Like most Americans, I am putting down my burdens to enjoy the long Independence Day weekend. The holiday falling on a Thursday, means most everyone is using vacation time for Friday, so it is essentially a four day weekend. All of my clients are on skeleton crews if they are open at all. Technically the Federal government is open on Friday, but good luck doing business with them, The Imperial Capital will be full of tourists and terrorists from Antifa, so it is a no-go zone this weekend.
In theory, this is supposed to be the day where all of us take a moment to remember how lucky we are to be Americans. There will be fireworks shows all over the country, along with patriotic displays, parades and so on. The sportsball teams performing this weekend will be kitted out in special patriotic gear and the parks will have longer than usual patriotic displays. Of course, that means lots of lectures on civic nationalism from the usual suspects. Like everything we do, it will be overdone and commercial.
There used to be a time when I enjoyed the flag waving. There was something magical to be at a public event, like a ball game, seeing everyone singing the national anthem or seeing men get a little choked up at a remembrance for fallen heroes. Patriotism is one of those things that makes you feel small and humble, but also part of something that is massive and timeless. It is an appeal to the oldest of instincts, perhaps that which makes us human. That is the willingness to sacrifice for the tribe.
That is the key to it, sacrifice. To be patriotic is to willingly, even if in truth it is involuntary, give over yourself to the whole, for the benefit of the whole. The heroes, in the patriotic sense, are those who sacrificed in times of great crisis. Of course, the ultimate heroes are those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The most revered place in the psyche of a people is where they bury their heroes. It’s not just where they honor the memory of their heroes, built where they go to remember who they are as a people.
This sacrificial element is biological of course. The biologist J. B. S. Haldane reportedly said, “I would gladly give up my life for two brothers or eight cousins.” What he meant is the willingness to sacrifice for others is driven by genetic proximity. A man is willing to sacrifice everything for his immediate family. He is increasingly less willing to sacrifice for his extended family. As the genetic distance increases, his willingness to sacrifice declines to a point at which he is unwilling to sacrifice at all.
This is something the ancient Greeks observed about men at war. When fighting with their backs to their own lands and their own people, men would fight heroically. When on foreign soil, out of range of their families, they were much more cautious. Haldane, in The Inequality of Man, notes that fanaticism is one of man’s great inventions, as it overcomes this biological reality. Those men fighting on foreign lands, will see their comrades as brothers, through the shared fanatical devotion to a cause.
This, of course, is why our modern rulers are relentlessly whipping us, or at least their dedicated followers, into a frenzy over cultural fads. In the West, people are strangers to one another, often in their communities. The natural bonds from biological proximity, the shared ancestors and cultural heritage, are no longer possible when your neighbors are men from faraway lands, speaking exotic languages. The normal mortar that binds a people has been eroded by multiculturalism, replaced with endless shrieking.
The Left has always been at war with man’s nature. This is the legacy of Rousseau, perhaps history’s greatest monster. From the radicalism of the Jacobins to the multiculturalists of today, the Left has always been particularly hostile to man’s natural affinity for those with whom he shares a common ancestor. Patriotism, especially in modern America, is a reminder that the ties that bind one man to another are not the words of an ideologue, but the mating decisions of their ancestors.
Of course, the Right has stepped into to make the job easier for the Left, by turning patriotism into a cheesy celebration of the ruling class. Whether it is support for pointless wars of choice or the obsequious worship of post-national corporations, patriotism from so-called conservatives is now ridiculous flag waving. They take care to decorate their celebrations with all of the trappings of multiculturalism. The lack of authenticity makes the whole thing a grotesque mockery of the past.
For dissidents, patriotism is increasingly impossible. On the one hand, there is the absurd version that celebrates multiculturalism and the end of the nation state. On the hand there is the synthetic version that papers over reality with nostalgia. Patriotism is no longer the roar of people in their prime, but instead it is the sad songs from old men, who keep alive memories of an age that has passed. In a post-national world, there can be no room for nationalism. There can be no post-national patriotism.
That does not mean it should be forgotten or ignored. For the dissident, the patriotic displays are a good reminder of what they have taken from us, but also a reminder of why we are dissidents. There may be no more nation states, but that bond of biological proximity is eternal. It is a fundamental part of our nature. The fight is not to restore the world to where it was, but to restore the world to its natural mooring. Identity politics is about building communities based in biology, not the rantings of fanatics.
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