America today faces challenges that cannot be overcome without national unity. Desperate economic hardship and existential international threats are beyond the living memory of most Americans, but they could be coming back. The Pax Americana, in effect since 1945, may be coming to an end. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991 America has been a hyperpower, dominating the world economically and militarily. All of that is now in question.
Every aspect of American power is threatened. America has a new peer competitor, China, controlled by a regime determined to attain superiority over the United States in all aspects of national power: technological, economic, and military. As Chinese power grows, America’s response is increasingly inadequate. American corporations are more than just reluctant to abandon Chinese markets, some of them, such as Google, appear to be more responsive to China’s security concerns than they are to America’s.
America’s culture of tolerance of individual rights and free enterprise has morphed into a dysfunctional encouragement of anti-American dissent that reaches well beyond appropriate responses to grievances. In pursuit of worldwide profits and power, America’s corporate elites have abandoned the culture that nurtured them. In pursuit of utopian ideals, America’s colleges and universities have trained American students to despise America for its failure to be perfect. All the while, America’s politicians in both parties have pandered to America’s most vocal, embittered, and unrepresentative activist factions.
This is America as it enters the third decade of the 21st century. What ideology, what form of revitalized patriotism can heal America? What agenda will awaken a national spirit of unity sufficient to meet and navigate what may be a perilous future?
As it is, America’s corporate and political elites disparage nationalist sentiment, even conflating it as inherently racist. Is this motivated by a benign desire to hasten America’s evolution as a people? Is the genuine intention to make America a better, more open society? Is that what is behind the popular condemnation of nationalism and the endorsements of globalism, a peaceful world without borders? And if that is truly the benevolent core of this consensus, what parties to this consensus may have hidden agendas?
A discussion of this topic need not dwell on the threats confronting America today. They’re real enough. The military threat is expertly described in the 2020 book The Kill Chain, a visceral recitation of China’s rise and America’s negligence. The economic threats are equally obvious; for global economic analyses we’ll never see on ABC Nightly “News,” the forbidden fruit of Zero Hedge, or the suppressed musings of Felix Rex are as good as any.
Perhaps the most palatable reason America’s corporate and political elites have decided to cater to violent mobs, and America’s cultural elite have tried to transmute all of it into some new version of radical chic, is because there isn’t a more attractive alternative. What unyielding and persuasive ideological counterpoint exists in America that feels safe enough for the establishment to embrace? In the discussion to follow, the thesis to be explored is how civic nationalism can be defined in a manner that goes well beyond its current, barely intellectualized, tepid iteration, bereft of passion, uncertain of purpose, and devoid of popular support.
The case must be made that civic nationalism, colorblind but uncompromising in its adherence to traditional American values, is the only hope to unify Americans, which in turn is the only way a revitalized American civilization can hope to counter the rise of China.
To use an allegory from the 1930s, civic nationalism offers an American unity that could galvanize this nation with fireside chats instead of Nuremberg rallies. It is an inclusive version of American patriotism that rallies all Americans to meet the challenges of the future with pride and unity. It may very well be America’s only hope.
Absent civic nationalism, America’s ruling class is adrift. The wealthiest look east and see even more wealth to be had, rationalizing their anti-American greed with heaping helpings of outdated free-trade liberalism. American politicians look to the Left and see righteous passion, while on the Right there is only defensive mutters or divisive bellicosity. The smartest among America’s ruling class see racial tension and have no answer but to let it fester and grow. Perhaps their thinking goes something like this: We’ll sell America to China, and when the masses realize what’s happened, they’ll blame each other instead of us.
How else to explain what’s happening, as mass unrest continues across America? Paul Joseph Watson, one of those inconvenient YouTubers who is not quite impolitic enough to get banned, but provocative enough to deliver insights (along with insults) you may not find elsewhere, featured this quote from an unidentified guest in one of his recent videos:
People who support Black Lives Matter, people who support the Left; a lot of them think they are in possession of radical political opinions. But how radical is your opinion when the cops and the national guard are kneeling and doing the Macarena, dancing with protesters, and every major corporation has put out a message and donated money to this cause? To the people who are spray painting and burning cop cars and smashing windows, how radical are your opinions, really, when these actions are allowed to take place? Because this is a tactical decision. It’s not like the cops and the national guard couldn’t crack down on this if they wanted to. It’s that it’s being allowed to happen, and if you think otherwise you’re a fool.
This sums it up quite well. The mayhem erupting across the nation since George Floyd’s death on May 25 has been allowed to happen. It is orchestrated by well-funded organizations that are collecting millions from mega-donors and mega-corporations, and egged on by months if not years of propaganda. The unrelenting havoc in the wake of George Floyd’s death is not a precipitous spasm of unrest that will eventually pass. It is a deliberate escalation of an ongoing insurrection.
