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Two Nationalisms

[1]

Dimitar Pandilov, Harvesters, 1936.

2,226 words

Let’s talk about nationalism. 

You’ve probably been told that there are two kinds of nationalism: ethnic and civic. This is true. You’ve probably been told that nationalism is a Left-wing phenomenon. This is partially true. If you’re an American, you’ve probably been told that America is a nation of immigrants since birth. If you’re not, the notion of a nation of immigrants is probably more recent to the official propaganda. 

You’ve probably been told that there is a difference between good and exalted civic nationalism, which is centered on ideas and values; and bad, stinky ethnic nationalism, which relies on blood and soil. You’ve been told that civic nationalism stands for freedom and prosperity, whereas ethnic nationalism stands for slavery and socialism (pronounced soshulism). I’m here to tell you that most of what you’ve been told is right. It really is like that, factually speaking. It’s just that the framework of thought you were born into distorts the very facts so horribly that they form a coherent picture that is disturbingly false. 

Let’s start with a historical episode. 

Towards the end of the 18th century, the two brands of English and French liberalism were reaching their apogee. They were challenging what was left of the traditional order in Europe, questioning the position of the church, the place of the aristocracy, and the divine right of kings to rule. In two revolutions, liberals triumphed over the English and French monarchies. In France, the metropolitan nation was seized by liberals who executed the king and forced a radical reorganization of society. In England, the thirteen North American colonies waged war against the monarchy and seceded, forming an independent republic, the United States of America. 

The two new states, the USA and the French Republic, are the quintessential modern states. They are models of democratic republics, completely reimagined to have not an ounce of the old left in their constitution. And yet their developmental paths diverged significantly, even as the two Republics saw each other through thick and thin in joint opposition first to England and then to a rising Germany. 

The United States did not choose a unified identity for itself. Recognizing itself as a federation of thirteen distinct nations, it tried for a while to have no central state identity. It is famously a secular state, having no official state religion. In its initial form, it was one of the world’s loosest confederations of states, united only by military and diplomatic opprobrium from Britain and later Spain/Mexico and the tribes of American Indians. But as Carl Schmitt says, the concept of the political is reducible to the distinction between friend and enemy. Thus, opprobrium creates political entities by designating otherwise loose congregations of people and tribes “the enemy.” 

It may seem strange to us from this late stage, but at one point, there was no American identity to speak of. People were Virginians, Pennsylvanians, Georgians, New Yorkers, and Connecticutters, but there were no Americans to speak of. George Washington was introduced as a “Great Chief of the Thirteen Fires” to a tribe of Native Americans. However, the dream of the decentralized confederation of state died — or, more precisely, was brutally killed in the Wars of Yankee Aggression against the Confederate States of America (also known as the Civil War) and Deseret (also known as the Mormon War). In these bloody and violent conflicts, Yankee puritanism subjugated the recalcitrant and refractory regions of America that purported to be free, extinguishing the cultural and religious pluralism of the United States and cementing Yankee-style progressivism (a toxic blend of English liberalism and Calvinist fanaticism) as the unofficial state religion of America. The new nation was finally unified under the banner of progress. 

[2]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Here’s the Thing here. [3]

The French Republic took a different path. The victorious revolutionaries found themselves presiding over a people even more diverse than the inhabitants of the thirteen American colonies. There was no unified language, no unified culture, no unified identity. There was only one religion, but it was the hated and retrograde Catholic Church that soon found itself replaced with the Cult of Reason and later with the Cult of the Supreme Being. How could Jean-Paul Marat claim to be the “friend of the people” if there was no people? How could the popular will be determined if there is no determinate people? Who is to will this popular will? La France found itself ruling over a motley multitude — Burgundians, Savoyards, Provençals, Aquitanians, Vendeans, Gasconians, Basques, Alsatians, Corsicans, Bretons, Normans, Occitans, and all sorts of strange tribes — but there was not a single Frenchman in sight. And so, the French Republic set out to make for itself a French people. And the process was no less brutal than the Yankee Republic’s bloody annexation of Dixie and Deseret, including among other things the Vendée genocide [4]. For many people, it entailed learning a new language, adopting a new culture, and swearing allegiance to the state in Paris. The French revolution is better described as a Parisian annexation of France, followed by a Reconstruction to rival the American one in Dixie. Loyalty to the state and language became the primary markers of identity. The modern nation-state was born. 

Of course, that’s not the whole of the story. The idea of nationalism based on language and loyalty to a state spread through the continent of Europe like wildfire, resulting in revolutions against monarchies, some successful, others less so. Even the Danes got in on the fun when they tried to take Schleswig from Prussia in the disastrous Second Schleswig War, believing it entirely possible to “educate” the German population of Schleswig into becoming Danes. 

There’s an old German joke that Danish is not a language, but a disease of the throat. Suppose the German Air Force saturated Copenhagen in a great cloud of aerosolized cough syrup. Will that turn the Danes into Germans? 

