What is “Nationalism”?

I’ve spent a lot of time on my show railing against American “nationalism.”


Simply put, it’s one of the most pernicious myths in American history. There never has been an American “nation.”

This expertly development narrative only appeared after the War. Granted, Americans used the terms “nation” and “one people” prior to the War, but everyone knew that this was an attempt by “innovative” opportunists to make America into something it wasn’t, a consolidated government.

Lincoln just batted cleanup during the War.

Besides, “nationalism” and “patriotism” are two distinct “isms.”

The latter is vital for a free people and a vibrant political culture. It reflects a love of land, home, family, and place, not the worship of some fabricated place or an abstract government sealed by borders.

Southerners were patriotic during the War, as were some Northerners (particularly Democrats who opposed the War), but going off to fight to maintain a “government” or to force a region and a people you do not possess to bend to your will is not patriotism.

We must also dispense with the idea that Northerners were committed “nationalists” at any point before the War. Their goal was simple: sectional domination.

As Charles Sumner consistently chirped, he wanted to make America New England.

That isn’t real “nationalism” and it certainly isn’t “patriotism.”

Either way, our current political discourse has involved a lot of talk about nationalism.

This piece at Law and Liberty attempts to define the word
. I don’t think it does a very good job, but at least the author shows that “nationalism” has become worthless as a useful political term.

I discuss the topic on Episode 810 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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