Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – What we need is an alteration in manner of thinking. Manner of thinking today is jingoistic “USA! USA!” as opposed to localistic. I don’t want to say republican or individualistic because individualism is also part of what’s rotten at the core of society today. Daniel Larison has this intriguing post at The American Conservative Magazine last night, “Rejecting Jingoism and Groupthink.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: What we need is an alteration in manner of thinking. Manner of thinking today is jingoistic “USA! USA!” as opposed to localistic. I don’t want to say republican or individualistic because individualism is also part of what’s rotten at the core of society today. Daniel Larison has this intriguing post at The American Conservative Magazine last night, “Rejecting Jingoism and Groupthink.”
Intercollegiate Review is hosting a symposium on how to fix what is ailing conservatism. [Mike: Funny, these outfits never ask yours truly for an input, although I was asked by Peter Heyward of Nomocracy in Politics for a submission on the subject and I’m working on it right now.] Here is an excerpt from my contribution:
One of the chief maladies afflicting conservatism today is American nationalism and its distorting effects on both policy and political culture. When I say American nationalism here, I am referring specifically to an Americanism dedicated to the maintenance of global “leadership” in the service of an America that is itself treated as an ideological project. This nationalism feeds off of patriotic loyalty, but it is far removed from patriotic love for our country. As G.K. Chesterton wrote in The Napoleon of Notting Hill, “the patriot never under any circumstances boasts of the largeness of his country, but always and of necessity, boasts of the smallness of it,” and this form of American nationalism is defined by boasting about the country’s “largeness” in the world. The future of American conservatism depends greatly on challenging this nationalism on both a cultural and a policy level and cultivating instead a deeper respect for both localities and regions on the one hand and foreign nations on the other.
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Mike: Folks, this is right out of and perfectly in tune and in sync with Professor Claes Ryn’s The New Jacobinism and some of the chapters I have read to you on the air. I’m not accusing Larison of anything, by the way. I just think that they’re both onto the heart of the matter and the proper conclusion that we ought to make, which is that yes, the entity has become too large to be managed. Why we continue in what amounts to a Sisyphean endeavor — you roll the boulder halfway up the hill and you go: Man, I’m gonna make it to the top, I’m gonna make it. Uh oh! Then the boulder runs back down on you. Sisyphus goes right back: I’m gonna roll that jugger up this time. We’re not going to get the boulder to the top. I don’t think, nationally speaking, we’ll get the boulder to the top of the hill.
I think that viewing the current union as in need of serious repair and reconsideration is a healthy enterprise. I don’t think of it as a destructive endeavor, of something that wields great pain. I think absolutely the opposite. I think it holds out the possibility of being able to generate great happiness and excitement among the people. They may actually be excited about their political prospects. They may be genuinely excited for something that is genuinely exciting. Just as, if you’ve watched my movie The Road to Independence, available in the Founder Tradin’ Post at MikeChurch.com, the only film of its kind ever made, if you watch the speech, just fast forward near the end of John Adams’ six-minute-forty-six-second-long speech on why we should declare independence. I’ll play you a clip from it at the top of next hour. Adams says: Why don’t we want a country of our own that we govern, where we choose our leaders, where we elect our leaders, where we, guided by the grace of God, choose how we want to live and in what kind of political formations? Why wouldn’t you want that?
The idea here [mocking] “It was determined for us back in 1787,” come on, really? I am as dedicated and as admiring of the founders as any man that is alive today and continue my study of them because the study of them is to study what they studied. Then you will discover what it was that made them so admirable to us today. At the same time, I would think they would be encouraging what I just talked about, that they would be encouraging. They’d say: Are you guys nuts? Do you really think all 311 million of you can live together under one umbrella that is headquartered on one coast 3,000-some miles from some of the political entities it claims to be able to govern, really, seriously? What could you possibly have in common that would bring you to this conclusion? It can only be a lack of imagination. What do they say caused 9/11? What did the 9/11 Commission say? What did Lee Hamilton write in the 9/11 Commission report? Lack of imagination. That’s what they said caused and led to — of course, the imagination was inside the government.
End Mike Church Show Transcript