Standing for Nationalism
The right-wing blogosphere is now awash in the issue of racialism and ties to Nazi and Nazi-like movements, the greatest salvo being the LGF thread about Vlaams Belang and the Swedish Democrats. By sheer coincidence (or maybe not; an Orthodox Jew ought to believe there is no coincidence, only HaShem’s hand), this started just a few days after my spat with the racialists on Gates of Vienna. I didn’t have anything to do with the LGF thread; it was part of Charles’ reaction to a post on Atlas Shrugs. But this topic looks like staying on for a few weeks at the very least.
On that last LGF thread, in a discussion with Fjordman, I tried to outline both the agreements and disagreements I had with the European branch of the resistance to Islamization. I wrote (comment #257):
[…] Let me try to draw a few common, undisputed arguments:
- Islam is a mortal threat to all non-Muslim host states.
- National sovereignty should be defended from the encroachment of superstates.
- The governments are no longer in any synchrony with the people they are supposed to represent.
- Uncontrolled immigration is disastrous and should be done away with.
To contrast, the disagreements:
- The role of race in shaping human cultural differences.
- The idea that each culture fits its race of origin best.
It appears to me that the greatest agreement we have (in general, and between Fjordman and me in particular) is #2: national sovereignty is a must, and superstates like the European Union are to be fought until they are toppled (or nipped in the bud if they are in their formative stages). I may disagree with the guys of The Brussels Journal on some or even many things, but I agree 100% with their overarching goal: the protection of the sovereignty of individual European nations from the absorption into the EUSSR Borg. I can identify with that goal fully, because I am a doctrinaire, self-conscious nationalist. And, because my nationalism, Jewish nationalism, also known as Zionism, isn’t entangled with the consideration of race as in the European case, I can offer a defense of nationalism against the Leftist device of conflating it with racism.
The Left is internationalist by doctrine; John Lennon’s “Imagine no countries” is a succinct description of Marxist sentiment. The phrase, “rootless cosmopolitan”, which Stalin (long may he roast in hell) used to depict the Jews of the USSR, is ironically an accurate depiction of what the Marxists wish for all humans to be: citizens of the world, shorn of all nationalistic ties.
It was the main point of contention between Trotsky and Stalin, as it is now among Leftists, even on officially non-Marxist sites like Daily Kos, to what extent the reality of human nationalism should be cut slack. Trotsky wanted to export the Russian Revolution to outside Russia, while Stalin insisted Russia wait with it until more favorable times. In like manner, on one of the Daily Kos Israel/“Palestine” threads, one of the commenters expressed the wish humanity would “grow out of artificial distinctions such as ‘Israelis’ and ‘Palestinians’ and see ‘human’ as their only identity”; to which another commenter grudgingly agreed, but then said humanity was not ready for that yet, so the next best thing was to support “justice for all indigenous peoples” in the meantime. They were both agreed that the final goal, their Messianic vision for the End of Days, was a world without states, countries and national divisions.
So, regardless of the dispute between Trotsky and Stalin as to the tempo, the Marxists have always had their sights on nationalism, and striven to discredit it. They received their golden, unrepeatable chance to do so in the aftermath of World War II, and they did not fail to seize on it: from 1945 to this day, the Marxists (and other Leftists influenced by them—an increasing number since the 1960’s) have not ceased to use Nazism and World War II as “proof” that nationalism is by necessity a force for evil.
Today, however, it is important to defend nationalism, because it is very much the only stop-gap against the encroachment of superstates, whether nanny-state socialist like the European Union or Islamofascist like the planned Caliphate; superstates which, by nature, would spell the death of civil liberties to all those who fall under their jurisdiction. It is necessary, first of all, to clear nationalism’s name from the Marxists’ post-WWII narrative, and then to show how nationalism, when properly done, is the best fit for the human race.
