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tv   National Review Institute Ideas Summit - Panel on Nationalism  CSPAN  April 24, 2019 4:28am-5:02am EDT

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historians rank america's best and worst chief executives. >> next, a discussion on nationalism and the republican party. this is 30 minutes. [applause] >> all right. everybody hear me ok? those of you by the door, let's hurry it up. everyone feeling invigorated? make sure your testosterone level is high enough. i am jim garrity, senior political correspondent of the national review.
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that is what you call political correspondents who get old. moderate a asked to conversation -- totally not a debate -- a conversation, about how we should think about nationalism. i get to play referee between my boss and my best friend. what could possibly go wrong? rich, if this goes bad, jonah will leave. [laughter] >> jonah did not want me to mention this. >> i just found out the name of the publication he and stephen are about to form. great irony. maga. now onto nationalism. you have a cover story on nationalism that set up a debate. a lot of times it was brilliant, insightful, funny, sharp.
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i will direct this first to jonah. when we talk about nationalism, what do we mean? what makes it different from patriotism? if they mean the same thing, why don't we that word because no one seems to get upset by it? >> excellent question. there is a lot going on there. i apologize only when i got under these lights i can see how much dog hair i have on my pants. which for the record i bought myself. some of you will get that. anyway it is great to be here and to be with rich. i don't have a lot of time. i will just jump right to it. this is part of my problem. nationalism by my life the way, in the in the essay they hang a lot on the word benign. they say benign nationalism does ll these wonderful things.
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i agree with all of those wonderful things, but the reason why they are wonderful is benign means good so when you say good nationalism is good it is sort of the problem is nationalism by itself is neither ood nor bad. it is essentially amoral. it is a phenomenon about the unity of people getting together and about having a sense of shows social solidarity around the concept of a nation. that can be good or really, really terrible. i don't think we have to spend a lot of time talking about all of the examples of that [indiscernibl] so one of my problems with the concept that people start taking nationalism and talking about it in of itself and it is like talking about violence being good. there is good violence and bad violence. a cop who uses a gun to stop a rape or burglary or something, that is
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good violence and the rape is bad violence. these are important distinctions. there is nothing inherent to the concept of nationalism that has a limiting principle to it that aught the limiting principle the things that constrain and as rich and ramesh talk about in their essay the thing that should constrain nationalism those are the things i care about. i do believe nationalism is part of conservatism but the important part is conservatism and that is the thing that constrain the passion. nationalism of itself is a passion about us versus some hem. there is nothing on the interior limiting that doesn't lead to all sorts of by my life bad things. if you look at the history of nationalism it is very difficult to distinguish programmatically or economically of things like socialism.
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in fact in the language of conomics if you nationalize an industry you socialize an industry. every social is moving in the world that has taken power quickly became nationalistic. they didn't lose to socialism but [inaudible] nationalist antisocialist too. this is one of the problems i have with nationalism. when you say the principle of nationalism is a is that the nation right the country and society, americans whatever socy that covers all of us is the most important thing, there is only one institution in the us.try that speaks for also to concentration of power in washington. i love tucker. i think he is completely wrong when he said that about how all i am asking for is a goal, what
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we want is a goal. you cannot solve a problem unless you have a goal. the goal of the american experiment is liberty. [applause] -- the pursuit of happiness is a right. you're not supposed to have a goal except to create a society where the rule of law applies, an individual can chart their course and the only time we invoke nationalist arguments is when we need specifically nationalism in the form of defending ourselves militarily. in everything else liberty. that is philosophically where i
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come against nationalists. >> a lot to unpack. >> i will answer your question. [laughter]>> i see what you did there. >> patriotism and nationalism. patriotism comes from latin, patre, same route as patriarchy. patriotism is simply, love of your own. it is an important feeling. i consider myself a patriot. patriotism is a good thing. nationalism is something different. it is the doctrine that a distinct people, united by ideals or history or common sense of mission, should govern a distinct piece of territory. one of the things that is so frustrating about the nationalism debate is jonah,tionalists like emmanuel macron -- [laughter]
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there, jim? i did >> this. [laughter] tend to do is define patriotism as a cosmopolitan idealistic universalism and then they define nationalism as patriotism and say it is too small minded and not idealistic enough and condemne it. the roots of nationalism go back to god in the western tradition. [laughter] god tells abraham i will make, a great nation. this is an important promise he holds true to. there is a long passage in numbers where he has a surveyor.
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that idea is so powerful, they never give it up. revolt after revolt, millennia of exile, suffering, the were sort of atrocities and they never give that idea of the nation up because it is so inherently powerful. i love how the final revolt of -- jews against the romans it never turns out well -- they retreat into caves, -- the desperate last stragglers, and archaeologists found some bones in the 1980's from these rebels. them and buried them with military honors.
