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How far can liberal values, ideals, and political institutions be reconciled with national affiliations and allegiances? In this book, David Conway argues for the perfect compatibility between the equal moral standing of all human beings and their enjoying particularistic nationalistic attachments and affiliations.
Examining the recent upsurge of interest in the moral status of nationalism that has attended its resurgence following the Soviet Union's collapse as well as increasing globalization, Conway denies nationalism and liberalism to be mutually incompatible, arguing this view of them rests upon misunderstandings of both sets of political phenomena.
The collapse of communism led to socialism becoming discredited among Western political theorists, and to their apparent greater willingness to acknowledge the validity of liberal values and ideals. Yet many of them continue to voice misgivings as to how genuinely compatible liberal ideals and institutions can be with a world order of independent sovereign nation states, however liberal each may purport to be.
Those who voice these misgivings typically favour the creation and strengthening of supra-national bodies, such as the European Union and the agencies of the UN, the break-up of the United Kingdom and its full integration inside a European federal union, as well as ever increasing global governance more generally. 'In Defence of the Realm' offers a vigorous defence of the nation state from a classical liberal perspective and a resounding refutation of all who would disparage nationalistic affiliations in the supposed name of liberal values and ideals.