I used to identify as a Libertarian. I no longer do – although I retain many Libertarian ideals.
Libertarianism fails for me on several counts. Particularly on borders and defense.
Someone once said, “Conservatives tend to be libertarian, but libertarians tend not to be conservative”.
I think there’s a lot of truth in that statement.
So, what do I believe?
I firmly believe in free markets. I also believe we don’t – and never did – truly have them. I believe in free trade but I don’t believe in trade agreements. I believe in fair trade.
I’m in favor of smaller government – of cutting any federal program, anywhere, and for any reason (to paraphrase Milton Friedman). The same goes for taxes. And regulation.
I’m a staunch proponent of a strong National Defense. The best offense is a good…you get the point.
I believe we should keep our nation-building efforts to a minimum.
I endorse Supreme Court Justices who employ Originalism in their Constitutional approach.
I believe Globalism poses one of the greatest threats to our nation. I believe Islam is primarily an ideology – and one we must take seriously as a nation.
I’m not particularly concerned about global warming – my thoughts here.
I believe Populism is nothing more than a desire for citizens to reclaim their country.
I believe in free speech but I have a problem with flag-burning.
I’m in favor of the legalization of drugs – despite not using any substances myself – I simply believe the social costs will be lower.
I believe in personal responsibility.
I’m in favor of legal immigration – on a controlled basis – and for those who want to be here, admire our values & culture and have a strong desire to assimilate.
I absolutely am not in favor of open border immigration. Or sanctuary cities.
I support the RAISE ACT.
Years ago, I got into a friendly argument with Larry Elder – a conservative Libertarian radio host – regarding the true cost of illegal immigration.
My argument to him was that while we benefited from cheap foreign labor we utterly failed to fully count the social and economic costs.
I still believe that.
I believe an open borders policy is a disaster for the concept of a nation state. I believe in Sovereign Rights and National Law.
I believe power should be pushed down to the state level wherever possible.
I believe we should spend less on social programs and shift some of those dollars to infrastructure. I believe that states – not the federal government – should be the ones doing the spending.
I believe that social welfare perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
I believe in personal charity.
I believe the United Nations is an unmitigated disaster and should be abolished. Or at least defunded.
Above all else, I believe in our Constitution.
I’m a quasi-Libertarian who cherishes our Constitution, believes in Sovereignty, Fair Trade, National Borders, and a strong National Defense. What do you call that?
Before I answer, indulge me in a quick recap of some prior terms:
Populism sounds scary. It conjures up visions of fascist-like political movements and is often portrayed exactly as such. And yet, populism is nothing of the kind.
There is no populism ideology to speak of. Populism is, quite simply, the response of citizens to the failure of their leaders.
Globalization is an economic process resulting in increasing economic integration and interdependence of economies through cross-border movement of goods, services, technologies and capital.
It can be seen as capitalism on a global scale. It does not include unhindered movement of labor – national boundaries are recognized implicitly.
Globalization is not the same as Globalism.
Globalism is Global Governance. It is the operation or planning of economic and foreign policy on a global basis. Central to Globalism is the concept of the “global rule of law,” under which nation-states cede judicial authority to supranational courts.
Globalism differs from Capitalism in several distinct aspects.
Globalism promotes globally centralized control of laws, foreign policy and monetary policy. Globalism comes into existence through the ownership of laws. And through the ownership of law, Globalism gains ownership of nations.
The concept of national identity – and national law – stands firmly in the way of Globalism.
Which brings me to Nationalism.
There are many defined types of Nationalism – Cultural, Civic, Ethnic, Liberal, Pan, Romantic, State, Third-World. Et Cetera. There is also a technical difference between nations and states.
A nation can be an ethnic or cultural community – an American Indian tribe represents a nation. A state is a political entity with a high degree of sovereignty – such as the United States.
States are often nations but nations are not always sovereign states. When I use the term nation I am referring to a state or the nation-state.
George Orwell famously ascribed dark and sinister tones to the term Nationalism in his essay Notes on Nationalism. He “includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism” in his definition.
He excludes love for one’s country.
I prefer to start with the simplest of definitions. Nationalism is the desire of a nation to be self-determinate.
Nationalism – taken to its extremes – can lead to militarism, xenophobia and even Fascism. Which is partly why resurgent nationalism often sparks fears – or accusations – of Fascism.
But Fascism is not Nationalism.
Fascism employs an autocratic government, a dictatorial leader and suppression of the individual. The state reigns supreme. While acknowledging the role of Capitalism, Fascist states typically nationalize important industries and businesses.
Fascism elevates the nation above the individual.
Fascism ultimately dances with Communism. Fascism is unprotected Nationalism gone mad.
But the United States has some very strong protections threaded into its national fabric.
Specifically, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
America is often thought of as a Democracy. This is not correct.
A Democracy is Rule by the Majority – this is the singular defining feature. Stated another way it is Majority over Man. Stated more directly it is a Dictatorship by the Majority.
A Republic is a form of government in which powers are vested in the people and are exercised through representatives chosen by the people. A Republic’s citizens have certain inalienable rights which cannot be taken away by a majority elected government.
Our United States is a Constitutional Republic.
Our Republic is characterized by a Constitutionally Limited Government – powers are separated between three branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The people elect representatives who make decisions on their behalf.
Crucially, people have and maintain natural rights. People – and their rights – are protected by the Bill of Rights from the majority.
Our Constitutional protection of individual rights strikes a powerful barrier between Nationalism and a descent into Fascism – which, by its very nature, suppresses the individual’s rights.
I’ve come to prefer the phrase Nationism over Nationalism – a term that may have been coined by Nigel Farage.
Nationism reflects a belief in the nation-state. It reflects what we identify with – what we feel part of. It embodies our values, our communities and our families. It’s who we root for in the Olympics. It is our identity. It is us. It is home.
And that is a very evocative and powerful word. Home.
Our Constitutional allows for a special breed of Nationism.
American Nationism embraces the concept that our Constitution is superior to International law. It recognizes that our Constitution implies national ownership of law.
American Nationism requires maintaining self-governance and full sovereignty – free from unwanted outside interference. It requires self-determination. It is not ethnic-based.
The very ideals of the Constitution push back against racism.
American Nationism is loyalty to our nation and communal identification with fellow citizens.
American Nationism is a shared national identity based on the unique characteristics of our American Culture.
All built on the foundation of our Constitution.
It is our communal identity as American citizens in these United States.
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