Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
— Opening lines of Beowulf, in Old English and modern-ish English, respectively.
On 4/16/2021, Representatives Majorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar announced they plan to create an “America First Caucus” for the House Of Representatives.
Greene needs no introduction, she was first inaugurated to Congress earlier this year and has since gotten into many controversies for her outrageous statements. Although considering she is trying to set up an “America First Caucus,” she should probably gain an understanding of what the United States is. During her speech at CPAC earlier this year, she said the following:
I wanted to take my regular, normal person, normal, everyday American values, which is: We love our country. We believe our hard-earned tax dollars should just go for America, not for… China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam — whatever, wherever.
First off, foreign aid is less than one percent of the United States federal budget. Second off, Guam is part of the United States and has been a United States territory since the Spanish-American War, with Guan being captured by the United States on 6/21/1898. For context of just how long ago that was, that was before Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii were states. (Although I can’t say this gaffe is hard to understand, considering she has the same ideology as a President who thought the Virgin Islands had a President and who needed to be told that Peurto Rico was not a separate nation.)
Gosar, while less infamous, is basically just a male Greene. First entering Congress after being elected during the Tea Party wave of 2010, Gosar has since proven himself to be a far-right nativist. He was one of the few Republicans who defended Republican Congressman Steve King after he was stripped of his committee assignments in 2019 for asking why there are negative connotations around the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist.” Gosar also buddies around with Nick Fuentes, even giving the keynote speech at his America First Political Action Conference in 2021, and English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson.
Matt Gaetz, the Flordia Congressman currently under investigation for statutory rape and sex trafficking, tweeted the following on 4/16/2021:
I’m proud to join @mtgreenee in the #AmericaFirst Caucus. We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers. This is just a hit piece from the America Last crowd in Big Media, Big Tech & Big Government.
If Matt Gaetz is so interested in ending wars, he seems to have no idea what causes them. During his first year in Congress, Gaetz supported Donald Trump’s choice to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that Israel is the nation which most benefits from our current quagmire in the Middle East.
For those curious, the “hit piece” Gatez is talking about is an article from Forbes headlined “Marjorie Taylor Greene Forming Caucus To Promote ‘Anglo-Saxon Political Tradition.’” Nothing the article says is incorrect, and the most it says is that the term “Anglo-Saxon” has negative connotations in political discourse due to its use by White Nationalist groups — which is true. That does not mean that anyone who uses the term is a White Nationalist, it just means that the term has been so heavily used by these groups that the general public will have a certain reaction to the term.
So let’s talk about the “Anglo-Saxon Political Tradition.” For those unaware, a seven-page manifesto was released online through Punchbowl News, which was allegedly sent to members of Congress in order to recruit them. One sentence from the document caused a large amount of controversy:
America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.
Once again, the America First Caucus shows us it has no idea where America actually is. For those unaware, Anglo-Saxons were the cultural group that dominated England from the fifth century until the eleventh century. Not only did the political tradition of the Anglo-Saxon end four centuries before Columbus set sail, but it also took place in the same nation the founding fathers were doing everything possible to remove themselves from.
Ironically enough, this same document includes this line:
America was founded on the basis of individual and state sovereignty, to ensure that no free American would be lorded over by a Monarch ever again.
Yet, most of the governments, in fact all the governments, of the Anglo-Saxon period were monarchies. Local control was very limited, and the locals were able to do little more than setting up their own police forces and courts. If Greene wants to return to this tradition, she should be advocating for less local control instead of more.
Here’s more evidence the America First Caucus can’t find America on a map:
The America First Caucus will work towards an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, engineering, and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom. As the Romans demonstrated with aqueducts, walls, and roads, function and beauty are not at odds.
Wait, so now we’re talking about the Roman Empire? First off, while at its height the Roman Empire did extend to Europe, it was also part of North Africa and Western Asia. For that matter, I thought we were talking about restoring Anglo-Saxon political traditions, the Roman Empire fell at the end of the fourth century, the Anglo-Saxon period did not start until the following century. Oh, and the Roman Empire was never in any part of the current United States.
