They openly deride us but at the same time they don’t like it when we want nothing to do with them. They’re parasites, plain and simple. Integration is essentially bondage of the white race.
Parasites would be an understatement, but I do agree. They are entitled parasitic violent, disgusting, hateful people. All non whites that do not wish to assimilate but wish to change our nation must be dealt with. This is not their home! I had a non-white once ask me.. ‘why do you think Donald Trump is good for OUR country?’ OUR COUNTRY?!
This is a WHITE NATION that was never EVER meant to be multicultural! They are so deluded and entitled that non whites actually think they deserve a say in what changes we make to OUR country. Let’s get this straight, if you aren’t WHITE.. you DO NOT get a say!
We are demonized to the point of non whites thinking they are justified to commit violent acts upon us. We must defend ourselves and our nation. Most importantly we must defend ALL white people, even those who are brainwashed by the left.
The Alt Right Means White Nationalism . . . or Nothing at All
Hillary Clinton’s Alt Right speech was a complete dud. It probably did not harm Trump or help Hillary, since Trump voters either don’t care about the Alt Right or look favorably upon it, while the only people susceptible to Hillary’s scare-mongering were already going to vote for her.
I had, however, hoped that Hillary’s speech would at least bring new attention to Alt Right websites like Counter-Currents. But although there was a jump in our traffic last Thursday and Friday, it had more to do with the fact that I had written an article on Hillary’s speech than with the speech itself. All my articles produce similar jumps in traffic (as do Gregory Hood’s).
At least as far as Counter-Currents is concerned, there is no evidence of a Hillary bump. And this is actually consistent with past experience. Counter-Currents has been mentioned and linked in the mainstream press. I can see exactly how many people follow those links to our site, and it is usually minuscule. In fact, based on their comment sections, when I publicize these links to our readers, the mainstream media gets more readers from Counter-Currents than vice versa.
The explanation for this is simple. The smug, middlebrow, newspaper-reading public lacks intellectual curiosity. They are content to “Wow, just wow” and then click for more prolefeed rather than venture into the great unknown. Yes, our movement and influence are still growing, but mainstream media attention has surprisingly little to do with it. Which is one more reason to simply ignore their media and keep building our own.
Nevertheless, in the wake of Hillary’s speech, there was a buzz of social media activity, in which a number of people embraced the term “Alt Right.” But they either did not know what it means, or they simply wanted to redefine it in terms of . . . surprise . . . the various currents of the mainstream Right that we saw fit to discard long ago, such as civic nationalism and libertarianism.
Naturally, many bona fide Alt Rightists are alarmed at the prospect of our movement being co-opted or hollowed out by entryists and carpet-baggers just as we are starting to get more mainstream attention. Initially, I dismissed this fear, for four reasons.
First, mainstream media attention probably matters less than we think it does.
Second, the whole point of the “Alt Right” is to be a broad umbrella term for ideological tendencies that reject mainstream American conservatism. The Alt Right is thus defined in terms of what it is not rather than in terms of what it is. It has no “essence,” so what is the point of arguing about what it “really” is?
Third, instead of defending the vacuous “Alt Right,” I prefer to defend more concrete positions: White Nationalism (including its self-evident corollary anti-Semitism) and the New Right. Defending these positions has two advantages. First, they state my actual beliefs. Second, I defy any libertarian or civic nationalist to co-opt them.
Fourth, if we actually join battle against these entryists and carpet-baggers, we will end up defending White Nationalism, anti-Semitism, and the like anyway. So why worry about the Alt Right moniker? Just focus on the substance.
However, there’s another way of looking at this. Granted, the Alt Right “brand” is largely empty, aside from the fact that it negates the conservative mainstream. But meaning, like nature, abhors a vacuum. So someone will eventually endow the Alternative Right with a positive content. So it might as well be me.
This content will, to a great extent, be socially constructed. Meaning that people can try to offer any definition they want, but unless it is widely accepted by others, it does not matter. Thus, for a proposed meaning to stick, it must either come from someone relatively authoritative, or it must be immediately compelling, or both.
My definition meets both criteria, so here goes: the Alternative Right means White Nationalism — or it means nothing at all.
The original concept of the Alternative Right emerged from paleoconservatism. (I prefer to call it “faileoconservatism,” an evaluation that is even shared by paleocon pioneer Paul Gottfried, who declared the end of paleoconservatism and called for an “Alternative Right” in the same 2008 H. L. Mencken Club speech.)
