From the City Journal, this time, a full essay, with a title that says it all “City, Empire, Church, Nation.” Here’s a taste:
During the premodern era, competing political forms—the city, the empire, and the Church—checked one another, so it was necessary to create the unprecedented form of the nation. Today, the situation is reversed. What we find is not an excess, but a dearth, of political forms. At least in Europe, the nation is discredited and delegitimized, but no other form is emerging. What is more, the reigning opinion, practically the sole available opinion, has been hammering into us for 20 years the idea that the future belongs to a delocalized and globalized process of civilization and that we do not need a political form.