From Publishers Weekly
Tamir, who teaches philosophy at Tel-Aviv University, offers an intriguing argument for the compatibility of the personal autonomy of liberalism with the loyalty and solidarity of nationalism. Her exposition is mainly theoretical, critiquing major thinkers like John Rawls and Isaiah Berlin, with occasional contemporary examples, especially on the issue of cultural belonging in Israel. Though she recognizes the potential excesses of nationalism, Tamir argues cogently that such communal feelings are necessary to support the modern liberal welfare state. Because each group cannot have its own state in this ethnically and nationally heterogenous world, Tamir suggests that smaller jurisdictions could allow minorities like Basques and Catalans limited autonomy, while they remain linked by broader political alliances like the European Community. But the EC is hardly thriving, and Tamir acknowledges that she has no solution for the tensions caused by imbalances between member nations.
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"As this century staggers to its balkanized end, it is harder than ever to believe, with Mazzini, that liberal principle can be reconciled with nationalism, or that national liberation can ever have liberal results. It is against this brutal historical background that one begins to appreciate the daring of Yael Tamir's enterprise.... This is a book of philosophy that illuminates the real world.... [An] intelligent and humane work."--Michael Ignatieff, The New Republic
"Tamir constructs a philosophical ideal of nationalism, but in leading the reader to questions such as this, she also performs a valuable service for those who try to understand its reality."--Liah Greenfeld, American Political Science Review
"One hopes that her argument here will lead liberal states to reexamine their obligations to all citizens of the world, not just those within their borders."--David McCabe, Commonweal
"Yael Tamir has made an important theoretical contribution to a crucial debate that should interest anyone trying to come to terms with contemporary politics. It is a mark of her achievement that one finishes the book willing to credit the non
-oxymoronic nature of the term `liberal nationalism' and, thus, to accept the possibility that [one is not forced] to choose between these."--Sanford Levinson, Ethics