The primary goals of this insurrection supposedly are to protect black lives and to oppose fascism, with a strong LGBTQ contingent also represented. The ongoing rampage has impacted almost every large American city. Despite dozens of deaths, thousands of injuries, and probably billions in property damage, compounded by the COVID shutdown, this insurrection has plenty of support. Blithely ignoring the destruction, the “peaceful protesters” have received sympathetic treatment from Democrats, and their slogans have been turned into marketing campaigns by major corporations. The media’s coverage of the insurrection has been predictable.
“America is irredeemably racist” is the message spread, with rare exceptions, by every establishment media property, online and offline. So desperate is the media to stoke this message that when a young man who probably just had a few too many drinks uttered a few anti-Asian slurs at a family in a California restaurant—no context was ever provided, despite it being very unlikely that “people being Asian” was the only thing that made this man angry—it was a top story on every major television network in the country. Similarly, when a young woman and her dog felt threatened by a black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park, her alleged overreaction was national news.
These are unpleasant events. They are examples of bad judgment, a failure to communicate, a loss of civility. They are not national news. The very idea is ridiculous. But on and on and on this story goes, desperate for fodder. America is a horrible nation, filled with horrible white racists.
Why? Who benefits by making white people out to be so rotten? Who benefits by convincing nonwhites, especially blacks, that whatever challenges they face as individuals and as a community are solely the fault of white people?
The “racist” stigma has been deployed by politicians and activists to manipulate American public policy for decades, because regardless of justification, it worked. But the perception that America is rotten to the core, comprehensively and indelibly defined as racist, used to be a notion largely restricted to academia. No more. Now it’s everywhere. ABC’s David Muir, with his carefully fabricated gravitas, intones yet another variation on the theme literally every newscast, often several times per newscast. The rest of the gang follow suit, from CNN’s Don Lemon to NPR’s Judy Woodruff.
But America is not an irredeemably racist nation. America in the 21st century is the least racist nation on earth. And yet this destructive lie is the currency of Democrats, the obsession of the media, and the marketing message of global corporations. The duration and weight of this lie, its steady growth despite a steadily vanishing basis for it, go well beyond its obvious goal of convincing Americans to vote President Trump out of office. What else is going on?
Finding a Scapegoat for Present and Future Problems
Behind the mere momentum and opportunism propelling the false and divisive narrative of endemic white racism, there is a formidable alignment of special interests. Foreign adversaries, China and Russia in particular, want the United States weakened by violent internal conflict, and fomenting racial polarization furthers that objective. Multinational corporations benefit by convincing Americans that fighting racism is a national imperative, because it makes it easier for them to stigmatize and silence as a racist anyone who objects to them exporting jobs and importing cheap labor.
Also propelling and profiting from the “America is racist” narrative, of course, are socialists, who have realized that as long as any group disparity exists between whites and blacks, they can argue that racism is the cause, and redistribution of wealth is the cure. But there is an even more insidious motive perpetuating the lie of endemic white racism—the need for a scapegoat.
Anybody familiar with the momentum of history must wonder how long the United States Treasury can continue to electronically materialize trillions of dollars to finance federal spending deficits. They must wonder how long American society can continue to function with every small business in the nation destroyed by the shutdown. They look with fear upon the millions of American youth who are disenfranchised by globalization robbing them of the ability to make a decent living, and environmentalism run amok robbing them of the ability to afford a home.
If the last few months have demonstrated nothing else, it is that anything can happen. Who would have thought one year ago that a global pandemic would strip away our constitutional rights as if they never existed? Who would have thought six months ago that our nation would be convulsed with violent riots, and major cities would become virtually ungovernable? And the other shoe has yet to drop. America’s economy remains precariously intact. There are (at least) no new foreign wars. Statues have toppled, select urban streets are still on fire, but widespread, horrific chaos is not yet here. Will it come, and if so, when? It could happen fast.
This is the scenario that confronts America’s billionaires and the political and corporate strategists who serve them. What happens when Americans aren’t just upset and financially squeezed, but desperately hungry and financially broken? What happens when small business owners and their workers aren’t just on a pandemic hiatus, but permanently ruined with no hope? What happens when the only businesses left standing are multinational corporate franchises? What happens when the inner cities are unlivable, the suburbs are besieged, and supply chains for essential products are broken? What happens when the Chinese cold war goes ice cold, and Americans quit their addiction to China’s exports cold turkey?
When people’s lives and livelihoods are destroyed en masse, they look for someone or something to blame. That’s human nature. And perhaps unwittingly, perhaps as a precaution, but regardless of intention or conscious planning, America’s corporate and political elite are preparing the target and hedging their bets, with the full complicity of the establishment media. It goes like this, “when the shit hits the fan, and all hope is lost, don’t blame the people who got rich selling America to China, blame white people. It’s their fault.”
