What is American about American identitarianism? National liberalisms and revolutionary spirits within varieties of American palingenesis

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May, Thomas
Vandiver, Josh
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In recent years much attention has been paid to the ideology and politics of the Identitarians in Europe. These groups, who center a specific cultural identity (whether it be French, German, etc.) at the core of their politics, have made some headway in promoting their belief in a form of national cultural hegemony within Europe. However, as this ideology has since been adopted in the United States, questions begin to arise regarding its American implementations. Namely, how these groups center an “American” identity within their framework when there is seemingly no agreed-upon or historically established conception of a single American identity. This is a fact that some European Identitarian groups have noted, some even rejecting American branches on the grounds that they don’t see a distinct American identity being possible. So how have these groups adapted? This article argues that the American Identitarian movement, in a need to appeal to a shared sense of Americanism, will appeal to liberal values consistent with those of the nation’s founders, but will do so within illiberal or fascistic frameworks. This paper refers to this tactic as “national liberalism” and it serves as the paper’s primary theoretical contribution. This concept of national liberalism is argued to allow for the further understanding of these groups’ ideologies through a palingenetic ultranationalist lens as it relates to both decay and national rebirth. To accomplish this analysis, this paper utilizes the primary sources of two prevalent American Identitarian forces among the radical right, Jared Taylor and Patriot Front.