Pointing Out The Errors of Leithart On Nationalism

“Conservatives often present the nation as a throwback to pre-modern forms of political order, a restoration of natural, organic bonds in place of anemic cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism or the purely functional relations of the market. Nationalism promotes Gemeinschaft against the prevailing Gesellschaft. While nations existed in the pre-modern world, national-ism is arguably a product of post-Enlightenment political thought.”

Peter Leithart
On The “Nation” of Christian Nationalism
First Things
President of the Heretical “Theopolis Institute”
Don’t miss the word “arguably” in the quote above. It is our clue that Leithart knows that this point is traversing thin ice. The whole point is arguable because long before “post-enlightenment” one finds OT Israel practicing a unmistakable Nationalism. Strangers couldn’t join the worship cult in Israel for three, or 10 generations, while some strangers never were to be welcomed in. Boundaries for each tribe belonging to the nation were strictly set. The genealogies of the OT demonstrate that Israel was very specific about marrying within the lineage lines of the nation. This all sounds like Nationalism to me. To suggest that Israel in the OT didn’t practice nationalism is just insane, and thus so is Leithart’s “arguable” statement.Dan Brannan offers that Leithart’s error is magnificent;

“The idea that nations never had a concept of sustaining themselves prior to the Enlightenment isn’t just wrong, but precisely the opposite of the case. It was the Enlightenment which proposed the abnegation of both local provinces and nations as a great good. Leithart is a buffoon.”

Despite these observations some will still argue, that “of course, Leithart does have a point. The modern nation state is a post French Revolution phenomenon. Lincoln ushered it in here, unfortunately.”

In response to that line of reasoning we note;

1.) This is a severe misreading of history as one could just as easily argue that the modern nation state arose with the Reformation but that was 275 years prior to the French Revolution and of course was being driven by a completely different set of ideas then those ideas which drove the French Revolution.

2.) Lincoln ushered in a Consolidated Nation State here but that doesn’t mean that Americans before Lincoln didn’t have a sense of unity in their diversity, thus having a kind of Nationalism.

We see Nationalism prior to the Enlightenment in the works of Wm. Shakespeare (1564-1616) who was often referred to as “England’s national poet.” Sounds like English nationalism to me in Richard II;

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,

And again later we hear Christian nationalism with a whiff of antisemitism from the Bard;

This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,

Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,

Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,

As Darrell Dow notes;

“Peter Leithart looks to his right and sees a political movement and proceeds to pick it apart –to deconstruct. The goal is to suppress action. As such he is a Regime Theologian.”

This is not the first time that Leithart has inveighed against Nationalism. He seems to have no problem with Christianity being the faith of the land but the notion of Nationalism leaves him with a case of the hives. This is true of many in the CREC as well. These folks salute the flag of “propositional nationalism,” believing that as long as people from all over the globe, who are migrating here, regardless of their third world status, are “Christian” then everyone is going to get along just fine. This theory though, is just a Christian version of NWO Globalism. It is our current Evangelical/Reformed leadership’s impersonation of Saruman to the Sauron played by the globalists like Schwaab, Gates, and the World Economic forum types. In order for a nation to be cohesive it must have not only a common faith, but it also must have a common genetic heritage. Heterogeneity in either faith or genetic heritage is sure to find people living in the same geographic area at one another’s throats.

Christian Nationalism is the only way forward because the only option in lieu of that is Pagan Nationalism or Pagan Internationalism. There will be no such thing as Christian Internationalism until Christ returns in order to rule over the confederated Christian Nations that are each pledging fidelity to Him in their own nations.

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.

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