By Christopher Chantrill — December 30, 2014
I first fell in love with America 49 years ago.
I flew from the UK to Denver visit my parents in Christmas 1965, and it was love at first sight. I fell in love with America, the land; I fell in love with America, the people. And I fell in love with the American way of life, the unconsciously optimistic approach to life and work and the future.
When I returned to the UK and college in the New Year I found that my Brit pals didn’t want to know about America. Too bad. I immigrated to America after graduation in 1968 and never looked back. I applied for citizenship as soon as possible and my naturalization certificate is dated January 3, 1975.
So, in just about a week, I’ll have been a U.S. citizen for 40 years. And do you know what this naturalized U.S. citizen would like more than anything in the world?
I would like to elect in 2016 a president who loves America with all his heart.
I don’t mean that the president should be a Polly-Anna and pretend that everything is hunky-dory in America. I just want a president that wants to fix America because he loves America.
The problem with our liberal friends is that they think that they are too evolved to descend to the celebration of a nation-state and its flummeries of patriotism and flags and Pledges of Allegiance. And so thinks President Obama. Liberals are globalists; they are cosmopolitans. And so is President Obama. They believe in supranational governance with the EU and the UN. And so does President Obama.
They do not love America; they sneer at America.
There may one day be a world government, but its time is not yet. And the reason is simple; it was articulated by the notorious British politician and classical scholar, Enoch Powell. He said that the EU could not work because there was “no European demos,” no European people. There is a British people, a French people, a German people, but no European people. And no world people.
We lovers of America know that the modern nation-state is an astonishing achievement. It has united humans on the basis of language and principle instead of the age-old basis of tribe and kindred. Of course, the unification was not done with sweetness and light; it was done by force and domination. English is not the language of Wales and Scotland. French is not the language of Brittany. Italian is the language of Tuscany, not Naples. And don’t get me started on India.
But liberals are ashamed of the nation-state, and so they sneer at it while they boost their chimeras of supranational governance and multiculturalism. Any fool can see that supranational governance is a dead letter and that multiculturalism is a recipe for civil war.
In The Fatal Conceit, F.A. Hayek faulted liberals for imagining that politicians and experts could design and implement a system to run the modern economy. But I think that their real “fatal conceit” is the idea that liberals can control the passions of politics. We can see this with the administration’s current enthusiasm for inflaming racial tensions through hyped-up attacks on white-on-black and police violence. What do they think is going to happen from prodding African Americans into anti-police riots and demonstrations?
The fact is that politics is a lethal weapon. That is why I like to call politics civil war by other means, for the job of a politician is to rile up his supporters for the political fight. Unfortunately, as the German general wrote, “No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the enemy.” Once you’ve got your supporters all riled up and deployed into the streets, then what?
And these days the height of political sophistication is supposed to be the idea of the “permanent campaign.”
I’d say that the opposite is true. There may be no alternative to riling up your supporters during an election campaign, but after the election is over it is time to bury the hatchet and remember that we are all Americans. The job of the president is not to stigmatize the opposition but to knock powerful heads together and advance his program with bipartisan consensus, because we all love America.
That’s why I want to elect a president that loves America. I want a president that so loves this country and so loves its people that he couldn’t even imagine the idea of an 8-year partisan forced-march to fundamentally transform America.
My kind of president would say: Why, if we did that you never know where it would end up. We might end up destroying America, and why would anyone want to risk doing that?