But fine, let’s talk about the infrastructure of Ancient Rome. While it is true that much of the public infrastructure was large and beautiful, much of this was what the wealthy lived in. Here’s the website Ducksters explaining how the average Roman citizen lived:
The vast majority of the people living in Roman cities lived in cramped apartment buildings called insulae. Insulae were generally three to five stories high and housed from 30 to 50 people. The individual apartments usually consisted of two small rooms.
Compare this to how the wealthy lived:
The wealthy elite lived in large single-family homes called Domus. These homes were much nicer than the insulae. Most Roman houses had similar features and rooms. There was an entryway that led to the main area of the house called the atrium. Other rooms such as bedrooms, dining room, and kitchen might be off to the sides of the atrium. Beyond the atrium was the office. In the back of the home was often an open garden.
So that’s the kind of country people like Greene and Gosar want. Small, cramped apartments for you, large open spaces for them and their buddies.
Not that long ago, there was a meme going around on populist Twitter in response to an article talking about the possibility of big cities using “pods” as living spaces in order to decrease housing prices. Immitdeitly, the people declaring themselves the second coming of Roman warriors were screaming they “will not live in a pod.” Meanwhile, if we were to return to the ways of Rome they advocate for, anyone who is not wealthy would be living in something that can only be compared to the same pod they screamed they were against.
Going back to the claims of tradition, while it is true that our founding fathers had European heritage, they did not look at that — especially not from the Roman Empire nor the Anglo-Saxon period — for their concept of liberty. What they advocated for was actually rather radical at the time, and had little historical precedent to base itself on. Hence why many of their arguments were not based on how successful their form of government had been previously, but instead how morally just their system was compared to what other nations were subject to.
If you read the Declaration Of Independence, you’ll notice no mention of Ancient Rome nor of some “Anglo-Saxon Political Tradition.” In the minds of our founders, many of whom were radical classical liberals for their day, this tradition was one of the monarchs and blind obedience, not of representative democracy nor of liberty.
The concept of self-governance and local control did not come from England, but from Jamestown. As Tom Woods notes in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide To American History:
The mutual antagonism contributed in a peculiar way to the development of American liberty: Each denomination and colony was vigilant against interference in its internal affairs by others. The differences among the colonies created the presumption that each should mind its own business, and so should any potential central governement.
It should also be noted that American values are not one-to-one with the values of the Anglo-Saxon. One of the most celebrated heroes of that era was Beowulf, who comes off as selfish, arrogant, and fame-seeking by modern standards.
The misunderstanding of history continues with this line:
History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country.
First off, our founding fathers never wanted a country with “political unity.” In his defense of the House of Representatives, James Madison specifically argued that a large legislator would lead to less unity, as if there are a large number of people it’s less likely any of them would form a majority to oppress the minority. The fact that states were allowed to have their own rules, regulations, and cultures also show that our founding fathers, no matter who you might think of them, did not want a nation that was unified.
The use of the term “America First” also gained some controversy. For those unaware, from 9/4/1940 until 12/10/1941 there was a fairly popular group in American politics called the America First Committee. It was an isolationist pressure group that primarily existed to convince President Roosevelt to not enter the Second World War — at least, on the surface.
The main spokesman for America First was the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh. Lindberg had accepted a medal from Reichstag President Hermann Goring, who gave him that medal on behalf of Adolf Hitler, in 1938, who was later convicted of war crimes. President Roosevelt told his Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. “If I should die tomorrow, I want you to know this, I am absolutely convinced Lindbergh is a Nazi.” Roosevelt later wrote to this War Secretary Henry Stimson:
When I read Lindbergh’s speech I felt that it could not have been better put if it had been written by [Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph] Goebbels himself. What a pity that this youngster has completely abandoned his belief in our form of government and has accepted Nazi methods because apparently they are efficient.