By doing this, not only will the fury of a disenfranchised citizenry be turned upon itself in a fratricide that will be horrific to its participants but relatively harmless to the elites, the ideology of the socialists will be co-opted and used by corporate and political elites to further centralize their power. This is already happening, in slow motion. And the more crises that hit America, the more the narrative will intensify. Whites are the problem. Whites are to blame.
Understanding the True Political Conflicts in America
Stoking racial hatred is a dangerous game. Encouraging identity politics is only a winning strategy if the identities being nurtured or disparaged continue to be the chosen targets. But it doesn’t take an expert in political jujitsu to redirect all this poisonous swill. Most Americans have already realized that both of the mainstream political establishments do not represent them. A majority of Americans already understand they cannot trust the establishment media. Only two more axioms have to be broken to change the game: First, that this is not a battle between capitalists and communists, it’s a battle between nationalists and globalists, and second, that in this battle, whites and blacks are not enemies, but allies.
The elites are making race and racial oppression the central topic in American politics, and for good reason. Because if you take race out of the equation, there is very little of substance separating the grassroots on the Left from the grassroots on the Right. Why? Because communists and corporations in 21st-century America are working together to advance big government globalism; they both support an authoritarian, collectivist, micromanaged society.
On most of the big issues of our time, including the rejection of traditional moral values, the centrality of “climate change” as a transformative economic and political agenda, and the need for affirmative action, racial redress, and open borders, they share a surprisingly congruent agenda. Only on the issue of private property do they diverge, and even that may be illusory when considering the realistic prospect of publicly held corporations with activist directorates owning virtually the entire economy.
So where are the actual divergences in American politics, if not the distinctions between Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal? The following chart attempts to depict the more relevant political dynamics in America today. The vertical axis represents the split between supporters of nationalism vs supporters of globalism, and the horizontal axis represents the split between supporters of ethnically homogeneous societies and supporters of multiethnic societies.
On the above chart, for ease of explanation, the quadrants are numbered. In quadrant No. 4, which represents the multiethnic globalists, you find everyone supposedly at odds with each other in conventional political paradigms. The establishment Democrats and establishment GOP (indistinguishable from “Conservatism, Inc.”) are joined by America’s Social Democrats, along with multinational corporations and corporate media, academia, and foundations and think tanks on the “Left” and the “Right.” All of them envision a multiethnic, globalist future.
Diagonally opposite and diametrically opposed to the multiethnic globalists are the ethnic nationalists (quadrant No. 1). As in any of these quadrants, there exists a continuum of passion, from the most hardcore extremists to merely insouciant rebels and provocateurs. But at whatever level of extremism, here is where you find white nationalists, black nationalists, Chicano nationalists, and various other smaller cadres of ethnic nationalists.
Why Civic Nationalism Offers a New American Consensus
Civic nationalists, occupying quadrant No. 2, are beleaguered, inadequately defended or explained, and under attack from all sides. The ethnic nationalists consider civic nationalists to be naïve, incapable of recognizing that cultures are inextricably connected to race, or that some cultures are incompatible. They believe that multi-ethnic national solidarity – as expressed in civic nationalism – is impossible. Virtually all ethnic nationalists consider themselves to be oppressed, which tinges their animosity towards their counterparts among the civic nationalists with the additional insult of betrayal.
Multiethnic globalists, for their part, also view civic nationalists as naïve, but for the opposite reason. They consider civic nationalists merely by virtue of their nationalism to be pairing up with “white nationalists,” possibly unaware of their complicity, or possibly even deliberately camouflaging their own racist tribalism. After all, how can it even be possible to be a nationalist if you aren’t a racist?
But the whole point of civic nationalism is to reject racism while embracing patriotism. It expresses the quintessentially American ideal of the melting pot. It expresses—not nearly forcefully enough—America’s history of assimilating immigrants into the mainstream culture. Our tradition of assimilation offends ethnic nationalists, who are skeptical that it can still work, but it has also become problematic for multiethnic globalists who typically must defer to identity politics.
The exploration of what it means to be multiethnic but monocultural is one of the prevailing challenges for civic nationalists, and to-date they are not up to the task. They are so busy defending charges of secretly harboring feelings of ethnic nationalism that they don’t have time to distinguish themselves from the multiethnic globalists. But these are fatal distractions to civic nationalists, if it means the bigger questions aren’t answered.
What is American culture? What defines the American civilization, and how can it be defended? What is America’s tradition of assimilation, if not the preservation of a unique core culture that nonetheless constantly evolves and incorporates dazzling new ideas from around the world, while retaining the foundational values of individual freedom, free enterprise, and European Christian heritage?
It is a tragedy that America’s civic nationalists are a barely recognized and often stigmatized movement. For one thing, once you escape the corridors of the chattering classes or the cadres of extremists, small in number but vocal and politically connected, you find that civic nationalists describe the majority of Americans. To the extent their exposure to unrelenting globalist, anti-nationalist, anti-American, anti-white bombast coming from academia, media, entertainment and politicians hasn’t corrupted their hearts, most Americans love America. They love it just the way it is, imperfect but always evolving and improving, offering opportunities to everyone willing to work hard, a big, sprawling nation with all kinds of different people who are united by the American dream.
