Is it good to be a nationalist?
Not so very long ago, nationalism was something of a dirty word, or at least a little-used one. No one in polite Western society particularly wanted to be a nationalist—perhaps a patriotic American on the Right or a global citizen on the Left, but not a nationalist.
Nationalism seems to be all the rage on the internet these days, with many a Warski live stream featuring a bloody contest involving one or more nationalists. And Donald Trump’s America-first platform represented, in many ways, a fundamental challenge to the respectable Universalist paradigm upheld by the Cathedral, i.e. the mass media and higher education.
One might even say, pace Karl Marx, that a specter is haunting the internet—the specter of nationalism. Unlike with communism, though, leftists hate nationalism. It smacks of chauvinism and tribalism and other things that are bad when White people do them.
So what, exactly, is nationalism?
We have essentially two definitions here, one of which centers on patriotic feeling (etc.), the other of which centers on independence movements. The thing to note, though, is that neither of these definitions specifies a political ideology or creed.
Leftists, of course, fear White nationalism rather than any of the alternatives. Indeed, they are happy to hypocritically promote expressions of identity and empowerment for every other group, a diversity racket that commands a great deal of money and power.
So, nationalism is concerned more with advocacy for a nation, patriotic feeling for a nation, than it is with how the nation is to be governed—socialist or capitalist, democratic or otherwise, etc. George Washington was arguably a nationalist. Simon Bolivar was a nationalist. So is Robert Mugabe. So was Adolf Hitler.
If we’re to engage with nationalism, then, we need to narrow things down. What matters is what kind of nationalism is under discussion.
This critical analysis of nationalism offers a proposed schema of five different kinds of nationalism:
1. Humanitarian Nationalism: An outgrowth of Enlightenment philosophy influenced by Henry Bolingbroke, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, and Johann Gottfried Herder, who all emphasized local self-rule through democratic forms of government based on the peculiar characteristics of each nation (body of people), as opposed to the large multi-ethnic empires that then dominated Europe.
2. Jacobin Nationalism: A state ideology adopted by the revolutionary French government to solidify its hold on power. Its four characteristics were suspicion and intolerance of internal dissent, heavy reliance on force and militarism to attain government goals, fanatical support for the state, and a missionary zeal to spread their nation.
3. Traditional Nationalism: A brief nationalist reaction to the Jacobins in favor of the status quo ante bellum. This is the most conservative type of nationalism. Edmund Burke, Friedrich von Schlegel, and Klemens von Metternich were the most well-known supporters of this brief style of nationalism. This form of nationalism did not survive long, as the cultural changes begun by the Industrial Revolution undermined it.
4. Liberal Nationalism: This style of nationalism is midway between the Jacobin and Traditional varieties. It emphasizes the absolute sovereignty of the national state but, in seeming contradiction, also seeks to limit the power of the government to interfere with individual liberty by proclaiming the goal of the state to be to protect individual liberty and provide public goods. If you have ever taken an economics class, the ideal of liberal nationalism comes closest to what economists think of as the proper role of the state. If you also see the tensions between absolute sovereignty and the protection of individual liberties, then the next phase of nationalism should be unsurprising.
5. Integral Nationalism: This stage of nationalism centers the nation and its state in the life of all citizens. Instead of a state being committed to supplying public goods to citizens, this form of nationalism emphasizes individual sacrifice for the benefit of the nation and its government. It also frequently embraces blood-worship (the Latin root of nationalism is natio, meaning tribe, ethnic group, or division by birth) and seeks to expand the state to include all co-ethnics living in other territories. Hayes summarized this form of nationalism as intensely “anti-individualistic and anti-democratic”, where all other loyalties are absorbed into loyalty to the national state and a right-makes-right ideology.
Take a good hard look at those five nationalisms again. Humanitarian Nationalism largely belongs to the 19th and early 20th centuries, and played an important role in animating the Revolutions of 1848 (see Mike Duncan’s excellent podcast series). Jacobin Nationalism and Traditional Nationalism were both pretty limited in place and time, so I won’t bother with them further.
