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Tag Archives: nationalism

21st Century Nationalism Is Not The Nation-State

As we witness the rise of populist-nationalist reformers all around the world, there is much confusion about what this nationalism actually means.  I get the impression that many think they are going back to the nationalism of an earlier time, but there is no resurrecting the past.
What we have called nationalism is the philosophy of the nation-state that arose in the 1860s.  Whether in Italy, Japan, or America we saw a vast expansion of state power and centralization enabled by the industrial revolution era technologies like the railroad and the telegraph.  The basic idea was that the country was divided up into departments handled by groups of bureaucrats in the capital city.  Mass public education inculcated all the nation’s children in the same values and eradicated local dialects and languages in favor of the speech of the capital province.  Germany hadn’t been united in any meaningful way for about 1000 years, Italy not since the Roman Empire. Regions had distinct cultures and often spoke tongues that were not even mutually intelligible.  All those differences had to go so humanity itself could be reduced to standardized parts in the machine.  The 20th century with radio, television and its mass mindless herd wars marked the high tide of centralization.  What people like to call “globalism” is just a worldwide version of the 19th century style nation-state.  The present nationalism is actually a reaction to what they see themselves as continuing in some way!  No wonder they are confused about their identity!  

The personal computer followed by internet has decentralized networks at a furious pace.  The 21st century is about unraveling the monoculture that has grown ever more uniform and dreary over the last 150 years.
Until modern communications, large clumsy bureaucracies always won.  Maybe 2 million men died because rubber stamps were put on the wrong forms, but the other 18 million would overwhelm the enemy.  In a world of telegraph and then radio there was no real counter to this zerg swarming strategy.
Now though, it is possible for even small, poorly equipped forces to outmaneuver clumsy centralized states indefinitely while inflicting a thousand paper cuts and letting the nation-state waste its energy throwing slow, painfully telegraphed punches at gnats until it gases out.  It’s like a claymation giant monster flailing around in vain to kill the heroes or Captain Kirk vs. the Gorn.  It’s a simple concept often called 4GW(4th generation warfare) to sound hip.  
By the early 2000s poor Arabs with home-made road bombs could outmaneuver the richest empire in history.  In the 2010s smartphones lead to the Arab Spring and Occupy followed by the Islamic State.
What we are seeing is an increase in the size of 4G organizations until we are looking at something on the scale of nation state with the flexibility of a small organization.  As it matures, this kind of system obsoletes the 19th century bureaucracy-bound nation-state.
The nationalist vs. globalist struggle we see across the developed world is the clash of established nation-states with 21st century decentralized networks.  As soon as we understand this it’s clear why the establishment is on the wrong side of history and why in spite of their overhwelming power they can only flap about in furious teary rage as their world falls apart.  There is a Tao of the universe and those who try to fight it, no matter how mighty, only exhaust themselves.
The election of Trump is only the beginning of their woes as his momentum carries over and they find themselves under siege in Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, France, and even Germany.

There is a new age upon us but it will not be a peaceful age.  While steadily dwindling wealth remained above a certain line and there was a USSR to scare people, unity went without serious challenge.  Since the year 2000 or so we’ve sunk towards the next dark age with rapidly shrinking wealth, low trust, low innovation, and stringent orthodox persecution of heretical ideas. Furthermore, in a nation-state that treats everyone like replaceable parts from cradle to grave no one feels like they really belong or really matter.  They plug into an economy to crank out production points for most of their waking time alive with no purpose in sight.  This purpose vacuum was waiting for something to fill it and modern communication brought down a Berlin Wall built from bricks of mechanistic nihilism.

It comes as no surprise then that the new organizations arising are very much like tribes.  What others call nationalism I call neo-tribalism.  As always some will benefit from change while others perish.  An age of tribes promises to be a savage one defined by groups fighting over scarce resources in a world where most niches are already over-saturated.

The main discussion between allied emerging tribes right now is what uniting principles will define the new nation-tribe.  Some believe it is about a civic polity, those who can participate at a net benefit for the whole.  Others believe that ethnicity will be the core.
I think both are right about some things but neither grasps the whole truth.  Disembodied communication allows humans to associate by natural predisposition and neurotype.  Some tribes will form coalitions of mutually beneficial types and in those coalitions there will be hierarchies of tribes.  In time, the tribal coalition becomes a caste system.

