I used to identify myself as a Libertarian. I no longer do so – although I retain many of the Libertarian ideals. Away from the fact that Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson managed to inadvertently make a pretty good case against the recreational use of marijuana, Libertarianism fails for me on several counts.
Specifically, on borders and defense.
Jonah Goldberg of National Review summed it up nicely “Conservatives tend to be libertarian, but libertarians tend not to be conservative”. I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement.
So, what do I believe?
I firmly believe in free markets. I also believe we don’t – and never did – truly have them. I believe in free trade but I don’t believe in trade agreements. I believe in fair trade. I am in favor of smaller government – of cutting any federal program, anywhere, and for any reason (to paraphrase Milton Friedman). The same goes for taxes. And regulation.
I am a staunch proponent of a strong National Defense. The best offense is a good…you get the point. I believe we should keep our nation-building efforts to a minimum. I endorse Supreme Court Justices who employ Originalism in their Constitutional approach.
I believe Globalism poses one of the greatest threats to our nation. I believe Islam is primarily an ideology – and one we must take seriously as a nation. I am not particularly concerned about global warming – although I hope we can finally begin to have an honest national debate.
I believe Populism is nothing more than a desire for citizens to reclaim their country.
I believe in free speech but I have a problem with flag-burning. I am in favor of the legalization of drugs – despite not using any substances myself – I simply believe the social costs will be lower. I believe in personal responsibility.
I am in favor of legal immigration – on a controlled basis – and for those who want to be here, admire our values and culture – and have a strong desire to assimilate. I absolutely am not in favor of open border immigration – or sanctuary cities.
Years ago, I got into a friendly argument with Larry Elder – a conservative Libertarian radio host – regarding the true cost of illegal immigration. My argument to him was that while we benefited from cheap foreign labor we utterly failed to fully count the social and economic costs. I still believe that.
I believe an open borders policy is a disaster for the concept of a nation state. I believe in Sovereign Rights and national law.
I believe power should be pushed down to the state level wherever possible. I believe we should spend less on social programs and more on infrastructure. And that states – not the federal government – should be the ones doing the spending.
I believe that social welfare perpetuates the cycle of poverty. I believe in personal charity. I believe the United Nations is an unmitigated disaster and should be abolished – or at least defunded.
Above all else, I believe in our Constitution.
I guess I’m a quasi-Libertarian who believes in Sovereignty, fair trade, national borders, and a strong national defense. What do you call that?
I might be an American Nationalist – or perhaps a Constitutional Nationalist. But first, a quick recap of some prior terms:
Populism, as I noted in Populism – The Road Back to Capitalism, sounds scary. It conjures up visions of fascist-like political movements and is often portrayed exactly as such. And yet, populism is nothing of the kind. There is no populism ideology to speak of. Populism is, quite simply, the response of citizens to the failure of their leaders.
Globalization, discussed in The Globalism Threat – Socialism’s New World Order, is an economic process resulting in increasing economic integration and interdependence of economies through cross-border movement of goods, services, technologies and capital. It can be seen as capitalism on a global scale. It does not include unhindered movement of labor – national boundaries are recognized implicitly. Globalization is not the same as Globalism.
Globalism, as I describe in The Globalism Threat – Socialism’s New World Order is really Global Governance. It is the operation or planning of economic and foreign policy on a global basis. Central to Globalism is the concept of the “global rule of law,” under which nation-states cede judicial authority to supranational courts. Globalism differs from Capitalism in several distinct aspects. Globalism promotes globally centralized control of laws, foreign policy and monetary policy. Globalism comes into existence through the ownership of laws. And through the ownership of law, Globalism gains ownership of nations.
The concept of national identity – and national law – stands firmly in the way of Globalism. Which brings me to Nationalism.
There are many defined types of Nationalism – Cultural, Civic, Ethnic, Liberal, Pan, Romantic, State, Third-World. Et Cetera. There is also a technical difference between nations and states. A nation can be an ethnic or cultural community – an American Indian tribe represents a nation. A state is a political entity with a high degree of sovereignty – such as the United States. States are often nations but nations are not always sovereign states. When I use the term nation I am referring to a state or the nation-state.
George Orwell famously ascribed dark and sinister tones to the term Nationalism in his essay Notes on Nationalism. He “includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism” in his definition. He excludes love for one’s country.
I prefer to start with the simplest of definitions. Nationalism is the desire of a nation to be self-determinate.
Nationalism – taken to its extremes – can lead to militarism, xenophobia and even Fascism. Which is partly why resurgent nationalism often sparks fears – or accusations – of Fascism. But Fascism is not Nationalism. Fascism employs an autocratic government, a dictatorial leader and suppression of the individual. The state reigns supreme. While acknowledging the role of Capitalism, Fascist states typically nationalize important industries and businesses. Fascism ultimately dances with Communism. At its core, Fascism elevates the nation above the individual.
