Were people to try to understand the founding of America, they might come away baffled because it does not map onto the Left-shifted political spectrum we have today. Instead they would have found liberal-minded men who believed in hard conservative realities like natural selection.
For example, consider George Washington on the idea of permanent alliances like the UN, NATO, WEF, WHO, and our middle eastern treaties:
Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, Rivalship, Interest, Humour or Caprice?
’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world—So far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it—for let me not be understood as capable of patronising infidility to existing engagements. (I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy). I repeat it therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest. But even our Commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing & diversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with Powers so disposed—in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the Government to support them—conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, & liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view; that ’tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another—that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character—that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. ’Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.
His point is that history moves rapidly and alliances, like subsidies or regulatory creations, limit how we can respond, and make us obligated to conflicts that have inverted the values with which we entered in these alliances. For example, NATO was originally designed to defend Europe, but with Clinton became a tool for controlling it.
To be the type of political hybrid that the founders were, one had to first be a realist, which meant not just a Machiavellian but a Darwinist. History belongs to those who avoid self-destructive behaviors long enough to reproduce in isolation and keep others out.
For that to occur, political policy must not be isolationist, but based in something like “America First”: representing our interests abroad and leaving every other nation alone as much as can be done. That our national dialogue has moved so far past this suggests the decline has reached an accelerating stage.