A lot of people who think they are anti-nationalists . . . are not. Or, at the very least, are nothing like my kind of anti-nationalist.

Nationalism is a [set of] political idea[s]. It is the notion that states should be co-extensive with nations, with “peoples,” as in ethno-linguistic groups and cultures.

Most people who call themselves anti-nationalists, today, are globalists. They believe that states should incorporate many nations. This ideology is a kissing cousin to imperialism.

I am anti-nationalist in the other direction. I believe that states, if they must exist, should be smaller than nations.

There are many good reasons to hold such a commitment. But I confess: to some degree this view of politics was embedded in me early on, perhaps genetically.

My main ground for this attitude boils down to Acton’s Law: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I regard nationalists as rather mad. Maddened by power.

But globalism and imperialism? (Some variant of which is what a majority of what people in the West seem to support.) I consider these madder yet.

So, it is with some amusement that I confront the current craze on the left to dub people who aren’t their kind of inter-nationalists “Nazis” and “fascists.” I have always put their kind in the same camp as the fascists. I do not see them as much better. Not infrequently they are worse. (What is worse than fascism? Well, internationalist socialism, that is what.)

I realize that mine is decidedly a minority position. My kind lost in 1789 in America, when the anti-federalists were made irrelevant upon the adoption of the Constitution. But, remember, pretty much every prediction of the anti-federalists came true.

So, today, we Americans live in a nation-state, not a federation — which is almost a dead letter. Look at the way Wikipedia describes the American compact, a document in which the word “nation” cannot be found. The idea, originally, was for the states to be sovereign (and remember: John Taylor of Caroline argued for individual sovereignty). The federation was a convenience to facilitate the survival of the several states. But try telling a college grad that, these days. Programmed by false history.

The Constitution, for all its faults, was not designed as a national government.

Under the federalist framework, “the nations” of America would be many and varied. But the problem with the federal idea is that it makes a super-state larger than any particular state, and thus bigger than the separate commonalities and cultures within the states, and focuses power away from the dispersed loci. Which in turn conjures up nation-building — with flag-worship and “patriotism” and all that — to create a single nation to correspond to the federal government. Thus, less than a hundred years after the Constitution was adopted, the federal union became a nation-state. Which was soon aggrandized into an imperialistic power.

For fun, recently, I have been calling my variant of anti-nationalism “Ameri-skeptic,” playing on the Brexiteers’ “Euro-sceptic” moniker.

I am not a patriot of the United Sates of America. I am merely rather fond of these United States. My patriotism leans towards principles, not institutions.

Terms and conditions apply, though.