The great debates of our time are not exclusively those affecting human anthropology and the political community – how many genders exist, what criteria to look for in candidates for immigration, etc. Certainly many of our most notable debates do involve these most fundamental flaws. But some of our other most pressing and politically galvanizing disputes revolve less around substantive issues, such as the nature of justice, than around one of the oldest procedural issues in the history of political science. : ” Who’s deciding ?
A look around the world at the current juncture suggests an emerging consensus: We the people, through our own internal deliberations and our own political processes, should decide the fate of our own nation states. Recent or ongoing examples in Hungary, France, Ukraine and Israel are all instructive. For observant political actors here on the American home front, there are clear and compelling lessons to be learned.
Last Sunday in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who had faced relatively tight polls ahead of national elections, won a fourth term. Orban’s defiant national conservative Fidesz party completely dominated the unified opposition, which had included everyone from hardline communists to full-fledged anti-Semitic fascists, in a clumsy – and ultimately ill-fated – attempt to overthrow the government. Fidesz has been wildly successful everywhere outside of Budapest itself, and even won seats in parliament – despite the sustained years-long campaign to expose Hungary’s alleged “democratic backsliding” by the New York Times, George Soros-funded non-governmental organizations and the other usual suspects.
Hungary’s key lesson: a proud nation is one that fights to protect its ways, customs and traditions from the heavy and over-the-top hand of the liberal empire (here, the Brussels-based European Union).
In France, the world’s seventh-largest economy and anchor of the modern European integration project, the current ballot for the second round of the presidential election that will follow Sunday’s first round of voting is truly telling. According to an Atlas Politico poll from April 4-6, President Emmanuel Macron, who despite his occasional anti-revival musings is pro-European integration and firmly center-left, finds himself in a political duel. According to Atlas Politico, in a runoff election between Macron and his most likely challenger, right-wing Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen, Le Pen leads by a surprisingly small margin of 50.5% to 49.5%. Le Pen likely benefited from Overton’s window-changing effect of Eric Zemmour’s more right-wing presidential race, which had the effect of normalizing Le Pen.
The key lesson from France: The liberal imperium faces an existential threat. Apart from Germany, there is no European nation more important than France. A more humble liberal empire would recognize that there is nothing wrong with national pride.
In Ukraine, local forces have been battling Russian invaders for the past month and a half to an apparent stalemate. This despite the fact that the Russian military is orders of magnitude larger and more powerful, and despite the fact that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has long coveted Ukraine’s Soviet-style reintegration into the “Great Russia”. Whatever one thinks of greater US and NATO involvement in the Ukrainian theater – and I have been strongly opposed to the escalation – the reality is that the Ukrainian people’s defense of their own nation-state has (with some notable exceptions) been inspiring. Ukrainians have successfully rallied in defense of their home in a way few could have anticipated before Putin’s invasion.
Ukraine’s key lesson: The interdependent ties of mutual loyalty that bind a particular people together, such as commonality of language, heritage and general manners, can lead to extraordinary things amid an intense threat of revanchism .
Finally, in Israel this week, Knesset member Idit Silman formally left Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s ragtag government coalition, which was made up of a mere 61-59 parliamentary majority. Silman’s departure means the Knesset is now evenly split 60-60, and the coalition will need at least one vote from the Likud/Benjamin Netanyahu-led opposition to push through any legislation. Bennett’s coalition, which includes everyone from so-called right-wing Zionists (like Bennett himself) to Muslim Brotherhood-aligned anti-Zionists like Mansour Abbas, has always been extraordinarily fragile. Crucially, due to the presence in the coalition of Abbas’s Ra’am party, former national conservative Bennett allowed anti-Zionists to thwart Israel’s national interest on core issues, such as the Iranian nuclear threat and the dispute territorial over Judea and Samaria.
Israel’s key lesson: A proud, self-reliant people will only so long tolerate a parliamentary (or congressional) coalition in which subversive fifth-column actors, perhaps in cahoots with outside NGOs, hold a veto .
Looking back to the 2016 tidal wave of the UK’s spectacular “Brexit” and the dramatic election of President Donald Trump, and continuing to this day, the great movement to reclaim sovereignty is alive and thriving. For Americans seeking forward-looking inspiration, the lesson is simple: the nation-state and the tangible fulfillment of the people of the nation-state must always come first. There is no more important lesson for a decadent, belated republic to assimilate.
To learn more about Josh Hammer and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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