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America First

From Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech earlier today:

The direction I will outline today will also return us to a timeless principle. My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else. That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make.

America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”

Who can argue with that? What he says here has been the burden of my song for the years that I’ve been blogging.

There are those who can and do disagree with the speech, particularly the part I’ve excerpted above. ‘America First.’ That’s hardly a new idea; it was a given during much of the history of this country, before we got too big for our britches, drunk on power, and took on the role of world policeman/Messiah.

But the chorus of invective from the media (and the anti-Trump faction wherever they are) finds the phrase ‘America First’ to be redolent of fascism, Hitler, and all manner of evil. Why, even Charles Lindbergh was known to have used the phrase. CNN claims he coined the phrase, though that seems doubtful.

Now that Lindbergh’s name has been brought up, we might look back at his life and career. When he made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, he was instantly the darling of the country; popular songs were written and sung about him.

However Lindbergh fell afoul of the gods of political correctness (which were already demanding sacrifices back in the 1930s) and Lindbergh’s star fell; he was no longer honored as he had initially been.

But now Lindbergh, who seemed impregnable in the world’s eyes, was preaching a dangerous doctrine. The great hero had become a leader of the notorious anti-war America First movement and was urging his country to keep out of the fight against Hitler.

It was a stance that would eventually topple him from the plinth of greatness. His selfish arguments would convince many Americans – among them, powerful politicians – that the country had no place in a European conflict, even if it meant that Germany could march into Britain unhindered.

It was a view that alarmed and horrified many in Britain which was then standing alone against the threat of invasion by the Nazis. Winston Churchill, a friend of Lindbergh’s was furious when he learned of his isolationist speeches.

But there was another, ugly dimension to Lindbergh’s rhetoric that would disgust his many critics – anti-Semitism.”

It seemed that from that point on ‘America First’ began to be associated by some (deliberately) with sympathy for fascist regimes, and with “anti-Semitism.” Those, like Lindbergh, who held to a non-interventionist stance on foreign policy, were labeled ”isolationists”, as unpatriotic and backward. From then on the view of the world as a ‘global village’ began to take shape. We couldn’t sit out any of the wars; it was our duty as Americans, as the world’s exemplar and savior and policeman to involve ourselves in wars everywhere. We had to give the world the benefit of our superior ‘values’ and ideals. We had to be bringers of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ to the world’s doorstep, at any cost in lives and treasure.

Could Donald Trump succeed in undoing the decades of globalist, interventionist propaganda and return us to our former state of things, when we were ‘keepers at home’, looking out for our own household and backyard? There are no guarantees, but it’s almost a dead certainty that nobody else in our political world is prepared to do so, nor that a single one of them has any desire to do so. However I believe that the ‘America First’ idea represents the truer version of America, which goes back to our Founding Fathers, as evidenced by their own words.

What a concept: a country exists for the benefit of its citizens, whose interests and well-being it puts first.

I know it’s the thing to do, these days, to sneer at the Founding Fathers and at ”Murka” or whatever the current term of abuse for our country is. But can’t we, for a while, just stop being cynics about our country and history and people? I think we have no choice; we have to suspend our disbelief and take a leap of faith. There’s no other option, as far as I can see, except to swear off politics and go live on a deserted island somewhere.

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4 thoughts on “America First

  1. Timely essay VA and interesting information on Lindbergh. Lindbergh for the Five Dollar Bill.

    However, given that Lindbergh repeated George Washington’s Farewell Address, it can’t be much longer for Washington to be off the currency. His greater sin was not slavery but threatening our support of Israel. Who knew?

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  2. I think an important question to ask is what, exactly, Trump means by “America” and “American”.

    It seems to me that Trump, like many others, believe those terms are determined precisely by a civic – and not ethnic – nature alone.

    That of course forces us to ask whether his “America First” policy will make much of a difference, if what he means by “American” doesn’t do much for actual American people?

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  3. To follow up, what I mean is based upon something I think you once said and that was legal and illegal immigration are one in the same, since both have a way of altering the identity of a country in the end – one path just supposedly does it legally.

    Now, granted, I think Trump offers us a path that no other politician would dare put us on. And that obviously is move towards less globalization. My hope is that we can build off this direction and shut down all immigration for the time being while this country heals in some ways, for immigration per se has brought to this nation a kind of pestilence. But of course, immigration is as open and acceptable because America/American is seen as itself a value, a quality, a virtue that all can practice and not something rooted in anything tangible or particular, like history or kin.

    My worry is that Trump believes anyone can be American if they adopt the beliefs requisite of that calling, including the obligation to transform oneself into an American by baptism through the legal method of immigration, as if to say it’s a kind of ceremony that all must respect and recognize (and blasphemy to bypass).

    Let’s just hope he builds a wall at least and doesn’t create a touch back immigration program as he said he would.

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  4. Nick, there are no guarantees of what he will or won’t do.
    In the early days of my original blog there was a kind of ongoing discussion of Steve Sailer’s idea of ”citizenism” as an alternative to ethnonationalism (the latter was considered too controversial and possibly ‘racist’ by some then as now) and I spent a lot of time arguing against ‘citizenism’ for various reasons.
    Trump may be (or not) something of a ‘citizenist’ but given that he doesn’t seem to feel compelled to try to argue for it as opposed to the old-fashioned kind of American nationalism (which included immigration restrictionism for a good many years) it would seem he is not a citizenist or a ‘civic nationalist’ unless he is deceiving us by keeping it quiet.
    I think he is aware of the huge problems we’ve incurred by this silly idea that anyone and everyone can be an ”American”; he can see how that has worked against us. Living in the NYC area you can’t help noticing that the ‘melting pot’ hasn’t worked. NYC itself is an argument against the melting pot civic nationalist delusion.
    I don’t know what he would do as president; possibly not all that his supporters hope — but it’s certain that no other candidate is willing to say the things he has said in that speech, and therefore we can hardly go wrong in hoping that he represents a real change in direction.. Certainly no other candidate comes close. So whatever he does, even if only ”shifting the Overton window” as they say is a big step forward.

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