Nationalism is definitely a Thing right now—so much so that National Public Radio on November 14th declared “nationalist” to be the Word of the Year for 2018. [Opinion: ‘Nationalist’ Arises, With Myriad Connotations, As The Word Of 2018, by Geoffrey Nunberg, November 14, 2018]
A few reasons:
At a pre-election campaign rally in Texas, President Trump had declared himself a proud nationalist. Apparently in response to this, at a ceremony in Paris last Sunday to commemorate the Armistice that ended World War One a hundred years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron laid in to nationalism: “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”
That Armistice Day, November 11th, is also, as it happens, Poland’s National Independence Day, a public holiday—the Polish July Fourth, as it were. This year is the centenary not only of the Armistice, but also of modern Polish independence, which Poles seized as the empires of Russia, Germany, and Austria were disintegrating all around them in 1918.
In Britain, the most significant nationalist event of the past few decades was the 2016 vote by referendum to leave the European Union—Brexit. Negotiations between the British government and the EU on the terms of departure have dragged on for two and a half years, but the matter now seems at last to be coming to a head.
There is talk of building a new European Army independent of NATO. German Chancellor Angela Merkel chimed in with agreement. We American nationalists would like nothing better than for the U.S.A. to withdraw from NATO. That would be a great boost to our nationalism, American Our nationalist President, however, disagrees: he scoffed at Macron’s idea.
Yoram Hazony’s book The Virtue of Nationalism, published in September, has been widely reviewed and discussed.
Nationalism is highly relevant to our mission here at VDARE.com: to promote thoughtful, well-informed discussion of the U.S.A.’s National Question, with special attention to issues of demographics and foreign settlement.
I have to say I find Macron deeply unimpressive. None of his recorded remarks has struck me as very intelligent or memorable. The French themselves seem to agree with me: Macron’s party is polling poorly, below twenty percent—behind Marine Le Pen’s nationalists. [French far-right overtakes Macron in EU parliament election poll, by David Chazan, Financial Times, November 4, 2018]
It’s characteristic of mediocrities like Macron to be in thrall to the shallow clichés of the generation that came before them. For Macron in particular to be in thrall to the generation before him would actually be less surprising than the average, as he is married to a member of that generation. Mrs. Macron’s generation is also mine, more or less—she is eight years younger than I am—so I can speak with authority about those shallow clichés that were in the air during the decades after WW2.
One of those clichés was that while patriotism was good, nationalism was bad. Patriotism, the talking heads all told us in 1960 and 1970, was the warm, loving feeling you have for your country, with no malice or prejudice against anyone else’s country. Where there was such malice—or disdain, or contempt, or aggressive intentions—that was nationalism.
So nationalism was patriotism with attitude.
Peter Brimelow writes: It’s a measure of the lunatic times in which we live that Paul Gottfried’s entirely peaceful and cerebral H.L. Mencken Club, which I’ve regularly addressed (here and here etc.) had to hold its recent Eleventh Annual Meeting, on November 2-4, right before the Midterm Elections, on the theme “Is America Still A Nation?”, unadvertised and essentially in secret, with prominent speakers intimidated into withdrawing at the last moment and no photographs or recordings allowed. It nevertheless succeeded in assembling a significant audience—but what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had won?
Robert Weissberg: Okay, our final speaker is a man whom you know, a British-born financial journalist, founder of VDARE.com, which I read, and author of several books, including Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, 1995, among the most widely-read books on immigration, and his examination of ethnic cleavages in Canada and the use of it as a political football, The Patriot Game, 1986, nearly as famous as his work on American immigration. I’m sure many of you have seen him before, he’s always worth listening too, so I give you, Peter Brimelow.
Peter Brimelow: Thank you, Bob, thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Paul, I’m going to record myself, so please don’t throw me out! [Gottfried agrees]. Thanks very much. How long have I got?
RW: Twenty minutes.
PB: Right. So I want to thank Paul and Mary Gottfried for putting this conference on, it’s more of an achievement than you may realize, but I’ll come to that in a minute. And I also want to commiserate with my fellow panel members for not being able to go into the White House because they sat on a panel with me!
Some of you may not know the story that Paul was alluding to in his talk last night. A couple of years ago, there was a young academic called Darren Beattie who was on the platform here with me. And when it was discovered that he’d later gone to work in the White House, there was a one of these Two-Minute Hates that the Main Stream media specialize in, and he was fired because he was on the same platform as me.
Now my views on immigration have not changed—they’ve not changed in a long time—but they’ve been public since 1992, when I wrote a big cover story for National Review (incredibly!) called Time to Rethink Immigration?, which ultimately grew into my book Alien Nation.
But what’s happened is that it’s just become more difficult to express these ideas, they’ve become more “toxic,” as the Left says now—despite the fact, or in fact because of the fact, that Americans have elected an insurrectionary president in the form of Donald Trump, whose position paper [PDF] on immigration on August 15, 2015 was perfect. We regard it as perfect statement— it said all the things, including opposing Birthright Citizenship, which we’ve been saying for nearly 20 years.
Last week, the White House revoked the press pass of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, and denied him access to the building.
CNN responded by filing suit in federal court against the president.
Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, said CNN. The demand: Acosta’s press pass must be returned immediately and his White House press privileges restored.
“If left unchallenged,” CNN warned, “the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.” A dozen news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, are filing amicus briefs on CNN’s behalf.
On Thursday, the Trump administration raised the stakes.