For some Objectivists, nationalism is equivalent to barbarism, racism, senseless wars, and fascist dictatorship. Other Objectivists reject this view of nationalism—they say that the contemporary nationalist movements have gained popularity because normal people want political change—they are exasperated by the catastrophic domestic and foreign policies of the progressive governments.
But what was Ayn Rand’s position on nationalism and internationalism? Rand has presented her views on these topics in two articles that she wrote in 1962—“Britain’s National Socialism” and “Nationalism versus Internationalism.” (Published in The Ayn Rand Column)
In the article “Britain’s National Socialism” (LA Times, October 4, 1962), Rand writes:
“For decades, the ‘liberals’ have regarded “nationalism” as an arch-evil of capitalism. They denounced national self-interest—they permitted no distinction between intelligent patriotism and blind, racist chauvinism, deliberately lumping them together—they smeared all opponents of internationalist doctrines as ‘reactionaries,’ ‘fascists’ or ‘isolationists’—and they brought this country to the stage where expressions such as “America First” became terms of opprobrium.”
Rand points out that the liberals “clamored that nationalism was the cause of wars—and that the only way to achieve global peace was to dissolve all national boundaries, sacrifice national sovereignty and merge into the United Nations or into One World.”
She rejects the globalist idea that it is the moral duty of the people in developed societies to surrender their freedom, their rights, their wealth and even their military defence “to the mercy of the majority vote of the savage tribes of the whole world.” She says that a nation has the right to neglect the views of every other country in the world (if the need arises) and implement a domestic and foreign policy that will safeguard the interests of its own citizens.
In the article “Nationalism versus Internationalism” (LA Times, November 4, 1962), Rand denounces the doctrine of internationalism or globalism. She writes:
“Championed and propagated by ‘liberals’ for many decades, internationalism is collectivism applied to the relationships of nations. Just as domestic collectivism holds that an individual’s freedom and interests must be sacrificed to the ‘public interest’ of society—so internationalism holds that a nation’s sovereignty and interests must be sacrificed to a global community.”
Ayn Rand was certainly not a nationalist, but it is clear from the two articles that she did not equate nationalism with barbarians, warmongers, fascists, and racists. She thought that when the nationalists are motivated by intelligent patriotism they can achieve better political outcomes. What she strongly rejects is the doctrine of internationalism or globalism.