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Nationalism and Russia’s War on Ukraine

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Elan Journo and Ben Bayer analyze the concept of “nationalism,” apply it to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and draw lessons from this event for understanding the rise of nationalism in the United States.

Among the topics covered:

  • The current situation in Ukraine and the state of the global response;
  • The role of nationalism in Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine;
  • Conservative arguments that Ukraine’s fight is a good kind of nationalism
  • Ayn Rand’s distinction between tribalistic nationalism and nationalism based on rational values;
  • How conservatives like Hazony smuggle in tribalistic nationalism by conflating it with rational patriotism;
  • Why tribalistic nationalism is wrong and individualism has universal, objective value;
  • Why Hazony’s tribalistic nationalism would justify the Russian invasion, despite Hazony’s claims to the contrary;
  • Why individualism versus collectivism is the fundamental political alternative, not nationalism versus imperialism;
  • The importance of clarifying the concepts one uses to understand the world;
  • The destructive potential of anti-individualistic American nationalism;
  • How to evaluate American politicians who defended Vladimir Putin;
  • The mixture of good and bad forms of nationalism in modern-day Israel;
  • How to evaluate Ukraine’s policy of conscription.

Mentioned in the discussion are Ayn Rand’s lecture “Global Balkanization,” Elan Journo’s article “The Vice of Nationalism” and the New Ideal Live episode “The Threat of National Conservatism,” which was based on his article “Meet the Conservative Authoritarians.”

The podcast was recorded on March 16, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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