The perceived need for a restoration of competitive nationalism was a significant factor that led to the election of Donald Trump. Beyond economic protectionism, Trump’s voters signaled their aspirations for a revitalized form of American patriotism. While history may prove that Trump was the wrong choice for president, the electorate’s larger choice to reemphasize nationalism cannot be so easily dismissed as completely mistaken. In this four-page essay, published on the Institute for Cultural Evolution’s website, I consider nationalism from an integral perspective, highlighting some of its positive and enduring features that all Americans would do well to endorse.
I argue that while nationalism and globalism may often seem to be at odds, the reciprocally intertwined nature of these levels of political development points to their relationship as an interdependent polarity—a relatively permanent dynamic system that, if managed well, can produce ongoing positive social evolution. As I explain in the essay, when faced with an interdependent polarity like ‘nationalism-globalism,’ the best way to forward the values of our preferred pole is to actually affirm the foundational values of the pole we oppose.