Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, General, Nationalist Theory, Politics

The Crisis of the American Spirit – Living with Limits

Early Americans were blessed to grow up without a real sense of limits.  After all, an entire continent beckoned before them, offering challenges that occupied the country for almost three centuries.  Those frontiers, however, were less important than the values frontier eventually enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  It is too easy to forget how revolutionary the concepts of democracy and basic human rights were in a world that remained hostile to those ideas well into the nineteenth century.  Pushing this frontier forward was as exciting and dangerous as expanding the land frontier.  It involved personal and national sacrifice to tame and develop these new frontiers. The failure to address the contradiction of slavery forced the nation into a bloody civil war. Nevertheless, these frontiers created an optimistic spirit that animated American life and gave the Americans the feeling they were creating something new through the first century of the nation’s life.

The closing of the American land frontier in the 1890s initiated a serious debate about American goals and meanings.  The country was then in the middle of an Industrial Revolution creating once again a new, apparently limitless economic frontier of productive innovation. It also created a new challenge for American values frontier. The new industries absorbed immigrants fleeing the same economic and political turmoil as the original settlers but offered more stifling careers and a dangerous level of socioeconomic inequality threatening those values. Enter Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the perfect bridge to this new economic frontier. His life spanned the two worlds of Western pioneering and urban industrialization. He also never forgot that he became President because of an anarchist’s bullet and so sparked an era of progressive legislation that gave new hope for fairness for the average American in the new economy.  The America he left behind had renewed its confidence and a sense of limitless vistas as it entered the twentieth century.

American leadership in productivity and innovation led to both increasing international influence and socioeconomic strain that thankfully found a new bridge leader in TR’s cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt. Economists still debate how effective the New Deal was in countering the Great Depression, but FDR’s program clearly lifted the spirits of the country.  The advent of World War II not only provided the economic improvement promised by the New Deal, but also ushered in a beguiling new frontier of international influence. The US now had the ability to pursue two of its historic frontiers simultaneously  – the expansion of American values across a global land frontier.  The fight against fascism and then communism justified the sacrifices involved, but also contained a Pandora’s box of temptations to overreach and hubris.

For almost fifty years after World War II, this Goldilocks period of unlimited American power seemed unstoppable. In fact, the economic and international influence frontiers were slowly closing behind us beginning in the 1970s.  The European and Asian economies devastated by the war retooled with more efficient innovative industrial facilities and, in many cases, better educational systems that allowed businesses and workers to move up the value chain and win better wages.   Meanwhile, the American industrial system stagnated and lost capital investment to new high tech and information companies. This seemed to revitalize the economic frontier for a time, only to find out how easy technological change was to duplicate, steal or exploit for sinister use. Similarly, the limits of our international power were illustrated in the Vietnam War, but then apparently renewed by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the victory in the 1990 Gulf War. This ushered in the triumphant claims of a New World Order in which the US would lead the world to the new heaven of liberal values and economic bliss.

In truth, this was all being supported by policies that mortgaged the real future to sustain the illusion of an unlimited future.  Our political leadership defied TR’s warning and deceived people into believing that these unlimited vistas could be achieved with no real sacrifice. Tax cuts and government spending covered up the decline in incomes while overseas business investment slowly increased. As a result, the US went from being one of the 5 lowest debt-to-GDP countries in 2000 to one of the top 5 highest in only 23 years. The 9/11 attacks spurred a quixotic Global War on Terror that committed the nation to further military spending and long, poorly thought and fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The desperate futility of these policies was covered up by triumphalist rhetoric and a financialization of the economy that led to increasing inequality.  Instead of TR’s call to visionary sacrifice, the American people were encouraged to act like kids in a candy store who, when asked which piece of candy they would like, respond with “I want it all!”

So now we face the end of the era of unlimited economic and international power without the tools to bridge to the next era.  The drop in economic productivity due to our failure to invest in education and infrastructure makes it more difficult to maintain our standard of living and raise the necessary internal capital to keep up with the rest of the world.  The rise in debt is corroding the dollars’ status as a reserve currency – an important source of international power.  Meanwhile, China and the BRICS of the Global South are ushering in the new G-0 world of diverse powers that can chart their own destiny without us and create new rules of order more compatible with their own interests.

A modern bridge leader would have convinced the American people to invest in themselves through education and industries at home, avoided the weakening adventures abroad, and called us to new visionary, but achievable, frontiers at home and in our foreign policy. Why didn’t this happen?  Part of the reason is found in history, and not just one  – the subject of the next post.

Next – an awareness of different histories            

Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Politics

Victory or Stalemate?

Due to family and medical reasons, my posts have been few and far between since the mid-term election last year.  I am deeply grateful and honored by those of you who have nevertheless continued to read, share and subscribe to this website and its versions on Substack, Facebook and Twitter (or X, as Elon Musk now calls it). Your loyalty led to New Nationalism being recently named by the Feedspot e-zine  as one of the top 80 WordPress political blogs in the world. Now that we are approaching a potentially pivotal presidential election, the need for this kind of unifying debate on the real issues American voters will face next year is urgent.  This debate begins, as TR said above, with a look back at the past year and where we are going.

