Some scholars have called nationalism a “Janus” concept, two-faced in its capacity to be both good and bad. “There is one [face],” in the words of the French philosopher Etienne Balibar, “which tends to construct a state or a community and the one which tends to subjugate, to destroy; the one which refers to right and the one which refers to might; the one which tolerates other nationalisms and may even argue in their defence and include them in a single historical perspective... and the one which radically excludes them in an imperialist and racist perspective.”

The American legal scholar Lea Brilmayer makes a case for the moral significance of nationalism, arguing that “nationalism, itself, is morally transparent, and that this fact accounts for its ability to coexist equally well with good and evil.”

This “moral transparency” is apparent in “The American’s Creed” written by William Tyler Page in 1917, later passed as a resolution by the US House of Representatives on 3 April 1918, that reads:

“I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign...

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