Are We Really Talking about Nationalism? by Paul Gottfried

Nationalism, argues Paul Gottfried, requires more than just a commonly accepted creed. From Gottfried at lewrockwell.com:

In a speech delivered last week in New York City, former president George W. Bush fiercely attacked American nationalists as narrow-minded nativists. Among the memorable phrases in his oration were these:

  • “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, and forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” he lamented.
  • “Bigotry seems emboldened, our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” he said. “There are some signs that support for democracy itself has waned, especially for the young.”

Although it is possible to claim that, like his friend John McCain, the former president was only attacking “spurious nationalism,” clearly his invectives against “nativism” and his call for “global engagement” suggest that his target was indeed traditional national identity. The U.S. as conceived by Bush and many other Never-Trumpers exists for a global mission, to teach their version of democracy and human rights to the rest of the world. The U.S. should be viewed as a gathering space for this missionary work. And our mission requires that American leaders come clean about our past sins, as President Bush tried to do in July 2003, on a trip to Senegal, when he “deplored” America’s role in practicing slavery. Although Republicans excoriated Obama for his servile conduct toward other countries, they conveniently forgot this groveling gesture by the last Republican president before Trump. Not surprisingly Bush doesn’t balance his attacks on the bigoted Right with critical references to the Antifa or to the anti-white Left. One has the impression that like the militant French Republican René Renoult, he recognizes no enemies on the Left.

To continue reading: Are We Really Talking about Nationalism?

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