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O’Sullivan on Goldberg’s “Shaky” Argument

For that reason the Lukacs argument (as presented by Jonah) seems to me to be very shaky. Loyalty to an idea is another variant of Orwell’s power-worshipping version of nationalism and open to his charge that “it is most virulent” when attached to some other unit of humnanity (rather than one’s own country.) Loyalty to institutions transmitted by a common culture and shared historical memory seems to me to be a better definition of patriotism. People come to share a national identity, mutual loyalty, and sense of common destiny as the result of sharing the same language and culture and of living under the same institutions over a long period of time. sometimes those people will be ethnically united, but not always. ~John O’Sullivan [1], The Corner

It is important to note right away that Goldberg has Prof. Lukacs’ argument precisely backwards, as Scott Richert [2] and I [3] noted yesterday. It is Goldberg’s own confused understanding of patriotism, which he wrongfully pins on Prof. Lukacs, that is “very shaky.” It’s good to see that Mr. O’Sullivan seems to agree with at least part of Prof. Lukacs’ view and finds loyalty to a creed or doctrine (which is what Goldberg thinks patriotism is) to be a variant of “power-worshipping version of nationalism.” Exactly. However, it is a shame that no one at National Review seems to have even a remedial acquaintance with Prof. Lukacs’ works to know one way or the other what his views actually are.