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The Heritage Foundation


Dedication to America’s national form is not about the thoughtless valorizing of one’s own that is so often at the heart of uglier forms of nationalism. It is about an understanding of the critical role played by size, scope, and dimensionality in the creation of stable and secure communities, the emergence of a citizenry attached to the public good, the rule of reasoned law, the preservation of diversity and minorities, and political transparency and accountability, the very things that critics of the nation tacitly seek to preserve. Critics of the national form thus fail to appreciate the conditions necessary to preserve the rights they claim to cherish. They also fail to understand that the ability to grasp the virtues of the national form, defend their preservation, and respect their power does not require being a liberal or a conservative. Nor does it require a chauvinistic defense of America’s past, or even patriotism. It simply requires an openness to the axioms of the new science of civic republicanism and the ability to see that the type of regime that is desired will determine certain features that it must entail in order for it to exist and persevere. To be sure, America has been indispensable to the cause of human liberty at home and abroad over the past two centuries. But it is its science of civic republicanism—the self-conscious articulation of this political physics—as much as its unique history, that makes America such an indispensable nation.


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