Above all, this means the end is coming for enlightenment philosophy that reduces all questions of society to the individual.  In the future, society will not be treated as a machine made of atoms, but as an organism made of cells. Societies themselves will finally be seen correctly as competing organisms in the wild rather than lifeless structures that interchangeable atoms happen to occupy.

Why Nepotism Is Necessary

You can only have an open and fair society when most people are willing to be fair.  If you keep playing nice once too many people are breaking the rules you just become everyone’s doormat.
Right now, the country is flying into a fit of hysteria about how non-rich white men are starting to advocate for themselves as a group.  What did they expect?  Virtually every other group and identity we can brainstorm already has its own movement aggressively lobbying for money from the treasury and legal privileges.  Once you have a tragedy of the commons underway and you can’t hope to stop it, the only choice that makes sense is to try to grab as much as you can before it’s all gone.  When you find yourself caught in an identity arms race, factional nepotism is the only reaction that makes sense, keeps you fed and a roof over your head.

I don’t especially care about white people.  I don’t like people that much.  But once I was an adult with bills to pay I rapidly discovered that no one I meet cares if I care.  Everyone who sees me immediately notices I’m a European male and this affects my role in society whether I like it or not.  Over a decade ago I was desperate for work recently out of college with a useless degree and living on a friend’s couch.   I once ran 4 1/2 miles from the sterile industrial park where he lived to a Waukegan temp agency and got myself a job at a frozen pizza factory, or so I thought.  I soon learned that the client took one look at my North Euro surname and immediately told the temp agent to find someone else.   I spoke passable Spanish but it’s not as if the client would have cared.  It was a question of identity.
I took an English teaching job in Korea hoping to travel while actually using my useless degree.  Another experience that changed my worldview forever.  I learned you really don’t know anything about a country until you work a job there and you learn people have the same old problems everywhere.  I’ve done a decent amount of traveling and roll my eyes every time someone blogs about the next “undiscovered” Eastern European  paradise.
Northeast Asians are some of the most cohesive peoples on earth.  Very tellingly, they all have a word for foreigner that just means “outside person.”  You know when you’re there you’ll never be one of them(forget that Dances With Wolves/Avatar/Last Samurai porn), but you also start to realize that while their media seems to idolize Europeans other races are in practice a curiosity to them.  I came to realize they regarded me the way I might regard a talking dog or a chimpanzee.  They may send their little girls to get eyelid surgery, but they know who they are.  It came together for me why the Japanese, a people known for their restraint and discipline are some of the worst to get conquered by.   Their culture has no room for the luxury of outside empathy—they are fiercely competitive among themselves as it is—the initial politeness naive whites rave about is a superficial mask.
I came home from Korea with more hard lessons under my belt but also with admiration for their unity and sense of shared purpose, qualities which I found totally lacking in the states.
Finally, I had the experience of working jobs in black neighborhoods.  Again, the importance of identity reigned supreme.  I got continuously screwed over in my first such job until I quit.  It was a catch 22, because I wasn’t one of them, I couldn’t be lazy like them but if I worked hard, as I did, that just inflamed their collective inferiority complex.  The next job I had, I learned to walk the tightrope and was able to stay on as long as I needed to without much trouble.  But I learned to expect that when you aren’t part of the dominant tribe, you’ll always be on the sidelines watching the worst among them still get promoted over you.  When your group isn’t in control, you get to “eat in the kitchen” if you get to eat at all.  That’s reality.
I’ve gotten a bit better at adjusting my spoken word choice over the years, but even when I worked for a small business run by a prole white family, they could get a whiff that I was educated and that was cause enough for them to hate me no matter how hard I worked.
I was told as a kid that hard work is what matters, but in my entire life, I’ve yet to meet one person that cares.  Identity comes first and people who get identified(whether they like it or not) under the same identity have to work together to maximize their access to money, space, and mates.  The price for failing to cooperate is getting wiped out by competitors who can work together to secure their interests.