However, it was not only his political enemies who called Lindberg a Nazi. On Lindbergh, famous Nazi supporter Henry Ford said “When Charles comes out here, we only talk about the Jews.” (Ford, along with Charles Coughlin, was the first to publish The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion in English, and he gave out that, and later Mein Kampf and his own four-volume collect of newspaper columns The International Jew, for free with every car he sold.) Lindberg was also a strong supporter of Eugenics, and although his support for the Nazis softened after America declared war on Germany, his belief in racial hierarchy was something he supported until his dying breath.
Although the only man who has not spoken on Lindbergh so far is the man himself. Here is Lindberg writing in Reader’s Digest in November 1939:
Aviation is a tool especially shaped for Western hands, a scientific art which others only copy in a mediocre fashion; another barrier between the teeming millions of Asia and the Grecian inheritance of Europe — one of the priceless possessions which permit the White race to live at all in a pressing sea of Yellow, Black and Brown … We can have peace and security only as long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races.
Lindberg’s most infamous speech is easily the one he gave on 9/11/1941, in which he declared:
The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration.
Now fair is fair, and Lindbergh did say the Jewish had good reason to oppose Hitler (isn’t that quite the understatement?), although his argument seems to come down to “I’m not anti-Semitic, but those damn Jews make me fight for them, I will be.” Here’s an excerpt from his speech:
It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.
No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.
Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.
However, in private, Lindbergh would say the quiet part out loud. You already heard Henry Ford talk about their mutual agreement on the international Jew, well here’s Lindbergh writing in his own journal:
We must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence … Whenever the Jewish percentage of total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few Jews of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.
Once again, the most generous reaction one can give to that is that Lindbergh was not anti-Semitic, but that he had an odd amount of understanding for those who were. And even if Lindbergh was not a fascist (which is a difficult claim to justify), and even if many of his supporters were not (once again, a difficult claim to justify), it’s undeniable a decent chunk who took up the label were.
There was also an America First Party, formed on 1/10/1943. Its only candidate for President was Gerald L. K. Smith, a populist who ran for President on their ticket in 1944. The same year Smith founded the Party, he also joined the Silver Shirts, a group of fascists who are most well known for inspiring the group that takes over the American government in Sinclair Lewis’s novel It Can’t Happen Here. The Silver Shirts was founded by William Pelley, an open admirer of Adolf Hitler who founded his organization one day after Hitler took control of Germany.
In 1947, the America First Party rebranded itself into the Christian Nationalist Crusade, which re-published Henry Ford’s book The International Jew in 1950 and argued in favor of segregation. In 1959, the magazine of the organization, Cross And The Flag, argued that six million Jewish people were not killed during the Holocaust, but instead they had all immigrated to the United States.
One could spend all day unraveling the web of “America First” advocates and open Nazi supporters, such a thing is far from hard, however, I think you get the point. This was pointed out by everyone, and considered both Greene and Gosar have been accused of anti-Semitism in the past, it looked, at best, more than a little tone death.
So, on 4/17/2021, one day after the America First Caucus was first launched, Greene announced that she was canceling the project. Both her and Gosar also claimed they had no involvement with the seven-page manifesto that has been leaked online, although the fact that it’s just a checklist of what those two have been proposing for years surely shoots some holes in that theory.
In Gosar’s keynote speech to the America First Political Action Cofrence — an alternative to CPAC ran by Nick Fuentes — Gosar declared loudly and proudly that “America First is inevitable.” One would think this was contradicted by “America First” President Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden, but they don't believe Biden actually won so I guess it makes sense to them.
Well here's attempt number two: And it failed as quickly as it took off. It was a project so nonsensical not even Louie Gohmert was willing to sign on, which should have been the first red flag that this was a horrible idea.
If America First is so inevitable, why does it keep failing?