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One thing about Donald Trump that everyone on Ricochet agrees on — from the most stubborn #NeverTrump to the most enthused Trump supporter — is that Trump is a nationalist, someone who places the well-being, security, and prosperity of the United States above those of other countries. Trump’s nationalism is often among the top reasons his supporters cite in his favor, and (unsurprisingly) they often accuse anti-Trump voices of being globalists, usually in the same tones that were once reserved for heretics, traitors, and people who drive too slow in the passing lane. More recently, Trump’s rise has been likened to the Brexit vote, not only because both represent successful nationalist movements that had been scoffed at by the political establishment, but because both Trump and Nigel Farage have made the connection explicit (H/T @columbo).
But while the comparison between Trump and Brexit is real and significant, it’s only part of the story. How else, for instance, to explain why Daniel Hannan — Farage’s colleague in both the EU Parliament and the Brexit battle — is among the most vociferous anti-Trump voices on the Right? (If you haven’t, listen to Jay Nordlinger’s recent interview with him). The answer, I think, is that nationalism vs. globalism is only one of several political dimensions that deserve our attention.
For example, lost in the talk of late has been the related-but-discrete topic of whether our society should be engaged vs. closed. Both Hannan and Matt Ridley are nationalists who campaigned for Brexit, but their arguments often hinged on how the EU forced Britain to limit its engagement to the Continent rather than giving it the run of the world to seek allies, or to have its people ply their wares, travel, or find bargains.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, it is natural to consider what the populist victory — unexpected by elite officials and opinionmakers — might mean for elections elsewhere. Does polling underestimate Donald Trump’s true level of support? Is Trump a US equivalent of Boris Johnson? Will nationalist movements on the European continent be able to make headway too?
From my experience with the author, I expected Matt Ridley’s piece on Brexit to be largely about trade and economics. And while those subjects loom large in his article, the more arresting ones to me were on nationalism and what Ridley sees — correctly, I think — as the ultimate goal of the EU:
Be in no doubt that if we vote to remain on Thursday, turning the continent into a country is the path we are on. […] If the continent is not to be crucified on the cross of a currency, then it must become a country. It must have a single government that automatically transfers tax revenue from the productive to the less productive parts of the country. […] [The EU’s undemocratic diktats fly] in the face of all that we have striven for and shed blood for over centuries, especially in Britain: that laws cannot be passed and taxes cannot be raised except with the consent of the people through their elected representatives. I say again: is this worth it? What is so fearful about the world today that we feel it necessary to be absorbed into such a risky project?
Nation building is a bloody business, perhaps the bloodiest there is. We’ve seen that play out in American and European history; we’ve seen it play out in Iraq these past few years; we’ve even seen it play out in popular fantasy entertainment.
from Part 1 From my view as a filthy groundling there is a pathology that has taken hold when the champions of civil rights mostly won their hard earned victories and were lacking another “cause” to “fight” for. Instead of dialing back that need to fight and producing a calm and peaceful life while fine […]
Over at thefederalist.com David Marcus has an excellent piece on the state of race relations and how the intense and increasing focus on “white people” supposedly being the epitome of all ills and evils in the world is actually increasing the things being complained about. Marcus talks about how the boiling resentment of this treatment […]
Growing up, my South African father used to remind us American kids that “There are only two types of people in the world: Jews and anti-semites.” This used to upset us terribly. It’s patently false, we would think. Our experience shows our society to be tolerant and kind. Where in the United States is friendlier and more welcoming than suburban Atlanta? Of course, the specter of Leo Frank’s lynching always hung like a shadow in the backs of our minds. But that was a long time ago. Surely, that old hatred is dead.
But it’s starting to look like dad was right after all. From Islamists, to progressive Europe, to the dregs of the Alt-Right on Twitter, we Jews are surrounded by a resurgent tide of anti-Semitism.Which leads to the question my progressive neighbor likes to constantly ask: “Why do they hate us?”
When it comes to explaining Jew hatred, the safest course of action is probably to declare it an uncaused historical constant. After all, what can be the reason for a hatred that has spanned millenia, civilizations, classes, religions, and practically every other boundary that divides man from man?
In physics, colliding well-known particles into each other at high energies can open up whole new areas of study. I had a part time job in college analyzing and cataloguing film from a particle collider. Before we had computers do pattern recognition, we had people looking at the trails on film after collisions for anomalies. It was a miserable job and I probably missed the keys to the universe through sheer boredom. All I had to do was blink and that whole new realm of physics was lost forever. Want to know why you do not have a flying car? Blame me and the hangover I had after a Friday night at school. I’ll cop to it.
The same applies to politics where, this year, we witness the collision of two completely different particles of different charge and behavior: conservatism and nationalism. And we are watching the trails right here on the pages of Ricochet.
Most of the comments revolve around conservatism and many member acolytes show up with their rulers, calipers, and Ghostbusters-like measuring gear for anti-conservative phenomenon. Sometimes they cross the streams on a thread.
Bernie Sanders is Jewish. Trump and Rubio are Jew-ish. Trump is the New York Jew caricature you’d draw for a neo-Nazi paper. Loud, offensive, full of Chutzpah, flaunting the rules others live by, socially liberal, and rich. Obsessed with money and his own superiority. He’s the Kosher-style candidate, the deli that serves ham & cheese on rye. The content may […]
After watching Claire Berlinski’s video showing cats roaming around the stage at the G20 summit, a menu of videos appeared, including this one: We Want Our Country Back Preview Open
[Coulter]’s from Connecticut, & she’s very upset about immigrants. I’m willing to lend a sympathetic ear to people from Connecticut when it comes to immigrants — if they happen to own a tribal casino! My feeling is, unless you’re Native American, you should just shut up about this. ‘Cause you ain’t from here. That’s the […]
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We just attended my elder daughter’s high school graduation (she made Salutatorian, following in my footsteps of coming in second), and they began the ceremonies […]
Niall Ferguson is a brilliant historian with plenty of brilliant things to say, something that makes his recent article in the Financial Times all the more startling. He’s concerned by the rise of populist parties across the EU. That’s not a problem. But his solution is to have the parties of Europe’s establishment unite against the upstarts (in fact they long have done so, but let that pass):
Populism is back; it is not about to go away. The wrong response is for mainstream parties to pander to the populists. The right response is for the centrists to join forces, hard though it is to bury their ancestral rivalries. I have long been identified with conservatism, though on many issues I am in fact a liberal. The advent of a new era of grand coalitions is good news for me. From now on, I no longer need to deny my allegiance to the extreme centre.
This past Fourth of July weekend reminded me that there are two kinds of nationalism: good and bad. Everybody knows about the bad kind. I am a big fan of the good strain though, exemplified by the American founders, Lincoln, MLK, Churchill, and possibly figures like Mazzini in Italy and Renan in France. Listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech again; it is a staggering manifesto of American nationalism.
A healthy liberal nationalism has several important benefits. First, nationalism is a form of deep community that binds together in bonds of quasi-kinship individuals who are not personally known to each other, who may be separated by vast physical and social distances, and who may not have any close common ancestry. This community seems to fulfill a deep-seated psychological need and contributes to large-scale social cohesion. Nationalism is the political manifestation of the inherent human need for connectedness and community beyond mere family and tribe.