America First - Why

Neil Girrard
Feb. 14, 2021

One of the hardest aspects of Trump's presidency to explain is the almost universal enmity he stirred up in nearly every career politician from both sides of the aisle. One main reason is found in a deeper understanding of his America first ideology. In short, it all boils down to money.

Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) is one of the most notable economists and social philosophers of the twentieth century. Following is an excerpt from lectures he gave in 1958 to urge Argentina to reject socialism and dictatorship - these lectures were later turned into what may be his best selling book. Keep in mind that he wrote this for another country long before the current crisis that may well be the death knell for our American republic.

In the United States, the two-party system of the old days is seemingly still preserved. But this is only a camouflage of the real situation. In fact, the political life of the United States—as well as the political life of all other countries—is determined by the struggle and aspirations of pressure groups. In the United States there is still a Republican party and a Democratic party, but in each of these parties there are pressure group representatives. These pressure group representatives are more interested in cooperation with representatives of the same pressure group in the opposing party than with the efforts of fellow members in their own party.

To give you an example, if you talk to people in the United States who really know the business of Congress, they will tell you: “This man, this member of Congress, represents the interests of the silver groups.” Or they will tell you another man represents the wheat growers.

Of course each of these pressure groups is necessarily a minority. In a system based on the division of labor, every special group that aims at privileges has to be a minority. And minorities never have the chance to attain success if they do not cooperate with other similar minorities, similar pressure groups. In the legislative assemblies, they try to bring about a coalition between various pressure groups, so that they might become the majority. But, after a time, this coalition may disintegrate, because there are problems on which it is impossible to reach agreement with other pressure groups, and new pressure group coalitions are formed.

That is what happened in France in 1871, a situation which historians deemed “the decay of the Third Republic.” It was not a decay of the Third Republic; it was simply an exemplification of the fact that the pressure group system is not a system that can be successfully applied to the government of a big nation.

You have, in the legislatures, representatives of wheat, of meat, of silver, and of oil, but first of all, of the various unions. Only one thing is not represented in the legislature: the nation as a whole. There are only a few who take the side of the nation as a whole. And all problems, even those of foreign policy, are seen from the point of view of the special pressure group interests. (Adapted from the sixth lecture of Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow.)

What is common sense to the America people - that we need to preserve America as a whole so that its parts are protected and can thrive - is anathema to a career politician. The special interest money (what von Mises calls pressure groups) is the source of the politicians' wealth and power. Having to subordinate that to the good of the American people as a whole is simply not acceptable. Every decision for America is a financial crisis for the politician. Does anyone remember Senator Tom Udall's frenzy to stop President Trump from restraining Iran? Did anyone ever follow the money to see why this Senator from New Mexico was so interested in Iran?

America first is the opposite of special interest groups. It defies the notion of perpetual career politicians and demands term limits and campaign reform. It weeds out those who want a throne to sit on at the expense of a free America for our children and grandchildren by taking away the mechanism whereby legislators become millionaires on a 6-figure income.

As the new and growing Patriot Party builds its political "platform," it must know that America first is more than a "plank." America first - rejecting both special interest groups and globalist agendas - is the "prime directive."

Perhaps what has been lost the most is the notion of what the American ideals are. If we look at our Constitution (what is supposed to be but too often is no longer the highest law in the land), we find six purposes behind this document.

Unity. Justice. Peace. Safety. Prosperity. Liberty. These are the six purposes behind the Constitution. Where do these ideas come from? Ultimately, a proper understanding of these concepts comes from a right relationship with the Creator God. Without such a relationship - something most liberals and all leftists disdain - there is simply not much possibility of a realistic apprehension of these topics. This is precisely why John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Unity requires a sense of equality devoid of any need or desire to be superior or in control of other people. Once one grasps some understanding of the nature of the Creator God, one recognizes the frailness of the human existence and realizes how similar and how desperately in need we all are.

Justice, especially for all, is built on a similar recognition, that all humans are created equal. There is no aristocratic or oligarchical class of elites who are more entitled than others. Liberals and leftists who suffered in their childhood from a shortage of consequences for their selfish, perhaps even criminal and evil actions, merely transfer that entitlement to their adult life and work to continue their own "liberty" from the just consequences of their own actions - usually by accusing someone else of doing what they routinely do.

Peace begins in one's own human heart. Where there is striving and competition and arrogance and delusions of superiority, there is no peace with oneself and there can be no real and lasting peace with others who must be subjugated and oppressed to keep them from being a threat to one's own "peace of mind" (a perceived "safety" from threats through rendering others unable to protect themselves). The convoluted mind of a liberal or leftist finds "peace" when no one can withstand their attacks against them.

Safety - for one's self, for one's family, for one's community, for one's country - is a God-given right. The idea of consequences - long ago phrased as "an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth" - is the deterrent that keeps law abiding citizens safe because it has long been recognized that government carries a sword to punish those who commit crimes and do evil. Only liberal and leftist fools, who commit crimes and do evil deeds themselves, depart from this wisdom.

Prosperity. Wealth, as is true of poverty, in and of itself is not a crime. The ability to provide for one's self and one's family and to have surplus left over to assist those who have not been so fortunate in life was always the Creator's method. It is only because of the greed of man that we shall always have the poor with us. If socialism would limit itself to curbing the excesses of unrestrained capitalism, it might be tolerable. Since socialism cannot curb its greed anymore than capitalism can curb its greed, we need a government who can stop those who would coerce, steal or embezzle the resources of others. But that is all we need from government as a free market will produce the most number of prosperous people if the market is kept free from from both criminal interference and government intervention and meddling. Why anyone would expect a politician who has never earned an honest dollar in his life to understand free market business tactics borders on insanity.

Liberty is not the unrestrained right to do whatever one wants to do. My right to swing my fist stops at the end of your nose. Liberty is the freedom and strength to do things that are truly right and good - it is not unrestrained over-indulgence of our lower, base nature that craves instant gratification and demands pleasures at the expense of others. Liberty is the right to live life free from the childish, immoral and evil desires of other people, especially from ignorant criminals too lazy to earn honest wages as well as from arrogant elitists who fail to recognize that their blind hypocrisy makes them a lower form of human existence than the "deplorables" they seek to enslave.

These are the quintessential elements of America first. Those who would warn others of the "America first agenda" as if it were a nefarious thing are those who either have a vested interest in some special arena or they are those who are blindly ignorant of the economic forces at work in our government.


Neil Girrard can be reached for questions or comments at neilgirrard@gmail.com or on Telegram @Neil_AFP_NM. His other political articles can be found here.