When white people help each other as other groups routinely do they are denounced as “racists.”  The problem with this is that in real life every living human is racist, classist, ageist, everythingist.  People always have and always will make judgments about others based on identity.  They then help the people they think will help them and hinder the people they think will hinder them.  There’s nothing magical about humans, we’re just animals in the wild albeit in hives, just trying survive and procreate.  As a social species group dynamics is a critical element of our survival strategy.  To try to separate humans from identity is to ask them not to be human at all.  This is why secularism creates soulless, dehumanizing societies.
I grew up as what I call a ‘first generation.’  There was no meaningful culture or traditions to identify with.  When I was a young man I was never shown adult survival skills nor was there any tribal initiation.  I just was without any explanation and it was up to me to fill the void.
Many people in this part of the internet like to wax poetic about “Western culture.”  I must admit that I know nothing of it.  It’s not a heritage that means anything to me.
As an adult I’ve learned there’s a meaning that can be ascribed to my Irish, Ulster Scot, Anglo, and Norman French Huguenot blood but I don’t mistake that for an identity.  It’s not as if I can pretend I’m a part of any those cultures, I’m just what I am and live by my own barbarian values.  Nevertheless, I’ve learned when, where, and with whom I have to cooperate with in order to survive.  It should be telling when even someone as apathetic as I am just says “fuck it” and takes an interest in zero sum skin color politics.  I know from experience if Mexicans, Blacks, or traditional Asians run the show there’s no guarantee I get to eat and being one of a conquered people, sure as hell not getting laid.

See Also: The Three Keys To Anglo Success
See Also: Smart Racial Realism

Neo-Tribal Mercantilism

Territory on a map, while important, always has been an incomplete indication of actual power.  Many a sprawling country is composed of mostly mountains and desert.  Land is in the crudest sense just a box of earth and air to contain the real source of a group’s power and identity—its people.  After the emergence of rapid transportation and mass communications during the 20th century, geography no longer means what it used to. We no longer spend our whole lives in a single farming village, immersed in a strong communal culture by default.  No one place is inhabited by just one group.  Even Utah, the holy land of a world religion isn’t even composed of 2/3rds of the faithful it is meant for.  Representatives of every people are found nearly everywhere. We might live in several different cities in a single decade going wherever there are jobs.  The capability of movement invites us to play a lifelong game of arbitrage, going wherever we can get the best deal.  As such, political secession based on geographical affiliation is an obsolete idea.  Lines on maps matter less than the invisible lines between class and breed.  The nebulous things we now call “subcultures” begin to coalesce into something more concrete.  The future leads to neo-tribes that rely on no particular place for identity.  The idea of secession will come to mean cultural and economic separation rather than political and geographical.

In less than a century we have transitioned from being farmers to semi-nomads who drift from place to place with no ties to physical territory or traditional cultures that come from peoples who spent centuries in one place.
Scattered nomads must compete for scarce resources but we aren’t yet allowed to fight directly. There’s still a strong state that maintains a strict monopoly on violence, its functionaries oblivious to fundamental changes.  Under a seemingly placid surface of law and order, emerging factions endlessly trade passive aggressive barbs.
When neither war, nor control of land, or even elections decides conflict between groups, conquest and pillage is wrought through the quieter means of economics.  Commerce becomes war by other means.  Instead of launching invasions, colonies are established by dominating real estate and desirable job markets.  From this struggle to control wealth we see the rise of neo-tribal societies from the ruins of monolithic 19th century nationalism.  Everyone who captures wealth is no longer just a free agent, they become steadily more aware that they are soldiers on the battlefield and every gain they make is also a gain for those most like them.
When we pick up a penny on the sidewalk, we capture a unit of wealth.  If we imagine wealth as territory, the Empire of You has expanded by an amount of value worth 1 cent.  Money can be created any time, out of almost anything, and is just a means of exchange, but whether tender is backed or fiat it represents control over forms of wealth constrained by scarcity.  You have that much more force to bring to bear in pushing the world towards your vision.  Whatever group or culture you are part of also gains by that same amount. This increase in strength represents a loss for your enemies.   For you and your tribe every penny is a tiny piece of ground captured after a charge across noman’s land under machine gun fire and artillery.  Wealth is dear because every scrap of it represents victory against all the opposition in the universe—the pitiless impersonal forces of nature and one’s fellow man.

The Obsolescence of the Nation State and ISIS

I found an insightful essay by an Israeli writer, Uri Avnery.  The trends of centralization until the World Wars and decentralization ever since has been a favorite topic of mine.
Excerpts:

“By the end of the 17th century, existing states could no longer cope with new demands. Small states were doomed. The economy demanded a safe domestic market large enough for the development of modern industries. New mass armies needed a base strong enough to provide soldiers and pay for modern arms.”

