President Trump gave the most important speech of his term so far in Poland Thursday — and liberals were seriously triggered by it.
Delivered as a stirring call to defend western civilization, Trump’s message was warmly received by the thousands of Poles who attended his speech. The president also praised Poland as a model for Europe, a country that survived the brutal yoke of Soviet-imposed communism to achieve the prosperity it enjoys today.
Trump was not apologetic in expressing support for nationalism and western civilization against the threats of open borders and globalism.
“Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked — these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies,” he stated.
The president listed many of the values, traditions and qualities that connect America, Poland and the other nations of the West — from cherishing the rule of law to creating brilliant works of art. Trump warned that if the West fails to preserve “what we inherited from our ancestors,” it will cease to exist in the world.
But he was ultimately optimistic in his conclusion due to the example of Poland and how it has overcome its own oppression.
“Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will TRIUMPH,” Trump declared. “So together, let us all fight like the Poles — for family, for freedom, for country, and for God!”
That message earned applause from many conservative commentators — including such staunch Trump critics as Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. But liberals fumed over it as a racist dog-whistle to the alt right — all because it talked about the West as a unified civilization worth preserving.
The New Republic, Vox, The Atlantic and other outlets published screeds about Trump’s dangerous “western chauvinist” message. The New Republic’s Jeet Heer bemoaned the how the speech imagined the West in “blood and soil” terms and eschewed its liberal ideals.
“Trump is defining the West not based on ideals like democracy and liberty, but atavistic loyalties to territory and shared kinship… [the speech] evoked themes popular with the alt-right and cultural conservatives: that immigration is an existential threat, and that religion and family values are essential to revitalizing the will of the West in the face of its enemies, both internal and external,” Heer wrote.
The left-wing writer also concluded his article with an assertion that Trump “won the presidency with a campaign of white nationalism, and now, in Warsaw, he has used white grievance politics to redefine ‘the West.'”
Vox’s Sarah Wiseman called the speech an alt-right manifesto because it stood up “for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.” Guess supporting family, freedom, country and God now amounts to National Socialism. Wiseman also complained that Trump didn’t give any credit to Josef Stalin for being the “savior” of Poland in World War II.
The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart was upset Trump used the term “our civilization,” which the journalist claimed the president’s “white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means.” To Beinart, Trump was defining the West in tribalistic terms that emphasized race and religion over “universal values.” The Atlantic writer furthermore claimed Trump’s argument that the core of America was Western came with the disturbing implication “that anyone in the United States who is not white and Christian may not truly be American but rather than an imposter and a threat.”
Thankfully, anti-Trump conservative takes on the speech were much more level-headed and pointed out the similarities between Trump’s words and that of past presidents like Ronald Reagan. These Trump critics did not see the appeals to “blood and soil nationalism” that was discerned by their left-wing peers. Instead, they saw it as a fine speech to give to a foreign ally.
The real change here isn’t how Trump changed the definition of “the West,” but how liberals now view the term and adamantly oppose it. The President of the United States emphasized that the civilization his nation shares with Poland is shaped by values — those that liberals also cherish — and talked of the West in a way that would not have drawn much ire if it was delivered by anybody but Trump.
But since it was Trump who spoke and the desire to paint him as a closet white nationalist is still strong among the Left, we get hand-wringing about how upholding family, freedom, country and God is Nazism. It also didn’t help that Trump spoke out against unrestricted immigration and globalism, two values that are becoming sacred dogma for the Left.
The new standard for the Left after Trump’s Warsaw speech is that the only approved way to talk about the West is if you just stick to liberal democracy that all the globe can enjoy. It’s pretty bizarre that liberals pine for the days when that obsession with spreading liberal democracy to the world resulted in the catastrophic Iraq war, which happened to pour cold water on the universal appeal of western political values.
Apparently that’s much better than simply stating America and Poland share the same traditions and civilization.
The anguish over Trump’s speech not only reveals the inability for his liberal detractors to see any merit in the president’s statements, it also shows their horror that western civilization could be defined by anything other than democracy and human rights doctrine.
The West shares a long history that has spanned different forms of government and various conceptions of political rights. The culture, history and traditions of western civilization have made it the beacon to the world and embraced the values that give rise to democracy. To define invocations of vital elements of our civilization as racist dog-whistles while clinging to other aspects of the West is ridiculous.
The West is more than a commitment to spreading liberal democracy everywhere.
Millions of people throughout the West understand this and have no problem with upholding family, freedom, country, and God. They will, however, take issue with those who lecture them that that’s just Nazi talk.
Follow Scott on Twitter and purchase his new book, “No Campus for White Men.”