Recent email revelations have put paid on the longheld conclusion that America’s Left is actively working to take us into a post-American future. This view is underwritten by most on the Right and many on the Left. The entire proposition is wrapped up in the widely accepted notion of an evolving America. Currently there stand two much read publications which discuss this issue – the Nov/Dec 2016 Foreign Affairs, flagship publication of the prestigious left-leaning Council on Foreign Relations (CRF), and the Oct 2016 Imprimis, the widely read publication (circulation over 3.6 million) from the right-leaning Hillsdale College.
FA devotes its entire issue to the discussion of populism in which we read ‘Populism on the March – Why the West Is in Trouble’ by CNN’s Mr Fareed Zakaria, and ‘Populism is not Fascism’ by Columbia’s Professor Sheri Berman. Imprimis summarizes a recent (12oct16) speech by Professor Edward Erler – ‘Who We Are As a People – The Syrian Refugee Question’.
For openers FA identifies what they label an “ethno-nationalist trend” that is ongoing on both sides of the Atlantic and championed in America by Donald Trump. From the issue’s introductory overview it is clear that populism is any broadly held socio-political view by people who don’t support progressive globalism. One senses that there is a perceptible cloud over such people.
However, rightwing populism is seen as a relatively new populism that has nevertheless inserted itself firmly into conservative politics through Trump’s campaign to an extent that it is likely that “Trumpism would outlast Trump” on the political stage. The evolution of populism has migrated its Right/Left differences from having an economical to a cultural basis.
Zakaria then exposes his progressive roots when discussing the current presidential campaigns. He does not recognize that Trump’s message and ‘plan’ is based on reinvigorating GDP growth, and Hillary’s is based on more regulations, taxes, and spending directed by government elites. In any event the Republicans have mistakenly focused too long on economics while Trump has successfully stoked “cultural fears and nationalist sentiment.”
Zakaria attributes opposition to Obama’s policies by the Tea Party as simply expressed racism, and turns a blind eye to Islamic mass migrations as simply the inevitable “globalization of people” movement. Nowhere is there a hint of recognizing that such migrations are powered by the deadly authoritarian environments created by collectivist governments in their home countries. In the same vein he claims that the west doesn’t “understand” the influx of foreigners in spite of the fact that at the grass roots level the people of the west understand perfectly, and are reacting to the existential threat that foreigners are to their cultures and ways of life.
The overarching tenet of the CRF is that “immigration is the final frontier of globalization” and in this context opposing the destruction of one’s culture is therefore “racist” and “xenophobic”. In such a worldview the correct answer to ‘Does freedom include the freedom to reject something or someone?’ is a firm NO! However, the guidance by these worthies does admit to problems that might arise if the west pays insufficient attention to the “dangers of too rapid cultural change.”
Without acknowledging the aggregate gross ignorance of our most recent generation, Zakaria correctly observes that “young people are least anxious or fearful of foreigners” of any social group. And that sentiment is held because they have been taught that “living in diverse, dynamic countries: will enrich them economically, socially, and culturally.” That these young have no basis for such conclusions and may instead be seeking natural anchors in their societies denied by their education is totally discounted.
Overall Zakaria ignores the massive impact on western societies delivered by Islamic colonization and terror, and technology driven systemic unemployment. The young populists are seeking relevance in something new and undefined, a relevance which they cannot find in their traditional settings simply because their generation has carefully not been taught how to fit into a more slowly evolving established order. But the biggest hole in Zakaria’s dissertation on populism is totally ignoring the question of what happens to a resident culture with the mass arrival of un-assimilating immigrants.
Professor Berman takes an interesting tack with her surface argument that populism is not fascism per se, but underneath makes clear that rightwing populism is the stepping stone to fascism. She admits that fascism has many faces, but shares tenets that include “virulent opposition to democracy and liberalism”, “deep suspicion of capitalism”, “the nation (with common religion, race) is the most important source of identity for all true citizens”, and promotion of a new political order that nurtures a “unified and purified nation under the guidance of a powerful leader.”
The lady, ignoring her own shared tenets of fascism, then launches into describing how such authoritarian regimes come into being from the Right, going on to frame her arguments in an historical summary of the inter-bellum political developments in Europe that led to its fascist governments and in America which rejected fascism. Most interesting is how she manages to ignore the massive influences of the Left in its bolshevist exertions to establish international communism. The Right seems to have arrived at fascism in a political vacuum as if to have solved the riddle about ‘the sound of the one hand clapping’.
With this preamble Trump is labeled simply as a “rightwing extremist” with the careful implication that in his candidacy we have the portents of fascism, right here in River City. This gloomy possibility is then quickly banished by the hopeful assertion that not to worry because democracy “allows countries to recover from their mistakes” through the ballot box. With no sign of intellectual whiplash Professor Berman then glibly informs us that “… democracies themselves create the crises” that populism’s revolutionaries then exploit.
The whole essay is an example of the Left’s consistent message that all bad things to modern societies have arisen from rightwing populism, and in this election we should carefully vote with these truths firmly in mind.