Like paleoconservatism, the Alternative Right was simply a way that timid, status-conscious conservatives could flirt with racism and even anti-Semitism while maintaining some sort of pretense of mainstream credibility.
But when Richard Spencer started the Alternative Right webzine in 2010, the principal funders and writers regarded it simply as a vehicle for White Nationalist entryism, and they would have blown it up rather than see it become anything else. Today’s White Nationalists need to take the same strongly proprietary attitude toward the Alternative Right. It is a vehicle of White Nationalism, and we will give it the Howard Roark treatment if it is hijacked from us. Full stop. (Spencer himself torched the Alt Right webzine in 2013 for very different reasons.)
But we also need to remember that the Alt Right will not serve as a tool of White Nationalist entryism and outreach if we drive out everyone who is not a White Nationalist. Converts, by definition, don’t already believe what we believe. Thus purging the Alt Right of people who are not already White Nationalists is ultimately self-defeating.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go forth into battle and make this concept of the Alternative Right the dominant one. That is all.
The Specter of White Nationalism
Greg Hood once pointed out to me that a White Nationalist Manifesto could begin with the Preamble of The Communist Manifesto, with only a few words changed:
A specter is haunting the world — the specter of White Nationalism. All the powers that rule over white nations have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this specter: church and state, Left and Right, oligarchs and rabble, high culture and low, academia and the lying press.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as “racist” by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach “they’re the real racists,” against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
Two things result from this fact:
1. White Nationalism is already acknowledged by all existing powers to be itself a power.
2. It is high time that White Nationalists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of White Nationalism with a manifesto of the movement itself.
To this end, we present the following Manifesto.
The parallels are rather uncanny — and rather encouraging, since in a little more than a century, Communism went from being a specter of power to being an actual world power.
The standard game of political parties today is “negative legitimation”: they demand your allegiance based not on the positive ground of what they stand for, but simply on the fact that they are not the other party. This allows them to avoid standing for any specific platform, and if it gets them into power, they basically have a blank check, so long as they are sufficiently unlike the hated other party.
But all of the system’s parties quickly unite when any form of white ethnonationalism appears on the scene. White Nationalism is the other party for the whole globalist, multicultural, multiracial system. And as the system lurches from crisis to crisis and fails to deliver its promised multicultural paradise, increasingly its only legitimization is not being us. The system is so bent on stigmatizing people who stand against multiculturalism and globalization as evil, racist whites, that it will declare George Zimmerman a white man and Donald Trump a Nazi.
But in what sense was Communism a “power” in the 1840s, and in what sense could White Nationalism be a “power” today? In neither case are we speaking about real political power. Instead, White Nationalism today, like Communism back then, is simply an image of evil, a bogey man that the system uses to scare the rabble into compliance.
One feels that if we didn’t exist, the system would find it necessary to create us. Indeed, in many cases they do create us. First, the system projects images of its diabolical opposites. Of course, these are the diabolical opposites it prefers, diabolical opposites that it thinks it can defeat or control. And sometimes rebellious but uncritical minds will adopt these images and act accordingly — so-called “Hollywood Nazis,” for example. Second, the system will simply create its own false opposition groups.
Yet for all that, there is a real and growing resistance that is rooted not in the projections and machinations of the system but in the objective reality of racial differences, which make racially and ethnically diverse nations inferior to homogeneous ones. This resistance is growing up through the cracks in the system: the internet, social media, alternative media, and face-to-face groups. Our people are waking up. White Nationalists are now shaping their perceptions and changing their actions. We are showing them the failures of the system, explaining why it is happening, and offering them a workable and inspiring alternative.
But does this make us a power? Being in harmony with reality is certainly an advantage in a movement that is largely a debating society. It is also an advantage in contending for power with a system premised on lies. Moreover, being in harmony with reality will certainly serve as the basis of stable political power, if we can attain it.
But the problem is in the attainment. In itself, truth is not power. The difference between truth and power is the difference between theory and practice, between potentiality and actuality, and a theory we cannot yet practice, a potentiality we cannot yet actualize, is hardly better than a dream.
How then is a specter of power a real power? It is a power only in the psychological sense. It is the power to incite fear. The establishment uses the specter of White Nationalism to scare the normies. But, increasingly, the establishment itself is afraid of us as well. They think that we are behind Brexit, Trump, Wilders, Le Pen, Alternative for Germany, Orbán, etc. And in a way we are, since we support them, and our ideas also influence them or the people around them.
The establishment has turned White Nationalism into the embodiment of evil, the political equivalent of Satan. This is just the latest version of the ancient slave revolt in morals, in which slaves invert the values of their masters so they can feel good about themselves. Jan Assmann argues that the Jewish ritual law was created by the “normative inversion” of Egyptian religion, and Nietzsche argues that Christian values were created by the normative inversion of Greco-Roman pagan values. Today, every sentiment that preserves distinct peoples from a global homogeneous consumer society — a sense of rootedness and identity, patriotism and love of one’s own, a commitment to non-material values, and the willingness to fight and die for them — are labeled evil as well.
This is why evil is so appealing in the Judeo-Christian-liberal world: everything vital, manly, aggressive, lordly, proud, rooted, patriotic, passionate, self-transcending, and glorious is bundled together and labeled evil, whereas everything weak, meek, sniveling, shilly-shallying, rootless, and self-indulgent is labeled good. All the forces that build civilizations are called evil, whereas everything that dissolves them is deemed good.
The human forebrain can convince itself of such inverted values, particularly individuals with the powerful psychological motive to overthrow the standards by which they are judged inferior. But the values of family and tribe appeal to older parts of the brain, which the forebrain can ignore and repress but never reprogram. Which means that everything we stand for already appeals to all of our people — even the most confused and decadent among us — in a deep-seated, literally visceral way.
Everything the system labels evil is a psychologically powerful force, not because evil is good, but because biologically healthy values have been defined as evil but remain irresistibly attractive nonetheless. We have power in the imaginations of our people, the power of the dark side. We must take care not to allow the enemy to define us. We have to mock their projections, not own them. But we can exploit the demonic status and emotional power they have granted us and infuse it with our own content. They define everything vital as evil. We can own the vitality and discard their value judgments.
How do we turn psychological power into political power, the specter of White Nationalism into the real thing? We have to make ourselves leaders and get our people to follow us. (The actual history of Communism has something to teach us here.) It’s a long journey, but it begins with laying the right metapolitical foundations.
An important part of the process is deconstructing the false values that clutter our people’s forebrains. We would not have gotten into this position if our conscious moral convictions had no power to determine our behavior.
Equally important, though, is crafting our appeals to the complex of pre-rational sentiments of blood, soil, and honor that our enemies stigmatize and fear. That is not the province of philosophers, but of artists and orators. It is by seizing their passions that we goad our people into action and direct them towards our goals, turning theory into practice and truth into power.
White Nationalists are Not “White Supremacists”
The charge that White Nationalists are “White Supremacists” has two aspects. First, there is the claim that whites think of ourselves as superior to other groups. Second, there is the idea that whites want to rule over other groups.
I do think that whites are superior to some groups in some ways. I am very proud of our people, and we have a great deal to be proud of. In the areas in which we excel, we have done a lot for the world. Our superior achievements in comparison to other races are why so many non-whites are flooding into white societies. There’s no need to mince words about that or apologize in any way.
It is easy to find ways in which we are superior to other groups. But you can also find ways in which we are inferior to other groups. I just don’t think this issue matters, however, because as Kevin MacDonald and Jared Taylor have pointed out, even if we were the sorriest lot of people on the planet and had accomplished almost nothing, it would still be natural, normal, and right for us to love our own and to be concerned with the future of our people. And it would still be politically expedient to demand our own sovereign homelands.
As for the idea of whites reigning over other people, I don’t want that. I am a nationalist. I believe in self-determination for all peoples. The people who are actually committed to whites ruling over other people are the civic nationalists of the Alt Light. People like Gavin McInnes, for instance, claim that they are civic nationalists and Western civilizational chauvinists. But they are not ethnic or racial nationalists. They have basically conceded multiracialism to the Left. It is a victory they are not even going to question, much less try to roll back.
Chauvinism is an attitude of superiority. A Western chauvinist believes that Western civilization is superior. What is Western civilization, though? Basically, it is white civilization. The Alt Light is thus committed to the idea of white civilizational superiority, which is the first form of supremacism. They try to evade this implication with a hat trick, of course, declaring that Western civilization is a universal civilization, but it’s not.
Western civilization is a product of white people. The people who are most comfortable in Western civilizations are white people. When Blacks, Asians, and other groups come to white countries, they want to change things to suit them better. The Western chauvinist must say “no.” Non-whites have to live by white standards, including white laws, which are of course enforced by the state. In effect, this means whites must rule over non-whites. This is white supremacism in the second sense.
Now I believe that if non-whites live in white societies, we damn well better impose our values on them, or they will create a society that we do not want to live in. We really need to reflect for a moment on the absurdity of the situation in which it is now “problematic” for white values to be “supreme” in white societies, which were created and sustained by white people and white values.
But we have to be honest about the fact that it is a form of oppression to impose white standards on non-white populations and demand that they “assimilate,” that they surrender their identities, that they go around wearing the equivalent of uncomfortable shoes or seasonally inappropriate clothes. Because a civilization should be as comfortable and as becoming as a well-tailored suit. And blacks don’t find white civilization comfortable. It is like demanding they wear shoes that are two sizes too small when we impose our standards of punctuality and time preferences, demand that they follow our age-of-consent laws, or foist the bourgeois nuclear family upon them. These things don’t come naturally to Africans. White standards like walking on the sidewalk, not down the middle of the street, are oppressive to blacks. Such standards are imposed by the hated “white supremacy” system. But if we don’t impose white standards upon them, we have chaos. We have great cities like Detroit transformed into wastelands.
There’s a line from William Blake, “One law for the lion and the ox is oppression.” Because lions and oxen are different beasts, to put them under one law forces them to live contrary to their natures. White supremacism would be like lion supremacism: demanding that the ox live by the code of the lion. But the ox doesn’t eat meat. He eats grass. Eating meat doesn’t come naturally to him. The true white supremacists are the civic nationalists, who would think they are doing the ox a favor by declaring meat the “universal” diet and force-feeding it to him.
White Nationalists are not white supremacists, because it is not our preference to rule over other groups. Although if forced to live under multicultural systems, we are going to take our own side and try to make sure that our values reign supreme, our preference is to go our separate ways. We want an amicable, no-fault racial divorce so we can live in the manners that most befit us in our own separate homelands.
The Invention of Civic Nationalism Against Europeans
Separation of Ethnicity from Civic Identity
Western nation-states should be based on civic values alone, individual rights, private property, and equality under the law, without any reference to ethnicity. This is one of the most powerful contemporary tenets. Europeans have been made to believe that a state that identifies its citizens in ethnic terms cannot be for liberty. Just as a liberal state is said to be one in which religious affiliations are decided by private individuals, and that the state should not “impose” any religious beliefs on its citizens, cultural Marxists have effectively imprinted on the minds of Europeans the notion that a nation-state can be true to liberal values only when the identity of its citizens are conceived without any collective reference to their ethnic identity. Ethnicity should be a matter of individual choice and the state has no business identifying the state with any ethnicity.
The only political/collective identity a liberal state can encourage among its citizens is civic, that is, the identity of being a member of a nation state where everyone regardless of race, sex, and religious orientation is afforded the same rights under the law. It is true that, since the nineteenth century, liberals have recognized civic rights for minorities already established inside the nations of Europe. What has transpired in the last few decades goes well beyond this. We are now being told that liberalism requires civic nations to be thoroughly diversified in order to fulfill the ideals of a nation that is truly civic. In other words, there is a mandate accepted by all mainstream political parties and all political theorists that Western nations must cease to be populated by citizens belonging to one race or a majority race, with a culture that reflects the history and traditions of this race. The diversification of the citizenry along both racial and cultural lines is now hailed as the liberally progressive thing to do. Those who oppose mass immigration in the name of preserving their age-old ethnocultural characterare automatically classified as illiberal. You can criticize immigration on economic grounds but never for the sake of maintaining the ethnic character of your nation.
How did we reach this position, from recognition of the individual rights of minorities to widespread consensus among current elites that liberalism demands the diversification of Western nations through mass immigration?
The Intellectual Proponents of Civic Nationalism
Be it noted that the nations states of western Europe, as will be briefly shown below, actually emerged as civic nations in conscious celebration and awareness of their millennial ethnic heritage. So why did liberal theorists come to accept the argument that Western nations, to be truly civic, cannot be based on ethnicity? It seems to me that this identification of Western nations with civic identities cannot be understood apart from the very successful theoretical efforts of Hans Kohn, Karl Deutsch, Ernest Gellner, and Eric Hobsbawm against any notion that Western nations were rooted in primordial ethnic identities. According to Azar Gat, an Israelite whose book Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism (2013) I will be examining below, these authors were
all Jewish immigrant refugees from central Europe. . . . All of them experienced changing identities and excruciating questions of self-identity at the time of the most extreme, violent and unsettling eruptions. It was only natural that they reacted against all this.
In other words, feeling excluded from nation states with strong ethnic identities in central Europe, they reacted by formulating the argument that the nation states of western Europe were inherently intended to be civic only.
None of these writers denied that people in the premodern era had a sense of communal kin affinities within their respective tribes or localities. Their focus was on themodern nation states of Europe, and their argument was that these nation states, and the corresponding ideology of nationalism, were “artificial historical constructs,” “invented traditions,” designed by political elites interested in forging powerful territorial states among previously scattered and loosely related rural communities lacking a sense of national-ethnic identity. The claim that European nations contain a strong ethnic core was not factual but an ideological weapon employed by state-elites seeking to create states with mass appeal, a national infrastructure, official languages, centralized taxation, national currency and laws, through the modern era, culminating in the nineteenth century. The exhortations of nationalists in the 19th and 20th centuries about the kin-ethnic roots of their nations were mere rhetorical ploys to induce in the masses support for elite efforts at extending their power nationally over an otherwise disparate, never ethnically conscious, population consisting of multiple dialects, ancestries and local loyalties.
With the experience of World War I and II, both within liberalism and Marxism, this critique of nationalism turned into a concerted critique of ethnic nationalism, which came to be associated with German militarism in WW I and Fascism thereafter. While Marxists, such as Hobsbawm, started advocating working class internationalism, liberal theorists such as Kohn, Deutsch, and Gellner began to formulate a strictly civic form of nationalism, while discrediting ethnic nationalism as both an artificial construct and as the source, in the words of Hobsbawm, of “demotic xenophobia and chauvinism” with no basis in reality.
Obviously, there were other intellectual currents percolating through the West, Frankfurt School ideas, civil rights in the United State, feminism, postmodernism, and, not to be underestimated, the pressure from corporations for cheap immigrant labor and consumer demand, coinciding and reinforcing each other in a grand effort to produce a totally new form of Western identity against the perceived dominance of European patriarchs. Much has been written about these developments, but the writings of the progenitors of liberal or civic nationalism have been neglected. This subject deserves far more than I am offering here. Suffice it to say that in Western countries civic nationalism has become the only accepted form of national identity. The meaning of civic nationalism is neatly captured in the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry:
Civic nationalism is a kind of nationalism identified by political philosophers who believe in a non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.
According to Hans Kohn, Western nation-states were civic from their beginning in the late eighteenth century. “Illiberal ethnic nationalism” was a phenomenon of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Fascism, places that hyped up the ethnic character of the people while suppressing individual rights.
Civic nationalism came out of western-north European countries where a solid middle class had developed; the members of this class were inclined to a conception of the state as a voluntary association of individual wills. This was a progressive class, or so argued Kohn, in wanting a form of citizenship based on laws originating out of the free reasoning of individuals; this class did not like states that impose an ethnocultural identity on its members. Ethnic nationalism, by contrast, come out of cultures lacking a middle class, driven by regressive classes suspicious of free willing individuals, and preferring states that impose on their people an irrational sense of ethnic collective identity inspired by emotions rather than by factual historical realities.
Celebrating the Ethnicity of Others while Accusing Europeans of Ethnocentrism
These ideas resonated greatly in the aftermath of WWII. The term “ethnicity” itself came to be defined in strictly cultural terms without any reference to race or biological distinctions among different groups. Every textbook in the social sciences in the 1950s and after came to endorse this culturalist definition. Combined with this definition academics added an instrumental and/or functionalist definition, according to which ethnic identification was a superstructural phenomenon behind which stood the real interests of ruling classes consolidating their power, or the functional requirements of a national system of education, administration, war-making, and overall modernization. Here is what Jonathan Hall says about the usage of ethnicity:
In the wake of the Second World War — and more particularly the Holocaust — the motives for treating ethnic identity as a valid area of research were discredited…The anthropological response to the crisis of scholarship occasioned by the Second World War was the ‘instrumentalist’ approach to ethnicity which proclaimed that ethnic identity was a guise adopted by interest groups to conceal aims that were more properly political or economic.
But Jonathan Hall then notes that this cultural-instrumental approach also came to be seen, from the 1970s on, as inadequate in not being able to account for numerous post WWII national liberation movements across the world that were self-consciously identifying themselves along blood lines and viciously fighting for their “ancestral territories.” What Hall leaves out, and should be kept in mind as we read this next passage, is that social scientists were starting to view ethno-kin identities in the non-Western world as progressive, not as fixed identities but as “negotiable” identities, in reference to “oppressed minorities” and without reference to genetic traits.
Yet the ethnic resurgences of the 1970s and 1980s presented a clear challenge to the validity of the instrumentalist approach; this prompted a renewed anthropological interest in the subject of ethnic identity. . . . Current research tends to grant at least an intersubjective reality to ethnic identity, though it differs from pre-war scholarship on a number of important points. Firstly, it stresses that the ethnic group is not a biological group but a social group, distinguished from other collectivities by its subscription to a putative myth of shared descent and kinship and by its association with a ‘primordial’ territory. Secondly, it rejects the nineteenth-century view of ethnic groups as static, monolithic categories with impermeable boundaries for a less restrictive model which recognises the dynamic, negotiable and situationally constructed nature of ethnicity. Finally, it questions the notion that ethnic identity is primarily constituted by either genetic traits, language, religion or even common cultural forms. While all of these attributes may act as important symbols of ethnic identity, they really only serve to bolster an identity that is ultimately constructed through written and spoken discourse.
Clearly, this passage admits that “a putative myth of shared descent and kinship” and “primordial territory” may play a role in the self-identification of groups, but then proposes that ethnicity is never static but dynamic and “situationally constructed,” and, in the end, decides that it is “ultimately constructed” through discourses. This is actually the state of the research on ethnicity today — a postmodern mishmash seemingly playing multiple sides yet “ultimately” defining ethnicity in discursive terms very similar to Hans Kohn’s civic definition, while avoiding any substantive biological references. Hall does not reveal the political considerations underlying this renewed emphasis on ethnic kinship. He assumes it was a purely scholastic affair conducted by university professors pursuing the truth. He ignores the growing voices both for the ethnic authenticity of non-European minorities and for the inauthentic character of Western civic nations. Just as the ethnic identities of non-Europeans were being heralded as liberating and progressive, the notion that Western nations were civic since the 18th century, or earlier, was increasingly subject to criticism due to their “discriminatory” treatment of minorities inside their borders, their imperial designs, and their “white only” immigration policies, which pointed to the presence of ethnic discrimination and thus the reality of ethnicity.
Of course, this is not quite how the revival of interest in ethnicity was interpreted by its proponents. There is no denying either that the idea that Western nations were simply civic just seemed out of touch with reality, regardless of one’s political intentions. The leading critic of the concept of civic nationalism was Anthony Smith, starting with his book, The Ethnic Origins of Nations, and multiple publications since. His main contention was that modern nations were not created ex nihilo on the basis of civic values alone or because the ruling elites wanted to augment their authority through modern infrastructures; rather, nation states were created on the basis of pre-existing ancestral ties and sense of historical continuity. A sense of nationhood predated the modern era and could be traced as far back as ancient times and throughout the world. The nations of Europe were not mere “inventions” or functional requirements of modernity, but were factually rooted in the past, in common myths of descent. While the rise of modern industry and modern bureaucracies allowed for the materialization of nation-states in Europe, these nations were primordially based on a population with a collective sense of kinship.
Smith’s work was undoubtedly fruitful in challenging the notion that Western nations were inherently civic. Yet, for all this, Smith’s concept of ethnicity was more about the importance of past communities, a rough territory, a language, artistic styles, myths and symbols, states of mind, than about emphasizing any form of identity along blood lines — actual common lineage and consanguinity. To be sure, an ethnic group cannot be categorized as a race, but his concept of ethnicity followed the mandated social science prohibition against the inclusion of biological references, physical characteristics, skin color, body shape, and other features that have a racial dimension. Ethnicity was defined by Smith in terms of cultural traits, linguistic, historical and territorial traits, common mythology and folkways.
Meanwhile, as Smith was busy writing historical works, and without his full awareness, an avalanche of ethnically oriented programs, hundreds of conferences and academics were eagerly affirming the value of ethnicity, but only in relation to “oppressed” groups. Writing about this would require a separate paper. Perhaps the best way to sum up our current obsession with ethnic talk is to look at the mission statements of Ethnic Studies programs or departments. These are very vocal in claiming that race is a reality of the West that cannot be ignored because racism has been and continues to be one of the“most powerful social and cultural forces in American society and in modernity at large.”
Azar Gat’s Politically Correct Sociobiological Perspective
There is one current writer cited earlier, Azar Gat, Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, who does appear to offer a strong biological conception of ethnicity, in his book Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism.
This book is said to be written from a “sociobiological perspective”. The opening chapters and the conclusion definitely state that nations “are rooted in primordial human sentiments of kin-culture affinity, solidarity, and mutual cooperation, evolutionarily engraved in human nature.” Agreeing with “much” of what Smith says, he still finds wanting his lack of emphasis on human nature, evolutionary theory, and unwillingness to break away from a culture-oriented perspective. He writes that “ethnicity is by far the most important factor” in national identity and that through history nations “overwhelmingly correlate with and relate to shared kin-culture traits.” Welcoming the application of evolutionary theory to explain human behavior, he says:
Its [sociobiology] relevance to our subject can be summarized as follows: people tend to prefer closer kin, who share more genes with them, to more remote kin or ‘strangers’. As a propensity, this is not necessarily conscious.
But it soon becomes apparent that Gat (despite his correct recognition that humans have strong genetic dispositions and that preference for one’s kin is an evolutionary selected behavior, rather than an “irrational” “epiphenomenon of something else”) is not willing to recognize, or even say anything about the rational ethnic dispositions of Europeans, but actually takes it as given that Europeans inhabit nations dedicated to the creation of new immigrant ethnic identities under the umbrella of a common culture that cannot but be defined in civic terms. Gat is quite effective in documenting the importance of kin-ethnic attachments and common culture for premodern states, including empires, origins of modern European states and non-European states.
Yet, when it comes to the current Western nations experiencing mass immigration, it never occurs to Gat to consider the ancestral attachments and kin-relatedness of the peoples who have inhabited these lands the longest and transformed them into modern nations. He simply accepts without question the experience of mass immigration as if it were a natural occurrence consistent with the ethnic histories of Western nations. He proposes a new definition of ethnicity to deal with the reality of mass immigration, which is inconsistent with his sociobiological perspective. He proposes indeed an immigrant definition of ethnicity, by indicating that, while his definition of ethnicity is not restricted to culture, it views ethnicity “as an ongoing process” not exclusive to one ethnicity but capable of explaining the formation of “immigrant states” and how such states “habitually integrate new comers into a broad cultural and kin community.”
There is no space here to go over some of the things he says about Spain, France, Britain, and Canada. Highlighting what he says about the United States and Europe generally should suffice to illustrate his rather civic-oriented and ultimately multiculturalist approach when it comes to current European ethnic identity. Although Gat insists that American nationhood is not founded on liberal propositions alone, and that “there exists a very distinct American culture, widely shared by the large majority . . . common American-English language and all-pervasive folkways . . . entertainment industry, Hollywood, and television,” with a strong Anglo-Protestant lineage, he acquiesces to a cultural definition of America in viewing American ethnicity as a changing reality, not only with respect to diverse European immigrants, but with respect to post-1965 immigration policies, which he sees as a natural continuation of earlier trends.
My point is not to deny that American ethnicity is changing but to ask why he refuses say a word about “the deep human preferences toward one’s own” that Europeans Americans may feel in the face of mass immigration since 1965 from non-Europeans nations. Or, if he thinks European Americans are satisfied with mass Mexican immigration, why is that the case, and does it mean, therefore, that American nationality is indeed strictly cultural? Or, could it be that Gat is unaware of the wider political realities shaping the way we think about ethnicity, and that European peoples, and only European peoples, are prohibited from affirming their ethnicity in the face of a system of mass immigration imposed across the Western world, and that social scientists such as Gat have been incentivized to go along with the program, unless they are willing to risk their careers?
Gat’s effort to argue that America is a nation with an immigrant identity carries weight when one considers the pre-1965 immigration period, which, after difficult racial tensions resulting from the high levels of immigration from diverse European nations in the 19th and early 20th century, became a well united nation by the 1950s, except for its non-European inhabitants, Africans and Natives. But he does not consider whether this immigrant identity was successfully nurtured due to the compatible ethno-European heritages of most immigrants. Instead, he takes it as given that America’s post-1965 immigration patterns are the same as before, writing that “the Latino immigration is not fundamentally different from earlier waves of immigration in its gradual acculturation.” While he is aware of challenges to this argument, he thinks he can emphasize America’s ethnic immigrant identity simply by appealing to the common usage of the English language, ignoring how common Spanish is becoming in many localities across the United States and how whites exhibit implicit patterns of race separation in their choice of residential areas to raise their families and educate their children, notwithstanding their explicit claims about the benefits of diversity.
Having painted the United States as a nation with a uniquely immigrant ethnicity, he seems at a loss trying to account for the importance of ethnic identities in current European nations and Canada. “The phenomenon of mass immigration has transformed the map of identities in Western countries in recent decades.” How and why are current Europeans allowing the millennial ethnic identities grounding the formation of their nations states to be radically diluted if ethnic nationalism is truly, in the words of Gat, “one of the strongest forces in history”? How did they overcame their genetic predisposition to have a preference for their own, and why is Gat taking mass immigration as if it were a natural process or somehow part and parcel of Europe’s national identity without even asking a question ? An honest sociobiological approach would have required such questions, but Gat only poses cultural Marxist questions to the effect that “not a few immigrants and their descendants are in fact integrating, culturally and socially, well enough for them to be described as ‘joining the nation.’” But how are the original ethnic nationalities of Europe integrating with the new immigrants? If ethnic identity is so important why are Europeans expected to accept, in his words, a “weakening connection” between their nation state and their ethnocultural heritage? In the end, Gat has no choice but to shift his take on ethnic identity in the direction of the liberal values Hans Kohn equated with Western nationalism; more than this, he has no choice but to endorse a liberal multicultural definition of Western identity.
He thinks a good indication in Europe of a common national culture is the recent “retreat” from multiculturalism “which has led to a reemphasizing in many Western countries of the official connection between (majority) culture and polity” but he never brings up any shared aims between immigrants, a majority culture, and the state. The one factor he can muster in the name of a common immigrant culture, to repeat, is the fact that immigrants are learning the language of the immigrant nations. How about patriotic attachments to past European symbols, folk-songs, legendary historical figures, food, that is, shared traits that can be categorized in ethnic-kin terms? Not a word. Instead we get the usual attitude that things must be working since there is no civil war, immigrants are trying to be successful economically and educate their children. The only common culture that seems to be tying together Western immigration is cultural Marxism, an ideology imposed from above, without democratic consent, by bureaucratic elites convinced that diversity is an improvement and that Europeans are racist unless they interbreed with millions of non-whites. He regularly cites Will Kymlicka, calling him “the chief theorist of liberal multiculturalism” in a sympathetic manner, without ever bringing to attention Kymlicka’s open call for an end to any intrinsic links between the nation states of Europe and any form of ethnicity that can be called “European.” Is it not quite revealing that the same author who writes a book dedicated to a sociobiological approach on the ethnic roots of nations ends up sympathizing with the foremost advocate of multiracialism in the West?
The sensible response one should reach on examining the debate between civic and ethnic nationalism is that the historical research validates the idea that European nation-states were founded around a strong ethnic core even if there were minorities co-existing with majorities. The states of Western Europe developed liberal civic institutions within the framework of this ethnic core. Sociobiological research further supports the natural inclination of humans to have a preference for their own kin. This biologically based research demonstrates that humans cannot be abstracted from an ethnic collective. The claim that such a preference is an irrational disposition imposed from above by regressive elites is false. Ethnocentrism is a rationally driven disposition consistent with civic freedoms. Civic freedoms are consistent with a collective sense of kin-culture. What is not consistent with rationally based research, with individual rational decision making, and with our collective kin-dispositions, are the claims that Western nations were civic in origins and the current enforcement of mass immigration without allowance of open rational debate.
1. Azar Gat, Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism, 2013: 16
2. Jonathan Hall, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 1997: 1
3. Ibid. 2
4. Gat: 380
5. Ibid. 24
6. Ibid. 27
7. Ibid. 20
8. Ibid. 271
9. Ibid. 386
10. Ibid. 276
11. Ibid. 349
12. Ibid. 349
13. Ibid. 350
14. Ibid. 350
In a recent column entitled “The Call of the Nation,” Avnery observes, “a DARK wave is submerging democracies all over the Western world. … fascism and populism are gaining ground all around” and doing so in the name of old-fashioned ethnocentric nationalism. After all, “for most people, the need to belong to a nation is a profound psychological need. People create a national culture, often speak a national language. People are ready to die for their nation.”
In the end, Avnery concludes that “What we are witnessing now is a rebellion of nationalism against the trend towards … a globalist world.”