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On Nationalism


If there is one facet of our culture that should place the collective ahead of the individual, it is to be found in a shared national pride, or love of country.  American nationalism exceeds the mere emotive sentiments of patriotism as it unequivocally exalts the supremacy of originally inspired, American core values.  Nationalism is the collective conviction of the empirical, self-evident proof of the objective worth of nations.  Throughout the 20th century, the concept of nationalism mutated, then was vilified, largely due to the ideologies of Nazism, Communism and Islam.  Nationalism was then recast as a universal pariah, and it is as such, when used as a pretense for global dominion.  A nationalism driven by devotion to colonialism, revenge or a brutish desire for imperial conquest is not real nationalism, but global totalitarianism, a tyrannical devotion that leads to nothing but strife, anarchy and demonstrable cultural inferiority.  A nationalism forged by devotion to values – eternal, noble and unconditional virtue – and utilized as a force for good throughout the world, is a nationalism that leads to accord, peace, and demonstrable cultural superiority.  Indeed, defective nationalism has predicated wars and global chaos.  Beneficent nationalism, however, has prevented, and in some cases, ended, the same. 

     The American chronicle, singular in its foundational acknowledgement of God’s intercession in history and the benediction of a people who are faithful to His commands and worthy of His promises, has warranted this very rendering of beneficent nationalism.  That story was never written as a narrative of ‘America alone,’ but as an America that is largely responsible for the ascendency of civilization itself over the past few centuries.  Can anyone imagine the state of the world today minus the grand impact of America’s emergence and subsequent effect on world affairs?  In spite of her faults, America, as conceived, is a nation unrivaled by any other.  Any dispassionate observer or unbiased annalist cannot sort through the history of cultures without reaching that very conclusion.  The blessings of being born to this heritage, to this ‘shining city on a hill,’ cannot be refuted except by those willfully ignorant of America’s standing when compared to all other nations throughout history.  The righteous distinction of America can only be denied by those despising the notion of objective truth and the relative worth of constitutions – the idyllic longing of Progressives.  The rejection of nationalism in America has paralleled the advancing repudiation of her very founding, tragically enough, in many cases, by her own citizens.      

American nationalism plateaued decades ago and, more recently, has virtually disappeared, having been rendered a negative cultural trait.  For a country to welcome so many from disparate cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, and yet remain unified in its cultural identity, is historically unprecedented and an astonishing feat, especially over the long-term.  The fact that America had accomplished that very goal for nearly 200 years is a testament to the passion of a unique nationalism once shared by a vast majority of her citizens, both native and immigrant.  This was the same passion that inspired patriots to ‘pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor’ against extreme odds; the same passion that ended slavery and healed a divided country; and, the same passion that emboldened soldiers who, in defense of American ideals, freely made the ultimate sacrifice on the beaches and plains of foreign lands.  America, unlike most other nations of the world, is, and always has been, a melting pot of ethnicities, and, therefore, has no specific ethnic identity.  In its stead, America cultivated a transcendent nationalism that surpasses ethnicity, or any delineation based on place and time.  America is much more than a country held fast by boundary or mere custom.  America is a promise and a hope, the guardian of ‘truths that are self-evident,’ and the first nation in history to codify in its founding documents the dignity and integrity of the person.  There are times when Americans do not live up to such lofty expectations, yet America retains this deposit of truth in safekeeping until we, as a people, perceive once again that all of mankind is made in the image and likeness of God.  This is the true American Dream…our inheritance, our aspiration, and the bedrock of our passions.