Theodore Roosevelt grew up a member of the wealthy and well-connected Knickerbocker New York City elite. He then spent much of the rest of his life reaching out and trying to understand the life of the average American, first in the grimy world of politics and later as a cowboy and Rough Rider. Considered a traitor to his class, he nevertheless rose above all of his elitist acquaintances in the eyes of his countrymen. This summary of a recent lecture by a Notre Dame political philosophy professor highlights why such people are crucial to a healthy democracy. In many ways, TR was the ultimate aristopopulist. We need more of them!
This article missed a real opportunity to craft a modern American liberal nationalism in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism speech. It first attempts to belittle nationalism by conflating the concepts of “nation” and “state”. While the modern-day state is arguably a recent phenomenon, nationhood is almost as old as humanity itself. Statehood is a creature of international law dating back to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. States are entities that have sovereignty over territory. Nations, on the other hand, are peoples with a common heritage, usually ethnic in nature. There are states that are not nations and nations that are not states. The African states created after the end of colonialism are the best example of the former and the world is full of examples of the latter, such as the Kurds.
In contrast, the United States was founded not on an ethnic or denominational basis, but on the concept that all were created equal and were endowed with basic human rights. As I mentioned in my previous post on MLK Day, there is, and never should be, such a thing as an ethnic American. While we have struggled, sometimes bloodily, to fully realize this vision, we should never forget how revolutionary the concept was during the monarchical, absolutist nationalism of the 18th and 19th centuries. We fashioned a nationalism that was committed to achieving the American Dream for all our citizens regardless of origin or religion in the hope that other nations would see the benefits of such a society and adopt this vision in their own unique way.Continue reading “A Globalist’s Failed Attempt to Understand Nationalism”
Pres. Trump needs a chief ideologist. Steve Bannon clearly isn’t doing the job. Here’s an article from the New Yorker about what his ideology might look like:
The most cogent argument for electing Donald Trump was made not by Trump, or by his campaign, but by a writer who, unlike Trump, betrayed no eagerness to attach his name to his creations. He called himself Publius Decius Mus, after the Roman consul known for sacrificing himself in battle, although the author used a pseudonym precisely because he hoped not to suffer any repercussions. In September, on the Web site of the Claremont Review of Books, Decius published “The Flight 93 Election,” which likened the country to a hijacked airplane, and argued that voting for Trump was like charging the cockpit: the consequences were possibly dire, but the consequences of inaction were surely so. Decius sought to be clear-eyed about the candidate he was endorsing. “Only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt times, could a Trump rise,” he wrote. But he argued that this corruption was also evidence of a national crisis, one that could be addressed only by a politician untethered to political piety. The author hailed Trump for his willingness to defend American workers and America’s borders.Kelefa Sanneh