Fascism is unprotected Nationalism gone mad. But the United States has some very strong protections threaded into its national fabric. Specifically, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
America is often thought of as a Democracy. This is not entirely correct.
A Democracy is Rule by the Majority – this is the singular defining feature. Stated another way it is Majority over Man. Stated more directly it is a Dictatorship by the Majority.
A Republic is a form of government in which powers are vested in the people and are exercised through representatives chosen by the people. A Republic’s citizens have certain inalienable rights which cannot be taken away by a majority elected government.
The United States is a Democratic Republic – not a true Democracy.
Our Republic is characterized by a Constitutionally Limited Government – powers are separated between three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The people elect representatives who make decisions on their behalf. Crucially, people have – and maintain – natural rights. And people – and their rights – are protected by the Bill of Rights from the majority.
It is this protection of individual rights which strikes a natural barrier and protection from a descent into Fascism – which, by its very nature, suppresses the individual’s rights. This protection of individual rights allows for a special breed of Nationalism – American Nationalism.
What then, is American Nationalism?
American Nationalism embraces the concept that our Constitution is superior to International law. It recognizes that our sovereignty implies national ownership of law. American Nationalism contains loyalty to our nation, the shared communal identification with fellow citizens.
It requires maintaining self-governance and full sovereignty free from unwanted outside interference. It requires self-determination. It is not ethnic-based although some like to claim it is so. It occurs when one maintains a national identity based on shared characteristics of our American culture, language, tradition and politics – our way of life – built on the foundation of our Constitution.
It is our communal identity as American citizens in these United States.
American Nationalism requires gratitude for our country.
American Nationalism is Constitutional Patriotism.
American Nationalism – with its Constitutional roots – defies the stereotypes of racism imputed by the Left. The very ideals of the Constitution push back against racism. There inherently exists the promotion of inclusivity. And here we come to a crucial juncture. Liberals often point to a focus against illegal immigration to cry foul and warn of xenophobia. I would counter that a defining characteristic of a nation-state is control of its national borders. This is not to say that immigrants are not welcome. It means that immigration should not be unfettered – it should be controlled to the degree that our national identity – our American identity – is preserved.
America has always welcomed immigrants – historically to a greater degree than most of the world. But America has demanded a price in return for access to all that our great nation offers. And that price is respect for our Constitution, culture and ideals. It requires a willful and purposeful effort towards assimilation. A sense of belonging. And it requires gratitude.
I actually prefer the phrase Nationism over Nationalism – a term that may have been coined by Nigel Farage. It reflects the belief in the nation-state. It reflects what we identify with – what we feel part of. It embodies our values, our communities and our families. It’s who we root for in the Olympics. It is our identity. It is us. It is home.
And that is a very evocative and powerful word. Home.
Ultimately, American Nationalism – or Nationism – manifests itself as the long-delayed confrontation of Globalism and its primary weapon, Political Correctness. Political Correctness is about political goals. It is the translation of Marxism from economic to cultural terms. In The Goal of Political Correctness, I note that Political Correctness has everything to do with stymieing freedom of speech – and ultimately freedom of thought. Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism – also known as multiculturalism.
Make no mistake. The ultimate goal of Political Correctness is Globalism.
American Nationalism – or Nationism – is the rational pushback that began through a rise in populism – the response of citizens to the failures of our leaders. It represents a willingness to stand up for our country, our Constitution, our sovereignty, our laws, our way of life. Our home.
And this is where the Globalists overstepped. They grew impatient. Their process of gradualism was working. The changes were slow and less noticeable, although they provoked a general sense of unease. But then the immigrant crisis hit and Globalist governments saw it as an accelerant to the Globalism movement – a shortcut. They were badly mistaken. People in Europe saw their neighborhoods transformed. Their way of life overturned. Their cultures attacked. Their national identities threatened. Citizens in the United States sat up and took notice. And they decided to fight back through the democratic process of voting. And vote they did.
Political Correctness was badly wounded – hopefully fatally. The unspoken became spoken. Truths that could not have been stated suddenly were. And we are better for the change.
Fundamentally, Nationalism is about self-determination. Brexit and President Trump’s election directly reflect that sentiment. Dutch elections are this week. French elections are in April. Citizens everywhere have taken notice. And they all want their countries back.
I have said it for years and I will say it again. I think the European Union as a centralized form of government is ultimately doomed. It is only a matter of time before it disintegrates. And we will be just fine in our nation-states.
With our Nationalism. Or our Constitutional Nationism.
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