Sriad^Ki/itissyn^Sot(/€rs/n6{^ Samuel ^7Hznd&’nIf conservatives carried revolvers,nthey’d probably reach for them at thensound of the word “nationalism.” Perhapsnit’s just as well they don’t carrynrevolvers, since nationalism usuallynmakes its appearance armed with considerablynbigger guns. In the Europe ofnMetternich and Castlereagh, nationalismnwas the vehicle for the revolutionaryndestruction of dynastic and aristocraticnregimes and the parent of allnsorts of modern nastiness. “From thenFrench Revolution,” wrote the conservativenAnglo-Polish historian Sir LewisnNamier, “dates the active rise of modernnnationalism with some of its mostndangerous features: of a mass movementncentralizing and levelling, dynamicnand ruthless, akin in nature tonthe horde.”nAmerican conservatives have nevernbeen much more enthusiastic aboutnnationalism than their European counterparts.nThe opposition to ratificationnof the US Constitution was led byncountry gentlemen who knew verynwell that Alexander Hamilton’s nationalnunificahon meant merely the consolidationnof Northeastern dominancenover the states and their distinctivensubcultures. For the first seventy yearsnof American history, the main politicalnconflict revolved around whether thennationalists of the Northeast wouldnsucceed in impressing their thumbprintsnon the wax of the new republic.nThat, as Richard Weaver saw, was thenissue in Daniel Webster’s debates withnSouth Carolina’s Senator RobertnYoung Hayne, and the concrete meaningnof Webster’s “Liberty and Union”nspeech was that the republic should benunified around the Northeastern goalsnof economic expansion and nationalnpower.nAs every schoolboy knows (or usednto know, back when teachers toldnschoolboys about Abraham Lincoln),nthose goals eventually triumphed, andnthe “equality” that Lincoln and hisnsupporters preached with their terriblenswift swords was largely a mask for annorgiastic ethic of producing and consuming,nthe Great Barbecue that culminatednonly in the present century. InnLincoln’s day and under his leadership.nNortheastern financial and industrialncenters finally gained enough materialnpower and resources to crush theirnrivals. It was neither patriotism nornpiety that ultimately made the urmmnprevail over the pluribus, but the acquisitivenhabits that Lincoln’s “equalitynof opportunity” rationalized and thatnmodern advertising, credit instruments,nmass media, and government-managedndemand succeeded in creating.nBe all that as it may, the UnitednStates today is a unitary nation-state, asnmuch as traditionalist conservativesnmay be loath to admit it. If you don’tnbelieve this, travel to a city other thannthe one in which you live. You, willndiscover that just about any place younvisit in the United States today looksnalmost exactly like the one you just left.nFast-food palaces, shopping malls,nmammoth supermarkets, hotel chains,nmodern highway networks, officenbuildings, high-rises, and parking lotsnnow define the public orthodoxy of thennation. If you visit bookstores, watchntelevision, go to the movies, or listen tonmusic or the news in any Americanncity, what you read, see, or hear will benvery much the sarrie as in any otherncity. On a recent visit to Atlanta, Infound that the local TV news was allnabout child abuse, drug busts, and localnpolitical corruption — exactly the samenas in Washington. Only the streetnnames were different.nNational unification of the UnitednStates has meant the destruction ofnlocal and regional variations and theirnhomogenization under a regime ofncentralized power — economic andncultural as well as political. But homogenizationndoesn’t stop at the water’snedge. The universalist and cosmopolitannformulas that justified nationalnunification — equality of opportunity,nhuman rights, economic growth, andnmaterial progress — don’t distinguishnbetween one nation and another, andnultimately they demand the abolitionnof national distinctiveness and identitynjust as easily as they do the homogenizationnof subnational regional andncultural particularity. The forces thatnbring Kentucky Fried Chicken to Nebraskanand Nevada, disseminate thenpolitical insights of Rivera andnDonohue to housewives in Wyoming,nand decide how small businessmen innnnBirmingham should provide for thensafety and health of their workers alsonwill export such progress to the rest ofnthe world. Indeed, the logic of thisncentury’s technological unification,nand the interests of the elites thatncreated and run it, dictate that thenunity of the nation make way for thenhomogenization of the world.nThe globalist dynamic is workingnitself out even now. The Septembernissue of Scientific American was devotednto the topic of “Managing PlanetnEarth,” and the thesis of PaulnKennedy’s The Rise and Fall of thenGreat Powers, that the United States isnin a condition of decline, is routinelynexploited to justify the management ofndecline so that the United States, innProfessor Kennedy’s words, can “adjustnsensibly to the newer world order.”nSecretary of State James Baker andnMikhail Gorbachev become almostnweepy when they talk about the “transnationalnissues” that will fill the diplomaticnplatters of the future — armsncontrol, conflict management, globalnenvironmental and economic policies,nand, of course, drugs. American servicemennalready are in South Americanto help its governments perforfh whatnought to be entirely domestic law enforcementnfunctions against thenMedellin Cartel, itself a transnationalncorporate state. Global democratizationnis only one part of the effort tonenvelop the entire planet in a postindustrialnweb that will strangle localncultural, economic, and political autonomy.nSome Americans, especially thencosmo-conservatives in Manhattan andnWashington, may fantasize thatnglobalization will yield another “AmericannCentury,” with Yankee know-howntossing institutional and ideologicalncandy bars to fetching senoritas in thenThird World. But blue-collar workersnin Detroit and construction men innTexas probably have a better grip onnthe realities of globalization as theynwatch their own jobs disappear beforenAsian competition and illegal immigrants.nGlobalization doesn’t meannthat America will prevail, but that itnwill vanish among the electrons andnlaser beams by which the planet is to benheld together, just as Midwestern smallnbusinesses and Southern family farmsnDECEMBER 1989/9n