In the Imprimis Professor Erler begins with –
Nothing has provoked the ire of America’s bipartisan political class as much as Donald Trump’s recent proposal that the U.S. should suspend the acceptance of refugees from Syria and other terrorist-supporting nations until we find a way of perfecting the screening process to ensure that we are not admitting terrorists or terror sympathizers.
And then he lays out the underlying rationale for such a policy, and wonders why the more simpler and more effective solutions to the Muslim migrant problem are not being implemented by our political leaderships. Hillary Clinton has gone so far as declare that the “acceptance of refugees is an important reaffirmation of America’s commitment to diversity. It is a reaffirmation of ‘who we are as Americans,’ she has said, as if the American character is defined by its unlimited openness to diversity.” And she has been joined by prominent Republicans in this sentiment. Such an “acceptance of refugees” is put forward as an unqualified requirement for us to continue a “reaffirmation” which most of us don’t see the need for, especially if it diminishes national security and gives rise to radical and rapid cultural changes. In the past such an obvious understanding was accepted without the need to spell it out.
(At this point I have to confess that Erler’s worldview closely coincides with my own as longtime RR readers will be quick to recognize. I point this out to our leftwing critics who more often than not are ignorant of the surprising fact that many/most of the values, mores, and observations in these pages are still held by millions of Americans. While attribution as the lone progenitor and purveyor of these ideas is appreciated, I cannot take credit for all of them.)
We then find out that “proponents of the refugee program seem to believe that their commitment to diversity makes us stronger and more secure as a nation, and that any opposition to the program is racist, xenophobic, (as noted above) and most particularly Islamophobic.” To cleanse ourselves of such charges, some progressives in Europe have advised that, to reduce the ire of male Muslim immigrants, their women should cover their heads and be accompanied by a male when venturing out.
The foundation of this thought is asymmetrical globalism with America’s preparation for a “borderless world” as welcomed most recently by SecState Kerry and his predecessor Mrs Clinton. However, as we know and Erler points out, “a world without borders is a world without citizens, and a world without citizens is a world without the rights and privileges that attach exclusively to citizens” since such “rights and liberties are the exclusive preserve of the nation-state” founded on constitutional principles bestowed by the consent of its people. As a failing alternative to this consider the EU, not a constitutional but an administrative government. In a one world borderless future constitutional government, to say nothing of liberal democracy, will be a meaningless and soon a subversive worldview to our ruling betters.
Without using the terms propounded here, Erler argues that global government will quickly migrate to global tyranny as the underpinnings of the Bastiat Triangle (of rights) are constructively compromised and then removed. We have only to look around to already see our progress in this direction as federally imposed political correctness is inserted into yet another facet of our daily living.
The raison d’etre for all this is the intellectual argument of the progressives’ moral relativism according to which “all value judgments are equal”, and “values are not capable of rational analysis” since “they are merely idiosyncratic preferences”. The only “objective value” that remains in this value-free world is tolerance and the equal toleration of all values. This vision of a moral flatland finds its expression in the total commitment to diversity as “the only reasonable position.” And the only “genuine commitment” is your toleration of “those who are pledged to kill you and destroy your way of life.” All other types of toleration without sacrifice are seen as low grade ore that garners nothing for such a weak-willed person.
When this thought or “deadly commitment” is elevated to the national level “it signals a nation’s single-minded devotion to tolerance” by sacrificing its sovereignty as an existential proof of its commitment to the only objective value of total tolerance. Erler notes that “the common-sense citizen is forgiven for thinking this train of thought insane.”
When all this is reduced to the pragmatic problem of allowing refugees to immigrate under the extant immigration laws of 1965 and 1980, Americans run into a conflict with their progressive elites who teach us that foreigners with markedly different and even anti-American belief systems have a right to enter our county. For such people of today’s Left, it is constitutionally disputable that “the U.S. has plenary power to determine the conditions for immigration.” Such political assertions are the unmistaken preamble to the revocation of the Westphalian principles that founded the community of sovereign nation-states. And that, of course, is the entire purpose for raising the debate in the first place.
To proceed apace toward this uniform global amalgam of governance, America must be laid open to the world and the formerly acknowledged values of American citizenship must be quietly voided. After detailing more destructive facets of progressive immigration policies – e.g. sanctuary cities and repeated release of criminal illegal aliens - Erler concludes –
Securing our nation’s borders with a wall and by any other means necessary is favored by a majority of Americans, but the idea is considered vulgar and unacceptable by the progressive forces of History, forces which are clearing the obstacles to a borderless world. For these forces, the march of History is inevitable and any appeal to citizens and to the nation-state is anachronistic. It is not inevitable that these forces will have their way. But because of the demographic and political changes brought on by the open-borders regime, time grows short for the American people to reassert their sovereignty - that is, to stop the self-sacrifice which the political elites of both parties have determined is necessary to satisfy the gods of political correctness - those gods who are the guardians of the diversity which defines “who we are as a people.”
And, dear reader, your safest bet is that this work for our post-American future will continue unabated after January 2017 no matter who will sit in the Oval Office, in the chambers of Congress, or on the bench of the Supreme Court.