That dream—individual freedom and economic prosperity—is threatened as never before, but instead of speaking up louder than ever, civic nationalists are hunkering down. Many of them are afraid to defend their biggest champion, President Trump, who epitomizes the American dream and would be far more popular if he weren’t demonized by the establishment at every turn. To be fair, Donald Trump is often his own worst enemy. But Donald Trump personifies the nightmare of the globalists—an American president who embraces civic nationalism.
Now more than ever, civic nationalism is a movement that must find new adherents and persuasive advocates across American society because, in troubled times, it is America’s only hope for unity.
The Toxic Realignment That Must Not Happen
Where will Americans turn, if the social contract is broken by economic devastation, or an even more serious pandemic, or any other sort of seismic hiccough that inaugurates not weeks or months, but years of turmoil and suffering? What happens if America descends into a new depression, requiring a decade or more of mass hardship that dwarfs anything in living memory?
Here is where the riots and the racism narrative become even more useful to globalists. Here is why the BLM and Antifa militants, with their passionate denunciations of racist America, are being allowed to carry on. Here is why a full-spectrum campaign is being waged to push whites into either paroxysms of self-hatred and guilt, or reactionary anger, and here is why, at the same time, nonwhites are being pushed into blaming whites for literally anything in their lives that isn’t right. Just before the deluge, get them busy fighting each other.
What better way to prevent a populist rebellion against globalism, or, in a related and even more sinister twist, a realignment that embraces conspiracy theories? Referring to the previously discussed chart of political alignments in America, what constitutes ethnic globalists (quadrant 3 on the chart)? Is there such a thing? Perhaps not yet, but If history is any guide, the phenomena of “one tribe takes over the world” is the rule, not the exception. Across the millennia of recorded history, the story of humanity is one of empires, almost invariably dominated by a single tribe, rising and falling in their attempts to dominate the world.
Civic nationalism recognizes the potential for today’s version of imperial competition, the so-called clash of civilizations, to unify people in America. No longer scapegoating each other for the challenges they face as individuals and groups, they are unified as Americans facing international challenges. And within a domestic culture of lowered tensions, Americans might respond more judiciously to foreign adversaries and reject jingoism. But there is another, darker outcome.
By continually stoking the fires of racial resentment, it is possible that in a severe economic downturn, America’s warring tribes might redirect their aggression away from each other and towards the globalists themselves. After all, if a people have been conditioned for a generation to find a scapegoat for whatever miseries they’ve faced, they will probably find the narrative of predatory globalist bankers at least as compelling as blaming straight white guys who live in the same modest apartments and condos as they do, and whose material comforts have been equally compromised by bad times.
History provides a hideous and fairly recent example of how a powerful nation with a sophisticated populace nonetheless were seduced by a demagogue into falsely attributing their failures to a small group of people. The evil perpetrated by the German Nazis against the Jews of Europe is a horrific example of a reactionary paroxysm that could not have occurred if it hadn’t been stoked by decades of preparatory hatred.
What if the ethnic nationalists of the United States, created as much by the incessant establishment drumbeat of victim and oppressor as by their own antagonistic pathologies, stop fighting each other, because they found a common foe?
The conventional establishment analysis of anti-Semitism in America focuses almost exclusively on its embrace by white nationalists, and the response has been to expose and deplatform any online content that includes criticism of the Israeli lobby in the United States, or assertions that Jewish individuals own a disproportionate share of America’s media, entertainment, and financial sectors.
The problem with this focus on possible anti-Semitism on the part of white nationalists is that it ignores far more pervasive anti-Semitism coming from so-called social justice warriors and Democratic Socialists. And that omission, that selective focus, exposes a deeper problem: In the radicalizing environment of a social and economic collapse, the American corporate establishment may not effectively counter an anti-Semitic narrative from spreading, because in their attempt to co-opt America’s Left, they fed an anti-Semitic beast that got too big to control. They are funding Social Democrats who, in their obsessive hatred for “Zionism,” are a heartbeat away from publicly hating the disproportionate influence of Jews in American media, politics, and finance. Many of them already do.
Some of the Left’s highest-profile leaders, certainly including members of the “Squad” in the U.S. Congress, have openly spouted anti-Semitic rhetoric. Some members of the BLM movement and its sympathizers also have been openly anti-Semitic, and every time one of their voices is canceled, they become more susceptible to conspiracy theories. If America’s economic and political stability continues to deteriorate, the schizophrenic strategy of the corporate establishment—embracing anti-Semitic Leftist groups at the same time as they crush any expressions of anti-Semitism—will fall apart.
