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For at least two decades there has been a debate on the Right, broadly defined, about how to define America and the citizen. On one side are the intellectual descendants of Harry Jaffa, who argued America is just an idea, so a citizen is someone who agrees with that idea. On the other side are the people who take the view of the Founders who held the traditional view of nationhood. America is the product of a people who secured the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity.
A middle ground was staked out twenty years ago by Steve Sailer. He came up with an idea he called “citizenism” which says “Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners.” Therefore, “our leaders have a duty to current citizens and their descendants over the interests of prospective citizens and their descendants”. This is a definition that allows for the appreciation of racial differences between the current citizens.
Sailer’s definition is reactive, more than objective. He was trying at the time to put space between himself and other race realists. He wanted to talk honestly and openly about racial differences without being lumped in with people like Jared Taylor, who he considered to be a white nationalist. Sailer and Jared Taylor had an exchange back in 2005 on this topic as well as Taylor’s book The Color of Crime. Here are some bits of this debate here, here and here.
Fifteen years on, we can look at the three sides of this dispute with the benefit of hindsight and see who was closer to the truth. The “nation of ideas” side is looking rather shabby, as the West lurches into despotism in an effort to keep the wildly diverse population from destroying itself. The suspension of civil liberties, constant surveillance and state sanctioned domestic terrorism suggest that the idea at the heart of this new definition of the nation is authoritarianism.
Further, the “nation of ideas” concept was always a Marxist notion. Instead of society being the product of economic relations, the nation of ideas people define society as cultural relations. This is right out of the cultural Marxist handbook. The main difference is the Left thinks that culture is the product of institutions while the Right thinks it is the product of magic. While both sides are wrong about the source of culture, the Left was smart enough to seize the institutions.
The traditionalists who claim a nation is the product of a people, held together by a shared history and kinship have not been proven correct, but their claims against a nation of ideas is supported by present reality. Time will tell if the West devolves into tribal camps that judge their relations with other groups purely through the lens of tribal self-interest, but that is the current direction. At the minimum, the Jared Taylor camp was right about identity politics and what is means for white people.
As far as citizenism, it may be the biggest loser. In his exchange with Jared Taylor, Steve Sailer wrote, “And yet, this manner of thinking, this dismissal of objective reality in favor of assessing whose side the speaker is on, is probably as popular today in America as it was in Berlin and Moscow in Orwell’s day.” Sailer was comparing Orwell’s description of Nazism with Taylor’s brand of white nationalism. In other words, these views contrast with objective reality.
It is turns out that the citizenism can only work if everyone involved steadfastly and fanatically rejects objective reality. For example, they must refuse to consider that what leaders will do is not always in line with what you think they ought to do. Further, the “best interests of the current citizens” is a normative statement, whose definition is based on the perspective of the speaker. The universalist concept of best interest at the heart of citizenism is as real as the unicorn.
To some degree, this form of bourgeoise objectivism has always functioned as a form of escapism where the objectivist gets to be both right and taboo. In this case, he gets to speak candidly about the human condition from the perspective of biology but avoid being sanctioned by the people who must deny this reality. In other words, it assumes there is an exception to morality, where you can avoid official sanction over impure thoughts if you can prove those thoughts to be correct.
This is a world that denies the reality of the prevailing orthodoxy, thus denying objective reality with regards to human relations. Every society has its moral framework that is rooted in its sense of identity. This is largely controlled by the ruling class, which is a feature of every society, regardless of politics. The morality of the people in charge of the West requires us to deny biology and they make no exceptions. That is a reality one must accept before engaging in any analysis of politics.
In the end, Steve Sailer’s approach was rooted in a misunderstanding of what lies behind things like open borders. It was not a desire for mundane things like a desire to save the world or a demand for cheap labor. At the heart of the neoliberal project is the assertion that humans are infinitely adaptable to their culture. This is the unequivocal denial of biological reality. This is why citizenism was doomed from the start. It offered a compromise that could never be tolerated, much less accepted.
In the end, the nation of ideas side was probably more realistic than their critics on the biological reality side. They accepted the premise of cultural Marxism, which is that control of the institutions is what matters in current politics. They simply lacked the intelligence and courage to put their ideas into practice. As a result, the West is headed into the darkness of radicalism. If the West is to survive, Western man must accept biological reality and the reality of those who oppose him.
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