“Nazi” is short for “National-Socialist German Workers’ Party”, a name containing two red herrings one after the other. The “Socialist” part was a relatively standard socialism for the 1930’s, a far cry from Communism: Hitler and FDR had similar programs for responding to the Great Depression. But my subject is nationalism, and here the inaccuracy is of a different nature: not that the Nazi Party’s platform was not nationalistic, but that it went far beyond nationalism. In fact, it went beyond mere racism as well. For all my loathing of the Stormfronters and other such racialists in Europe, they differ from the Nazis in one crucial aspect: their stated platform is only “Defending White Europe from the wave of non-white immigration”, while the Nazis’ goal was to make the Herrenvolk the masters of the whole world. What made Nazism such a force for evil, then, was imperialism. Mere nationalism, even mere racism, would never have driven Germany to opening a world war and exterminating millions (Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and more). The idea of entitlement to the whole world was the vital ingredient here. And this—a point that cannot be stressed enough—is something Nazism has in common with the non-nationalist ideologies of both Communism and Islam. Answer to Leftist anti-nationalists: Nazism was imperialism; non-imperialist nationalism is clean of the atrocities Nazi Germany committed.
And now to the explanation why nationalism is the best fit, or perhaps I should say, as it is said regarding democracy, the least bad model for human political organization. The explanation is as follows: human differences become less manageable the more individuals are involved, until there is a level at which the gaps can no longer be bridged; based on history and current events, the nation is the highest level where the differences can still be managed.
Without shared values there can be no cohesive society. That sounds obvious, but so many unifying paradigms have been tried that give no sustainable shared values. For example, the patriotic ideal, according to which two different nations can be united by virtue of sharing history on the same land. This has failed everywhere: Yugoslavia, Rwanda and now Iraq, to name just three examples. It is failing in Lebanon as we speak, and the One-State Solution proposed for the Israel/“Palestine” would, should it ever be implemented, fare just as disastrously (which is why I insist on treating anyone who advocates the Binational Solution as if he had called for a Second Holocaust). In a past post, I cited Belgium as the only example I could find of the success of the patriotic ideal, but since then the secessionist strife between the Flems and the Walloons of Belgium has come to the fore, crossing off Belgium as a success story as well. In all the failed examples, the differences were too great to be reconciled, so that, as soon as the temporary unifying factor vanished (for example, the iron-fisted ruler in the case of Yugoslavia and Iraq), there was nothing to hold the factions any longer. True nations are capable of holding together without such a factor.
Granted, there were supra-national organizations long before the current superstates. The Catholic Church was the one for Western Europe, as it still is for millions of Catholic Christians worldwide. However, the limits of such supra-national structures in motivating political actions have been apparent since the early days; already in 1096, when the pope called for the first crusade, he had to appeal to nationalism (“the acts of God through the Franks”) in order to rally the necessary troops. Organizations like the Catholic Church provide for ideological unity and inspiration, and the Islamic aspiration of the Caliphate shows how potent they can be, but they cannot hold diverse identities together politically. Nations are in enough danger of civil strife themselves, but the reality of national identity means this is not inevitable; whereas Christian Europe and the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle Ages were destined to break up into individual, often warring, states from Day One.
In the modern world there is a possibility for a supra-national state to hold together. The method of doing so was covered most extensively, I think, by George Orwell, especially in his book 1984. The short of it: only by totalitarian rule can a superstate be sustained, be prevented from breaking up into its individual nation-states. Only through the crushing of civil liberties can the consequences of such great differences be contained. Superstates, then, are anti-liberal (the “liberal” part being in the classical sense) by their very nature. Barring a basic change in how humans think, internationalism is a pipe-dream, all attempts at its implementation necessary leading to disaster, such as the 100,000,000 deaths that Marxism has so far left in its wake.
With my talk of human nature, I tread into religious territory. I write from the Torah-based point of view now, so non-religious readers might wish to skip this paragraph. It would seem that only God can truly bring an age of internationalism. That is true, strictly speaking, but we have it on the authority of HaShem’s prophets that He will not do so. Look at all the prophecies regarding the End of Days, i.e. the Messianic Age, and you will see a vision of peace, plenty and brotherhood of man, but not the end of human nationalities. “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation”, says the prophet Isaiah (2:4)—no more war between nations, true, but that means there will be nations! For the Bible, being the only authoritative source on human nature, tells us, in its first chapters, how humanity could not hold on to its pristine state of being unified, without national divisions. It does not matter if you take the first eleven chapters of Genesis literally or allegorically (I do the latter); the message about humanity is the same: human beings are too weak to rise above such divisions. Therefore HaShem, in His great favor, gave indulgence to nationalism, and made it an eternal institute for mankind. HaShem will only end wars between the nations (speedily in our days, amen), not the nations themselves. When the Marxists envision an End of Days without nations, they are being, how shall we put it, plus royalist que le roi. And the results, as we all know, have been disastrous.
