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Americans First

A simple philosophy that could reform our government.

by James Leroy Wilson
October 13, 2005

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Americans First

Steve Sailer of VDare.com, seems to be the only person calling himself a "citizenist." You may ask, what's that? The answer lies in what Sailer wrote last year:

My starting point in analyzing policies is: "What is in the best overall interests of the current citizens of the United States?"

In contrast, so many others think in terms of: "What is in the best interest of my: identity group / race / ethnicity / religion / bank account / class / ideology / clique / gender / sexual orientation / party / and/or personal feelings of moral superiority?"

Or, as he put it recently,

I believe Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners.

[...]

Just as the managers of a public company have a fiduciary duty to the current stockholders not to diminish the value of their shares by selling new ones too cheaply to outsiders, our leaders have a duty to the current citizens and their descendents.

[...]

[L]ike Enoch Powell, I believe that "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." America has been, on the whole, much less plagued by evils than most countries. Our leadership's first duty (although generally last priority) is to keep it that way.

Regardless of which side one may take in the immigration debate, Sailer is on to something. "Citizenism" sounds like non-ideological conservatism. Or simple patriotism.

And there's nothing wrong with love for one's homeland and its people. Citizenism is "biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens" over, not necessarily at the expense, of "six billion foreigners." Just as Germans should also favor the interests of their fellow citizens over those of Americans or anyone else. And so should Nigerians, Chileans, and patriotic citizens of any country. It is no more a sin to want one's country to be safe, prosperous, and free, than it is to desire the same for one's city, neighborhood, or family. Prosperity for one country does not have to mean poverty for another, any more than security for one country must mean war for another, or freedom in one means tyranny in another.

The issue is responsibility. Though they may pray that all the other children in the world be raised right and succeed in life, parents are responsible only for their own. They must not be compelled to raise other people's children, and they have no right to intervene or impose unwanted "help" on other families. Nor should any freely-offered help come at the neglect of their own children.

Likewise, the governments of nations are responsible for the liberty and welfare of their own people, not of each other's. The government of the United States is ultimately responsible for the safety and welfare of Americans, not South Koreans, Israelis, Iraqis, or Mexicans. Americans first.

As a libertarian who believes most of the government's laws and programs should be abolished, I think Sailer's simple philosophy helps clarify issues and priorities. In an imperfect world, the temptation is to solve the world's problems. But priority #1 is to solve your own problems and protect your own people. Don't sacrifice lives, liberties, or wealth to political correctness or utopian projects. Don't depress American wages just because we'd appear racist if we didn't welcome Mexican economic refugees with open arms. Don't sacrifice American lives to establish "democracy" in Iraq. Don't sacrifice America's freedom to set its own trade policies to supranational governments.

An "Americans First" program would be cautious and pragmatic - conservative in the best sense. It would guard American sovereignty, so that American laws are not made by non-Americans. It would adopt neutrality, so that Americans wouldn't fight other people's battles. It would set a course for protecting the dollar and strive for net surpluses in budgets and trade. It would guard against depressed wages, congestion, higher crime rates, and terrorism by sealing our borders. I

An Americans First government would look out for our descendants. It would take both environmental concerns and property rights seriously, and reduce American dependence on foreign energy sources. It would pursue ways and means to keep Social Security solvent, yet also try to reduce the number of people who are economically dependent on the federal government. An Americans First government would protect American traditions from unconstitutional judicial rulings. It would reform the tax code and pursue tax relief for more Americans.

An Americans First government would examine our absurdly overpriced education and health care sectors, and government's role in them. It would examine our incarceration rates, our laws, our policing, and the price tag of it all. In short, an Americans First government will try to fix what isn't working.

There would be a lot of disagreement as to how to fix things, of course. Personally, I would recommend a whole lot of reforms, restructuring, and especially repeals of laws and massive spending and tax cuts. In any case, "Americans First" restores a sense of responsibility to Americans as they actually are, not as an ideologue thinks they are or hopes them to become.

It's quite simple, really. Americans First. But in a country where both the progressive left and the neocon and religious right believes that the USA was founded on ideas, has a "special mission," and other destructive nonsense, it's an idea whose time has come.

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Jonathan Wilson from Germany writes:
October 15, 2005
Thank you for another excellent article. It would be great to see these priorities adopted by both main parties, shifting the ideological battle to the best way to achieve these goals, rather than the current argument over the best ways to achieve the goals of an ideological imperialism which has infected both parties.

On a tangent, for a number of reasons many in Europe see the advantages to a closer union among the European states. It is possible that a patriotic citizenism can look beyond one's own ethnic group--as you pointed out in the list of special interests that too often distract Americans from identifying with the broader interests of all Americans. It is also interesting to see how such union in Europe is resisted, by whom, and for what reasons. It is a matter of scale. Individually, most European states rival the population and economies of an individual American state such as Florida. The huge ones can exceed California in population and rival it in economic output. But if there will be a free-market alternative to the United States, no single European state can become that. Hence, the notion of union as promoting broader European interests rather than purely local or ethnic interests.

Sincerely, Pastor Jonathan Wilson

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