In his farewell address to the nation, President George Washington’s mind was on foreign relations.

“[A] solicitude for your welfare, which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people,” he said. “It is our true policy,” Washington continued, “to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

Before the criticisms begin, let me declare that I’m fully aware of the differences — historical, societal, political and otherwise — between our times and our first president’s. Thus, at least initially, I’m not making a foreign policy statement so much as a moral one, speaking less of politics than the need for a kind of familial respect at the national level. 

Let me explain.

The 10 Commandments tell us to honor our fathers and mothers. If it’s beneficial to honor our parents, then it surely must also be so to grant such respect to the father of our nation?

I bring this up because it seems that a kind of chronological prejudice has emerged in our time, a viewpoint that almost automatically assumes that an issue’s position on the historical timeline determines its intrinsic value. If modern, then good — if from the past, then by definition it must be considered outdated and therefore useless for purposes of instruction.

This notion doesn’t comport with experience, however. For it’s the parent who instructs the child how to catch a baseball or ride a bike (not the other way around); the aging higher-up at the workplace who must show the junior executive the secrets of success if the latter is to make it in the company; and it’s the Founders of our country to whom we ought at least give a cursory glance in matters of proper governance and national decision making.    

Such an observation reveals glaring contrasts. The first and greatest, of course, is that of avoiding the foreign entanglements mentioned by Washington.

Obviously, this view isn’t prevalent in today’s national politics, and perhaps shouldn’t be. I’m even willing to grant that our position in the world has changed since that of our national father, and that (albeit unlikely) all the wars we’ve fought have been necessary. What I think is lacking, however, in the foreign policy of our own time — although abundant in Washington’s address — is a sense of humility. For the first president seems to allow that other countries ought to be allowed to be, well, other countries — even while we are free to pursue our own national identity.

This is so different from now, where the mood under globalization is to go in, get a globalist president installed, erect a McDonald’s and Bank of America, set up a bio-testing-lab or two (preferably near the border of a hostile foreign nation), make sure woke education is extended, and that Blackrock somehow profits from it all. Difficult to imagine Washington approving of such an approach.       

So, how would humility change things for us on the foreign stage? Two primary ways come to mind.

First, the teaching of critical race theory or transgenderism wouldn’t be a prerequisite for receiving government assistance the way it has been in the past. If we aren’t going to promote Christianity — the venerable religion of Dante, Milton and Shakespeare, and the West’s great moral and systematic gift to the world — then we shouldn’t import movements that by contrast were only invented yesterday, and which only a few years ago (in the case of transgenderism) were considered psychological maladies.

Secondly, we wouldn’t insist that Ukraine join NATO when we’ve promised not to do so or exhibit such crass frivolousness as putting the Secretary of State in a bar in Kyiv with an electric guitar to play “Rocking in the Free World” while Ukrainian troops are presumably dying in the trenches of war. Such a move, in addition to violating the need for humility, is also an affront to the historical-minded, calling to mind the image of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. 

There is much to learn from Washington. Rejecting his influence merely because he lived a couple centuries ago has something of the disrespect of a child thumbing his nose at his parents. As father of our country, Washington is a parent to us all, and we should have enough humility to listen and draw from his example. It’s the least we can do … not just on Father’s Day but every day.    

Along with his father, Allen Keller runs a lumber business in Stevenson, Alabama. He has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Florida State University and an MBA from University of Virginia. He can be reached for comment at

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.