Dulce et decorum est, to untangle nationalism and patriotism.
Reihan ably demonstrates that the delinking of geography and polity is something that Republican paternalists and libertarian cosmopolitans can agree on. Political affiliation, like personal affinity, is becoming more and more voluntary and mutable, rather than sticking so inconveniently to real estate.
While we insist on a more diffuse and elective notion of citizenship, though, our instruments of governance — especially the security apparatus — don’t just shrivel up. Instead, they are right behind us as we burst forth into the post-national sunshine, leaving the dark valley of blood and soil behind. Citizens are looking outside the nation-state to form their circles of affinity and allegiance — the instruments of the state will want similar freedom to operate without incurring transaction costs at old-fashioned national borders. The EU strains at the limits of “Europe,” NATO becomes an “exporter of security,” and the US Army becomes, in Christopher Hitchens’ words, “the defensive militia for [Iraqis] who have no militia.” Perhaps it’s natural enough for security institutions to slip the shackles of geography, but I expect the rest of the managerial state to follow close behind.