McAtee Contra Aaron Renn on “Nationalism”

People just can’t quit talking about Christian Nationalism and Kinism. Recently I read an interview piece with Andrew Sandlin and Joe Boot. Upon completing it I had to make sure I wasn’t reading a Norm MacDonald comedy routine. I may bring that to IronInk for analysis. On the other hand I can’t keep up with all the vacuous mindlessness out there on the subject of “Christian Nationalism,” and “Kinism” that needs to be critiqued.

However, in this post I am taking the time to critique another piece by Aaron Renn that can be found here;

Nationalism Isn’t American

Nobody will be surprised to learn that I find almost all that I read from the cognoscenti to be worthy only of mouse bait status. Renn is no different. See if you agree with me.

“As Georgetown professor Joshua Mitchell has shown, wokeness shot rapidly through American culture because it exploited Protestant religious themes that are embedded deep in our public consciousness, whereas Marxism never got traction because concepts like “class” don’t resonate in America. “

Aaron Renn

McAtee responds

1.) Leave it to a Georgetown Intellectual to conclude that somehow wokeness gained traction because it could exploit Protestant religious themes. I guarantee you if we looked at these Protestant themes the Georgetown professor is suggesting could be used by wokeness to worm its way into our public consciousness we would find that these putative Protestant themes are in point of fact Liberal themes that were like parasites that had attached to Protestantism. There is nothing in genuine Protestantism that makes a way for wokeness.

2.) The odd thing about this quote is Renn doesn’t seem to realize that wokeness is a form of Marxism. Hence, Marxism has resonated here but I would submit that the reason Marxism resonates is because we are no longer and have not been for quite some time a Christian people.

3.) I think the success of the Democratic party for the last 90 years or so is proof positive that the idea of “class” does indeed resonate in America.

“Whatever our challenges are today, they are certainly less serious than those of the Civil War or Great Depression.”

Aaron Renn

McAtee responds,

I think this a terrible reading of US history and our current place in that history. Now, to be sure, the War Against the Constitution, as well as the Great Depression were two very “serious” and difficult times of challenge in our country’s history but to suggest that where we are is less serious than those historical events belies a seriously tin ear as to the precipice we currently are upon. We have over 30 million illegal aliens in our country and our border is non existent. We have a debt that will never be paid off. We have two hot wars that we are arcing towards getting sucked into. The gap between the haves and have nots is greater than any time in several generations. We have an elite who are in point of fact an occupying force that clearly are not interested in representing the interests of the American people. We are setting on a racial powder keg that could explode at any moment. The Institutions of the US such as Universities, Families, and Churches are shredded in terms of supporting and maintaining a stable social order. Now, Renn would say to me, as he says in his “Nationalism” piece that this is all “apocalyptical thinking,” but naturally enough I find him playing with matches in a dark room filled with dynamite singing, “Don’t Worry, be Happy.”

The rest of Renn’s piece underscores my conviction that Renn is not very historically savvy. For example, elsewhere he can say;

“Repeatedly throughout American history, in times of crisis, our leaders have managed to take extraordinary action when necessary and to refresh our institutions to address new challenges. Lincoln did so during the Civil War. Teddy Roosevelt did so with his trust busting, as did FDR with the New Deal.”

Now, I’m not completely sure, but in my reading it looks to me that Renn is complimenting Lincoln, TR, and FDR, on how they handled great challenges. If that is what Renn is saying I’d say this is a misreading of history and doesn’t take into account the unmitigated disaster these Presidents were and how each and all of them were committed to continue to fundamentally transform the US Constitution. Lincoln was a tyrant. TR was a known progressive. FDR worked the Fascist side of the street.
If Renn thinks that current American leadership could work the magic that Lincoln, TR, and FDR, worked when they faced challenges all I can do is explain why that is stupid analysis and then pray God that current leaders don’t face our challenges the way that demonic trio faced challenges.

“What we need today, perhaps, is a modern-day FDR—a thoroughly American character who built solutions that would appeal to the people of this country.”

Aaron Renn

McAtee responds,

How can anybody take seriously anybody who would write a sentence like the one above?

Just for the record… FDR created the problems to which he offered “solutions” that only made the original problems twice as bad. Secondly, the only reason FDR “appealed” to the people of this country is because he first paid them and then set them against one another is a frenzied fit as to who was going to get first and primary access to the money he stole from the American people through his taxation policy as coupled with inflating the money supply.

“But terms like “nationalism” or “Christian nationalism” join the Left in abandoning these historic symbols in favor of ones that don’t resonate. So I believe it is a mistake to embrace this and other such language. The authentic American cultural and political tradition provides us all the resources we need to meet the challenges of today.”

Aaron Renn

McAtee responds,

Christian Nationalism doesn’t resonate? Renn says that despite the US Constitution being concerned with “securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Does Renn know what “ourselves and our posterity means?” Is not such a phrase “Nationalism” in embryonic form?
Or what about the Naturalization Act of 1790 where the law limited naturalization to “free White person(s) … of good character”, thus excluding Native Americans, indentured servants, enslaved people, free black people, and later Asians. Is there not a foundational notion of Nationalism in such language?

As late as 1921 we could read Vice President John Calvin Coolidge writing something that sure sounds like Nationalism;

“There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons. Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides. Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.”

Vice President John Calvin Coolidge
Good Housekeeping — 1921

In light of this a many many more examples that could be easily provided does Renn really want to stake out the position that “terms like “nationalism” or “Christian nationalism” join the Left in abandoning our historic symbols in favor of ones that don’t resonate.”

This is the first time I’ve take the time to analyze something written by Renn. I know he is supposed to be “all that and a bag of chips,” but this piece ranks right up there with what you’d hear in your average Owen Strachan sermon.

Renn is just terribly off in his article on Nationalism. I am coming to the conclusion that one can determine the bonafides of someone’s intellectual capacity based upon how they handle the question of Christian Nationalism. It seems to me that Renn fails just like Wilson, White, Strachan, Ainol, Boot, Sandlin, etc.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

5 thoughts on “McAtee Contra Aaron Renn on “Nationalism””

  1. Aaron Renn is about as helpful to any Christian living content, as a cotton ball is to uncork a bottle of wine.
    Aaron Renn needs to become a byword just like Timothy Keller.

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