The nightmare scenario that the multi-ethnic globalists are flirting with is a toxic realignment in which American nationalism captures a majority no longer divided by race, because they are instead unified by hatred of global elites. In the worst case, the perception could spread that the crash was planned in advance, and that a specific tribe of individuals is to blame. If that happens, the populist momentum that will fuel it will come from Leftists. It will come from the same people who in the spring and summer of 2020 occupied a section of downtown Seattle, fought pitched battles with police for months on end in Portland, and spread violence and vandalism from coast to coast.
The conspiracy theories that give rise to toxic mobs don’t have to be anti-Semitic. That’s just one possibility that history has taught is impossible to ignore. But a populist rebellion against globalists can apocalyptically target any group perceived as exploiting the people or lying to them. Global elites. Bankers. Television news anchors. Tech Barons. Stock traders. Anyone living in a gated community. Race or creed may have nothing to do with it. It may simply be the upper class, the one percent. That’s still a tribe. It still becomes us vs them. Where were you, when the dam finally broke? If you were a propertied landowner, living on high ground, perhaps you were in on it. And if so, now you deserve to lose everything. Such is the reasoning of a disenfranchised mob.
Only Civic Nationalists Can Counter Conspiracy Theorists
To understand the potential of civic nationalism to peacefully unify Americans even in the face of great economic and geopolitical challenges, one must return to the shared agenda of Social Democrats and corporate globalists. The rejection of the traditional nuclear family, the climate change agenda, the rejection of a meritocracy in favor of race and gender quotas, enforced equality instead of equality of opportunity, and mass immigration.
The common thread in all of these policies is that they will harm middle- and low-income Americans, regardless of race. Children need a father and a mother. Climate change policies that enrich corporations and empower leftist bureaucrats will impoverish everyone not wealthy enough to be indifferent to the crushing cost. Abandoning meritocracy in favor of quotas will destroy America’s ability to compete and innovate at the same time as it will breed cynicism and alienation. Mass immigration drives down wages and bankrupts social services.
Civic nationalists are the only ones who can explain that of course Democrats, establishment Republicans, and corporate globalists want to distract us by turning us all into racists and anti-racists who consume one another in endless conflict. Without this massive distraction, how would globalists get away with destroying America’s standard of living while enriching themselves? While we are kneeling before BLM activists, the globalists are taking away our freedom. While pregnant women form a skirmish line to protect Antifa militants, the globalists are taking away our prosperity. It’s a good scam. Define everyone as either a victim or an oppressor. Get everybody fighting. This devious, epic, diabolical fraud and hidden agenda must be exposed at every opportunity. But there is also a positive message, promoting hopeful solutions, that is desperately necessary in order to avoid radicalization.
A muscular civic nationalism incorporates opposing alternatives to every one of these pillars of corporate globalism and promotes them without apology and without reservation. The traditional family is the backbone of society. Fossil fuel, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy are absolutely necessary to grow a healthy and prosperous economy, not only in America but even more so in the aspiring nations of the developing world. Immutable colorblind standards are the only fair and legitimate way to allocate opportunities in all aspects of society. Immigration must be strictly regulated to protect the interests of American citizens, not global corporations.
With these principles forming an uncompromising foundation, civic nationalists have the credibility to reject racism and anti-Semitism. They have an appealing, prosperity-oriented narrative that will attract wavering adherents of ethnic nationalism as well as reluctant globalists. They offer common sense and hope. They offer calm unity. They can reject extremism of all types, whether it’s classic racism or teaching transgender ideology to prepubescent students in the public schools. And they love America.
Emphasizing these policies—pro-family, pro-conventional energy, and pro-meritocracy—have not been the common currency of civic nationalists. Instead, with good reason, they’ve been stereotyped as waffling on immigration, lukewarm on climate realism, AWOL on expressing the problems with race and gender quotas, and, if anything, antagonistic to pro-family sentiments. No wonder they are barely relevant. And no wonder Trump’s enemies get away with accusing him of catering to ethnic-nationalists and conspiracy theorists. They claim nobody else is out there, and in one important respect, they’re right. The civic nationalist movement, despite its potential to become the center of gravity in American politics, lacks a critical mass of leaders with the voice and visibility to give it an undeniable presence.
America’s Civic Nationalism and Foreign Affairs
An important criticism of nationalism of any kind in America is that it allegedly ignores the interconnected community of nations and steers America towards isolationism. A related criticism is that America cannot abandon the multilateral agreements and security guarantees that have guaranteed relative stability in the world for the last 70 years. Underlying these criticisms is an argument in favor of globalism, something with too much legitimacy to be merely dismissed. But a distinction must be made between globalization and globalism. Globalization is a phenomenon. Globalism is an ideology. Even more to the point, globalism can be understood in various ways, including ways that embrace nationalism.