The nation-building projects grew ever more ambitious. After the resounding successes in France, unification movements arose in Germany and Italy, although these states were forged not so much with unification as with one state annexing all the others. It is a testament to Bismarck’s ability as a statesman that he managed to get one over on the German nationalists by actively imposing Prussian culture and mores on the Kaiserreich, although this Preußentum did not survive Bismarck himself. His Savoyard counterparts in Italy were less skillful. The tale of Italian “unification” is more sordid and wrought with criminality than even the American Civil War. Italy is to this day dysfunctional because of the shortsighted attempt to force the North and South to live in a single state.

And of course, the crown jewel of the nation-builders was Yugoslavia, on which subject I’ve written extensively in the past. [5] Suffice to say, it did not end well. 

That’s a brief history of nationalism for you. Well, then which is which? It is obvious from the history of the concept that the modern form most closely approximating historical nationalism is civic nationalism. Indeed, the idea that Burgundians, Savoyards, Provençals, Aquitanians, Vendeans, Gasconians, Basques, Alsatians, Corsicans, Bretons, Normans, Occitans, and other strange tribes can be educated, bullied and brainwashed into becoming French, primarily by means of changing their first language and securing their loyalty to the state in Paris, is not at all different from the idea that Algerians, Somalis, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, Afghanis, Moroccans, Nigerians, Salvadorians, Hmong, Arabs, Bosnians, Han, Venezuelans, Kenyans, Irish, and other strange tribes can be made into Americans, primarily by them claiming symbolic loyalty to the regime in Washington and accepting “American values” which are so vaguely defined that they don’t really mean anything. 

Now, let’s contrast this to nasty, smelly ethnic nationalism. 

I’m Macedonian. I was born Macedonian. I will die Macedonian. Any of you could move to Macedonia, learn the language, convert to our religion, and pledge loyalty to the regime in Skopje, but none of you would be Macedonian. In fact, I recently ran into a Swedish person who did exactly that. He’s not Macedonian, and neither are his children by his Macedonian wife. I know a half-German woman who’s a native speaker of our language, born here, raised here. She’s visibly and palpably foreign. Maybe her children will be Macedonian, maybe their children, but certainly not if she marries a German. The Macedonian tribe is a closed club. There’s no way in or out, except by becoming “a citizen of the world.” This identity limits me and limits our number — we can only grow the old-fashioned way. But that’s okay. All identities limit, most of all a biological identity. I can no more stop being Macedonian than I can stop being male. I can try cutting my dick off and implanting fake tits, but all I’ll be is a dysfunctional male. 

The Macedonian diaspora around the world is unmistakably Macedonian. The Australian preferred slur for my people is “blockheads,” because apparently, our heads are square. Macedonians in Australia have a Macedonian rather than Australian behavioral profile. There are so many things I want to share with you, dear reader, but I can’t, not just because of the linguistic barrier, or the cultural barrier, but because your flesh and blood do not resonate with the hymn of our great wooded mountains [6], the cruel poetry of the blood-soaked dawn, the great weight of our historic agonies which bear down upon our backs like the merciless sun on an August day. And that’s okay, because your people have their own songs of both sound and flesh, their own dreams of place and yearning which are themselves inaccessible to me and that makes them special. 

The second kind of nationalism, of blood and soil, is primal. You can call it primitive, and I accept this designation. It’s not even traditional or Traditionalist. It predates tradition. It is a biological category, stemming from the natural human tendency to associate with like, to protect kith and kin, to bind to a place, to nurture and love both people and places. Blood and soil nationalism is the belonging to a great chain of being, which is both historic, going back to ancestors and forward to descendants, and present, extending to all who are of our tribe, who can effortlessly join in our tribal song. It accepts no “values” but survival. It is both practical and romantic, fitting for people who live in the world and yet yearn for the transcendent. It is less an ideology and more a disposition towards one’s own. It seeks to defend, but not to aggress against others, whereas civic nationalism would gladly grind cultures and peoples into dust to fuel its value machine. 

But you’ve been told that belonging to an exclusive club is evil. You’ve been taught to worship mobility, the ability to pick up and leave and go to another, strange place. You’ve been taught to recoil at the notion of being born into a web of obligations and privileges, into a club from which you can never leave. In short, you’ve been taught to hate your nature, to feel guilty for belonging to this club. 

That is the trick to the demonic inversion which presents the meat grinder of civic nationalism as the viable alternative to the normal and natural sense of ethnic nationalism. Civic nationalism would have us pour all the nations of the earth into the gullet of the globohomo empire to strip them of their ingenuity and labor in order to fuel itself — to what end? Certainly nothing good. You’ve been tricked into worshiping Mammon in the guise of Christ. 

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I am not advocating for insularity of tribes, here. Obviously, I am on this site, working with nationalists from all over the world because we’ve been designated as “the enemy” by the external force of globohomo. We weren’t white people. We were all sorts of Europeans, even Americans. I’ve heard unconfirmed and disturbing rumors that even Australians read Counter-Currents. But by declaring war on whiteness, they’ve made us into a concrete political group. By naming us as the enemy, globohomo has made us. If we are to survive, we have to organize as such. But organization starts at the local level, the tribal level. These tribes form alliances for common defense and elect a warlord and chief diplomat. That’s how nations are born naturally, not through nation-building, not through education, certainly not through “values.”

Practical matters of security and survival grow into romantic attachments as nations defeat their enemies — that forms the Dasein of a people. And that’s what we’re here to do. 

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