What about Liberal Nationalism?
If you think about it, Liberal Nationalism embodies more or less the entirety of the normie political dial. There’s the Very Liberal setting, which turns up the welfare, the taxes, and the government mandates to buy (predictably) increasingly expensive insurance.
And then there’s the Less Liberal setting, also known as the Neo-Con or Normie Republican setting. As a case in point, the Bush Era was highly Universalist, which is to say that by and large, it adhered to the standard dogmas of the denatured, secularized form of Christianity which now functions as the dominant political religion in the U.S. and the Western world generally.
If you’re thinking “But wait, Bush et al. were neo-conservative Republicans,” then yes, I agree: they were less liberal than the Anointed One. So-called “neo-conservatism,” with its Global War on Terror and its massive federal intervention in the education system, is the right-hand side of the Universalist dial. In essence, the entirety of the political Right in the modern West is no more than an outgrowth of classical liberal ideas about free markets and human enterprise.
Political conservatism of the normie, Fox News Republican school is not nationalist, because it is little more than left-liberalism with a time delay. They are known for sometimes talking a big game about cutting taxes, regulations, welfare, and border security—and yet, somehow, they opposed the God-Emperor when he campaigned on that very platform.
But oh, how the wheel turns. The West seems to have exhausted ideology altogether, and the focus of the Culture War is increasingly on identity.
The signs of this are everywhere, from the Left’s “intersectional feminism” (cancer with extra cancer), to the Alt-Right and the rise of Generation Identity and Identity Evropa. The Alt-Right and the broader “identitarian” movement best corresponds to Integral Nationalism, if we follow the schema above.
But is this sort of identitarian nationalism good? Is it moral? For those of us born to late Boomer parents, steeped in the myth and lore of the afterglow of the Civil Rights movement, the mere prospect of identifying with one’s race can inspire a twinge of guilt.
What’s more, the full weight of the Cathedral media and respectable public opinion is being brought to bear to convince everyone that White identity is bad-evil-wrong-Nazi. Every crazy cat lady and racial justice coordinator ever is shaking his/her/xir finger and reminding us that America was built on stolen land and slave labor (“Don’t you know America was built on stolen land and slave labor, you bigot?”).
This is a good clue to what is really going on, a clue to the reason the forces of the Left so stridently and consistently oppose nationalism when done by White people, and try to associate it with their canonical arch-evil, Nazism.
Indeed, leftists are very pro-identitarian for every group other than Whites. As I have pointed out before, this is integral to their coalition-building strategy: leftists are the anti-White coalition, so mobilizing minority resentments of Whites and weaponizing White guilt are two sides of the same coin.
If mobilizing minority resentments is like recruiting the army to besiege the castle, White guilt is the combination of the sappers digging below the castle to undermine it, and efforts to subvert those within.
This strategy of weaponizing the resentments of the less successful and attempting to shame the more successful into not defending themselves is the very essence of leftism. Put simply, this is how leftists prop up support for their war-chest-and-sacrament, the welfare state, which depends on men’s tax dollars, especially White men’s tax dollars since other groups impose net costs, on average.
During my own political journey to libertarianism, I occasionally came across intriguing hints of this truth, indications that different groups of people, for whatever inscrutable reason, have different political interests and vote differently.
As a case in point, take this fascinating article by Greta Christina, explaining why you shouldn’t be fiscally conservative, but socially liberal (consider it your daily dose of cancer):
“You can't separate fiscal issues from social issues. They're deeply intertwined. They affect each other. Economic issues often are social issues. And conservative fiscal policies do enormous social harm. That's true even for the mildest, most generous version of ‘fiscal conservatism’ -- low taxes, small government, reduced regulation, a free market. These policies perpetuate human rights abuses. They make life harder for people who already have hard lives. Even if the people supporting these policies don't intend this, the policies are racist, sexist, classist (obviously), ableist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise socially retrograde. In many ways, they do more harm than so-called "social policies" that are supposedly separate from economic ones.”