The phenomenon of globalization is unrelenting, fueled by trade, migration, capital flows, technological innovations, revolutions in transportation and communications. It can’t be stopped, but it can be managed. American nationalists are correct to point out that for Americans, in recent decades, the benefits of globalization have been largely illusory if not negative. While free movement of capital and people has made multinational corporations more profitable, it has hollowed out American industry and depressed American wages.
At the same time, the American consumer has paid far more than his foreign counterparts for drugs and medical treatments, effectively subsidizing the development of these cutting edge therapies in order for American manufacturers to sell them at competitive prices in the rest of the world. The American taxpayer has paid for a military establishment that guarantees open sea lanes and global security. The American worker has paid the price for job creation and economic growth overseas. The American household is overwhelmed with debt, borrowing against the bubble value of their home in order to pay for overpriced tuition and imports from foreign manufacturers. The American economy has been turned into a gigantic, overleveraged mass of collateral for foreign debt.
For the rest of the world, there’s been upside to all of this. And for dispassionate economists, if the overall economic growth of the world exceeds the negative impact all of this has on American economic growth and median household income, that’s a worthwhile exchange. But it’s also short-sighted. Liberal free trade policies work until they don’t. How does it benefit global stability when the economy of the United States implodes after decades of unsustainable, debt-fueled growth, leaving nothing but a hollowed out nation, riven by social conflict?
Navigating this rebalancing, where the United States continues to provide global leadership in a community of nations, but no longer sells its national assets to fuel half-trillion-dollar annual trade deficits, is something that globalists have to come to terms with because it is inevitable, and nationalists have to come to terms with because complete isolation is impossible.
A Civic Nationalist Approach to Globalism
To manage globalization, what sort of globalist ideology to reject or embrace is a choice. The conventional globalist ideology is that borders should be erased, and that people and capital should move freely. In this manner, according to this version of globalist ideology, all people on earth, overall, will be better off. An alternative version of globalism is that a community of sovereign nations is the only fair and realistic way to manage globalization. It holds that unrestricted movement of people and capital destabilizes nations, punishing the cultures that historically have been successful.
A civic nationalist doesn’t have to be an isolationist. Civic nationalism can promote the vision of a community of nations, competing and cooperating, with each managing globalization on its own terms. For Americans, civic nationalism can recognize that American leadership in the world remains essential not only to promote Western ideas of individual freedom and free enterprise but also as a purely pragmatic matter. When America is socially unified and economically and militarily strong, it deters war, sets an example for emerging nations, and generates the wealth necessary to invest in the developing world.
Much of what passes for foreign aid in the developing world is wasted. Without wholesale changes in priorities, calls to end foreign aid and foreign investment are justified. But here is where the primary foundations of civic nationalism in America can also find expression in foreign aid and foreign investment. If America needs upgraded infrastructure and more cheap, reliable, conventional energy, imagine how much greater the need in African nations. And yet today the preponderance of foreign aid and foreign investment go to expensive and ineffective solar energy projects and other “sustainability” initiatives that arguably do more harm than good, while, in a gross and hypocritical inversion of logic, untapped hydropower and conventional power grids are not considered “sustainable” options.
Much of today’s globalist approach to foreign development has not only been fundamentally misanthropic, but misguided. Investment in developing nations that emphasize cost-effective conventional infrastructure and power generation will yield profitable returns, reducing if not eliminating the need for government involvement.
This, too, is an alternative view of globalism that America’s civic nationalists should embrace without reservation. It would pay financial dividends to American investors, manufacturers, and civil engineering firms, and it would offer developing nations a viable way out of poverty. It would even spare these nations further environmental degradation, as population growth eases through prosperity, and these economies move from burning wood, eating endangered game, and practicing inefficient subsistence agriculture to, for example, developing nuclear power and adopting modern agricultural techniques.
By exposing these misanthropic experiments in foreign aid and foreign investment and abandoning them in favor of initiatives that will deliver rapid and genuine prosperity, civic nationalists can present new ways to manage globalization that entice developing nations. As it is, the practical effects of globalist policies in the developing world are exploitative. Like their domestic equivalents, their only benefit is to subsidized investors, misguided (or wholly corrupt) nonprofits, and state bureaucrats. Civic nationalists can break this cycle, and offer a hopeful vision to aspiring communities at home and around the world.
The Constituency of Civic Nationalists
On the surface, the coalition that constitutes multiethnic globalists in America presents seemingly insurmountable power. After all, they have the corporations, the entire establishment uniparty, the colleges and universities, the public schools, the media and entertainment complex, and most of the billionaires. But this coalition is not invulnerable, for reasons that have already been explained in part. As noted, the blatant anti-Semitism of the American Left threatens to short-circuit their marriage of convenience with the corporations and billionaires that currently indulge them with money and supportive marketing campaigns.
