There has never been a nation created based on the supposition that common genes are sufficient to build a government around. Most nations throughout history under all systems of government have ruled over regions which are mostly consanguineous, not just owing to the relatively low level of transportation technology available in the past. It’s also because people who are genetically similar tend to prefer the company of their fellows.
Knowing this, and knowing the errors of multiculturalism, it’s easy to proceed with just trying to argue one’s way back to an ethnic nationalism based mostly on common genetics. The most vulgar versions would be the American ideologies of black and white nationalism, which are both arguably rooted in prison culture. Prisoners separate themselves into ethnic factions because it’s a common denominator that can’t be faked.
When average Americans think of a ‘white nationalist,’ they think of a prison convert with swastika tattoos. They don’t think of the genteel, heroic Klansmen praised by Woodrow Wilson from Birth of a Nation — they think of the character played by Edward Norton in American History X.
In history, nationalism coincided with the decline of aristocracy and the rise of the nation-state. It was in opposition, often strongly so, even up to this day in nations like Spain, with governing ideologies related to ethnicity. Spain suppresses the Basques because the Basques assert their ethnic, regional identity against the national identity pushed down from Madrid.
France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia are all patchworks of different ethnic groups with differing traditions and language dialects. Part of what made nationalism an unusual historical development was that it often involved the bulldozing of local ethnic cultures and their supplanting with new, national cultures.
That meant out with the local folk-story-teller and in with the national-great-novelist and national-composer and national-playwright and national-poet. You can’t just dispense with those people when you’re trying to ‘do the whole nationalism thing.’
It also coincided with a fair amount of ethno-religious in major and minor countries as the absolute monarchs struggled to consolidate their authority.
In the modern context, ethnic nationalism emerges amid ethnic conflict, driven by the state, in its attempts to further consolidate its own concept of nationalism. In France and the United States (along with other nations which mimic those countries), the nation-idea consists of a nationalism of the spirit, rather than one of the blood. People who affirm the national creeds of the French revolutionary state or the American revolutionary state as understood today, and go through the legal hoops, become labeled citizens, regardless of who they are and where they come from.
In this way, Barack Obama is a radical American nationalist, according to the tale told by the American nation-state which defines what it means to be such a nationalist. All of the propaganda published by the American state affirms that it is a multicultural nation which takes great pains to create a super-diverse state tolerant of all races and creeds.
It wasn’t always precisely so, but that’s the way that it is now.
Part of what’s generally positive among dissenting blood-and-genes nationalists of today is in recognizing that a nation formed on ever-mutating ideals is not a stable one, and a citizenship available to anyone with no standards (as Aristotle understood) is not a citizenship that is worth holding. No polis that refuses to maintain standards for citizenship can maintain cohesion for long.
So, while some measure of consanguinity is necessary to use nationalism as a political tool, it’s far from the only thing which is necessary.
You mention revolutionary France, but I think a case can be made that this process started in France much earlier — reading Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror details how the Valois kings had difficulty with Navarre, Normandy and Brittany cutting deals with the English during the Hundred Years’ War — the outcome of that war was a centralization of power (and thus culture) in France as a result of retaking English-held and English-friendly territory. It’s important to recognize that nation-states have always been “imagined communities” to one extent or another.
This is a point well-made. Also, vulgar nationalists of today tend to discount the substantial cultural differences within nations like France that persist even up to today.
Toddy Cat says
“It’s important to recognize that nation-states have always been “imagined communities” to one extent or another.”
Very true. Imagination is necessary for any political unit larger than the family, but when imagination gets too far out of line with reality, the whole thing stops working. As we in America see today…
America was based on the Christian idea that all humans (even slaves) have souls, that all souls are equal in the eyes of God, and that all may be saved by some combination of belief and good deeds. This was a theological proposition you could build a nation on.
When the Progressives abandoned God however, their belief mutated into all humans being equal in the *this* world, which requires suppressing or ignoring a great deal of evidence to the contrary.
I was always mystified about South American people being so nationalistic. They may despise other races in their country; but there’s absolutely no sense of white solidarity across borders; and people really buy into patriotism. And that’s for multiracial, backward, completely artificial nations just gobbled up less than 200 years ago.
There’s nothing natural about European language-nationalism. You can make up any kind of grouping and people will buy into it if sufficiently propped.
