The conservative press is all excited about the British EU elections, the nationalist parties in other European countries, and the Australian elections. Populism and nationalism are on the rise. At the moment, I consider this a good thing. The internationalists - who are actually only in favor of a transnational elitist tribe - and the Make Europe Great Again crowd (which is what Junker and the others really are; they want a Europe that rivals the US in organised power) have proven their dangerousness and need to be set on their heels firmly. They have undeserved power, they are equally tribal, and they are hypocrites. Agreed. They believe that love of country is a regressive thing.
Yet I do not cede all the moral argument to the populists, who believe that the Regular Guys always have the best answers and should have their way; nor to the nationalists, who assert the superiority of their way of life even when it is markedly inferior. Americans have always tried to ride that middle course, though many of us always fall to one side or the other in every generation. We love our country both for its ideals of freedom, individualism, and rule of law, as well as for baseball, apple pie, and driving your own car long distances.
Not all nationalists in the world are our allies, even as we understand their plight. Not all populists are right, however much we understand their resentment. The pendulum is clearly swinging back, and I am glad. Let us try to arrest its swing nearer the center this time, as our founding fathers seemed to want.