There is another constituency that currently enjoys a marriage of convenience with America’s corporations and billionaires, and that is the labor movement. Despite their reliance on rhetoric that attacks corporations and billionaires, for the most part, America’s union leadership shares the same agenda as their supposed adversaries. Immigration is the prime example. To counter the systemic racism that defines white America, to partially redress the colonial theft of North America by whites, and to partially atone for supposedly causing catastrophic climate change which disproportionately harms people in the “global south,” America’s leftist dominated unions clamor for mass immigration. But how is this in the interest of the American worker?
There’s a reason President Trump has enjoyed support from millions of union workers across America. This is another example of support that invalidates conventional political antagonisms. Trump is supposedly “right-wing” and labor unions are supposedly organized to fight exploitation by right-wing interests. But none of that is applicable. Trump is American, and is promoting America First policies that benefit the American worker. Trump is a nationalist, and nationalist policies resonate with workers, and ought to resonate with any union that cares about Americans.
The labor movement in America is destined to split. Those unions that truly support the American worker will embrace the foundational economic premises of civic nationalism—specifically, development of conventional energy, expansion of practical infrastructure, strictly regulated immigration, and America First trade policies. Those unions that cling to the corporate globalist narrative will become nakedly internationalist and anti-American and anti-white, and they will continue to pretend that economically unsustainable “renewable” energy and open borders will further the interests of the planet and humanity. Labor unions, if they are true to the interests of the American worker, can play a critical role in the ascendance of civic nationalism.
Another constituency of the civic nationalists is every parent in America. It is hard to imagine any special interest more deserving of indictment than the teachers’ union. If you want to know what animates the thousands of rioters and their millions of sympathizers, look no further than the twelve years of anti-American, anti-white, anti-capitalist indoctrination they got in America’s public schools, thanks to the teachers’ unions. Along with what passes for a college education these days in America, the publicly funded, unionized education establishment from kindergarten through high school has brainwashed a generation.
Any parent or community leader who recognizes that children and young people need to acquire basic skills and a work ethic, and that those priorities have been abandoned thanks to the influence of teachers’ unions, is ready to embrace civic nationalism. Any parent who recognizes that race-baiting and identity politics are dead-end curricula, offering nothing but excuses for failure and rationalizations for government handouts, is ready to embrace civic nationalism. Breaking the ideological monopoly that America’s teachers’ unions have on its public schools is a goal that millions of Americans will share, and should be a top priority of civic nationalists.
Civic nationalism appeals to additional powerful constituencies. Corporations that still aspire to serve Americans first but have been marginalized by the Left are plentiful if you know where to look. The nuclear power industry is a prime example, ready to help expose the lies that have stopped its progress in America for decades. The American oil and gas industry is another one. It is one election away from being systematically shut down, with catastrophic consequences to the economy and national security. Civil engineering firms that want to rebuild America are ready to embrace civic nationalism.
The list of potential advocates of civic nationalism is bigger than people imagine. EcoModernists who recognize the environmental benefits that will result from investment in conventional infrastructure in America as well as in developing nations. Members of law enforcement who have had it with, for example, “catch-and-release” laws in progressive, criminal-friendly cities. Members of the military who realize that if more naval officers had been assigned to fire safety, and fewer officers had been preparing PowerPoint presentations on transgender sensitivity training, the ”Bonhomme Richard” might be ready for redeployment instead of an incinerated hulk.
A Common Fate, a Common Vision
The appeal of nationalism ought to be obvious. It is natural to yearn to be part of something bigger than oneself. This is why racial division is the most potent weapon that globalists have to divide Americans. Why should a black American revere the history of America, if the emphasis that is continuously thrust at him is the legacy of slavery? Why should a Chicano accept the sovereignty of America over Aztlan, if all he’s taught is how the land was stolen from Mexico? Why should Native Americans accept the white majority, if the entire North American continent was stolen from them? Why, indeed, should Asians move to America and assimilate, if assimilation has become a dirty word, whereas their cultures of origin remain proud and confident?
This is where a muscular civic nationalism offers the only viable hope to unify America’s ethnicities into a coherent national culture. It’s a cliche, but nonetheless true that America’s white majority historically has been slow to accept immigrants who were different. But to America’s exceptional credit, assimilation eventually happened, every time. Today there are ethnic groups that at one time were not assimilated that now are considered to be part of America’s white ethnic group: Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, Irish. Moreover, millions of Americans are considered “white Hispanics,” and additional millions of Asians have blended into the American mainstream. The secret you’ll never hear from race-baiting propagandists like ABC’s David Muir is the fact that 17 percent of American marriages are now between couples of “mixed race.” America’s ability to assimilate is ongoing, despite all attempts to divide us.
This all begs the question: What is “white?” Is it skin color, or cultural affinity? A civic nationalist has to confront this question squarely. Americans don’t have to be white. But they do have to be American. This means adopting America’s values and traditions, and feeling part of an American culture that has its roots in white European civilization. That’s just historical fact. Racists, whether they are those white nationalists who fit the overhyped stereotype, or the suddenly fashionable black nationalists, or the racially obsessed mainstream American globalist establishment, care very much about skin color. Civic nationalists do not care about skin color. They care about preserving American culture, and welcome anyone who shares that goal.
