Evaluating nationalism in the Liberal framework
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This essay is an attempt to explain and assess the liberal nationalists’ view on the problems of the legitimacy of nationalism and cultural rights. I want to look at some theories over the past fifteen years that normatively evaluate ‘nationalism’ according to the liberal principles. The main focus of the first part will be on three questions, which are: the question of legitimacy (is nationalism permissible?), the question of justice (is nationalism required?), and the question of appropriate format (what forms of nationalism and nationalistic policies are considered as legitimate and just?). In the second part, by considering the alleged conflict between the ‘minority nation-building’ and the ‘majority nation-building’ in multination countries, I will examine two models for resolving this conflict: ‘Multinational Federalism’ and ‘Transnational Federalism’. I will argue that, though most liberal nationalists support the former model, they fail to provide a convincing normative ground for justifying Multinational Federalism and stopping national minorities from secession. The liberal nationalists’ arguments for necessity of nationalism, ironically, undermine their own claim about normative importance of Multinational Federalism in comparison to Transnational Federalism. This is what I call ‘the paradox of liberal nationalism’.