As I like to say: The main source of national cohesion is the fear of other nations.

“If I am not mistaken, it was Gustave Le Bon, the French psychologist, who asserted a hundred years ago that every new idea is already obsolete by the time it is adopted by the masses.

The process works like this: somebody conceives the idea. It takes a generation for it to become accepted by the intellectuals. It takes another generation for the intellectuals to teach the masses. By the time it attains power, the circumstances that gave it birth have already changed, and a new idea is required.”

“THE OBSOLESCENCE of the nation-state has given birth to a paradoxical by-product: the breakup of the state into smaller and smaller units.
While the world trend towards larger and larger political and economic units gathers strength, nation-states fall apart. All over the world, small peoples are demanding independence.”

“NATIONALISM WAS a European idea.
It never struck deep roots in the arid fields of the Arab world. Even in the heyday of Arab nationalism, it was never quite clear whether a Damascene, for example, considered himself first a Syrian or a Muslim, whether a Beiruti considered himself first a Maronite-Christian or a Lebanese, or whether a Cairene was first an Egyptian, an Arab or a Muslim.”

“The modern Arab nations were invented by European colonialists…THESE imperialist manipulations ran counter to Muslim history and tradition…THE HUGE attraction of the movement now called “Islamic State” is that it proposes a simple idea: do away with all these crazy borders drawn up by Western imperialists for their own purposes…With one swipe it clears the table of the nation-state and its derivatives. It carries a clear, simple idea, easily understood by Muslims everywhere.”

“THE WESTERN response is almost comically inadequate.  People like Barack Obama and John Kerry, and their equivalents all over Europe, are quite unable to understand what it is all about…They are facing a new phenomenon.”

The Obsolescence of the Nation State, Uri Avnery

Ottoman Empire before its non-Anatolian provinces were split up after WW1 into modern nations.

Ottoman Empire before its non-Anatolian provinces were split up after WW1 into modern nations.

Classic Tropes: The Red Shirt

“He’s dead, Jim.”

Never injured or even critically injured. Always dead outright. This has been the sorry fate of red-uniformed security officers in the Star Trek Universe. Even when the actual red shirts went out of style, you’d always know in shows such as Voyager: A new crew member shows up who we’ve never seen before on a ship that supposedly only contains 150 people. We know this character will either die on an away team or from an exploding control panel.

Red Shirt Pieta

Red Shirt Pieta

TV Tropes has long proven a favorite site of mine for ironic humor.
Some other fun entries.
Space Jews
Black Dude Dies First

You can look up favorite movies, games, books, and graphic novels to see a long list of all the tropes that apply.
Even better, you can find all kinds of stories about how the tropes have been ‘averted’ or ‘played straight’ in real life.

For every trope there are aversions.

Here’s a Red Shirt from real life.

Mr. Garibaldi

Mr. Garibaldi

Instead of getting instantly killed, he helped create the modern nation of Italy; a nation without precedent since the Roman Empire.

Even in the time of Rome’s power, a unified Italian peninsula was largely held together by force.
The Southern portion was distinct because much of the area had been populated by Greek settlements.
Indeed, modern day Southern Italy was known as ‘Greater Greece’ and Republican Rome had to fight a series of bitter wars against the Greek city states that held sway there.

It’s from these wars that we get the term, ‘Pyrrhic Victory.’

English Kings Spoke French For 300 Years

Remember those Norman French guys who took over in 1066? They didn’t stop being French for a long time.
Anglo-Saxon was for peasants.
Ever notice how Robin Hood’s enemies have names like ‘Guy de Gisborne?’
LINK

We tend to think of the Hundred years war as a classic conflict between the British and the French.

Really, it was a war between French nobles over France. Many of England’s Norman descended rulers were more invested in Aquitaine and Normandy than in England, which was a relatively minor corner of their empire.

Here is a map of “England” towards the end of the 12th century AD.

A main lesson here is how we project our present values on the past.

-We forget that nationalism is a largely 19th century idea that would have been incomprehensible to 12th century nobles.

-We somehow tend to assume that the Normans gave up France just because they took over England. Again modern ideas of nationalism distort our perspective.

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