Place and the Nation (John G. Grove, Spring 2024, National Affairs)

National conservatives claim to be defenders of locality and particularity over and against the forces of globalism and universalism. Remarkably, however, neither national conservatism’s “Statement of Principles” nor its most thorough theoretical account — as articulated by Yoram Hazony — points to the guiding concept of place as a prominent element of the nation.

This absence of place stands in marked contrast to the concept’s preeminence in the thought of another notable defender of the nation against encroaching international institutions and universalist philosophy: the late Sir Roger Scruton. Scruton built his entire understanding of the nation on the concept of “home,” or a certain way of life that emerges from “the place where we are.”

This distinction calls into question national conservatism’s claim to be the “only genuine alternative” to global liberalism. It also has important implications for the way conservatives ought to understand the authority of the nation-state, specifically as it relates to federalism and locality.

In Conservatism: A Rediscovery, Hazony defines a nation as “a number of tribes with a shared heritage, usually including a common language, law, or religious tradition, and a past history of joining together against common enemies and to pursue common endeavors.”

Place is absent because Nationalists are just racist. They define a nation ethnically.