David Brooks: The American Identity Crisis

Since the early 20th century, populists and progressives have always had very different views about American foreign policy. Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson wanted to break with our traditions and follow in the footsteps of the European empires of their age and embark on the course of imperialism in Europe and Latin America to remake the world in America’s image.

Populists like William Jennings Bryan were deeply skeptical of this project. Bryan resigned as Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State over the sinking of the Lusitania and his concern that Wilson was leading America into a devastating war with Imperial Germany. The populist view has always been that we should mind our own business and at least stay put in our own hemisphere and that imperialism would bring about undesirable racial and cultural changes to our population and corrupt our politics and that standing armies and a huge military establishment would become a threat to American liberty.

Populism isn’t “fascism.” The populist ideal is self-government and getting rid of the American Empire and minding our own business and investing in this country for once and dismantling the military-industrial complex. Whereas the populist believes in downsizing America’s “global role” and letting the world govern itself, progressives and liberals are expansionists and imperialists and support militarism.

New York Times:

“For most of the past century, human dignity had a friend — the United States of America. We are a deeply flawed and error-prone nation, like any other, but America helped defeat fascism and communism and helped set the context for European peace, Asian prosperity and the spread of democracy.

Then came Iraq and Afghanistan, and America lost faith in itself and its global role — like a pitcher who has been shelled and no longer has confidence in his own stuff. On the left, many now reject the idea that America can be or is a global champion of democracy, and they find phrases like “the indispensable nation” or the “last best hope of the earth” ridiculous. On the right the wall-building caucus has given up on the idea that the rest of the world is even worth engaging. …

I guess what befuddles me most is the behavior of the American left. I get why Donald Trump and other American authoritarians would be ambivalent about America’s role in the world. They were always suspicious of the progressive package that America has helped to promote.But every day I see progressives defending women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and racial justice at home and yet championing a foreign policy that cedes power to the Taliban, Hamas and other reactionary forces abroad.

If we’re going to fight Trumpian authoritarianism at home, we have to fight the more venomous brands of authoritarianism that thrive around the world. That means staying on the field. …”

By most of the past century, David Brooks means since Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive era. Since then, we have become a global empire with military outposts all over the world. The entire world has become our responsibility since we took over from the British. Every conflict in the world is our business. It is our duty to stay in Afghanistan forever and keep the Taliban at bay to protect women’s rights like General Gordon subduing the Mahdi in Sudan in the Victorian era.

Note: I could easily transform this site into writing about nothing but remedial education in American history because of the garbage taught in the public schools.

About Hunter Wallace 11911 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

13 Comments

  1. @ the NY times, David Brooks, they espouse the agenda, of their master/owners, no surprise there, thank you to the host of this site, for your diligence, in countering , their lies.

  2. “If we’re going to fight Trumpian authoritarianism at home, we have to fight the more venomous brands of authoritarianism that thrive around the world. That means staying on the field.”

    Yeah, (((David Brooks))) would like to see more White Christian blood spilled abroad for the defense of his utterly Satanic beliefs.

  3. The rub is that the America of TR and Woodrow Wilson was at an apogee of European ethno-centrism – it was a coherent people (or well on the way to becoming one) thus “populism” as a concept made sense.

    The America of 2021 is just a shopping mall, fragmented between dozens of national groups – including the white civil war between suicide-cult cosmopolitan liberals who (per surveys) hold a far higher opinion of random minorities/foreigners than of fellow whites, and the MAGA conservatives who have no coherent goals or leadership.

    The only political pathway which makes any sense has to be about white nationalism first (abolish nonwhite immigration, restore white freedom of association, establish an infrastructure of white institutions and lobby groups) and secondarily about such bread-and-butter issues as income redistribution.

  4. To me the debate between nation vs empire is always contextual.

    Ideological nationalists will ignore the reality that it’s some times easier/better to dominate your opponent than to be engaged in constant battles/wars.

    Ideological imperialists ignore the fact they could be starting shit for no reason that drains/ends you.

    To me its all contextual and historical determinative which one you should choose. A big question is there another imperialists power that would prevent you from engaging in “live-and-let-live” nationalism.

    I would say given the current world I’d lean on the side of empire. The world is too interconnected to have your own space with sovereignty. Any country that wants to live its own way will have to press others to live like them.

    However I’m well aware of the downsides and would am also open to a more hermit nationalism.

    As for america in particular we are in a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. Although morally I think our expansion has been completely nihilistic and is morally/ideologically bankrupt. So I support the american empire rolling back.

    But America has built up enough bad blood that other nations would retaliate against us if we took a step back.

    One could argue we deserve it and we could absorb it and in the long term it’d be better. I’m open to that argument but I don’t know geopolitics well enough to know how different world leaders would react to america doing a 180 on our imperialism. And someone would have go indepth and explain why they think the blowback would be absorbable and what type of L are we talking about taking. Some troops and some bases get destroyed? Sad but they are military and as harsh as it sounds “it is what they signed up for” or are we talking about blowback on american soil with high casualties. Or so many little attacks outside of the country it’s impossible for us to conduct any normal engagement with the world then no.

    America has also lost legitimacy as the humanitarian empire. So if we continue down the road of empire we are going to get increasing amounts of push/blowback. Again by how much though.

    I don’t see us getting out of this without blowback. If we continue as an empire we’ll get increasing levels of blowback if we stop today people will want their revenge.

    The real question is what’s worse and will lead to more senseless violence.

    America is in a very tough spot by our leaders own greed.

  5. The only reason the 20th century wars are remembered as America spreading “freedoms and democracy” while Iraq/Afghanistan aren’t is that the internet exists now. American elites had almost complete narrative control back in the 20th century. There was the government/media narrative and the 80-95% of people who believed in it on one hand, and then there were the far left/right cranks on the other hand. Today it’s almost inverted, where those believing the government narrative are in the minority and the “cranks” who question the narrative are the majority.

    If the Iraq war had happened before the internet, it would be remembered as America saving the world from the crazy Saddam Hussein who was going to unleash WMDs on the free world as part of his diabolical comic book plot to kill a bunch of people because he hates their freedom. That kind of stuff doesn’t fly anymore.

  6. I think Foster Brooks has more sense than (((David Brooks))). Isn’t David Brooks’ son serving in the IDF?

  7. No need to publish my last comment. To rambling. In the american context I always vote to shrink the empire. Keep up the great work Hunter

    • @Ivanka – It is actually a quite coherent and thoughtful comment– one of those of length worth reading.

  8. ” the garbage taught in the public schools”

    Is there anything else, besides garbage ?

    This is the very reason we need e-learning and web based supplemental education.

  9. Let the Jew tell you about your culture and identity, goy. With his hardwired connection to the NSA and Facebook data centers, he has a PhD in your life.

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