So I, as a Jew, am totally unfazed by the argument that the Jews were victims of nationalism in 1939–45. This argument only serves as a starting-point for the main thrust: that Zionism, Jewish nationalism, is as equally detrimental to the Jewish people (with the standard “Jews are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them” soon to follow). Nice try, but no: Nazism is not exclusively a member of the set, “nationalism”; it belongs to another set in addition, called “imperialism”, which is what made it so destructive a force. Jewish nationalism is both Biblically-derived and sound from a general human, non-religious point of view. And the struggle of Israel against the Muslim sedition in its midst is one of the best demonstrations of why nationalism must be defended.
The Muslims of Israel (as well as a few non-Muslim Arab useful idiot allies of theirs) demonstrate excellently why nationalism is required for cohesion. One might point out the divisions among the Jews (secular, Modern Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox; in the past the racial divisions were also of importance, but not so now, despite the attempts of Leftists to describe it so), but even in the thick of the sharpest divisions, there has always stayed the constant of the idea of Ha-Am Ha-Yehudi—the Jewish nation; such that, as we saw during the Lebanon War of summer 2006, times of trouble could bring all the factions to set aside their differences. The Muslims of Israel, in contrast, have never been part of this unity. Fear had them lying low in the first decades of the state of Israel, but when that fear dissipated, their typical Muslim insolence surfaced. Not only do they not share the nationality (which is true for non-Muslims in Israel like the Druzes, who do not display those seditious tendency, except for a few who have been Leftoxicated into the Post-Colonial paradigm), they have an active, conscious nationalism of their own, a nationalism rivaling the Jewish one. (A supra-nationalism, to be more accurate—the idea of the Islamic ummah.) There cannot be lasting peace inside a state under such a state of affairs.
So too in Europe, the accumulation of rival nationalisms under the same roof is not making for a peaceful existence. Note that this has little to do with race; this has to do, foremostly, with an uncontrolled flood of immigration that is not beset by any demands upon the immigrants to make steps toward naturalization. In the past, it was unheard of that an immigrant would permanently reside in the host country without learning the language. Nowadays, a call for insisting that Mexicans immigrating to the USA (whether legally or not) speak English earns you the worn-out epithet, “racist” from the self-righteous Leftist establishment. Between today’s extremes of not making any demands upon immigrants and the idea that only people of a particular race can be real citizens, in the past there was the middle road of accepting anyone but on condition that they assimilate themselves to the host culture. This necessarily cut down on immigration, for only those who were serious about it immigrated. And most importantly, it preserved the national cohesion of the state. No “nations inside a nation, rivaling the host nation”—immigrants had to adapt. The Hispanic immigrant did not have to cease speaking Spanish among his family, but he did have to learn English, and totally absent was the situation that he would ask others to speak Spanish to accommodate him. He would find immigration difficult at first, as all immigrants do, but afterward he, or if not he then his children, would be an integral part of the fabric of the American nation. That was until recently, until it became “culturally imperialist” to make such demands of immigrants.
The Left will never be pleased by anything short of its internationalistic goal. In the meantime, all the efforts to placate the demands of Political Correctness are taking their toll on states worldwide. People of all nations worldwide need to realize that the phasing out of nationalism and the dropping of all national demands can have only two possible results: civil war or superstate tyranny. Two evils to choose from. Nationalism is the only way out, because the national level is the highest in which the differences between individuals can still be managed. The Leftist Big Lie that nationalism was the cause of World War II and its atrocities must be demolished, in order to make room for the truth that nationalism is today’s self-defense measure against both anarchy and totalitarian rule. All who stand for civil liberties must demand national homogeneity; a homogeneity that does not mean ending all immigration and deporting all immigrants, only enforcing the demand that immigrants accommodate themselves to the host state, and deporting all those who refuse to do so.
May peace both within nations and between them arrive soon, amen.