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there was a speech saying, dear fathers, we have returned to our home and we will never be removed from this place again. that is nationalism. everyone in the western world learned this example through the most important book ever written, the bible. key aspects of american national identity -- this is the promised and, we have a covenant that we are a chosen people. where did that come from? did we just think of that in philadelphia? no. it goes back to ancient israel. it is just not true that we have ideals and we happen to be a nation or have nationalism. our ideals depended on nationalism. think about it.
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we could have been a nation within the british empire, very easily. most liberal empire in the world. we were already free, had certain rights. no. we chose national independence. we could have been a collection of states, like the articles of new federation. no. we chose to have a constitution and a national government. we could have gone our own way in the 1960's. we chose national unity. we could have been huddled on the eastern seaboard forever more. we chose expansion. all these things made us a powerful and coherent country that could actually defend ideals and make them matter in the world. it is not that nationalism is a neutral or random or accidental thing. we would not be as great or a country without nationalism. [applause] you clearly have thought
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about this a lot. [laughter] have you ever thought of writing a book? [laughter] >> very good segue. i do have a book coming out about nationalism in the fall. [laughter] >> you alluded to the concept of defending values to the world. how much do we see the nationalist debate with the rise of trump since 2016? you look back to ronald reagan. there was skepticism about the not, a wariness of accountable institutions like the imf and the world bank. we like nato. but international coalitions become things that impede the time, the actions you can take. how new is this? >> jonas at this. partnalism has always been
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of the conservative sensibility. what happened with trump is democrats turned their back on nationalism and now are overwhelmingly oriented toward a cosmopolitanism. republicans lost touch with it as well, for good reasons, under the influence of evangelical christianity, which is , of overlyt idealistic foreign policy under george w. bush, under the influence of libertarianism, a globally oriented business elite. tendency,his powerful with nohuman tendency one laying claim to it, and trump did. we can talk about trump. he sensed the power and importance of it.
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part of it is the u.n. -- when john bolton and mike pompeo work so hard to defeat the icc, that is nationalist tendency but more importantly it is the realization we are a people, not a collection of random individuals, we are a real country, not just an abstraction. we should put our national interests and the interest of our citizens, first. >> we will stipulate there is a great deal i disagree with in his response but i will get to this question. problem,solutely no certain on the foreign policy stage. it is probably clever by half but i am a passionate believer in nationism. the best units of the global order are nationstates. i am not a cosmopolitan.
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want the u.s. out of the u.n. , so i amhat stuff but a big believer in asserting our sovereignty, charting our own course, that does not mean you don't have allies but this gets to part of the problem of taking nationalism as a standalone ideal, separate and apart from the conservatism that gives it meaning and direction and that it is part of american exceptionalism. huntington wrote a fantastic called, the 1950's conservatism as ideology. radicalismism and are the only philosophies in the world that are entirely contextual. a conservative in the soviet union was trying to conserve the revolution. a conservative in portugal was
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trying to conserve the monarchy. america was trying to conserve having our heads and our hearts wired together for freedom and justice. conservatism, the concept of the nation we are trying to conserve is hard to distinguish from patriotism. the american political unittion, the most moral is not the group. it is the individual. the hero is the man who stands up to the mob. not the mob. one of the problems i have is, even if i subscribe to his understanding of nationalism, which is benign and good and if everyone agreed on his definition, i would before it, but the problem is, the effort to turn nationalism into a
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specific political agenda that defines the republican already -- the republican party -- trump said he calls himself a nationalist -- in an era of negative partisanship, that incentivizes democrats to be even more against nationalism or patriotism than they were before. millions of democrats are now more pro free-trade then they have ever been simply because they have been driven crazy by donald trump. they are more against any version of nationalism because they hate donald trump. when you make this notion of america being special and all of partisant of the agenda rather than the civic agenda, you encourage people who disagree with you to politicize it even more and make it radioactive. that is a problem. this should be nonpartisan,
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bipartisan, stuff we teach in grade school -- not stuff we say is what republicans believe and democrats don't. >> ok. [laughter] thate logical endpoint of about trump is you should not say anything we believe. the fact is, nationalism is woven into this country. as conservatives we respect that tradition. washington, the farewell letter to alexander hamilton, henry clay, abraham likened, teddy roosevelt, -- >> the new deal and the great society. they were nationalist projects. >> that is progressivism. were inherently nationalism, aoc would be
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anti-stateist. she is not. nationalist. fdr as a democrat is better than aoc as a democrat. read his third inaugural address. [laughter] prayer for men on d-day and imagine aoc or any contemporary democrat talking about this country and our troops in those terms. it makes no sense to support the system of nationstates, which has supported freedom and self-government around the world, but say, i do not like nationalism. you only got the system of nationstates through nationalism because fdr was a nationalist, who believed that people should govern themselves. how do you get that without nationalism? >> again, they are terrible
