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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

American nationalism « Previous | |Next »
August 31, 2005

In his America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, Financial Times columnist Anatol Lieven, warns that the US polity is turning its back on the civic patriotism of the "American creed" of liberty, the rule of law and political egalitarianism in favor of an American radical and vengeful nationalism.

USeagle.jpg

Lieven argues that there have been two kinds of American nationalism:--a civic nationalism, based on universalist principles of the enlightenment and that was expressed in the Declaration of Independence 229 years ago; and a far more aggressive and exclusivist nationalism that harkens back to the Protestant Reformation and the religious wars that it sparked.

This reinforces what I've thought. The former nationalism is of the Enlightenment tradition: it is based on reason, citizenship, liberty, constitutionalism, law, democracy, individualism, and the separation of church and state. The latter nationalism is anti-modern and anti-science, fearful of the outside world, self-righteous, motivated by revenge and resentment and is a part of the counter-Enlightenment.

The latter has come to the fore with the current Bush Republican Administration. Even though it wears the mask of the universalist rhetoric of democracy and freedom, it is characterised by populism, moral absolutism, messianism, a contempt for history and militant chauvinism.

This warrior, authoritarian Republican America has overwhelmed the strong liberal current in Congress. I find deeply this kind of nationalism deeply disturbing, and I recoil from its intolerant,irrational extremism.

Sad to say, you can see the formation of a similar kind of nationalism taking shape in Australia under the Howard Government. Or rather a radical, religious nationalism is being shrewdly exploited by Howard Government strategists and publicists so that a One Nation nationalism becomes a strong motivating force in Australian politics. It is a heady brew that is being stirred.

The strands of this One Nation nationalism are resentment from being a losers from globalizaton, the moral absolutes of Good and Evil; the references to the idea that those who are not with us are against us; the demonization of elites; anti-intellectualism; hostility to rational discourse; an aversion to the scientific method; and giving the liberals a demonic role in undermining the traditional values of family, religion, and nation.

Is not this populist Australian nationalism a turning away from the Australian liberal Enlightenment, with its civic ethos of a respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:20 PM | | Comments (3)
Comments

Comments

What confuses this outsider is how Howard is a member of your "Liberal" party. So I visited their site and found that they do in fact mirror our own Republican party fairly well. (Might be time for a name change there) But I hope you aren't suggesting that Howard takes his cues from Bush and is modeling his current rhetoric (or that of his publicists and strategists)on the Bush example.

Sadly, Bush has not only mowed over the liberals in Congress, he has an entire news network (FOX) supporting him 24 hours a day, catering to fully one half of our population who swallow everything he says.

The equating of the Right's cause with morality is what most disturbs me, and I tell as many Christians as I can (who've jumped on Bush's "with us or against us" bandwagon)that God is not an American, Bush is not Jesus, the Cross is not the flag, and if you really believe your Bible, you'll find that there is One Nation Under God, but it isn't even in the Western Hemisphere.

Yes, beware the populist Australian nationalism, especially if you get hit by any sort of Islamic terror anytime soon. We have a bumper sticker here that came into vogue not long after 9/11. It reads simply, "Power of Pride" and of course is adorned with stars and stripes. What these people don't get is that Pride is the Problem and is the very reason we are where we are today.

Dave,
I reckon that Howards' Liberal Party has studied Republican Party strategies very closely. They have applied the modified strategies to Australia to ensure their dominance.

The media laws in Australia will soon be changed and, if they go through, they will allow Rupert Murdoch (News Corp) to establish a Fox-style network. This will be done by acquiring an existing network, rather than establishing a fourth network as he did in the US.

Then hopefully you don't have as many mind-numbed sheep as we do here in the US, who, as long as they have their drink, their air-conditioning, their gas and their job, will say, "USA! All The Way!" until they're blue in the face.

They view any other opinion as weak-kneed, pacifistic and naive. They will take your avergae Cindy Sheehan, innocent Mom and eventual dupe of the Far Left, and turn her into an Osama-loving, Commie-Pinko treasonist.

So, how do you fight these beasts? With their own Savior.

The fad came and went here among Christians, of wearing "WWJD" bracelets (What Would Jesus Do?) Not sure if it ever caught on down there. But the point is; they are quick to draw the sword when Jesus would not have. They are quick to claim that Jesus is with them in their cause, of making people free and enabling them to live in liberty, but they forget that Jesus was a peacenik, a turn-the-other-cheek type, who would love his enemies and bless those who cursed him.

Point them that way, and they are face-to-face with their own God, and they will do his bidding, or they will, by their own words, perish.