It is tempting to survey the current state of America and feel both secure and, indeed, triumphant. We enjoy record low unemployment and the inflation rate has come down, though is still higher than it was over the past few decades.   Overseas, American assistance has enabled Ukraine to expose Russian military weakness and Chinese ambitions are being challenged by an Asian coalition led by the United States.  So, why are Americans so glum? What could go wrong?

In fact, quite a lot.  Americans care not just about the present, but even more about the future of their children and, as a result, of the nation they will live in. They survey the public landscape and see rising tensions leading to talk of war, lagging wages, continuing economic inequality, and a warming climate. Meanwhile, the response of the American political system is a stalemate at best on these issues and at worst, divisive and irrelevant personal vendettas. Worse, the two major parties in next year’s presidential election appear poised to offer a only a choice between the increasingly feeble and increasingly deranged.  

The mission of this site is to offer a third way that Americans can rally around based on the nationalist philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt. We believe America is exceptional not because of ethnicity, but because of its values of liberty, equality and the pursuit of the American Dream. We also recognize the reality of a world in which other nations are embracing and acting on their own nationalist traditions and ambitions, whether in the form of Russian revanchism, Ukrainian heroism or Chinese threats.  Relying solely on an ideology of globalist liberal hegemony essentially amounts to a form of unilateral disarmament and threatens the survival of our values not just abroad, but here at home as well. 

Over the next year, our goal will be to continue to challenge the conventional wisdom of both parties and develop a progressive nationalist platform that voters can use to challenge the candidates. It will highlight the new, real political debate between globalism and nationalism without condemning those who take the opposite side. All Americans will have to work together if we are to succeed and accomplish our mutual goal of remaining free and prosperous at home and the beacon of liberty abroad. I invite all of you to join in this journey over the next year on any of these platforms:

Main website: www.newnationalism.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/newamericannationalism

Substack: https://robertclaude.substack.com/?utm_source=discover_search

Twitter (X) : @nationalismnew

2022 Election, Domestic Policy, Infrastructure, Politics

2022 American Nationalist Voting Index – A Strong America

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is a proud symbol of American strength and the selfless service of our armed forces in preserving our freedom. However, a nation’s true strength is found in the commitment of its people to their fellow citizens and their nation as a whole. This is doubly true of the America of TR, who stood for both democracy and equal opportunity for all. While it was often an ugly process, Congress actually considered and occasionally passed legislation consistent with TR’s ideals and deserved the support of American nationalists.

Congressional Gold Medals for Capitol Police

This Congress convened amidst an attack by a rebellious mob that came perilously close to overthrowing a newly elected president during the certification of the electoral count. The Capitol Police bore the brunt of the attack and defended congressmembers with conspicuous bravery. The House and Senate recognized their service to the nation by voting to award them Congressional Gold Medals.The Senate vote was unanimous and the House roll call vote can be found here:

https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2021161

Every true American nationalist should agree and salute them as well.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

We have lived with the decline in our national transportation infrastructure for decades. As I discussed in this previous post, Congress finally took action when it passed the Infrastructure and Jobs Act (HR 3684) more commonly known as the Bipartisan infrastructure bill. The links to the House and Senate Votes are

House Vote : https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2021369

Senate Vote: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_votes/vote1171/vote_117_1_00314.htm

CHIPS Act

The COVID pandemic exposed dangerous gaps in the supply chains of our basic industrial materials and human needs products.  The shortage of domestically produced computer semiconductor chips that are key components of almost every product led to the passage of the CHIPS Act (HR 4346), which will jump start the production of them in the US. The bill also makes important investments in research and technology education. Here are the links to the votes in the House and Senate:

House Vote ; https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2022404

Senate Vote – https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_votes/vote1172/vote_117_2_00271.htm

Economic Security

Congress voted on several other bills to address supply chain shortages threatening our economy. HR 4476 would have created an Office of Trade & Economic Security in the Department of Homeland Security charged with monitoring critical supply chains and coordinating a response to potential issues.  It passed the House but died in the Senate. The House vote can be found here:

https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2022112

Finally, the House and Senate considered a bill called the America COMPETES Act, a predecessor to the CHIPS Act which would have created a Committee on National Critical Capabilities to monitor and prevent the transfer of vital American technology to China and other foreign adversaries. The bill passed in both Houses of Congress, but differences in the text were never resolved. The two votes can be found here:

https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/202231

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_votes/vote1172/vote_117_2_00109.htm

Conclusion

Theodore Roosevelt was a paragon of personal resilience and knew America needed to be resilient to be a truly strong (see this previous post). As we head to the polls, let us reject many politicians calls to division and ease and, instead, recommit ourselves to building the nation and the people that TR envisioned. Remember to vote and God bless America!