For a long time, the internationalist argument for a world governed by supra-national bodies, established through multilateral treaties, was that these systems would prevent a repeat of the first half of the 20th century. The lesson learned by Western elites was that nationalism leads to competition, which then leads to war. By forcing all countries into a web of cooperative agreements to arbitrate disputes, the opportunity for conflict is reduced and the benefits of war are eliminated, so we get less war.
That is the germ of Europeanism as manifested by the European Union. Instead of these countries competing for resources and status, they will cooperate economically in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Similarly, the U.S. giving the store away to a country like China for the last thirty years is seen as a trade-off to prevent war in the Pacific. Rather than the countries competing, the rich countries led by the US would help lift China and others into the modern age as a post-communist society.
It all sounds wonderful, but the aversion to nationalism evolved into this self-loathing we see today all across Western elites. Instead of creating a post-national super-society of European people, the elites are now at war with their own people and the people are breaking into their own tribes. The Western elites ramp up their efforts to eradicate a sense of identity among the people, which causes more people to abandon the old sense of national identity for a new tribal one that is hostile to the elites.
The old national identity used to function as the strong force that subordinated the local and tribal, in favor of the national. While France could have plenty of local flavor, so to speak, the strong force of French nationalism bound all those local tribes together like horses pulling a wagon. As that strong force is deliberately weakened, nothing has come to replace it, so the weak force is taking over. The response by elites is to attack group identity by writing the people out of their own history.
That’s what you see here with this claim that Shakespeare was not a white man from England, but a Jewish woman. The usual suspects have jumped onto it, because they think it makes them look clever, but there is something else. These claims are popular with left-wing Jews for the same reason white identity politics is increasing popular with white people. Without a strongly typed host society, tribalism becomes the default sense of identity. These secular Jewish women are becoming ethno-fanatics.
Now, to be fair and offer a counter to this argument, Jews rewriting history to put themselves in the center of it is not a new thing. What Christians call the Old Testament is pretty much the first work of revisionist history. A small literate tribe in the Middle East wrote the story and made themselves the stars, despite the fact they were minor players in the region for thousands of years. If the Persians had been better at passing down a written history, the story would have different stars and narratives.
In modern America, Jews have come to dominate much of the ruling class, so they are rewriting themselves into the national story. That is the whole point of Ben Shapiro’s new book. His argument for Judeo-Christianity is all about the Judeo and nothing about the Christian. The point of the project is to make himself the star of this think he greatly admires, even if it is imaginary. The fact that he is every bit the ethno-fanatic as people like Elizabeth Winkler underscores the tribal nature of these efforts.
Just as killing off Christianity was never going to kill off religion – people will believe in something – killing off national identity is not going to kill of identity. The decimation of mainstream Christianity has resulted in a fragmentation of the religious space, with all sorts of beliefs rushing in to fill the void. The decline of national identity and the subsequent war on white people is creating room for tribalism to flourish. In this regard, civic nationalism is a rearguard action. It’s why it is popular with old people.
Jews tend to be the canary in the coal mine for the West. Whenever the West is about to take a bad turn, Jews start to pop up in the story. Part of it is that rewriting of history to make them the stars, but their role in the West is real. The outbreak of ethno-fanaticism among secular Jews is probably a leading indicator and a trailing one. That is, what’s happening with Jews will happen with the other tribes in these territories, but it is also the sign of an end point. The Tribe is rallying the tribes in the face of disorder.
The outbreak of ethno-fanaticism does not necessarily mean we are headed to a great conflict between tribes. The story of the post-war years is really the story of overshooting the mark. In America, black civil rights should never have gone beyond the legal, but it turned into a war on whites. In Europe, the project should never have gone beyond economic and military cooperation. Perhaps ethno-nationalism is simply going to be a corrective that puts the limiting principles back on the elites.
On the other hand, maybe the road to a post-national West is going to be built on a strong, local sense of ethnic-identity. Everyone retreats to their local camps, sorting themselves into those natural boundaries. In the face of massive migration out of the south, it becomes a defense in depth. Imagine if locals in America were passively hostile to all strangers, even their neighbors. Immigration no longer makes sense for Hispanics. The same would hold for Europe with regards to Arabs and Africans.
In one of life’s ironies, it could be that the West is going to start emulating what has worked for Jews. That strong sense of ethnic identity does not rule out cooperation with other tribes. In fact, it becomes the engine of cooperation. Jews probably would not exist at all, if not for Christendom. They adapted to being a guest population, by combining a strong ethnic identity with a willingness to adapt to the conditions of the host population. Now, the rest of the West is heading down the same path.
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