A bad habit dissidents have inherited from conservatives is to instinctively dispute the claims made by our enemies. If a cosmopolitan globalist says X, the tendency is to argue that X is wrong. This has been the habit of mind for conservatives since the birth of Buckley conservatism in the middle of the last century. The motto of that crew should be “well actually” as that’s what they have spent generations saying to every left-winger they can find. Many dissidents have brought this habit with them.
Here’s an example of someone called Dave Rubin making the claim that America is a proposition nation. Anyone can be an America, as long as they fill out the right paperwork down at the right government office. He is echoing an assertion popular with a certain sort of conservative pundit. Unlike a country like Israel, to use a totally random example, America is not a nation that occupies a territory it sees as a homeland, but a land that contains people, who more or less agree not to murder one another.
The responses are all of things that we have come to expect whenever someone promotes the propositional nation assertion on a pubic platform. There’s a call and response quality to this stuff. The guy allowed on the stage, to stand in the spotlight and hold forth on various issues, is accompanied by a chorus just off-stage that responds to what he is saying. The trouble with the model is the responses don’t actually address the intent of the statement. Instead they fixate on theory behind it.
As a practical matter, Rubin is correct. America is a propositional nation, in that citizenship is now entirely meaningless to the native born. It has value to the millions pouring over the border every year, but to the people who hold US citizenship, it is a stock certificate for a company that no longer exists. Stock certificate is really not the right way to put it, as it is more like a debt certificate. Every year that tax on people holding citizenship goes up, as the land gets enriched with the dregs of the earth.
Now, the people who reflexively push back on the proposition nation stuff certainly wish this was not the case. They are correct that American citizenship should count for something and not just be handed out like candy at Halloween. In other words, they are right about the theory, but wrong about practical reality. More important, the people in charge are not going to change their policies and make citizenship count again. That means citizenship, as a practical matter, is now completely worthless.
Dissidents are fond of talking about red pills, which usually means coming to terms with who is the enemy and the reality of so-called allies. In reality, the people busying themselves identifying and describing the enemy are still operating under the assumption that citizenship is still a real thing or at least a real thing that can be recaptured if we can just defeat the enemy. The fact is, that old concept of citizenship is meaningless and will never be otherwise. That’s the ultimate red pill.
It also means any sense of duty or obligation to the country is not only meaningless, it is foolish. Citizenship either arises from a social contract, to which all members are bound for mutual benefit or it arises from a shared identity of the citizens. If anyone can become a citizen, without the consent of the citizenry, then there can be no mutual benefit, no social contract. Similarly, if anyone can join the group, then it has no fixed identity and the members therefore gain no identity from it.
This is what makes the propositional nation stuff so difficult to grasp. In a normal nation, people are either a citizen, a subject or an alien. In a nation of citizens, the people are sovereign, beholden to one another. In a nation of subjects, the people serve a ruler, who is the sovereign. The alien, in both cases, is resident under whatever conditions set by the nation. In the propositional nation, everyone is an alien. The country is just an ad hoc collection of people interacting with one another as economic units.
In this weird, post-national country created for us by our ruling class, all relationships are transactional. This is why anyone can be an American. As long as the newcomers participate in the economy, they are the same as anyone else as far as the people in charge are concerned. The rulers have no more of an obligation to the people than the people have to one another. The ruling and administrative class maintain order, not because it is their duty, but because they gain some benefit from it.
Of course, this is why the ruling class has abandoned so much of what is considered the duties of a ruling class. They have no duties. They enforce the laws as they want, when they want, solely for their own benefit. Where there is no benefit, they have simply abandoned those duties. It turns out that anarcho-tyranny is not so much the result of managerialism, but the inevitable result of post-nationalism. In a world solely governed by material relations, sacrifice becomes just another relic of the past.
In a way, post-nationalism is just a reversion to a more primitive organizational model, one that arose in the late Roman Empire and the early middle ages. Under the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, for example, groups formed up around ethnic, religious and regional affiliations to negotiate with the rulers collectively. The rulers did not feel a natural duty to the people over whom they ruled. They just wanted their taxes and an orderly administration of their lands. That’s the propositional nation.
That what makes accepting post-nationalism the ultimate red pill. Once you come to terms with the fact that there is no convincing the people in charge to respect your citizenship, you realize there is no going back to the civic nationalist model. Instead, the way forward is through the oldest form of nationhood. That’s where a nation is defined by a people with a common heritage, a common set of ancestors. The way forward is to go back to the most basic form of human organization, the nation.
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