Who are you? What are you? It seems that these two questions have come to increasingly dominate both sides of the political spectrum. Everything from what it means to be an American to what it means to be a man or woman is up for grabs it seems. While identity politics most certainly cost the Democratic Party the White House in 2016 though, there’s no reason to believe it will be going away anytime soon. To the contrary, you’d be wise to bet your money on it being around for quite some time yet. On both the left and increasingly so on the right as well.
Why? Because across the West, but in America in particular, the most pressing political issue has become that of the National Question. That is, what is it that makes a nation-state? For those such as myself the answer is obvious. Borders, history, language, and culture. This is a bedrock question, one of the most basic facets of political thought. Because of the fact that we’re now revisiting this massively important question we see increasing political rancor and polarization. We’re witnessing a clash of worldviews which are often irreconcilable and incapable of coexisting with one another. Politics has become, quite literally, a winner take all game. We’re witnessing one of those rare but seminal moments in history where two or more governing ideologies come into the ring and only one will emerge victorious.
Whatever you believe the answer to the National Question is, odds are you are coming from a very specific worldview that is deeply rooted in not only your sense of identity but your sense of national identity as well. Again, what does it mean to be an American? There cannot be different types of classes of American can there? Obviously only one victor will emerge from this fight and with them, the definitive answer to the National Question.
Which brings me to the focus of my column for today, the role of identity in answering the National Question. For the question itself is one explicitly of what it means to belong to a nation, in our case, the United States of America. So what popular options are on the table for us? What are the most commonly submitted answers to the National Question today? Well there are four predominant schools of thought on the question, so let’s examine them:
- The left, in general, would argue that the National Question is a fallacy in and of itself. Why? Because according to them we’re all just, “citizens of the world.” The nation-state, according to the left, is a byproduct of a racist, imperial past that no longer has any meaning in the modern world. To them the ideal social and political arrangement would appear to be either massive international blocs such as the European Union or worse yet, a one-world government similar in organization and structure to the UN.
Of course we all know the real reason the left embraces this position: to gain more voters. Having not secured a majority of the white vote in this country since 1948, they now actively seek to import millions from the third world with the specific goal in mind of creating a new constituency for themselves. This puts them into a unholy alliance with big business who also seek to import millions from the third world albeit for slightly different reasons.
- The Liberal answer to the National Question, with specific regard to the United States, is that we’re allegedly a, “Creedal Nation.” That is, a nation whose only prerequisite for entry be that you embrace and support those national values which are espoused in our Constitution and which our Founding Fathers believed in. To subscribers of the Creedal answer there is no such thing as a birthright to citizenship and the mere suggestion that race, religion, or national origin play a role in determining who gets to become a citizen or not is abhorrent at best and downright disgusting and despicable at worst. Prominent advocates of this type of thinking would include both Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse, who’ve both advocated such ideas numerous times over the course of the past few years.
While they pay lip-service to the notion that theirs is a position built on pure philosophical principle, reality says otherwise. Focused as they are on the bottom line and constantly expanding the markets, their rhetoric surrounding immigration often has an overt economic-tinge to it. Immigrants always, “work harder” or so they allege. The US is allegedly the best economic country on Earth because we absorb the best from other countries, those insane enough to risk it all to come here they wager, will surely be wily enough to be the best entrepreneurs. Despite the fact that no evidence exists for any of these claims, quite the contrary actually, they doggedly stand by these arguments.
As mentioned above, the left has entered into a match made in hell with the corporate elites they once claimed to despise. Why? Because those obsessed more by making a quick buck than helping their fellow man are incentivized to bring in as many cheap laborers as they can while laying off native born citizens. As CNN of all places reported, immigrants make far less across the board than their native born counterparts and what happens then? You guessed it, the taxpayers end up having to subsidize their cheap labor through public assistance programs, and who benefits from the most from those voters who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to rely on Uncle Same for their wage? You guessed it again, the Democratic Party.
As I said, truly a match made in hell.
- The Conservative reply to the National Question depends on which type of Conservative is being asked. But almost all the varying types of conservative have two things in common in their approach to answering the National Question. 1- We must uphold the law on the books, a nation is nothing without her borders. 2- Culture should be the predominant factor.
Excellent answers to be sure, but rather vague in regards to the latter half of their answer. I am of course in total agreement that culture should be the defining factor in determining whether or not someone can come to our country. But what is that culture? Do we even have a unified culture in the United States today? More on that later.
