For decades, Democratic and neoconservative governments threw the United States into a geopolitical, warlike, economic and social self-mutilation that weakened American exceptionalism. With them, corporations associated with the project that we will call “America Last” scored seven-digit figures and more at the same pace American workers lost their jobs, their neighborhoods were torn apart, and their family members constantly fell in the Middle East.
A couple of days ago, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, neocon Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, asked Biden to eliminate Trump’s “America First” policy. If we take a look at the President’s diplomatic record, we see that, unlike the previous thirty years, President Trump did not start a war; in fact, he withdrew almost all the troops that should never have been deployed. But Mattis’ attitude, more than treacherous —one would expect no less from a neocon—, hides a contempt for home that is very present in large corporations, in many social movements, and in the great Democratic and Republican elites.
Sir Roger Scruton —God rest his soul— called it “Oikophobia”. Oikos, which in Greek can mean “home”, “inheritance”, “belonging” joined with –phobia meaning “fear” or “dislike”, make up the word in a rather analytical Greek. Oikophobia, defined by Professor Scruton, is the opposite of xenophobia (the dislike or contempt for foreigners) and would be the contempt for home, for one’s own homeland and what is ours.
It is a stage through which the adolescent mind passes. […] As George Orwell pointed out, intellectuals on the Left are especially prone to it, and this has often made them willing agents of foreign powersRoger Scruton, England and the Need for Nations
However, I take the liberty —cleaning it of any arrogant glimmer— of extending the scope of this contempt for the Nation, to the Right as well. Oikophobia is an evil that can be found today on both the Left and the Right: on the one hand, the Left hates the Nation because it is a bourgeois and fascist creation that oppresses the people. On the other hand, the Right finds it a Leftist gully —or “collectivistic”, if you may— that thwarts the free market.
If the Left considers the Nation is a whip —and patriotism the whipping—, for this economicist, tenous, Reaganite Right, the Nation is the one who whips the ribs. But they fail to understand that neither the whip nor the whipper is what is wrong: it is torture —like the denial of the importance of the Nation— that is truly wrong.
Chesterton, Biden and Mattis in Pimlico…
I often return to a particular book when I need to get out of my own perspective; Chesterton’s Orthodoxy always helps me with that task. In the chapter “The Flag of the World”, the philosopher discusses the idea of patriotism not around a country, but a neighborhood, which Chesterton simply describes it as “desperate,” called Pimlico.
The central idea is that patriotism is neither a rejection of Pimlico’s precariousness nor a justification for it: it is about loving Pimlico with an arbitrary and transcendent love like that of a mother for her child. Chesterton says: “If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles. Pimlico would attire herself as a woman does when she is loved. For decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable.”
That is to say, it is not about an improvement or criticism, but an “elemental loyalty.”
“… the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more. All optimistic thoughts about England and all pessimistic thoughts about her are alike reasons for the English patriot […] Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”G.K. Chesterton
The pessimist and the optimist, in Chesterton’s eyes, are distortions of love and of this elemental loyalty. Because the pessimist announces failure and does not feel pain because of it; he just announces the whipping but does not condemn torture or bursts his back until transforming the law that protects it. The optimist, on the other hand, is capable of justifying whipping as a just punishment by arguing a labor benefit for the whipper.
The archetype of the optimist can be found in Biden’s anti-patriotism, when he seeks absolute approval through victimhood and humiliation —which Chesterton finds as betrayal. In this way, Joe Biden betrays the United States not because the country has done him wrong in the past, but because it is profitable for him to do so. Biden is not a staunch Communist: he is an oligarch! And he doesn’t care if America is doing good or bad, his interest is in justifying and promising his way to maximum enrichment. The reason Biden “loves” the United States is the very reason the country would face destruction with him.
On the other hand, the pessimist embodied in the American Laster Mattis, vilified one of the most patriotic administrations in American history. An administration who was concerned about the essential unity of the Nation: the Little Guy —the common man, Andrew Jackson dixit. The “Mad Dog,” pessimistic about Trump’s disloyalty to the warmongering corporations, “uses the freedom that life allows […] to lure away the people from his flag.
So, it is not a problem of perspective, but a moral problem.
On the one hand, Joe Biden really hates America —the home of Americans— but not the money he can make at the cost of its destruction. Mattis, on the other hand, says it’s wrong to put America First —which means putting others there— but for no reason would he open the doors of his own home to outsiders —rats and cockroaches included— to make his property and memories a feast.
Either way, both end up being hypocrites and have no problem with it.
The oik —he who is oikophobic, as Scruton called him— prefers to put any culture, any nation, above everything else, except his own nation and its culture. America Last, present in Joe Biden’s revanchism, in Mattis’s tantrum, in the military-industrial complex, in the media corporations, in the Woke Capital, in the intellectuals, in much of the Right and all of the Left; is simply the hatred to value and, of course, “to praise of the world at the nearest thing, instead of beginning it at the most distant,” managing to fulfill the most essential of earthly considerations: “that nothing upon earth shall go without its due appreciation.”