So why shouldn’t black Americans embrace civic nationalism? Because it would mean they are selling out and becoming “white?” This is a stigma that school-aged studious blacks are apparently tagged with. This element of some inner-city cultures holds that to carry your books home to study after school is to become “white,” and is somehow a betrayal of black identity. This is an absurd and destructive notion that should be opposed by any black person serious about the success of their community.
Equally important, for a white person to kneel to BLM activists is not only an act of cowardice and ignorance, but it reinforces two lies. First, it is a lie that white people have no right to suggest anything to black people. This is a ridiculous lie, because blacks are the swing vote that will decide the fate and future of the nation. Second, the chief obstacle to black achievement is not racism. Rather, the primary barrier to black achievement in America is a thug culture that undermines if not terrorizes black communities, expressed in broken homes, substance abuse, gang violence, contempt for education, and rejection of law enforcement.
If white people truly care about black people, they will challenge these lies. And if they do, they will have plenty of help from black conservatives, who unfortunately are ignored by the establishment media, but whose messages are bubbling up through the internet and in churches and education reform organizations and elsewhere.
The notion of shared fate can be colorblind, and a civic nationalist has to emphasize this while at the same time not succumbing to the premises and the language of the Left. For example, “colorblind,” “assimilation,” and “meritocracy” are not code words for racism. They are noble concepts to live by, they are the inclusive premises of American civilization and America’s vitality, and they must be defended at all costs.
Americans can unify as a single, colorblind culture. There is no reason why any American citizen, of any color, cannot read the founding documents of America and be inspired by them. There is no reason why any American, regardless of his ethnic background, cannot appreciate America’s unique commitment to individual rights and free enterprise and private property, and understand its transcendental value. There is no reason why Americans of all races cannot view America’s history not as “deeply flawed,” but instead as an illustrious story of evolution from an inspiring beginning to what it is today, through perpetual refinement—a nation of unparalleled opportunities for everyone willing to work hard.
America’s destiny, according to civic nationalists, can be to remain a leader and an example to the world, while caring for its own citizens in a way that doesn’t alienate the world, but inspires other nations to do the same. America’s destiny can be to invest in practical, prosperity-oriented projects at home and abroad, to maintain technological and military preeminence, and to blaze a trail into the solar system. This is a vision that civic nationalists need to let every American know they can share.
What Does the Future Hold?
The multiethnic globalists are on a path that leads, ultimately, to the destruction of America as a sovereign nation.
There is no guarantee they will succeed, or if they do, that it will be a smooth transition. The conflagration they’re inviting by fomenting racial conflict, especially in the event of economic collapse, may not be kind to the corporations, the billionaires, the bankers, or anyone else perceived as party to the chaos, including Malthusian environmentalists who oppose everything that might create sustainable prosperity.
But then again, they might win.
Examples of nations where the elites successfully consolidated their power have taken many forms throughout history: Centuries ago, feudalism united the elites atop the peasantry. In the 20th century, with stupefying brutality, we saw Spanish and Italian Fascism, German Nazism, Soviet Communism, Japanese Militarism, Chinese Maoism. Today there are plentiful examples, including President Xi’s fascist, racist, expansionist Chinese empire, or Maduro’s pathetic, brutal regime in Venezuela.
Here in America, perhaps the best vision of where we’re ultimately headed if the globalists get their way is a society that lies somewhere on a spectrum between Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Whatever national identity Americans once knew will no longer exist. We will become undifferentiated human matter, as much a commodity as the products we consume, Pavlovian in our political rectitude, under a watchful corporate Panopticon.
Americans have been betrayed by their elites. The globalist agenda of open borders, unfettered movement of capital, the rejection of traditional values, the rejection of meritocracy, the deliberate overreaction to “climate change,” and the heedless accumulation of debt to fund the development of foreign economies—including the Chinese military—has been accepted and promoted by virtually every major institution in America: unions, corporations, academia, K-12 public education, the media and entertainment business, the Democrats, and most of the Republicans. They lied about all of this, and in so doing elevated the cost-of-living at the same time as they deprived Americans of good jobs.
There is an irony, here, because for multiethnic globalism to succeed in the long run, America’s elites needed to treat American citizens better in the short run. They have not. Now they are hiding behind racial tension, stoking it, funding it, allowing it to happen, evidently hoping to suppress the truth of their betrayal, hoping to deny us consciousness of our potential for colorblind national unity.
Absent the achievement of national unity through a civic nationalist political realignment, Americans face ongoing and worsening civil strife and economic decline. Civic nationalism is the only alternative to this bleak future for Americans. It can offer compassion, inclusion, optimism, an agenda of hope, and economic revival.
The choice is ours to make.
This article originally appeared on the website American Greatness.
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Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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