Yoram Hazony has done some great work on the subject of nationalism lately. Recently, however, he got in a Twitter spat with white nationalist Patrick Casey who was barred from attending Mr. Hazony’s conference on nationalism. I responded with a thread on Twitter but am copying it here as well:
I like your work on nationalism, Mr. Hazony, but I think you are missing something here. You are a member of an ethnic group that has its own country. That is great, and I support that. But shouldn’t America belong to the ethnic groups that founded it? My ancestors came to America centuries ago from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, France, and Germany. As a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, if America fails then I have nowhere else to escape to. There is no Israel for us.
I don’t like a lot of the white nationalist rhetoric. “White” isn’t an ethnicity. Yet that is what the social justice / identity politics crowd creates out of us. They don’t see Irish or Scottish or German or Hungarian. They see white. They want to eliminate whiteness. So it is no surprise that all these diverse European ethnic groups that have been marked for deletion in a Future of Color band together to fight back.
America is the homeland of Western Europeans who wanted to build a New World, and American nationalism has to start with them. America wasn’t founded in 1965 when we opened our borders, nor 1885 when immigrants came to Ellis Island. It was not even founded in 1789 or 1776 – the events of those years merely codified a nation that had already been born. America as a nation was founded in 1605 and 1620, when pilgrims and planters left their homes and began building a new civilization in a new world. American nationalism must recognize the existence of an American nation.
Trying to create a nationalism for America that is entirely based upon ideals or citizenship is doomed to fail. The former cannot function without strict ideological purity tests, and the latter is meaningless, simply magic dirt. I understand that Israel is open to more than just ethnic Jews. Yet it’s laws are written in such a way that the Jewish character of the nation is protected. “Israel must remain a Jewish state” they say, and I agree. I want the same thing for me and my posterity – a state where our heritage and traditions are carved into stone. Where I need not worry about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson being erased from history because they are “problematic” to the current zeitgeist.
Perhaps it is the destiny of descendants of America’s founders to follow in the footsteps of the Jewish people, wandering homeless for 2,000 years until we finally establish our own country again. But for my children’s sake, I’d like to keep the one we have.