Free Minds & Free Markets

Resurgent White Nationalism Needs Hearty, Conservative Rebuke: New at Reason

The Republican Party should take a more forceful and public stand on behalf of freedom and opportunity for all.

Shay Horse/ZUMA Press/NewscomShay Horse/ZUMA Press/NewscomThe modern Republican Party has long faced a battle between its paleoconservative and neoconservative wings. The prime dispute had centered on foreign policy: The paleos don't believe that the United States government should be meddling around the globe, whereas the neocons made nation-building a prime focus.

The neoconservatives had the upper hand since the Reagan administration, largely because of the hard-to-dispute threat from the Soviet Union. But the disastrous "wars of choice" waged by both Presidents Bush have helped pave the way for a resurgence of the "America First" philosophy. Donald Trump's military policy is inconsistent and his advisers come from both factions of the GOP, but he has breathed new life into the paleoconservative wing—and not just on military matters.

What does this have to do with resurgent—or at least more visible—white nationalism?

Well, the paleos' admirable noninterventionist stance doesn't come in a vacuum. It emanates from a less-admirable overall philosophy that rails against "internationalism" in all its forms. Hence, we see the Trump administration's focus on curtailing immigration and adopting tariffs, with direct appeals to nationalism. Basically, the two sides have a fundamentally different perspective on what it means to be a nation, writes Steven Greenhut.

Photo Credit: Shay Horse/ZUMA Press/Newscom


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