- Finally, we come to the most odious and quite frankly, dangerous of the four schools of thought regarding the National Question. The Alt-Right/Ethno-State/Identitarian crowd. While the left and liberal positions on the National Question may be uniquely damaging to not only national unity but also the dignity of the human person, the Alt-Right’s position on the question represents a unique threat to Christianity as well as to those who’ve a long history of contributing to the development of the United States. For those like Richard Spencer and James Allsup, the question of what it means to be an American is not one of culture, creed, or economic standing. To them, it is purely a question of blood, of race. Arguing that America was founded largely as Dutch and Anglo-Saxon colony, they maintain that American identity is distinctly European and that therefore the United States should exist as a white-only ethnostate.
Obviously this is problematic to say the least for a variety of reasons. Not only does it completely ignore the objective fact that America was populated by non-white Native Americans initially, but it also ignores the fact that many southern states began life as French and Spanish colonies which were heavily populated by non-white groups who proceeded to intermarry with the European colonists. Indeed, the Alt-Right position completely throws the many native-born black Americans to the dogs in spite of their unique contributions to American history. Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the Alt-Right is their blatant hatred for Christianity, regardless of denomination. Stemming from their hatred of Jews, they have come to embrace an explicitly neo-pagan faith which ignorantly forgets that Europe was little better than Africa prior to the advent of Christianity. Pre-Christian Europe was nothing more than a collection of disjointed pagan tribes fighting one another before Christianity’s rapid growth on the continent.
Needless to say, none of these options are satisfactory for answering the National Question. Much less for providing a blueprint to national unity and an end to the growing division within our country. Three of the four groups in question have either chosen to pursue short-term gain for themselves at the expense of the country or have deluded themselves with mad theories about racial superiority and neo-Paganism. The Conservatives, while offering the closest thing to a substantive answer, are too vague to be taken seriously and fail to clearly define just what culture it is that people must subscribe and assimilate into in order to become an American.
The answer, as with so many others in life, can be found in a history book by those with discerning minds, eyes to see, and ears to hear.
As I mentioned above in criticizing the Alt-Right for their historical ignorance, Europe prior to the advent of Christianity was little better than Africa today. Dominated by nomadic tribes constantly warring with one another and failing to develop anything close to the civilizational powerhouse they were to later become. There is no doubt whatsoever about the superiority of Western Civilization. But much like a child who must be civilized by his or her parents as they grow up, European civilization did not start out great. It took decades of Christian civilization for them to grow into the continent of hegemonic empires that would dominate the world for the better part of almost four centuries.
It was not race which made the Western World great, nor was it necessarily adherence to laws or economic factors. Rather, it was Christianity which made the West great. In particular it was the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church which shaped the Western world and culture more than any other single factor.
As Christianity seems to be in a state of retreat across the West, we now see the Pagan tendencies bubbling to the surface again. A cultish worship of sex and the gratification of the self above all other virtues, a mass desire to numb the senses rather than experience living in the glory of God’s creation, and an increased focus on divisive tribes as people lose the sense of belonging to one body in Christ but to name a few symptoms of our cultural regression.
The West, indeed America in particular, is undergoing a reverse puberty of sorts. Reverting to the aggressive, uncouth toddler phase of development. Without a unifying faith, or at the very least an acceptance of the God of Abraham as our Lord, we are reverting to a pre-Christian paganism and all that comes with it, including a violent and exclusionary sense of tribalism.
So what does it mean to be an American? Or more appropriately, what should it mean to be an American? While numerous factors play key roles in answering this question and cannot be entirely ignored, I would contend that the only hope our country has going forward is to return to the faith. Conservatives are correct in saying that the only answer to the National Question can be found in Culture but fail to address what lays at the heart of a culture, namely, a shared faith. Not only does our country lack this, but we actively have replaced it with its antithesis: secularism, humanism, and modernism.
Consider for a moment that you are a foreigner coming from say, Latin America. Would you want your children to assimilate into a culture that does not value human life, which promotes homosexuality, and which actively wages a war on the nuclear family? Of course not. Much like the quack Doctor who prescribes his patients and endless stream of pills only to be surprised by the numerous new problems arising from the side-effects of each new drug, the left’s prescriptions for the problems ailing society have only served to either exacerbate them or create worse ones entirely.
Christ is the only physician with the cure for what ails our sick, and getting worse by the day, society. The National Question will only be solved by focusing on our identities in Christ. To paraphrase Belloc, the West shall either return to the faith or she shall perish. Only though identity in Christ will we be able to Make America Great Again. Christianity was never meant to be an ancillary or incidental characteristic in our lives. It is the very core of who we are, Christ should be at the center of every single thing we do. Either Christ reigns in our lives or he does not, there can be no in between. Our nation has lost sight of our sovereign Lord and Saviour, either she shall return to him or she shall perish. Vivo Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!