LaMarche: A Right-Wing Monopoly / Part I

Nationalism should not be a readily available commodity for the right. In reality, before the 21st century (with a few noteworthy outliers), it wasn’t.

by Kolby LaMarche

On Wednesday, a brigade of Republicans gathered on a Wisconsin stage. They pitched their agenda to Republican voters, sparred over the absence of, and recent charges against, former President Trump, and all of them laboriously deployed what lines they had memorized with their flocks of campaign consultants.

While traces of Trump’s ideology were perceptible, it didn’t overshadow the entire forum. Rather, many of the candidates resembled that of conventional conservatism from the Obama era: reducing the deficit, decreasing expenditure, streamlining bureaucracy, and promoting economic openness—the basics. Except for Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis – of course.

Ramaswamy is an Eminem-rapping Big Pharma multimillionaire with a potent plan for America. His platform details schemes to expand presidential authority, and close down the IRS, FBI, and DOE. He is also a self-proclaimed American nationalist. 

He isn’t alone, though. Numerous of his Republican counterparts host nationalist policies, like Senator Tim Scott’s ‘Made in America’ plan, or DeSantis’s idea to use the power of the state to propel America to “energy dominance” over all other states. 

Republicans seem perennially bound, even in some small way, to an “America First” ethos. It is, indeed, a winning strategy both here and abroad. The approach’s success is evident, from Trump’s 2016 victory to the Brexit triumph that same year. The ascent of Italy’s nationalist government led by Giorgia Meloni, or the enduring premiership of Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist. Anti-establishment and nationalist movements have – and will continue to – dominate global politics as swelling movements.

Nonetheless, a detrimental stigma clings to nationalism, particularly among America’s left-leaning circles. Similar to how vivid images of anarchy are often portrayed as chaos and flame, nationalism is commonly perceived as a reactionary influence from the right flank. This is wrong.

Anarchy is, simply, an absence of government, while nationalism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, isthe actions that the members of a nation take when seeking to achieve (or sustain) self-determination.

The political right commands a strong monopoly on nationalism. And the foundation of an unsatisfied and economically disaffected working class shows no signs of diminishing in the near future.

Nationalism should not be a readily available commodity for the right. In reality, before the 21st century (with a few noteworthy outliers), it wasn’t. Various left-wing liberation and social movements adopted nationalism as a cohesive element within their political approaches.These movements recognized nationalism as a binding agent, fostering a collective identity and shared purpose among the people – as, undoubtedly, Trump did. By directly addressing domestic welfare, these left-wing movements harnessed nationalism and many achieved progress – like, for example, Argentina.

Nationalism – then – wasn’t solely about asserting national or racial superiority or isolationism, but rather a tool for addressing internal challenges and striving for socio-political transformation on their own terms.

This electoral vacuum persists because the political right owns a broad and diverse bloc numbering in the tens of millions, without facing any substantial opposition. Addressing the left, I believe embracing nationalism is the only viable path forward electorally. And in part two I’ll explain that. See you in a week.  

Burning Sky is dedicated to providing critique and commentary on the issues of the day from an unapologetic perspective, fueling change in the heart of Vermont. Authored by Kolby LaMarche every Saturday.

Categories: Commentary

4 replies »

  1. How can ‘self-determination’ be conflated with a ‘monopoly’? The terms are oxymoronic.

    “By 2050 – earlier, probably – all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron – they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be…The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.” Orwell, 1984

  2. Nationalism : National spirit or aspirations; devotion to the nation; desire for national unity, independence, or prosperity.

    I’ll take Nationalism over corruption and communism all day, every day !

Leave a Reply