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forms of nationalism. woodrow wilson was in favor of democracy -- he wasn't -- he was in favor of self-determination. if you wanted to be an evil dictatorship but that was your tradition, by all means, you should. that is not where i come down on these things. -- fullonstate system, disclosure, i come from a proud national review tradition going back to being a defender of the hungarian empire -- aspectsing the national of the hungarians who said, we are people who want to govern ourselves. the reason why there is less conflict in the world now in general is because we have finally said yes, you should govern yourself. nationalism,t of
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rich -- [laughter] >> if you want to reduce nationalism to an argument that it is about nationstates and the 70 -- >> it is common sense. >> that is not the mentality. >> how do you get a nationstate without nationalism? >> i do not to object to that. >> you seem to be contesting. >> insofar as you want to -- >> more moderation here. [laughter] if you want to reduce nationalism solely and completely to the idea that nationstates should exist, then i am a nationalist. it is also not conflicting with patriotism. >> i never said it did. >> it also leaves room for a vast swath of evil regimes. iranians are nationalists. if you're going to celebrate the glories of nationalism, so
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capacious as to include north korea, iran, stalinist russia talkazis, then we need to more about the definition. it is not subsumed solely into the glorious statements of george washington. >> they should have given me a whistle. [laughter] thatch, you wrote nationalism includes a sense of belonging and allegiance. today's nationalists full of gratitude or resentment? they are full of something. give you that. is there enough gratitude? you get a sensibility around contemporary nationalism. this country is caught up with trump and his persona which oftentimes has not exuded a
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great sense of gratitude and his populism. grievance comes more from the populism then the nationalism. i'm not a populist. i'm sympathetic to points they make. idea would be a conservative nationalism. if you leave something important and true and natural and powerful -- someone will pick it up. they might pick it up in a way you don't like. it is important for responsible, intelligent and brilliant people to realize the appeal of nationalism and constructively integrate it into our program rather than joining emmanuel macron. >> i agree with all of that.
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my definition of nationalism has always been -- i'm a passionate believer all poisons are determined by the dose. nationalism is like salt. if you cook, a little salt brings out the flavor and ties the meal together. it is essential. it and wayt ruins too much, it is lethal. it all depends on the dose. why do you feel it is necessary to use the phrase, benign nationalism? that can be used and abused. nationalisms are distorted and poisonous, serbian nationalism has been poisoned by grievance from the beginning. german, russian, chinese
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nationalism -- really never gave up the imperial gene these countries had. russia was an empire before it was a nationstate. when nationalism grows out of control it becomes an aerial is him -- imperialism. i defend american nationalism. we are not an imperial country. we have never tried to occupy and govern another people for a long time. we would not have had a revolution without nationalism. it was a nationalistic revolution. we had rights within a great liberal empire. maybe not as good as the austro-hungarian empire -- >> what is? [laughter] >> we said no, because we wanted to govern ourselves. people who suffered under
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colonialism or imperialism have looked to our revolution as a model. it is a model for a people wanting to govern itself within its own boundaries. >> i have no dispute about that. the important part is the benign or conservative nationalism or american nationalism -- part of the american experiment, we are exceptional and we did things with nationalism that other countries did not do because america is frickin awesome. [laughter] one point on serbian nationalism. otto von bismarck said the trouble with the balkans is, they tend to produce more history than they can consume domestically. [laughter] troubleieve history and are the primary exports of the balkans. 24/7 style ticking clock in front of us. we have only a little time. >> trump comes on the scene.
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when i was growing up, he saw clan members, skinheads, now they call themselves white nationalists. this is like having a rival brand with a similar name that could really ruin your market share. [laughter] existence of white nationalists poison the waters about this debate? >> white nationalism is a contradiction in terms. nationalism at its best includes everyone within the nation. throughout our history, it has been the nationalists on the right side of these questions, rather than extreme people. what we finally did, after hundreds of years of doing the opposite was include black americans in our nation the way they should have been.
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the mostther king, important elements of his rhetoric work, amos, jeremiah and matthew. the most important stories he told were about exodus and a repressed people escaping to the promised land and to freedom. the last speech he gave on this earth was about moses look into the promised land. and that model of a nation, people yearning for freedom. that is built into our bones, especially as americans. i think it is a mistake. there are misperceptions about the term, it is a mistake to turn our backs on that fruitful tradition. >> the clock is gone down to up. jonah, last word.
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we are over time, we can't do that. [laughter]>> i will not do a big mic drop. it is great to be here. i am grateful to these guys. if i could outsource the definition of nationalism and have, ih the powers he would have no objection to his understanding of what nationalism is, i just hear that there are too many people who are going to disagree with it. on the issue of gratitude, that is how i end my book. andre unbelievably blessed lucky that our definition of nationalism in this country is striving for perfection, wrapped up in the american experiment and the ideas that make this country different than any other
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in human history and have done more to solve the problems of tyranny and poverty than any other society that has ever existed and may ever exist. thank you very much. [applause] >> once, tv was three giant networks and a government supported service called pbs. in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide on their own what was important to them. c-span opened the door to washington policymaking for all to see, bring you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true people power. in the 40 years since, the landscape has changed. no monolithic media, broadcasting has given way to
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