An interesting segment from the Rachel Maddow Show aired recently. In the clip, Maddow seemed beside herself with wonder at the presence of UKIP’s Nigel Farage at a Donald Trump rally in Mississippi. Calling UKIP “racist” and “neo-Fascist” because of their opposition to mass immigration, she opined that the idea of Farage being relevant to US voters is ridiculous, since only a “radical fringe” of people would even care about the issues he is associated with. Talking about UKIP and mass immigration to the UK in American politics is, Maddow exasperatedly declared, not just evil and racist but also “kooky” and bizarre — as irrelevant and random as “getting up and preaching quadratic equations.” While she strained to suggest that the Republicans in the crowd didn’t know who Farage was (which is certainly false), what comes off in the clip is basically indignation and frustration at American conservatives looking up to the anti-EU and anti-immigration British icon.
While Maddow is famous for her Left-wing credentials and certainly represents that side of the already Progressive mainstream media, the spectacle, in its sense of frustration and “how could they be so stupid” condescension, is actually most reminiscent of a group traditionally held to be at the other end of the US political spectrum. For Maddow’s performance almost perfectly matched in tone the many similar exhibitions and articles this year by Bush-era neocons discussing the topic of Russia and Vladimir Putin’s place in this same presidential election.
Those cable news diatribes, and National Review op-eds, have exhibited the same combination of head-scratching wonder, disdain, and steadily accumulating rage as we see in the Maddow clip. In them, the various members of the Podhoretz/Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld contingent bemoan the unfolding shift within the Republican Primary electorate toward disinterest — or even sympathy — regarding Russia.
As Trump — on the campaign trail — continued to speak about Russia in more and more realistic, open-minded, and ultimately positive terms, it was clear that the GOP voter base embracing him was no longer thinking in the Russophobic manner neocons take for granted. These Primary voters did not view Putin as the evil Bond super-villain Mitt Romney referenced four years previously, when he said Russia was America’s biggest geopolitical threat. Neither did they seem to reflexively identify Russia with communism and Stalin and historical atrocities. Nor did their actions and comments and answers to polling questions suggest any real existential fear of the vast Eurasian country.
The neocons were beside themselves with anger and indignation. Long accustomed to fomenting Russia-hatred at will, they must have wondered why their alchemy was failing. “Don’t they understand that Russia must be brought to heel?” the neocons must have asked themselves. “Putin deposed, the economy opened, the culture enlightened, with mass immigration and transgenderism for all? After all, its capitalism and freedom and that’s what America is all about, and we have never failed to exploit their patriotism before.”
We can see the parallel with Maddow quite clearly. “Why would these redneck Republicans care about Nigel Farage?” one can see her wondering. “He is British and they are American. Mississippi and Britain are half a world away from each other. And why would they care if Britain is overrun by immigrants anyway? After all, that’s only diversity and diversity is progress and progress is strength. To think otherwise is racist, and we’ve always been able to exploit their fear of being called racist before.”
But whether or not Maddow was stumped by Farage’s presence or just posturing, his speech on that stage in Mississippi is of great significance, as is her response, and the responses of the neocons over Russia’s place in the election.
For Maddow and the neocons clearly want Republican voters to see things through the old lenses they are used to looking though. They are applying lenses, or paradigms, of Nation (in the case of the neocons), or at best Culture (in the case of Maddow), to what should more accurately be called questions of Identity. And as Vox Day recently put on paper, “Identity > Culture > Politics.”
Just two or three decades ago most White Americans still thought in explicitly national terms. They were America and America was them. A threat to one was a threat to both. As a result, other nation-states such as Russia were very naturally positioned as enemies. Even in my childhood I believe this was still the case. Indeed as a little kid I would play with toy soldiers out in the dirt for hours upon hours in a manner that proclaimed this very fact. One little plastic army was America, and one side was our enemies. On any given day they might be Chinese or Japanese or WWII Germans, but more than anything they were Russian. The opposing sides would square off from dirt clods to flower boxes, porch steps to rock formations, and engage in glorious battles to decide the fates of their nation-states. Identity and Nationality were in perfect congruence.
That is no longer the case today, however. There has been a radical transformation in the last twenty years. Mass immigration and multiculturalism have turned the idea of a Western nation-state on its head. In our current system, or at least the one we are moving towards, a nation-state is no more than a random collection of people from all over the world, speaking different languages, worshipping different Gods, and living according to different cultural mores. The idea of the U.S., or any Western European country, still representing a single “shared honor group” is becoming ridiculous. Indeed, all around us we are besieged by the forced breakdown of any and all “shared honor groups.” Rather than extended tribes, modern Western states are — through mass immigration and globalization — becoming more like the multinational corporations they prop up, and the citizenry of such nations are at best like shareholders and at worst like products or assets — shifted from one place to another to ensure the proper (Progressive) political parties win elections, and that the multinational corporations have cheap labor. The Rachel Maddows and neocons are the mouthpieces through which the vast mechanism is presented as normal.
As a result, it is of course quite natural for GOP Primary voters to embrace Nigel Farage. For Farage squared off against the globalist powers opposing the Brexit vote and triumphed. Even if only symbolically, the vote dealt a massive blow to these forces, and their twin engines of Progressivism and Multinational Corporatism. For any person of any race wishing to live in a united, somewhat homogenous, culturally unified country, Nigel Farage is therefore a hero.
The same logic dictates the question of Putin, and why GOP Primary voters have warmed up to him in a manner that seems so inexplicable to many pundits. Yet the reasons for it should be equally clear, for Russia, unlike America and Western Europe, is still pretty similar to the nation it was 50 years ago. Sure the political landscape has changed dramatically, and the former Soviet borders have receded, but culturally, racially, and linguistically, it is in every way the same country. And with that being the case, it is also much closer in identity to the nations these GOP Primary voters used to live in.
Indeed when they look at Russia today, they see a land they can relate to. They see people much more like them than many they run into every day in their own countries. From a perspective of identity, they are beginning to relate more to Russia than to their own rapidly changing lands. This is a powerful concept, and as changes to Western Europe and the United States ramp up, its implications are of profound importance.
Few if any would have predicted this, and thus the example of my toy army guys referenced earlier is doubly relevant. For as a child, I eventually grew so obsessed with my fictitious toy battles, and the hypothetical conflicts I could make them represent, that I would beg my parents to buy me books on geopolitics and war. They complied, but I was too young to really understand them. I have no doubt however, that they would never have predicted the world we see today, and the new fault lines that are forming. The world is shifting, and one must ask: When little army men square off in American and European sandboxes tomorrow, just what forces will they represent?
About the Author
Julian Langness is the author of Fistfights With Muslims In Europe: One Man’s Journey Through Modernity. He writes about European politics, 4th Generation Warfare, masculinity, society, and identity. He is also the editor of europeancivilwar.com.
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