Christian Nationalism in a Managerial Nation

Christian Nationalism in a Managerial Nation

With the Christian faith pushed off the main stage, technical managerialism has played a dual role as both a kind of religion and, at the same time, a substitute for the metaphysical superstructure that the Christian hierarchy of being used to provide. The managerial system, whether in its governmental form or, as we find it in business, in non-profits or NGOs, becomes both religion and god at the same time—an all-encompassing system within which “we live and move and have our being.”

Mike Sabo’s “What is Christian Nationalism?” is a fair and comprehensive introduction to a vibrant and messy emerging discourse. Broadly speaking, what is coming to the fore in this and other related movements is a desire to resist the corrupt American regime in ways that are specifically Christian, so as to bring about a change in the core governing principles of our society and align them with the Christian faith. The goal is to foster a flourishing society under the divine sovereignty of God.

This most definitely means imposing Christian religious values onto society. It does not mean turning society into a theocracy—that is, one ruled by a priestly class. Christian nationalists do acknowledge, though, that all law is an expression of morality, and all morality is at its core religious. It is not a question of whether some religious faith, even in the desiccated form of ideology, will be imposed upon you: it is a matter of which one it will be. Currently we are governed by the cult of Human Progress.

This said, though I embrace the goals of the movement, like many others I am less than enthusiastic about the term “Christian Nationalism.” It evokes too much of late 19th- and early 20th-century nationalist movements. It is a set of terms that have already been embraced and then rejected by the regime. The idea of “nationalism” is itself a product of propaganda, an artificial construct imposed upon us so as to harness ever-larger degrees of technical management at ever-greater societal scale.

The implication of nationalism is that you give up your local attachments to the community of your birth—with its real, tangible, embedded relationships—to embrace the abstract construct of a “nation.” The regime’s powerbrokers, horrified by what nationalism unleashed in the first half of the 20th century, doubled down and argued that we needed to transcend not just the local bonds of community, but also the looser and more generalized affinities inspired by the nation. In becoming a truly global community, we would then transcend the divisions that nationalism spawned.

But quibbles like this are relatively small things. I raise the point only to note that “Christian Nationalism” embraces many who are willing to participate in this emerging discourse and movement, comfortable knowing that the terms, labels, ideas, means, and approaches will get worked out over time. Maybe the label sticks, maybe it doesn’t. If the label is all that stands in your way, don’t let it trip you up.

Broadly speaking, those of us involved in this project seek a society which is governed by Christian principles. What does this look like? For me, it does not mean seizing the reins of power within the current system. Why is this? In spite of the deeply Christian nature of American society at the time of the founding, I would argue along with the French sociologist, philosopher, and theologian Jacques Ellul that the American revolutionary mindset, even in its infant form, was produced by a system of values which was gaining ascent through the rise of the merchant class: technical managerialism.

Ellul argues in “Autopsy of Revolution” that the ingredient necessary to turn a revolt into a revolution is “the plan.” You need a group of people capable of turning a set of grievances into a coherent structure and set of institutions. This organizing capacity has always been the particular strength of bureaucratically minded managers. They have been adept at rational analysis, being able to look at complex situations, abstracting them, shaping them and organizing them into a rational system through which governing institutions, processes, and policies could be instituted. They told us themselves what they were doing. A group of men went into the backrooms and developed a rational plan for a new nation:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

They looked upon past ways of doing things as inferior and so set about to develop a better system. They desired to remove the inadequacies, corruptions, and variability inherent in the older system of nobility, which relied heavily on persons and embedded traditions. They wanted to replace this system with a more rational, a more perfect union.

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