July 27, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
NATIONALISM vs. SECESSION:
Should America Break Up?
A couple of weeks ago there was a much-ballyhooed conference in Washington DC (July 14-15, 2019) on what is termed “national conservatism.” Initiated by Israeli “nationalist” scholar Yoram Hazony, the conference was part of an effort to corral the growing and unleashed nationalist tendencies here in the United States and to see if they might be brought under control, that is, into the mainstream of the “conservative movement.”
What was fascinating about the over-priced conference was its list of invitees, or rather the glaring absence of certain significant voices that should have been in attendance but, very pointedly, weren’t invited, including Professor Paul Gottfried, perhaps the world’s leading authority on the decline of democracy and the rise of nationalism and populism globally.
And there was certainly a very good reason for that. For Gottfried represents a discordant note and would have thrown a huge monkey wrench into Hazony’s effort to suborn the unruly nationalist and populist tendencies on the American Right. Gottfried clearly sees through the transparent efforts by figures such as the Zionist scholar and some other members of the establishment to reign in the restive “new Right” which no longer trusts or accepts the failed program of the nugatory and pallid “conservative movement,” what Gottfried has rightly called “the phony right.”
Another acute and on-the-mark critic of the conference and its attempt to neutralize and domesticate the growing reaction of the grass roots against the American Establishment was the brilliant young journalist and critic Christopher De Groot, whose new online journal, The Agonist, is like a breath of fresh air intellectually.
Commenting on the one very fearless conference participant, Professor Amy Wax (University of Pennsylvania Law School), Christopher highlighted her remarks:
“Amy, once again, has been an object of controversy. The reason is that in her talk at the nationalism conference she argued, on cultural grounds, that ‘our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites’…. She also thinks that ‘we must ensure that bad habits from the Third World…are not allowed to infect and undermine the First’.”
Apparently, this was not what most of the attendees had come to hear. These remarks were not, clearly, about controlling the unwashed dissident Right and avoiding issues of division like race and gender, issues the “conservative movement” in its effort to stress national unity and “American Exceptionalism” wishes strenuously to downplay (or even incorporate into its program). Rather they spoke to the necessity of homogeneity and organicism as conditions for national survival, aspects that are quickly disappearing in modern American society. Professor Wax, thus, acknowledged the elephant in the room: a culturally-based recognition of the importance of historical ethnicity and certain shared beliefs as a foundation for any successful polity.
Professor Wax’s presentation and the commentaries by Paul Gottfried and Christopher De Groot highlight and bring up another question, a question that, in many ways, is more profound and more basic than whether a newly-resurgent American nationalism may be harnessed to serve the current conservative movement.
And that question is this: Despite the rise of a new nationalism, given the situation in the United States, can this nation actually survive as a nation, as a functioning entity under its 1787 Constitution in a modern world where the centrifugal forces of division and separation now appear overwhelming and unstoppable, without some form of dictatorship? Has not the disruption and radicalization of polarities advanced too far for even a revived nationalism to put the pieces back together? Is there not another option?
Already there is a movement in California—“Calexit”—for California to secede, to separate from the Federal union. After all, California is, for all intents and purposes, like a Third World country governed by an hysterical Progressivist junta and embracing every insane and mad nostrum that the loony Left comes up with. Why not let them—along with Oregon and Washington State—go their own separate ways (perhaps with, yes painful, population exchanges for those in disaccord)? Wouldn’t things be better for the rest of us if they were out of the union?
These disquieting questions should be raised, and, in some ways they may be as important or even more important than examining a new American nationalism and how it might (or might not) figure in revitalizing the moribund conservative movement.
Yesterday I had a major essay on this topic published by THE UNZ REVIEW, and I pass it along to you. Certain small portions of this piece I had used in the MY CORNER installment of July 24. But this essay is longer and new, and is now a featured article at UNZ (and I see that another Web site, Vox Day, has already linked to it):
THE UNZ REVIEW
Is It Time for America to Break Apart?