Offering a rereading of the American past and a critique of the present, an analysis of immigration warns that fear of nationalism--not assimilation of new immigrants--is the real danger
In The Next American Nation, a provocative look at the past, present, and future of our national identity, Michael Lind maintains that American society is not breaking into separate tribal enclaves. The really significant development of our time is the emergence of a multiracial middle-class American majority united by a common language, customs, and culture. Until now this new majority, lacking a sense of its identity or interests, has been the object of a divide-and-rule policy by the plutocratic overclass that dominates both major parties. For this reason, the new "Trans-American" majority requires a new social compact, a new theory of national identity, and an appropriate political vehicle if its members are to realize the promise of American life.Although Americans suffer from a deep-seated fear of nationalism inspired by the experience of 20th-century fascist dictatorships, Lind reminds us that nationalism in the 19th century was often a liberalizing force. He proposes to revive a long-submerged tradition of American liberal nationalism founded by Alexander Hamilton and espoused at different times by Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Herbert Croly, and Theodore Roosevelt, among others.Realizing the ideal of the trans-racial melting pot will require a sweeping program of social and political reforms. Lind provides a practical agenda for a liberal nationalist revolution that would combine a new color-blind liberalism in civil rights with practical measures for reducing class-based barriers to racial integration. Lind concludes by sketching the possible contours of a Fourth American Republic, a liberal-nationalist successor to today's Multicultural American regime, inspired by a new vision of "Trans-American" history and culture.