I didn’t get this sense from my limited exposure to South American elites. My sense was a bit the opposite. But I don’t speak Spanish, don’t do business there, have a poor understanding of the history, and have had few reasons to go there since the mid ’00s. I don’t know enough to make a strong statement in favor of one view or the other.
I am also quite wary of people who claim to have expertise about South America who don’t have a big blood network there. You just routinely see investors asking people to move to South American Country_X and invest, and then like clock-work there’s another revolution and expropriation.
And even when you ask the people from there whether or not the rebels are really done this time, they always say that it’s done, but then it gets fucked up again.
All the pumping done of Brazil and ‘Lula’ or whatever the fat guy’s name was in publications like the Economist from the early 2000s on are a good example of this. Krugman pumped the Kirchner regime in Argentina.
I understand why Swiss are patriotic (they have every right to be), but I don’t understand why people in shitty little countries tend to be much more patriotic than is typical.
>You can make up any kind of grouping and people will buy into it if sufficiently propped.
Yes, but we have to ask whether or not it’s a good grouping, and whether or not the groups actually gel all that well. Latin America being a case in point.
Even Switzerland is a bit of a case in point. The Italians and French there are good at providing some local color. The Swiss Germans do most of what’s noteworthy internationally, although, then again, Geneva is French, so that works pretty well.
So if you are building a multicultural dream team, German/French/Italian sounds pretty good.
If your multicultural dream team is Turks/Arabs/Mystery Meats then it is not necessarily going to be all that dreamy of a dream team.
USA dream team of Brits, Germans, African slaves and… uh… the Irish… worked out pretty impressively in the 19th and early 20th century compared to what it started from. Good team. Not so good team is when you try to integrate the entire planet on equal terms within one political system.
Switzerland started out as a defence league and originally included both rural communes, city states and princely states. There is a Swiss “nationalism” based on history, but local heritage is also strong at least outside the big cites. And even if most traditional forms of government were replaced by “democracy” in the 19th century the cantons retain a substantial amount of sovereignty, eg a foreigner seeking Swiss citizenship must be approved on a local level as well on the federal.
Yes. It also helps that many cantons are rather geographically isolated. You have to go through lots and lots of tunnels or long and winding mountain roads sometimes.
The Reactionary Tree says
Why I’ll agree that ethnic nationalism alone is not enough forge the type of nation we want, it is a step in the right direction and ultimately, I think, a foundation to build upon. With common blood, genes, culture, ancestry, heritage, we are more likely to be able to come together to forge a government that adequately represents us. You are right in saying that nationalism is to the left of traditionalism because nationalism didn’t really arise until democratic nation-states.
Another thing about ethnic-nationalism that makes it so important is that the current state of affairs in 2015, we as white people must ensure our existence and future. All white nations are under attack my mass immigration from the third world. We have seen how whites are treated when they are greatly outnumbered i.e. South Africa. Do not doubt for a second that it wont happen in North America or Europe if we become outnumbered by hostile third worlders.
Europeans may be turned off by the idea of WN but as their identities become diluted from an ethnicity to simply a nationality, they become white. When “Swedes” are of African descent and “French” are of Arabic descent, then its time to get real about the situation by European friends. You are wearing the uniform, you are on the white team whether you want to be or not.
It seems like many neoreactionaries are quick to discount ethnic nationalism and they make some good points but it is a major part of the solution as well, not just trads and tech-comms.
I do see the threat that the ‘white genocide’ people tend to emphasize in their propaganda. I just think that the solutions that they propose are goofy.
Trying to convince all European nations simultaneously that multiculturalism is bad is not really doable. It is a lot easier to do it in a single country, and then to have that country clobber all the others in military-economic competition. Superiority better than any argument. Competition forces all the competitors to adapt.
We have excessive international cooperation now — not excessive competition.This is especially acute in the areas formerly administered by the Western allies after the war.
So, right, don’t try to get France, Sweden, Germany, and the UK all on one page, to make them all love each other. This is part of the reason why the EU is such an enormous failure. It also rides on top of the existing, decades-long propaganda campaigns to pacify Europe and unify the continent under a single, bland, “European” culture — this tendency I see as profoundly sick, and not too different from what exists already there.
Better to turn one country hard to the right, and then have that country kick the shit out of the rest of them. Alexander did not conquer the world by telling people that all they needed was love. He did it mostly with the spear.
I would counter by saying that ‘white nationalists’ discount ethnicity, religion, and culture within that broader ethnic group far too much, in a way which is very reminiscent of the multicultural narrative emanating from Brussels.