Neo-conservatism is not nationalism

I used to maintain it is.  A lot of theonomists, Ron Paulites, and others maintain that American interventionism across the world is a crass form of nationalism.   They say that both neocons (and presumably neolibs) and nationalists agree to “My Country Right or Wrong.”

While it may be true that one or two nationalists say something like this, given the literature on nationalism, most nationalists won’t make a claim like this.  Further, given the same literature on nationalism, which the above-said detractors never reference, neo-conservatives cannot be nationalists, plain and simple.

I realize defining nationalism is a futile task, given that each person has a different definition.  Still, given the flow of history and some common assumptions about how societies work, it can be done.  I am following Fr Raphael Johnson’s work on the subject.

  • ethnicity is the nation and exists in the realm of community and family.
  • the “state” is an outside imposition, usually unfortunate but not necessarily “evil.”
  • The “ethnos” is the cultural, Herderian core in the land; the “state” is the formal, if sometimes artificial framework placed on top of the ethnos.
  • Ideally, both ethnos and nation should coincide.  But are they the same thing?  This is hard to say.  I suppose one could say that when the ethnos acquires geographical boundaries, it becomes the “nation.”
  • But what makes the nation the state?

Fr Raphael states the case well,

Ethno-nationalism or ethno-communalism concerns the idea that human beings are defined, molded and shaped by institutions and ideas having developed in a specific cultural, that is, ethno-linguistic, context.

But we can demonstrate the differences in a simpler way.  Neocons, descending from Trotsky, seek the establishment of global markets, usually with American benefactors, at the expense of traditional communities (be they Christian, Islamic, or Asian).  The end-game is a global market, not national pride.  (Obviously, the above fits neo-liberalism as well).

Nationalists on the other hand, will usually say something like “Russia for the Russians.”  Nationalist societies, with the possible exception of Nazi Germany (and even that case isn’t simple) are not imperialistic for the sake of nationalism.   I realize that Tsarist Russia was an empire, but even men like Betrand Russelll pointed out that Russia had to expand to meet the expansion of the British Empire (the latter’s globalist, international banking connections in this context should not be forgotten).  So Russia’s expansion was seen as protecting Russians from British imperial designs, or sort of.

At the end of the day, a problem remains.  It’s hard to be an American nationalist.   While it shouldn’t be, the sad fact is that America is too often identified with the D.C. regime, which one cannot support.   Further, America doesn’t have a culture beyond that of mass consumerism.  Even defining America around an ethnos is problematic, except in the most general terms.  Technically, an American nationalist is almost an impossibility.

But Isn’t Nationalism an Idol?
It could be, but so could the market, family, ideology, the Constitution (!!!!!!!), and so on.