We are gathered here today to pay our earthly respects to our dear departed friend, the Republican Party. The child of the Whig Party and Free Soil Party, the GOP was born out of the political necessity of 1854 as tensions continued to rise over the long unanswered constitutional question of slavery. The early Republican Party initially worked to limit the practice of slavery to the existing slave states, but, knowing that the rise of the Republican Party would eventually lead to the end of slavery in the United States, the pro-slavery south seceded from the Union, setting the stage for one of the bloodiest conflicts in America’s history.
Since those difficult first decades, it’s not always had a perfect record, but the Republican Party has remained a home to those who believe in the fundamental necessity of liberty. From its patriotic bosom sprung William F. Buckley, who eloquently established what would become the groundwork for the conservative movement, and Barry M. Goldwater, who espoused the original ideals of the libertarian movement and was the 1964 GOP presidential nominee.
For much of the last 80 years, the Grand Old Party represented all of the best things in American culture: decency, civility, and “big tent” conservatism. It was a party of optimism and energy, of freedom and opportunity, of faith and family. It was the party that engendered big ideas, from Lincoln to Reagan. Sadly, after 162 years, it finally succumbed to the dreaded intellectual disease of nationalism and has, for all intents and purposes, passed on from relevancy.
Farewell, our old friend. Farewell.
“Nationalism is an infantile thing.
It is the measles of mankind.”
There is a common misconception among even well meaning patriots that “patriotism” and “nationalism” are the same thing, but very rarely do English words share exact meanings except through extensive misuse or the occasional adoption of a foreign word of the same meaning. A “patriot” was (and is) someone who is proud of their country and will fight to defend it but, especially in America, specifically describes “a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government
A “nationalist“, similar to a “patriot” loves their nation or country but that love of country can become an “exaggerated, passionate, or fanatical devotion to a national community“. Notice that only a “patriot” can ever be in a position to turn their back on his or her nation and fight for individual rights. This is why it is the patriotism of our Founding Fathers, not their nationalism, that we celebrate on Independence Day every year. If our Founding Fathers were nationalists, we’d likely not have an Independence Day at all.
There are countless examples throughout history of nationalism turning into an insidious, anti-Liberty political ideology. It was nationalism, not patriotism, that Roosevelt employed to justify the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It was nationalism, not patriotism, that Tojo employed to justify the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was nationalism, not patriotism, that Hitler used to justify the unconscionable mass murder of millions of Jews and other “unGerman” minorities in death camps.
Did the Founding Fathers fight for independence from the tyrannical interference in their private affairs by the Parliament and the English Crown only so the government of the nation they established could interfere in the private affairs of their descendants?
“Madness is something rare in individuals –
but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.”
As should be clear, nationalism is ultimately incompatible with ideological conservatism, but when sacred and vital traditions come under attack, our natural instinct will always be to look for those who endanger our beliefs and deal with them, in one way or another. This often means targeting anyone that does not look or sound like we do, but that isn’t the patriot’s way. It’s not the conservative’s way. We must not judge by a person’s skin, their hair, or even their beliefs, but “by the content of their character“. This is what truly makes America different. This is what truly makes America great.
We conservatives must strive to be patriots of Liberty and Natural Law. We must be as skeptical of nationalists who use our flags, traditions, and uniforms as excuses for their anti-Liberty beliefs as we are of any socialist, because nationalism is simply socialism by another name. Where socialists justify their interference in our private enterprises in the name of the well being of the collective, the nationalist justifies doing so with the flag. At the end of the day, they result in the same government bureaucracies, the same curtailed liberties, and the same dehumanization of the individual.
Nationalism, like socialism, ultimately provokes the worst aspects of human nature. At best, nationalists simply lack any conviction of belief in the fundamental principles of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” upon which our nation was founded. At worst, they will seek to sacrifice those principles on the altar of the “national interest“. The “national interest” is not and has never been the problem of the People, who often have their hands full with their daily lives.
While the nationalist may believe that even the private interest is, in fact, national, there is nothing more fundamentally un-American. We are a nation of free people, and our business is ultimately our own and nobody else’s. The government’s one and only duty is to promote the general welfare so that the people can focus on living our lives in freedom and solving our own problems.
Be brave. Be free.
Liberty is For The Win!
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