Lies and Truths of Nationalism

It is disturbing when you see a man like Tucker Carlson, who seems a reasonably objective fellow, painted with the brush of authority by the likes of Virginian Rich Lowry. Lowry, of course, is the editor of the once conservative publication, The National Review. Lowry’s views are aligned with Eric Foner et al—the nationalists.

Recently, 11-1-19, on The Tucker Carlson Fox program, Lowery was a guest and used the opportunity to espouse the counter-historical truth of the founding of the nation. At length, of course, the names Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt rolled off the tongue of Lowery. All of this ilk he attributed to the great nationalism that Donald Trump has been marketing on the conservative (not to be confused with Republican) side of the political continuum. Trump meant something else, but Lowry wants to sell books in addition to selling the contemporary national United States (a single entity) as opposed to the “founded” confederated union of states.

The attempt to promote this narrative was because of the crossover of the contemporary progressive movement’s lack of knowledge of its own founding: Nationalism. Carlson offered clips of some of the media markets (feigning journalism) critical of President Trump’s proud acclamation that he was a Nationalist.

Such ilk as Lowry love to bring up their heroes Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln both of whom in their day would make Adam Schiff look like the truth fairy. For an excellent, and concise study of Hamilton examine Brion McClanahan’s How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America. As far as Lincoln’s appellation, he was labeled “Honest Abe” not because he was honest but because of the opposite; much like the biggest player on the football team is called “Tiny.” Perhaps an even better comparison would be to a used car salesman called “Honest John.”

An excellent source for the true Lincoln would be most any of Thomas DiLoenzo’s extensive studies on the subject or even the musings of Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon.

Lincoln was no more than a lawbreaking thug. His conduct in violation of habeas corpus, illegally calling up troops to make war on Americans and a host of other abuses of law are well documented. This is always defended as his needing to break the law to save the union, or he did it to free the slaves. Of course, neither of these is true of but it gives pseudo-historians like Lowry a best seller on Amazon. And it perpetuates the Lincoln myth.

As far as Teddy Roosevelt is concerned, he was the product of a New York political machine and nothing more than a hack. His greatest claim to fame as president was that he sent the Navy around the world in a wastefully expensive display of bravado. Something, of course, a republican would not do but a nationalist would.

Lowry proudly and pompously tells Carlson that nationalism is misunderstood because people are lazy and don’t understand it. What they believe, Lowery says with even more pompous authority is that people believe it is fascism, militarism or racism (that last word, it seems, is used in every study and context except the study of venereal diseases).

In fact, nationalism has greater roots in the European nationalist revolutions of the 19th century than any so-called American Nationalism. The French revolution (ouch), the consolidation of principalities and provinces of Italy and Germany into single national states, endorsed by the likes of Karl Marx are exercises in nationalism.

Though the colonies became states, free and independent as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, they were not in any way a conglomeration of “counties” answerable to a single state nor an amalgamation of people creating a single American people. Even being interviewed by Andrew Wilkow, 11-6-19, on the radio Lowry overrides Jefferson in favor of Hamilton’s favor of a single State of The United States over These United States, as Jefferson wrote. Lowry told Wilkow that what Hamilton favored and encouraged was “good” for us. Also, it offered a way “we” could project our power. No mattered that Hamilton spoke one way at the convention in Philadelphia and another way at the ratification convention in his home state of New York. Again, see McClanahan.

Lowry does, casually mention Jefferson almost as an afterthought. For even the novice historical student, a study of Jefferson could not be conjoined with the likes of Hamilton. And to attempt to link Jefferson’s philosophies with either Lincoln’s or Hamilton’s is akin to mixing ice cream and mud. It doesn’t hurt the mud but it plays hell with the ice cream.

Lowry advises Carlson that nationalism means essentially what the United States is and has been since its beginning. This national myth is constantly promoted whereby the “Founding Fathers” got together as the most brilliant unified thinkers since the disciples of Socrates and formed a single nation-state in 1776. Wrong. No nation of the U.S.A. was formed in 1776. And the eponymous Founding Fathers were not as sacrosanct as they were fearful of mistakes that would be costly to local governing. This, of course, would be in 1787. The year 1776 had nothing do do with any founding. It was an un-founding—a secession of individual states.

For an excellent study on this the first chapter in 1933 of The Secession of the Southern States by Gerald W. Johnson. Or perhaps source and study the seldom mentioned Anti-Federalists Papers instead of the almost Ecclesiastically worshiped Federalist Papers.

Tucker Carlson always comes over as a true journalist in an age when there is only a handful around. Perhaps, if time is available, he can fit in someone who can give the other side of Lowry’s tale. Odds are that Carlson would oblige if he had a volunteer.

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