One of the unexamined parts of the current crisis in the West is that much of it is related to an opposition to nationalism. It is an axiom of the ruling ideology that nationalism is the worst thing ever and that stamping it out is a primary concern. In Europe, there are laws against the concept. People are jailed for promoting it. In the United States, nationalism is linked to the deadly sin of racism. The term white nationalism has become a synonym for racism and antisemitism.
Without much evidence, it is asserted that nationalism is the cause of the great horrors of the modern age. For generations now children have been taught that nationalism was the cause of the two great industrial wars of the 20th century. Paradoxically, they also are taught that nationalism is to blame for colonialism. Today it is claimed that white people being themselves as a people, currently called whiteness, is the cause of everything that ails nonwhites in the West.
The supernatural quality of nationalism is often aided by the people who promote what they think of as nationalism. They try to “own the insult” by parading around as the bogeymen the ruling mythology associates with nationalism. This serves to reinforce the mythology around nationalism. Others argue in favor of nationalism by first accepting that it was a real thing in the past. They say we need to return to a past state in order to avoid the fate of internationalism.
The reality is that nationalism does not have much of a resume. It has no roots in the ancient past. The Ancients certainly understood the concept of a people in the natural sense of it. They did not have a concept for a political entity tied to the natural concept of a people. Linking a people to the land they occupy in the way that modern Zionists would define a nation did not exist. People could claim territory, but the territory was not defined by the people in the way nationalists imagine.
Of course, after the fall of the Western Roman empire the land we think of as Europe was divided up into kingdoms. These kingdoms were made up of various people with their own language and their own claims to the land. The armies of these kingdoms were made up of various ethnicities. The King of People X could Fight the King of People Y using soldiers from the kingdom of his opponent or from kingdoms not involved in the conflict. They were mercenaries.
The first real hint of nationalism in Europe, or anywhere for that matter, was in The Hundred Years’ War, fought between the kingdoms of England and France during the Late Middle Ages. When it started in the 14th century, both sides used armies of mixed ethnicity, often from each other’s territory. By the end it was much more of a war between people united around their identity as a people. Historians argue this was the first flicker of nationalism in Europe.
Even so, nationalism did not catch fire in the late Late Middle Ages. The Thirty Years War had a strong nationalist overtone. It is generally framed as a religious war, but the partisans were also distinguished by their ethnicity. The Bohemian Revolt was as much about not wanting to be ruled by a foreigner as it was a revolt of Protestants against a Catholic monarch. Even so, it was mostly a struggle between the Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties, rather than a national struggle.
You have to get into the 20th century before nationalism is a real thing with real power to unite people. The current mythology says that nationalism, especially German nationalism, was the cause of the Great War. The conflict between Germany and France drew in the rest of the great powers, including America. After the war, nationalism was blamed for the horrible destruction of the Continent. This is the origin of anti-nationalism that is central to our ruling ideology.
Yet a brief examination of Europe at the start of the conflict makes rather clear that nationalism was not the issue. The nation-state was not a real thing. The Central Powers were the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and a collection of small kingdoms. There was the French Republic on the Allied side, but the British Empire and Russian Empire made up the other two parts of the Triple Entente that was the basis for the Allied side.
Of course, we now see that America was already an empire by the time she joined the fight in Europe. Yankeedom had conquered the South in the Civil War, then spent the rest of the 19th century conquering the continent. She chased Europe out of the Americas in the Spanish – American. It is fair to assume that America would have annexed Canada and much of Mexico if not for the opportunity to conquer Europe and Asia in the two world wars.
Putting that aside, the Great War was not a war of national identity or a war between national identities. It was an industrialized version of all previous imperial wars in Europe, waged between empires over resources. National identity played a role, but the primary cause was internationalism and what we call globalism. One of the great first acts of modern propaganda was turning a war between empires into a brief against the antidote to empire, which is nationalism.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Wilsonian post-war project to bring peace to Europe was not rooted in one-worldism. The League of Nations was built on the premise that people had a right to exist and have defined territories. Disputes over trade and boundaries would be adjudicated peacefully through an organization of nations, rather than war. It is not unreasonable to say that the seed of democracy was that the default human organization was the nation.
The only bit of history the anti-nationalists can point to for their forever war against nationalism is the rise of fascism. Fascism was a rejection of the internationalism of communism and the pluralism of liberal democracy. Because of certain events that happened in this time, nationalism has become synonymous with a particular brand of fascism that no longer exists. This is what gives nationalism its supernatural quality that is so vital to the liberal democratic project.
The trouble here is that this flicker of nationalism in the heart of Europe was met with overwhelming force by the great internationalist coalition. International communism linked arms with international liberalism to smash nationalism. As a practical matter, the influence of nationalism is only as a bogeyman that was once a real thing, but now exists only in the imagination of the current ruling class. Opposition to fascism is a mystical version of internationalism for stupid people.
To add an additional layer of irony to all of this is the fact that the proponents of various forms of Marxism and liberal democracy claim that the failures are due to the imperfect implementation of these ideologies. In other words, after centuries of effort, real Marxism has never been tried. Real democracy has never existed. Nationalism, which has never been tried, killed in the cradle by internationalism, is condemned as a failed ideology of the bygone era.
That said, history says that there is something compelling about internationalism that allows it to thrive in spite of its body count. They say that 100 million have been murdered at the hands of Marxists. How many have been murdered by liberal democrats is never discussed. Tens of millions for sure. Awash in the blood of the innocent, sacrificed to the various schemes of internationalism, the dream of the great universal utopia of man remains alive.
Further, history suggests that the mundane realty of nationalism lacks that special something that compels men to not just die for it but kill for it. Dying for a dream is easy, because it is usually involuntary. Killing for the dream takes courage and the internationalists have never been short of it. Nationalists, in contrast, have never been able to match it. It lacks the transcendent quality, the promise of something beyond the daily reality of the human condition.
That said, even though the resume of nationalism is scant, its power to inspire the enemies of humanity as it does suggests there is something to it. Perhaps locked inside the undeveloped concept of nationalism is something that can truly inspire. Maybe that is the great secret of internationalism, the really big lie at the heart of it all. If Western man ever truly explored his nationalistic impulse, internationalism would be wiped from the planet and peace among nations would be achieved.
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