The Phrase ‘Who We Are As A Nation’ Is Bad For Freedom

The phrase “who we are as a nation” chills free speech and negates what we are: A nation of free and diverse individuals.

This is one of those pieces that I planned to write for years now. But I never really got around to it because, honestly, it’s really all been said in that opening statement.

So I guess I’ll just add a little context, and hope people catch on…

The phrase “who we are as a nation” was, to my recollection, first pushed with some regularity by President Obama. And then Hillary picked it up, along with the usual suspects like Wasserman Schultz and that Gutierrez guy who always sounds like he’s about to cry. And then, slowly and predictably but still to my dismay, many Republicans started using it.

“This isn’t who we are as a nation.”

“It’s who we are as a nation.”

“It’s time for us to decide, who we are as a nation.”

It was particularly painful to hear the Republicans start saying it, because many of us already knew there was something wrong with it long before they adopted it. So yet again, when they could’ve substantively pummeled the Democrats for promoting a lazy relationship with freedom, the Republicans instead emerged starry-eyed and adopted the exact same language.

The phrase is a tool of social engineering. It’s meant to promote groupthink, and stifle independent thought. It’s a lousy expression. And while the Democrats brought it to the table first, my beef is with the constantly-terrified-of-them establishment Republicans who thought it was an effective means of communication until right now, as they’re reading this sentence.

The one thing that the United States is more than anything else, is a nation where people are free to think and act for themselves. So miss me with your “who we are as a nation” garbage. Stop trying to convince me that we’re a monolith all in lockstep with each other and devoid of independent thought.

Ultimately — to claim that there’s one “who we are as a nation,” and I’m not it if I don’t agree with you, is literally the antithesis of the freedom our nation was founded on.

And you establishment Republicans with the brilliant strategists, consultants and advisers who told you it’s a good idea to start using the expression? When we say “Drain the swamp!”, we’re talking about you as much as the media and the Democrats. You’re all terrible at this stuff. Just terrible.

UPDATE, 11:52PM ET on 7/23/18: I decided to dig up at least one example for good measure. Check out Marco Rubio. If you listen closely, you can actually hear him channeling Barack Obama. (Seriously. The clip is set to start at 2:58. Listen to it a few times from that point. The Obama-like inflection and emphasis are both undeniable.)


  1. Your view on ‘who we are as a nation’ reminds me of Milton Friedman’s difficulty with JFK’s ‘… Ask what you can do for your country.” His point, correctly, was that the purpose of a government is to serve the citizenry. It is not for the citizen to serve the government. So, thanks for the reminder to give the mental bird to the clowns who treat us as the collective.


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