percent of those who responded to onernsurvey conducted in Northern Irelandrncalled themselves “Irish,” while thernlargest remaining group of respondentsrnchose to identify themselves as “British,”rnor “Ulstermen.” Since those who callrnthemselves “Irish” appear to be the samernpeople who identify with Catholicism,rnand the “Ulstermen” those who are—rnnominally at least—Protestant, Connorrnasserts that many analysts, confused byrnmodernist assumptions, tend to concentraternon the symptoms of nationalistrnconflict rather than on the real causes.rnThus, the conflict in Northern Irelandrnis assumed to be a religious one betweenrn”Catholics” and “Protestants” (despiternthe Marxism of some of the “Catholic”rnmilitants), and not one between Irishmenrnand Ulstermen. Both groups arernerroneously assumed to share a commonrnsense of “Irish” nationality. If onlyrnreligion would go away, many liberalsrnreason, all would be well in Belfast. Fieldrnresearch, however, supports Connor’srnconclusions; as long as any external factorsrnremain, however tenuous; as long asrnany memory of historical clashes is alive,rnhowever mythologized; as long as thesernpeoples perceive themselves to be different,rnwith different interests and loyalties,rnthe war between the “Catholics” and thern”Prods” will continue. They are two nationsrnoccupying—and having a claimrnto—the same territory, and all the wishfulrnthinking in the world cannot changernthat truth about the conflict. This confusionrnof symptoms and causes, producedrnby foggy terminology, accountsrnfor the tendency of analysts of all stripesrnto underestimate the psychological powerrnof national identity. This error contributesrnto the second problem in nationalistrninterpretation, the problem ofrnfalse assumptions.rnWhen the modernist or “nationbuilder”rnposition is adopted uncritically,rnas it often is by scholars and politicalrnelites, then a whole set of erroneous assumptionsrnabout political, economic,rnand social development inevitablyrnfollows. The “universal nation” and “opportunityrnsociety” so beloved by bothrnHillary Clinton liberals and Newt Gingrichrnconservatives are not mere slogansrndreamed up by Jack Kemp while hernshowered with black football players, butrnare, rather, part and parcel of the ideologicalrnfreight that the modernist enginerncarries in tow. Like Lenin in his sealedrntrain, it is a plague bacillus, an organismrnthat infects the body politic after havingrnbeen carried deep into enemy territory,rnoften under a false flag.rnConnor attacks the assumptions producedrnby this infection head on. Modernization,rnaccording to him, does notrnweaken “ethnic” identity among minoritiesrnin a multinational state. It does tendrnto homogenize like groups, such asrnNortherners and Southerners in America,rnbut it only increases the national consciousnessrnof Mexicans, Chinese, andrnother nationalities by highlighting theirrn”otherness” through increased frequencyrnand duration of contact with the dominantrngroup. Contrary to modernists’ assumptions,rnthe more unlike groups comerninto contact with one another, the lessrnthey can abide each other’s company.rnAny effort to homogenize unlike groupsrnby force or design is likely to backfire.rnIn Spain, Franco’s efforts to eradicaternBasque, Catalan, and Galician consciousnessrn”seems only to have magnifiedrnthem,” and the same could be saidrnof Soviet efforts to “Russify” Ukrainians,rnTartars, Estonians, and Chechens. Thisrnobservation has particular importancernbecause few “nation-states”—states thatrnare coterminous with a particular nationrn—actually exist. Most states are binationalrnor multinational, and FirstrnWorld states, alread’ feeling the strainrnof ethnic friction, will probably failrncompletely to assimilate Third Worldrnimmigrants in large numbers. The newrnimmigrants are comprised of nationalrngroups from Asia, Africa, and LatinrnAmerica who, because of their vasdy divergentrnexternal badges of identityrn(boundary markers that do so much tornperpetuate internal consciousness) cannotrncredibly be anything besides thern”other” when contrasted with the majorityrnof Americans.rnThis illusion of the homogenizingrnpower of modern societies is based onrnthe historical viability of multinationalrnstates, in the form of kingdoms and empires,rnprior to the “age of nationalism.”rnIn many cases, these premodern politiesrnremained stable for centuries. This convincesrndevelopmental theorists thatrn”tribalism,” “racism,” and “separatism”rnmust be infantile disorders associatedrnwith the “nation-building” phase ofrnmodernization, and proper indoctrinationrnin “human rights” and “democracy”rnare the cure. What this view ignores isrnthe structural changes in economic, political,rnand social organization (not tornmention ideology, in particular the notionrnof self-determination and its bastardrncousin, multiculturalism) that havernmade rule by aliens so onerous in thernmodern era. Disparate national groupsrnwere able to live together, more or lessrnpeacefully, in a single feudal polity becausernthey had few direct contacts withrnone another. In premodern multinationalrnstates, especially those where varyingrnnations were territorially based, thernlack of contact tended to prevent clashesrnof interest, between subject peoples andrnbetween the imperial Staatvolk and itsrnsubjects who lived in their tribal or clanbasedrnvillages far from the metropolitanrncenter. Low-tech communications andrntransportation allowed the local group tornlive within the framework of familiarrnfolkways; agricultural economies keptrnmost people at work in the regions wherernthey were born. Neither the subject nation’s,rnnor the metropolitan’s, culturalrnsurvival was threatened by such an arrangement.rnModernization has changedrnall that, and the New World Order ofrntrans-state government and trans-staterncorporations now threatens both FirstrnWodd and Third with national degradation.rnNeither history nor the “age ofrnnationalism” has reached its end, andrnthose political elites who think it has arcrna danger to the societies they rule.rnConnor’s work challenges not onlyrnthe feeble nostrums of the universalistrnleft but the hopes of many on the traditionalistrnand libertarian right as well.rnHe gives the structuralist devil his due:rntimes and socioeconomic structuresrnhave changed, and Connor does notrnchallenge the assumption that modernityrn—the world of the “integratedrnstate” (James Burnham’s “managerialrnstate”)—has altered the consciousness ofrnnations. The survival of nations is notrnquestioned; nations have survived, indeedrnthey have flourished as never before,rnin the modern era, but the conservative’srnmain concern is not simply thernphysical survival of his people, but theirrnsurvival as what?rnThe decentralized republic of ourrnforebears was an agrarian one, as economicallyrnand sociall)’ supportive of therntraditionalist philosophy of the earlvrnAmericans as the feudal social structurernwas of medieval Christendom. Libertyrnand tradition thrived in such a world.rnThe question remains whether citherrncan survive, not only in a multiculturalrnAmerica but in the prepackaged,rncellophane-wrapped, capitalist Americarnmany “conservatives” want tornsell us. crn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn