Saturday, 28 January 2017

The meaning of nationalism and the difference between race and nation

A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a nation's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again.
    George Bernard Shaw


Why are so many people alarmed by Trump saying "America First"? Who should be first if you are an American? Mexico?


RT interview ex-President of Austria Heinz Fisher, Social Democrat with Oksana Boyko

HF: It has to do with nationalism. The nationalistic ideas, ideologies, and philosophies were totally out of the game. They led to a disaster – to WWII and to this fascist movement. So nationalism was brought down and the European idea was flourishing. And now I have the feeling that many people, or some people at least, feel that there is too much integration.

RT: This is a very interesting point because in your perception of nationalism, you definitely see this as something negative, you just made reference to the Nazi ideology. But the way nationalism is perceived in Russia, for example, is just standing up for your national interest, putting your country first as a matter of projecting its interest and standing up for them. Don't you think that you are, perhaps, exaggerating the dangers of nationalism? Because it is one thing when you are calling for, you know, aggressive moves towards other countries, but it is another thing when you are simply saying “We have the right to stand up for our country's interests”?

HF: First of all, you must understand, I definitely do not want to compare present philosophies or ideas with the Nazi ideology as such. But one thing is true, nationalism in my eyes means to grade down other countries. Patriotism is positive. Nationalism is to overdo the own country and to downgrade other countries...

RT: In your understanding, what is Mr. Hofer campaigning for in Austria? Is he campaigning for nationalism or is he campaigning for patriotism?

HF: There is too much nationalism in my judgment. Because the judgment on refugees or on other nations or on people from Africa is negative and there are prejudices and these prejudices are used for gaining a political advantage.

OB says nationalism is about “Getting your country back.”

HF says Nationalism is Nazism, which led to WW2, replaced by the European ideal. Now there is too much integration.

OB: You see nationalism as something negative by referring to the Nazis. The way nationalism is perceived in Russia is that it is standing up for your national interest, putting your own country first. Don’t you think you are over-exaggerating the danger of nationalism? It is one thing if you are being aggressive towards other countries, but another if you are just standing up for your interests.

HF:  Patriotism is good, nationalism is bad. [At no time does he distinguish between the two.]

Why do East European Russians think nationalism is good but West Europeans think the opposite?

Because they have an very uncomfortable feeling that it was nationalism that destroyed European hegemony causing them to end up handing their empire to the Americans -  their empire which otherwise they would have retained if they had not destroyed themselves in two World Wars caused by nationalism. 

Russians think nationalism is a good thing because they saw it as the force which defended them against the Nazi invasion.

With Trump, Americans now share the same healthy attitude towards nationalism as the Russians while the West Europeans see it as an ideology that caused death, defeat and disaster, when European nations plunged their continent into war in what they thought was the pursuit of their national interest. 

These Western Europeans have never been able to discuss this properly either within their own nations or between nations to agree on where they went so horribly wrong and brought such disaster upon themselves that they collectively lost the empire they had conquered, handed it to the Americans on a platter after having bankrupted themselves. 

And this explains their neurosis. 

Their neurosis makes them conflate a road traffic accident with a conveyance.

But this can be resolved.

To avoid accidents, we must drive carefully.

To drive carefully we must make sure that we choose the best possible driver available. 

Do we have the best possible system for choosing the best possible leader? (But that would have to be the subject of another talk!)

Nationalism is natural. In pre-history, people existed in groups called tribes. As time went on these tribes went to war with each other, conquered each other and eventually agreed that it would be better if they joined forces to administer a bigger piece of territory together than if they had remained separate.

Wales was invaded and conquered by the English.

But the Tudors were from Wales and eventually took the English Crown. Then the English crown was worn by a Scottish king James called James VI who became James I of the Ireland, England and Scotland.

In the end, these warring tribes decided that it didn’t matter whether James was Welsh, Scottish or English as long as the rules of succession were followed and agreed.

Is the Queen English or German? Does it matter? European monarchs have for centuries been playing musical chairs on each other’s thrones with the occasional infusion of new blood.

In my opinion, everyone should logically and necessarily be loyal to their nation, even if they disapprove of government policy. If they think government policy is wrong, then they should consider and propose corrections and improvements. If the government is enlightened there should be a process for allowing this to happen in an environment of free speech, avoiding the need for rioting and violent revolution to remove a government that does not rule for the benefit of the people. A Ministry of Complaints should be created in every well-run nation, perhaps.

Everyone should be loyal to their nation simply because the nation is the most powerful group we can join that is strong enough to matter but small enough to care. The nation, if well-administered, is the source of our individual advancement and well-being.

If you agree with this, then you are probably are already a nationalist or potentially a nationalist.


The Principles of Nationalism should be synonymous with the Principles of Good Government
I have said in my previous talk that Conservatism should be about conserving the national interest, but what is it that Conservatives are supposed to conserve?

I suggest the following:

Solvency,  social stability, stable prices, decent standards of behaviour and education

What is the nation state?

The nation state consists of a defined people on a defined piece of land with its own laws which are distinct and different to its neighbours. 

Who are these defined people and how are they defined?

It would depend on what the rules are and whether the entry threshold is low or high. How low or high it is depends on the preferences of the people in power and whether they are prepared to enforce those rules, raise or lower standards of entry.

There was a time when you expected a Briton to be white, but now they come in all races. You can expect a Japanese or Chinese national to look like what you imagine a Japanese or Chinese person to look from the movies, and that is because the Chinese and Japanese have not relaxed their rules of admission into their nations, while the West has for demographic and political reasons. Perhaps things will one day change too in China and Japan, for similarly demographic and political reasons.

There are still many people who confuse race and nation, and here I suggest a rough guide. Race is something you are born with cannot change, while nationality is something you can acquire and lose, like your passport.

There was a time when most nations were racially or at least culturally or linguistically distinctive, but now no longer because people have moved around and settled in different parts of the world, bringing their religion, language, culture and food to the lands they now reside in. 

This understandably unsettles the host population who preferred how things were before.

Probably, even if everyone were the same race, great conflicts could arise.  Europe was not exactly a peaceful place before the foreign hordes arrived, was it?

Before the foreign hordes arrived, they fought not just one but two World Wars. 

There was the Hundred Years War from the 1300s to the 1400s.

 There were the European Wars of Religion from the 1500s to the 1600s.

And there were the Napoleonic Wars from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. 

And then there were the wars of German and Italian unification while the Austrian empire weakened and eventually collapsed.

With so much war in Europe, it was not surprising that the Europeans became rather good at it and started taking over the world. 

Because of the wars and religious persecutions of the Old World, the Pilgrim Fathers escaped it to live in the New World where they then had their War of American Independence and then their American Civil War. 

Why did these Europeans fight so much? Was it because of their schismatic religionwhich they could never agree with each other on?

Muslims, who had very little to disagree with each other on religious matters and hardly ever went to war with each other were taken by surprise and easily invaded and conquered by these warlike and battle-hardened Europeans. 

Compare the warlike Americans of European stock - who cannot have a parade without injecting something militaristic into it with drums and marching, with the South Americans who cannot think of having a parade without dancing and peacock displays, and you will see the difference in national character.  

But what should the rules be for admission and what would we like our national character to be?

If we want to change our current national character then we would have to change our laws.

If we want to change our laws then we must have a different political ideology to the one currently operating.

With the Trump victory, it would appear that the political landscape is about to change. A Professor Malloch - tipped to be the US Ambassador to the EU - suggested that we short the the euro and there might not even be an EU to do a deal with very soon. This must be so if Marine Le Pen wins the French Presidential election in May and Angela Merkel loses the German Federal Election in September. If that were to happen, he was in fact saying nothing more than 1 + 1 = 2. Not so shocking after all. But he has made clear that a Trump administration wants to see the back of the EU and without American support it cannot hope to remain in business. 

If everything goes to plan then our new political ideology will be nationalism, but what are the principles of nationalism? 

I will tell you what it is not:

It is not transnational progressivism, a term I recently came across at

Transnational progressivism or Globalism, if you prefer,  is a term coined by the American Conservative Think Tank Hudson Institute Fellow John Fonte in 2001 to describe an ideology which endorses a concept of post-national global  and promotes the authority of international institutions over the sovereignty of individual nation-states.

It is about divide and rule and advocates an oppressor/victim dichotomy, for example the “privileged vs. marginalized" dichotomy," with "immigrant groups designated as victims.

It advocates proportional representation by group: "Transnational progressivism assumes that "victim" groups should be represented in all professions roughly proportionate to their percentage of the population. If not, there is a problem of "underrepresentation."

It advocates change in institutional values: "the distinct worldviews of ethnic, gender, and linguistic minorities must be represented" within dominant social and political institutions in order to weaken and subvert it.

It advocates the promotion of diversity.

It advocates the redefinition of democracy: "Changing the system of majority rule among equal citizens to one of power sharing among ethnic groups composed of both citizens and non-citizens."

It advocates the deconstruction of Western national narratives and national symbols in favour of post-modern multiculturalist views.

Imagine yourself paying to join a club and then finding that non-members can use its facilities for free and have the same voting rights. You decide to stop paying its fees but discover you cannot.

Imagine what would happen if you went to any non-Western country, especially ISIS, and asked them if they fancied a bit of Transnational Progressivism.

It would appear that Transnational Progressivism can only be injected into a weak and sleeping people without an alpha male leader like Trump. 

Now that he has woken them up, liberals and Transnational Progressivists will see their political landscape changing from  something only a sleeping people would accept unknowingly, to something that an awakened people will now comprehensively reject.

No comments: