The Next American Nation Essay - Critical Essays

Michael Lind

The Next American Nation

The basic assertion of the new liberal nationalism that Michael Lind, a recent convert from conservatism, proclaims in THE NEXT AMERICAN NATION is that America is indeed a nation, a concrete historical community whose members share a common language, common folkways, and a common vernacular culture. A liberal nationalism, according to Lind, offers a new understanding of the American past, based on an analysis of the three republics that have shaped American history: Anglo-America, from before 1789 to 1861, dominated by the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-German element of the population; Euro-America, from the Civil War to after World War II, expanded to include all Americans of European descent; and the multicultural America that has come into existence since World War II, and in which we now live.

Much of the book is taken up with Lind’s vigorous attack on multicultural America, which in Lind’s view has abandoned both the vital idea of a national community and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of a color-blind society. Policies of affirmative action Lind denounces as mere tokenism, intended to protect the interests and perpetuate the influence of the white overclass. For this overclass, Lind argues, multiculturalism functions as an alternative to the radical reform, if not outright dismantling, of the class system that is our real need.

In the last major section of the book, Lind articulates his vision of a fourth American republic, the...

(The entire section is 476 words.)