October 10, 2019

God, America & Nationalism

There is a lot of controversy lately about “nationalism,” “Christian nationalism,” and “national conservatism.”

Often “nationalism” is condemned as a growing reactionary force of populism in America and Europe. “Christian nationalism” is commonly attached to religious conservatives supposedly conflating America with Christianity. “National conservatism” was articulated by a recent Washington, D.C., confab where prominent thinkers of the right touted a new politics stressing cultural renewal and national identity over free markets and high immigration.

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2 Responses to God, America & Nationalism

  1. David says:

    While often used interchangeably today, a “nation” is not the same thing as a “country.” The first implies ethnic homogeneity, which make the US a “country.” Much is made of “all men are created equal” when its meaning at the time was likely not universal equality, but rather a denial of the nobility/commoner divide.

    Conservatism can be defined as “a commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation.” The US has changed in many ways since its founding including the elimination of slavery, de jure discrimination, extension of rights to women and other groups—an on-going process probably astonishing to the Founders.

    America is always in need of improvement and there is no resting place. Many like to talk of greatness when we lag behind other advanced countries in education, access to health care, life expectancy, and even standard of living. Too many want to believe that the best of everything is here and we have no need to look at conditions elsewhere. This is the same attitude adopted by China when it was the most advanced, but then fell way behind the West. True patriotism is a concern for the people of this country. False patriotism is a preoccupation with the flag, pledge, anthem, and a whitewashed history. Too often those of the second are most lacking in the first.

  2. Steven Soller says:

    I deny that definition of Conservatism….its corollary would then be that the definition of Progressivism would be “a commitment to change or innovation with opposition to traditional values and ideas.” Is that always the case? Certainly Conservatives, as I accept the label, value traditional values and ideas, but not at the exclusion of innovation. But the valuing by the left of change….ANY change…as necessarily better than what current is, is just as dangerous and myopic. I do NOT agree that the changes that have occurred would have been unexpected, much less “astonishing”, to the Founders. They were, for the most part, visionaries who were creating a whole new way….call it “Revolutionary”…of government. They addressed and expected change. I have no issue with your statement that America must also be constantly working to improve. But the FACT is that the only reason those other advanced countries have exceeded the US in certain (not all, and not every country) metrics is BECAUSE of the greatness of the US. What the US did during and after World War II is only one example. The lives and treasure the US has expended, for decades afterwards, to protect them is another. And your assertion that we who honor the flag, pledge and anthem have a preoccupation with same, and with a whitewashed history, is patently untrue. I saw comrades come home under that flag. You wish me to deny that? I’ve heard the Anthem play, and I’ve sung it with thousands of other American. I’ve said the pledge countless times with my fellow countrymen. Those are symbols that bring us together, and that create a Nation from a group of diverse individuals. NONE of that is “False”. And to say that by valuing those things means I value a whitewashed history…well I can say the same thing about those who denigrate and deny, or simply never assert, all or any of the good that AMERICA has done for this world. If those people treated a spouse as they did their country, they wouldn’t be married for long.

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