In January, Patrick Buchanan published one of his seemingly endless articles on how America is going to hell in a handbasket while the country’s supposed leaders twiddle their thumbs: “America’s Role in a Darkening Age.” Our American Cassandra always preaches the same message, but no one in power cares to listen. I still appreciate Buchanan’s work. Is it his fault that our society’s elite has gone mad? What interested me in this article in particular was Buchanan’s quotations from Robert Kaplan’s “The Return of Toxic Nationalism” in The Wall Street Journal. Kaplan laments the fissures in the globalist liberal temple that he and his ilk support and from which they profit. Kaplan writes:
We truly are in a battle between two epic forces: Those of integration based on civil society and human rights, and those of exclusion based on race, blood and radicalized faith. It is the mistake of Western elites to grant primacy to the first force, for it is the second that causes the crises with which policy makers must deal—often by interacting with technology in a toxic fashion, as when a video transported virtually at the speed of light ignites a spate of anti-Americanism (if not specifically in Benghazi).
The second force can and must be overcome, but one must first admit how formidable it is. It is formidable because nations and other solidarity groups tend to be concerned with needs and interests more than with values. Just as the requirement to eat comes before contemplation of the soul, interests come before values.
Yet because values like minority rights are under attack the world over, the United States must put them right alongside its own exclusivist national interests, such as preserving a favorable balance of power. Without universal values in our foreign policy, we have no identity as a nation—and that is the only way we can lead with moral legitimacy in an increasingly disorderly world. Yet we should not be overturning existing orders overnight. For it is precisely weak democracies and collapsing autocracies that provide the chaotic breathing room with which nationalist and sectarian extremists can thrive.
Buchanan quotes Kaplan’s maddening “Without universal values in our foreign policy, we have no identity as a nation—and that is the only way we can lead with moral legitimacy in an increasingly disorderly world.” We have no identity as a nation without universal values in our foreign policy? How extreme, how insane, how ideologically reductionist must one be to assert such a statement? And yet, our propositionalist patriots, who see the United States as merely a tool to remake the world according to their desires, dominate the conservative half of American power. It is beyond appalling.