Much is being made of the Brexit vote as symptomatic of a rising tide of nationalism. So it is, and so much the better. Anyone who appreciates diversity — the glorious variety of human cultures, customs, and folkways — should applaud, not condemn, the natural human yearning of every people to have a homeland in which their culture can express itself freely and organically.
Where the things that make up a culture — language, moral intuitions, history, folklore, ritual, manners, customs, and all the other idioms that make the world a diverse and interesting place — are broadly shared by a nation’s citizens, then private life and the civil society naturally flow together, social harmony and public trust increase, political faction declines, and liberty — by which I mean the perception of liberty, which is its most meaningful measure — increases. If, by contrast, every nation on earth becomes a chaotic congeries of every culture, then none of those cultures can achieve its full expression, because it collides in the public square with every other culture. What remains of public life is a ‘metaculture‘ stripped to its lowest common denominator. As more — and more alien — cultures are added to the mix, that denominator is driven lower and lower, toward our most basic animal commonalities.
If, then, you really wish to see Diversity as it should be seen, in all its splendor, let every people have a homeland! As everyone everywhere used to understand, that’s what travel is for. And when you are weary of travel, the best part is: there’s no place like home.