She goes on to list seven reasons not to be fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. I think the gist of her argument boils down to a fairly typical set of leftist talking points about how poor people deserve more of your money, and we need government programs to give it to them, despite the long history of mutual aid societies and abundant evidence of the harm caused by leftist economic policies, but by all means read it for yourself.
Again, the formula is Feel guilt, vote for your money to be taken away from you.
I had this point made for me on another occasion, not all that long after the Great Reckoning of the Trump victory. As a good libertarian purist at the time, I voted for goofy Gary “What is Aleppo?” Johnson.
Not long after, I found myself having a friendly conversation with a progressive blogger friend of mine. He wanted to understand how non-leftists thought—a commendable sentiment, and a rare one at the time. I gave him some fairly doctrinaire libertarian answers, in keeping with my views at the time.
I should note that it was my friend who pointed out that libertarians tend to be White males. At the time, I thought that was most likely simply a function of a few historical and sociological variables, and conjectured that with time and with more entrepreneurship in different communities, libertarianism would spring up among more people.
My naivete seems touching in hindsight.
The problem with libertarianism in pure form is that it seeks to do away with state power. This is a dangerously naïve and silly way of looking at the world. To cast aside power is to invite others to take it up, like Napoleon finding the crown of France lying in the gutter.
Different groups have different political priorities, and their voting patterns reflect this. Take a good hard look at the map set below:
Note that this map set was actually made before the election—by a leftist, to boot. Note also the text at the bottom: they did not break down the “POC” (people of color) vote because “no matter how I broke it down, it was always 100% blue.” See also this video, which is where I first encountered the map set.
If you’re a libertarian or normie conservative of any stripe, if you want the boot of government to let off your windpipe a bit more, if you want the hand of government in your pocket a bit less, this map is very bad news. What it clearly shows is that the only people who can be counted on to vote Republican to any meaningful degree are Whites (and to some degree men of all races, but mostly White men). Again, look at the map of all “POC.” Notice the solid blue, and the complete absence of any red.
This is no accident. This is exactly the pattern we should expect to find if the leftist coalitional power-strategy is working as it is intended to.
So, I propose a sixth type of nationalism to add to our typology of five above:
6. Liberty Nationalism, or (better) National Liberty: This type of nationalism blends Western identitarianism and nationalism with a pro-liberty ethos. It emphasizes the Western identity of the nation and a reactionary, neo-traditional ethos as a prerequisite for individual liberty. For the national liberty adherent, the ‘nation’ is the coalition of the productive and the pro-Western.
This style of nationalism is a reaction to more than a century of progressive domination of the West. It stands opposed to the culture of false “empowerment” and recognizes “equality” as a pipe dream.
Crucially, National Liberty is built on the recognition that authority is necessary for liberty: people yearn for order and structure, and they like to defer to hierarchies. Without authority in society, people will demand more authority and more paternalism from the government.
Cultures with authority structures also have identities. National Liberty is neo-traditionalist and pro-Western Revival.
National Liberty warmly welcomes membership by men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds in the lands of the West. However, National Liberty is founded on the unapologetic assertion of the worth of Western Man, and does not shy from the fact that its natural constituency is White males.
Is National Liberty good? The question is the same as asking if self-defense is good.
To bring this around full circle, National Liberty is founded on the recognition that only Whites, particularly White males, have to justify pursuing their own interests and the interests of their group (both the interests of White males, and the interests of Whites generally).
Whites, and only Whites, have to justify positive expressions of identity and group interests in the very societies created by their ancestors and by past generations of other White people.
It seems that Whites, and only Whites, have to grapple with the question; Is nationalism good? For all other groups, it is as easy as breathing.
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