign Group Identity: A Critique of Liberal Nationalism
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Abstract

Some political theorists claim that a nationalism that acknowledges the authority of liberal moral principles can avoid the violent excesses that have given nationalism a bad name. On this view, the cure for nationalist violence is not a rejection of nationalism in all its forms, but the cultivation of liberal nationalism. Drawing on the insights of Hobbes and Locke on the sources of violent conflict, I argue instead that any nationalism-liberal or otherwise-encourages the unjust use of violence. Nationalism is dangerous in any form because it cannot be dissociated from certain attitudes that, even though not violent in themselves, still make violence more likely.

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