Since the French Revolution, the enduring feature of all radical movements, has been a war on nature. Whether the radical movement calls itself communism, Marxism, libertarianism, socialism or Progressivism, at its root is a war on nature. The radical looks around at the world and says it should not be this way. He then conjures a system that will bring society back to what he imagines to be the ideal. The fact that the people are unwilling to go along with this new order is proof of its validity.
For the longest time, perhaps due to the shadow of Christianity, the radicals justified their new conception of society as getting back to the natural order. Rousseau imagined his world as being at odds with man’s nature. “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains” was the rallying cry of radical movements throughout the 19th century, because they assumed that the present order was a corruption of the natural order. Getting back to that natural order would set men free.
Of course, this conviction justified the slaughter of millions. After all, to fight against the imposition of the new order was to fight against freedom. The reactionary was worse than a slave owner, he was the tool of the slave owner, an enemy of the people who deserved no mercy. If the natural end of human society is a return to the natural order, it must therefore mean the elimination of those who oppose the natural order. Marxism turned mass murder into salvation, a blood sacrifice to the new man.
In the current age, arguing that radicalism is rooted in man’s nature is no longer possible, as science now tells us otherwise. We know that man has never been what the radicals imagine, so the radicals have been forced to take a different tact. Instead of arguing that their cause is a return to man’s natural condition, they now argue that nature is imaginary, an optical illusion, socially constructed by the people benefiting from the current order. Nature is now the chains of man.
This is where post-nationalism makes its entrance. The people arguing for open borders and the end of nations, whether they are libertarians or Progressives, start from the assumption that nature is a social construct. You see that in this Atlantic piece squealing about Tucker Carlson. The writer is one of the cheeky dullards Jeffrey Goldberg uses to churn out click-bait for his site. They serve the role of court jester, except their purpose is to mock reality, thereby proving it does not exist.
The arguments, such as they are, rest on the claim that America is not a nation, but simply a social construct, like a social club that is required to grant admission to anyone who applies. By this logic, Carlson is less of an American, according the writer, than Ilhan Omar, because he rejects the idea of American being a concept. In other words, a complete stranger has a greater claim to being an American than an actual American, because the stranger does not believe there is such a thing as America.
Conor Friedersdorf, like most libertarians, lacks the sophistication to fully understand the implication of post-nationalism. Progressives, on the other hand, are eager to argue that nature is a social construct. It is why the main stream media is littered with women claiming that biology is an optical illusion. They understand that their fight is not with an alternative ideology or with a specific group that stands in their way. Their fight is with nature and anyone who accepts biological reality.
It’s why nationalism has become the bogeyman of all radicals everywhere. As Yoram Hazony argues in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, the nation is the largest natural organizational unit possible. It is a collection of tribes bound together by a common language, a common history, a common struggle and a common ancestor. The nation is the fullest expression of man’s nature, therefore it is the fullest expression of everything the radical fears about the world and himself.
Conservatives, as in Buckley conservatives, are a useful canary in the coal mine of Progressivism. Because they fully embrace Progressive morality, but seek to point it toward other ends, their arguments are helpful in understanding the radical mind. This piece on immigration is a good example. The author makes the case that immigration will not solve the economic troubles looming on the horizon. In other words, open borders are great, but they can’t solve every problem.
Nowhere in conservative arguments against open borders will you ever find the basic argument that a nation has the right to decide who enters their lands. The answer to foreigners demanding access to your land does not have to be any more than, “You cannot come in, because we live here and we say so.” No conservative would ever dare utter such a thing, because it violates Progressive morality, which says biology is an illusion, so nationalism is not a valid argument against open borders.
This long super-cycle, which began with the Enlightenment and will conclude at some as yet undetermined point in the future, is a long war on nature. Each generation of radicals conjures a new world and new war on biological reality. Rousseau said, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” This is the radical’s creed, but nature has a creed of her own. That is, reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it.
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