With the rise of Trump we saw resurgence of the hard Right movements of old ranging from the Pat Buchanan style Populist Conservative to flat out Neo Nazi’s. The idea of nationalism has been met with mainstream approval in Trump’s America and amongst his base in particular.
France’s Macron made a rebuke of Trump on Armistice Day denouncing nationalism here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/to-mark-end-of-world-war-i-frances-macron-denounces-nationalism-as-a-betrayal-of-patriotism/2018/11/11/aab65aa4-e1ec-11e8-ba30-a7ded04d8fac_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.08583ef4fb41
He said…”because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.”
The Right collectively had an apoplectic fit.
I care not to delve into the context of the statements of the French figurehead. I can say with confidence that I dislike him, because, he is a President after all. But does the man have a point in that limited statement above?
The raging popularity of this nationalist concept has had me puzzled for quite some time. The roots of my tree of liberty were nurtured in the Conservative and Paleo Libertarian movements and ideas of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I read Lew Rockwell to Chronicles Magazine to Thomas Dilorenzo to Robert Nisbet to Jefferson to Nock to Taylor of Caroline to Mencken…you name it, I’ve read it.
One unique concept of this Paleo and particularly Southern strain of intellectualism was that the concept of Nationalism was different than that of Patriotism.
Clyde Wilson, a defender of all things Southern and a former College Professor stated, “Patriotism is the wholesome, constructive love of one’s land and people. Nationalism is the unhealthy love of one’s government, accompanied by the aggressive desire to put down others—which becomes in deracinated modern men a substitute for religious faith. Patriotism is an appropriate, indeed necessary, sentiment for people who wish to preserve their freedom; nationalism is not.”
Is this staunch traditionalist, just another God Forsaken Commie ‘hearthern?
In the classical American understanding of the concept of republican virtue, we see a devotion to localism and a fiendish quest for decentralization at all costs. When Thomas Jefferson referred to his “country” he was referring to Virginia. John Randolph of Roanoke was cut from the same cloth. “When I speak of my Nation, I mean the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he stated.
It is no coincidence you’ll commonly see among Zerogov.com writings the use of “these united States” vs. “the United States.” This is not a typo.
Nationalism means consolidation. Centralization was the chief fear of all those who favored liberty in the American founding mythos and a chief grievance in AMREV1. Yet, modern right wingers, Trumpansies and groups like the “Proud Boys” champion this statist concept of Nationalism.
The Constitutional Coupe was an invention of the Nationalists. The Hamiltonian wing was the group that favored the Tariff, the National Bank, Crony Capitalism/Mercantilism, and all power vested in the Central government. The republicans were the decentralists who kept true to the values of the American Revolution and fought it all.
The framing of the cultural divide can be seen in the politics of the War Between the States. Most conservatives of the ‘radical’ type today, particularly in the South, have little problem with laying claim to the intellectual tradition of Confederate Secession. Yet, the Nationalists were the Northerners. Their devotion and cause was preservation of the Union at the expense of 650K and 50K Southern Civilians killed, dead, dead dead. The Southern soldier rallied around their sense of place, kinship and community to defend from the invading horde. Which is it, Gents, the concepts of liberty of your ancestors or nationalism? Cognitive dissonance strikes again.
The ‘Murkan political and social landscapes are divided as they have ever been. Half the country hates the other half with a passion, essentially over which sports team they pull a lever for in the magic voting booths every couple years. They are ready to go to war with each other. Yet, Conservatives rally toward consolidation and nationalism uber alles, when 5 seconds earlier they wanted to toss Democrats out of helicopters? Those are the people you are devoting an undying vow of nationalism for?
We can see the sense of true authentic patriotism, in the Clyde Wilson sense, still today. If you strip away the D’s and the R’s and made up, nonsensical and meaningless political drivel, you’ll notice in Appalachia for instance, the devotion to place and people in the culture at large. The devotion is to their local region. People from a county or two over might be referred to as “furriners” or outsiders. The devotion is more to the Mountains than the South. Culturally more to the South than the Nation.
I expect the usual comments about being a Globalist, but honestly, you can save it. I favor complete liberty, down to the individual or community/tribal level. On a philosophical level, the State is a gang of thieves writ large and deserves to drown its self in the bathtub, and supporting any sort of nationalism to hold it up is reprehensible.
On the practical level a decentralist strategy isn’t wrong.
I view the issue of nationalism vs localism as one that needs to be looked at from a viewpoint of its trajectory. Is the trend toward localism or consolidation? Decentralization vs Centralization?
If, on a practical level, one had to choose the UN or the US, I’d take the US. If a choice between the US or the state level governing body, I’d take one of the 50 states. State vs county? County. County vs individual? Individual Uber Alles. Nationalism only makes sense to me as a way point away from the consolidation of global governance.
The reality of global governance is actually that the US state IS the global governing body. So a preference for nationalism is a preference for global hegemony.
And for the record, racial nationalists are as dumb as a bag of hammers. You mean to tell me, you choose loyalty to a white, democratic socialist 5 states away rather than a Cherokee that lives 1 mile away who has the same cultural values and lifestyle as you do? What an idiot. Go jack off on Stormfront and leave me alone.
The problem I see, is the supposed liberty lover wants to claim individualism or some sort of limited communal governance, while also wanting power consolidated into the Nation State and rallying around jingoistic nationalism. Folks see no problem with erecting National police states, Immigration Gestapo’s, and re-erecting the Communist Berlin Wall or giving the executive in DC unlimited war and police power, so long as they still get their Social Security Checks, Military Pensions and some rhetoric that pleases their cultural preferences.
The early American insurrectionists chose freedom over peaceful slavery. Which will you choose? Blind devotion to Trumpian Commie-Faschy State or Liberty?