I don’t want to die in a war. Mind you, I don’t strictly oppose war. I have immense respect for soldiers of many countries and creeds, and I could certainly imagine a scenario in which I would be willing to die in a war. To be more precise, I don’t want to die in an American war.
Hating America is associated with left-wingers. I won’t bother psychologizing, but I believe this seems intuitive enough to all of us. Conservatives, on the other hand, are supposed to love their country. American politicians have been able to take advantage of this natural and virtuous sentiment for generations. As right-wingers, we feel a natural affection for our countries. I used to love my country; I still want to love my country; it is right and just for one to love one’s country.
But of course, the question is, is one’s country worth loving? Perhaps the better question is, is America even a country?
Returning to my clickbait first paragraph, why might someone willingly die in a war? Certainly it’s inadvisable from a hedonic perspective, and it’s rarely a good gamble from an evolutionary psychology one either. People willingly die in wars, best I can tell, for two reasons: mythos and community.
The brave heroes who fight for cause and country believe in their homeland. They have a rich history and community they believe is worth defending, a network of intergenerational bonds worth protecting. They believe in their nation as an ideal worth giving one’s life for. They feel tied to the land on which they stand. These are incredibly noble and praiseworthy beliefs.
I come from the future, which is to say blue-state America, to tell you that the myth of the nation is no longer credible. The homogenizing and deracinating forces of cosmopolitan consumerist capitalism have destroyed any possibility of believing in America. The nation has been reduced from a history and a people to little more than a sovereign economic zone, a struggling one at that. That said, I don’t want to focus on complaining about the trillions of dollars wasted on wars in places most Americans can’t find on a map or the leviathan intelligence apparatus crushing down on its citizens or the economy which permits destitution and thrives off of the work of millions just barely scraping by; there are probably redistributionist policies which could be implemented to make it a slightly more comfortable sovereign economic zone, but no expert-intervention is touching the heart of the problem.
Instead I want to speak to what, in a cruel twist of irony, Joe Biden refers to as The Soul of the Nation. No one in my town feels any sense of place or home. They (I) feel no desire to return after college. I and most of my hometown friends don’t know our neighbors, much less our community members.
America is an inhuman place, governed by what Jacques Ellul called “Technique” or what James Burnham called “Managerialism.” Any feelings of community (one of my favorite German words, Gemeinschaftsgefühl, closely tied to what Ibn Khaldun refers to as Asabiyyah) in America exist despite, and not because of, its ruling elite. The demand for efficiency despises individuality and culture, except that which can be commodified. Unique towns, states, and nations, with their own folkways and traditions unchained from the shackles of liberalism, cannot be tolerated.
Admittedly, I don’t hate my country, but “The Right-Wing Case for Tepidly Disliking your Country” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. No, I want America to do well, despite its best efforts to the contrary. I want the strangers I call my countrymen to thrive—then again, perhaps that’s the reason why I don’t love America.