I’ve talked before about how society is based on myth, so here’s a myth for you: The United States declared independence from Great Britain on July 4th, 1776. The newly formed United States actually declared independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, 1776, with the adoption of the Lee Resolution. Of course, the Lee Resolution was soon forgotten, as the official Declaration of Independence was approved two days later. It was this date and this document that would go down in history as the apocryphal founding of the United States of America.
238 years later, here we are. The United States has been through a lot since then. We’ve fought countless wars, taken over an enormous expanse of the North American continent, and innovated and manufactured our way to the most productive economy in the world. Not bad for something that started off as a tiny bunch of hardy English settlers and Dutch religious puritans.
I’m not usually so patriotic. Do I enjoy living in America? Absolutely. I am happy with my life? Completely. I have no personal complaints with the way the country is going, only intellectual ones. Still, those are more than sufficient to sour me on most things American almost all of the time.
In all fairness, it’s very easy to complain about this country. Hell, I make a hobby out of inveighing against the Progressive States of Amerika. For some reason though, when you’re sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with the warm summer sun on your back and a bottle of San Pellegrino in your hand it becomes exceedingly difficult not to appreciate this country and even admire it a little.
I won’t go so far as to say that experiences like that give you perspective, but they serve as a powerful reminder that you can always find something to enjoy, just as you can always find something to lambast. The lesson here is not to let your feelings influence your judgement; always rely on your thoughts and your reasoning. They will lead you astray far less than the superficial emotions of the moment.
For all its problems, the USA is still one of the most developed, advanced, prosperous, and powerful nations in the world. It had a great run while it was at it, and thought it’ll never accomplish the same things it once did, it isn’t done yet. Like the British Empire before it, it will slowly fade away while still retaining an inordinate amount of influence over world affairs. One might argue against the constitution as the basis for a system of government, but one cannot argue that the US is not going to leave its mark on the world forever.
It will not explode. It will not combust. There will not be civil war. Barring some extremely dramatic and unlikely event, the Happening won’t be happening. Like a body riddled with cancer, it slowly weaken and fade away. This is the way the United States as we know it ends; not with a bang but a whimper.
European civilization is dead and gone. All that is left is the epilogue. The time has come to begin anew, build anew, create anew. It can even be argued that this is our duty as citizens of this day and age.
I know it’s fashionable in Neoreactionary circles to claim that the United States was a mistake from the beginning. Perhaps this is correct. However, if the United States was fundamentally wrong from the beginning, is that not proof that it did many things right along the way? How else could something so innately flawed have seen such indisputable success in its 238-year run?. It would be a hard argument to make to suggest US success was an inevitable result of good human capital and a near-boundless frontier (though those were significant contributing factors, mind you). At some point, you have to consider the role of agency and choice on a societal level. We’re neoreactionaries, not progressives, after all.
Neoreaction prides itself on being a pragmatic and realistic analysis of society, human nature, and everything those two subjects entail. It is a violation of our very ideals not to be pragmatic and realistic about the things the United States has done, both right and wrong. If we’re going to be intellectually honest in this regard, we have to consider both.
Yet for today, I am willing to put that sort of analysis on pause. For better or for worse, I’m willing to get drunk. I’m willing to watch fireworks. I’m willing to sing and cheer and be a patriot for this country. For one day, I’m willing to dispense with the meta, and be a nationalist instead of just supporting nationalism, to be a patriot instead of just supporting patriotism. For one day, I can love a country I work so hard to critique, a country that does so little that I approve of, and does so much that I despise.
For most of the year, I am a Neoreactionary. For today, I am willing to just be an American.
Happy 4th of July.