by Brad Nelson 1/27/17
There’s some question arising whether Trump’s “America First” is a proper concern for national interest or whether it harkens back to Lindberg’s “America First” which was pro-Hitler in practice.
In an earlier passage in his speech, Trump made clear what he had in mind. “At the center of this movement” — which brought him to the presidency — “is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens.” Not people in other countries, not foreigners who are visitors or legal residents or would like to live here someday. At many points in American history, that statement would have been unremarkable. Not so today. As scholar Walter Russell Mead writes in Foreign Affairs, “many Americans with cosmopolitan sympathies see their main ethical imperative as working for the betterment of humanity in general.”
. . . In response, many of those countrymen, in Mead’s words, see “the cosmopolitan elite as near treasonous — people who think it is morally questionable to put their own country, and its citizens, first.” Trump, as he took care to make clear, is speaking for them. For cosmopolitan elites, any form of nationalism is akin to Nazism.
Few people today who matter likely remember previous connotations of “America First.” And this is for better or for worse (we probably should not forget our history). But if the notion rankles some people it’s not because of “nationalism,” per se (for they love inter-nationalism…a bigger state, but still a state). It’s because your typical libtard has come to believe two things, which are directly connected:
1) He thinks of himself as a “citizen of the world.”
2) America, as a state, should be politely (perhaps even ignominiously) dissolved because of its past crimes against humanity.
This is an entirely different (and destructive) view compared to normal views of interests and hierarchies (including international interests, which are legitimate and do exist). Let’s say you or your son are playing for a baseball team. When trying out for the team, you certainly put your interests first. Once on the team, your interests do not dissolve but become a subset of a greater interest, which is that of the team.
Libtards, corrupted and despoiled by indoctrinated guilt and self-hate, have foolishly transcended this. They are now akin to the baseball player on a team who wishes for his opponents to win because, gosh, his own team has such a history of success (no doubt built upon cheating or unfair advantages) that now he considers himself “a baseball player of the league.” For him, the Black Sox scandal would be a badge of honor…as long as the game was being thrown so someone else can win.
No one knows exactly what nature Trump’s “America First” will take. We have no idea whether this will be at the expense of America’s interest in the world which has always been to foster freedom, to (in the words of Kennedy) “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
It is not at all clear the Trump and his supporters view the traditional Kennedy view of self-interest as some kind of economic treason. (Krauthammer has more on this subject.) We don’t know if Trump has the opposite view of the “internationalists” with the same faults…in this case by harming America’s interests by defining them too narrowly.
But nuanced thought is out these days. And my guess is the generally wasteful wars in the Middle East, along with the invasion of law-breaking illegal aliens, has many in fly-over country more than willing to try out Trump’s swinging of the pendulum in the other direction, even if too far. We shall see.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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