Inclusive Nationalism

In response to the latest hysteria from the Left—the suppression of anything that in their blinkered judgment even remotely smacks of “white nationalism”—it is appropriate to again define and defend the benign, colorblind, patriotic, inspiring, and inclusive nationalism that is the foundation of American greatness.

While the phrase “inclusive nationalism” might be criticized as an oxymoron, that is an overstatement of the tension between the two terms. Nationalism by definition is exclusive, insofar as you are either a citizen of a nation, or you are not. But by qualifying American nationalism as inclusive, and carefully explaining what “inclusive” means, you can rule out the malign forms of nationalism that emphasize race and ethnicity over more transcendent sources of unity.

It would be inaccurate to consider inclusive nationalism as just another code word for globalism. If by “inclusive” one means that a person can become an American regardless of their ancestry, this doesn’t mean other criteria can’t be applied. Leftists, and globalists (often one and the same) use discussions of race and accusations of racism to shut down the long overdue conversation over what it means to be an American. Prefacing “nationalism” with the word “inclusive” reopens that conversation. So what would an inclusive nationalist consider prerequisites to being an American citizen?

A useful starting point comes from none other than former President Obama, speaking at a town hall in Berlin in early April. In that meeting, which hundreds of young leaders from across Europe attended, Obama said this:

If you’re going to have a coherent, cohesive society, then everybody has to have some agreed-upon rules. And there are going to have to be some accommodations that everybody makes. And that includes the people who are newcomers. Should we want to encourage newcomers to learn the language of the country that they’re moving to? Of course. Does that mean that they can never use their own language? No, of course it doesn’t mean that, but it’s not racist to say, ‘Ah, if you’re going to be here then you should learn the language of the country that you just arrived at because we need to have some sort of common language in which all of us can work, and learn and understand each other.’

A Common Language
If only Obama, along with America’s entire uniparty establishment, had the courage of such convictions. Because while an inclusive nationalist would reject “white nationalism,” he should have no problem requiring all ballots being printed in English, and only English. The same would apply for literally all government correspondence, from welfare benefit applications to tax returns, from courtroom transcripts to classroom instruction in public schools.

An inclusive nationalist recognizes that without a common language, you cannot have a “coherent, cohesive society.” An inclusive nationalist also recognizes quite contrary to prevailing sentiment among white nationalists and the race-pandering American Left, you cannot have racial segregation, or institutionalized discrimination based on race.

A Colorblind Society
For this reason, an inclusive nationalist immediately would end all forms of affirmative action. He would aggressively ban not only enforced ethnic quotas in all hiring, promotions, contract awards, college admissions and the like, but also seek out and eliminate all indirect attempts to implement quotas. The University of California, for example, enforces ethnic quotas in their student admissions in defiance of state and federal law. This would all stop.

An inclusive nationalist also would end all forms of “cultural safe spaces,” along with segregated dormitories on college campuses. This effort would be relatively easy once America’s universities were restored to pure meritocracies, where groups of students, regardless of their ethnicity, would all have the same distribution of SAT scores. Because they would all have the same academic aptitudes, they would integrate with relative ease.

Immigration Reform
The American Left has tried to stigmatize the term “assimilation” as a racist term. This is utterly false, and reflects not fair-minded reasoning but a political agenda. Inclusive nationalists see no connection whatsoever between assimilation and racism, but they do recognize that immigrants who are successful will be more likely to assimilate.

America’s current immigration policy is the precise inversion of what might best foster successful assimilation of newcomers while at the same time offering the most benefit to the American people. What America needs are highly-skilled immigrants from diverse nations. What America is getting are unskilled immigrants, with the majority of them coming, by the millions, not from an assortment of diverse nations, but instead from Spanish speaking Latin America.

Our immigration policy has created a permanent underclass of people who have been set upon by race pandering left-wing demagogues. Current immigration policy has already created a critical mass of Spanish speaking, poorly educated, unskilled millions who are being trained by our leftist dominated institutions to embrace racial resentment and support socialist redistribution of wealth. Current immigration policy is well on its way towards accomplishing this same objective with mass immigration of Arabic-speaking Muslims, again with the primary de facto criteria for admission being poverty and illiteracy.

Unlike a white nationalist, an inclusive nationalist does not object to admitting people from Latin America, or Africa, or the Middle East, or Asia, simply because they come from those parts of the world and therefore probably don’t look European. But the inclusive nationalist will ask equally tough, and far more legitimate questions:

Why are we turning away scientists, engineers, doctors, and other highly educated and highly skilled prospective immigrants, while instead inviting millions of unskilled, uneducated people into our nation, and how does this further the interests of American citizens, especially in low-income communities? Why don’t we admit people from a wide variety of nations, and cut back for a few years on the number of Latin Americans allowed entry, in order to give those Latin Americans already living here an opportunity to assimilate?

And they would ask the toughest question of all: Why are Americans, and the American press, still willing to tolerate the number one political strategy and priority of America’s establishment uniparty—an immigration policy designed to fragment American culture, undermine America’s institutions, place an unsustainable burden on taxpayer supported American government benefits and services, drive down the wages of American workers, and all but guarantee an electorate that is permanently supportive of socialism?

Inclusive Nationalism Will Attract Everyone
It is pessimistic and unwarranted to believe it is too late to reassert America’s cultural identity. The timeless values that inspired America’s founding rely on European heritage, but that founding implemented universal principles.

Everyone should want to have individual freedom, economic liberty, the right to own property, the chance to have hard work and integrity rewarded. Everyone should know in their hearts that only equality of opportunity, where goals are achieved on a level playing field against immutable and uniform standards, can guarantee a stable and just society.

Conversely, everyone should know in their hearts that enforcing equality of outcome based on group quotas is a path to corruption, division, and ultimately a failed state. Good sense is the distinguishing factor, not race.

America’s power to assimilate is multifaceted and easy to underestimate, especially if you only pay attention to the establishment news media, with their obsession with race, gender, and white nationalist boogeymen. But pay attention to American music, American food, American sports, American innovations, and witness a culture with a vitality that is unrivaled anywhere on Earth, and is immensely attractive.

It will not take raw power for inclusive nationalism to overcome the Left. It will just take jujitsu.

People innately prefer to earn what they have rather than to have it given to them via quotas. People have an innate respect for the truth, unless it is beaten out of them. And not everyone can become an American, or America will cease to be the nation that so many people want to be a part of. Convincing Americans, newcomers and natives alike, of these simple facts, is urgently necessary. That task will be easier if nationalism is expressed in a manner that is inclusive, with conditions, but colorblind.

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About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also the director of water and energy policy for the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).