So I was actually going to write this previously, but that post got turned into one about terrorism. Since that’s marginally out of the way, let’s talk about “White Nationalism.” Because that is a fundamental issue here, apparently. Because anything left of Hillary Clinton is “White supremacist” territory now, apparently.
Okay, so first, what is Nationalism. At it’s most basic, it’s patriotic feelings towards one’s “Nation,” along with holding that certain principles are key to that nation and living by said principles, as well efforts to aid said nation. There’s various types of nationalism. While the big issue today is “White Nationalism,” due to it’s relation to various degrees both strong and imaginary to “National Socialism” (which was another type of nationalism), there’s also Ethnic Nationalism (of which white nationalism falls under) and ideas like Civic Nationalism.
To start with we’ll just get Civic Nationalism out of the way, because it was integral to the USA for a long time. Civic Nationalism is the idea that the Nation is made of up its people, but it doesn’t matter what ethnicity those people are so long as they hold to the “civil virtues” or principles of the Nation and engage their efforts towards the Nation. In terms of the US, so long as you went by “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” while living by the Bill of Rights (everyone has free speech, right to arms, fair trials, etc), then it didn’t matter if you were of English, German, Chinese, Cherokee, Irish, or Swahili stock. Live by the Civil Code, and you are part of the nation. For the USA, a land built mostly of various displaced peoples, that generally worked okay in theory. In practice…eh, negotiably. Very negotiably depending on who you ask. Canada has elements of this as well (though the history of Quebec and the Rest of Canda throws a wrench in it). There really wouldn’t be much like it in terms of Civic Nationalism until, well, the USSR which came in and attempted to obliterate all ethnic identity and replace it with “Communism, Comrade.”
The USA, however, was a massive exception to the rest of the world. The rest of the world most certainly worked by Ethnic Nationalism. The national priniciples were such because they were the ethnic principles of the people who made up that nation. Their patriotic efforts worked to help their own genetic kin, however distantly removed. The love of the nation was most certainly, the love of the people. This is not specific to Europe, this is a global phenomenon. One could even consider it a genetic phenominon, seeing as elements of “ethnic nationalism” occurs all the way down to sports teams, gaming consoles, and so forth. Tribal identity is one of the foundations of humanity.
Which leads us back to “White Nationalism.” There’s really, two parts to this. European White Nationalism, and American White Nationalism. Both of these fall under “Ethnic Nationalism” as does Black Nationalism, various Asian Nationalisms, and even Jewish Nationalism.
European White Nationalism is simple, because while it’s “White Nationalism” it honestly does break down rapidly into ethnic nationalisms. Swedish nationalism, German nationalism, French nationalism, etc. Because it’s merely a return to the ethnic nationalism that was the norm for thousands of years, a return occuring as once ethnically homogonous nations whose entire culture was ethnically unique, find themselves on the receiving end of violence by other ethnicities who are acting in such ways as to trigger fears of ethnic extermination and replacement. I’m not going to get into if that is actually happening at the moment.
Mostly because the focus now is American White Nationalism. AWN (for short) is different from EWN because there is no single homogenous ethnicity for “whites” when it comes to the USA. We’re literally a mix of every European ethnicity. Some individual are more “ethnically pure” due to how recent or long ago their folks immigrated over. But there is no “white American ethnicity” because, well, there’s just dozens of European immigrants. Add to the fact that since before the 1960s, ethnicity has been abolished in favor of “race” and you’re just left with blocks of “blacks,” “whites,” “Asians,” “latinos,” etc. (this causes problems for say Asians and Latinos because they’re used to ethnic differences, and often find the shift to just flat racial differences jarring, from what I can pick up).
That being said, just because there isn’t a singular “white ethnicity” for Americans doesn’t mean there isn’t common racial identity. And whites have generally been the majority of US population. So there is, historically, the idea that America is a “white nation.” I’m not going to say that’s right or wrong, just how the perception has been, historically.
So a lot of white people, to various degrees, do feel that the USA is “their ethno-nation,” even as the majority have only ever practiced Civic Nationalism in their minds. Not that there haven’t been elements of “ethno-nationalism” inside the “civic nationalism.”
So if the USA has always been a more “civic nationalist” place with a fringe of “white nationalists” why is “White Nationalism” making a come back. Well…that is going to depend on what you call a white nationalist. Given the media position, anyone to the left of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is a “white nationalist” even if, in reality, they’re a civic nationalist, or not even a nationalist at all. That being said, there is a growing contingent of white nationalists, and its all because of identity politics.
Identity politics is the idea that your “identity” is politically important. It is an idea that has been preached far and wide, for decades now. Sure, the Political Left used it mostly for blacks, latinos, gays, etc, but you can’t teach two or three generations of school kids that “identity is important, identity is the foundation of everything” and not expect them to pick that up even if they’re white, straight, heterosexuals. And when you add in “Diversity is our strength, everyone has a right to their history and culture,” well…kids aren’t going to just toss that aside just because they’re “white.”
And when those people hit their mid-twenties to early thirties, well…you’re going to have a bunch of politically active white people who believe that their race is the foundation of their identity and they have a right to their history and culture…and if that happens to include their nation, founded by white people, based on the ethnic principles of white people, then they’re going to be “white nationalists.”
And they’re not going to buy that being a “white nationalist” is a bad thing when the world is filled with every other kind of “ethnic nationalism.” I do believe that one of the reasons for the sudden rise in “white nationalism” is in fact the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM is clearly a “Black Nationalist” movement whose goals are the “return of black neighborhoods” to the control of “Black people.” They want clear control over police hiring and firing, police practices, over-sight of local governance based purely on race, and have even progressed so far as to take over a number of colleges in all but name, complete with armed patrols and an insistence on having absolute say over who works in said universities, and in some cases, even the grades handed out to students. As well, infamously, as the ability to ban white students and staff from campus at will.
Civic Nationalism only works so long as a) everyone adheres to the principles of the nation regardless of their individual race and b) race/ethnicity mean absolutely nothing in the nation. The instant, the fucking instant, either of those two cease to be true…civic nationalism falls apart. The USA could go from 80% white to 80% black and it wouldn’t matter to a civic nationalist so long as both groups kept fully to the principles of the nation and neither group cared about the fact they were black or white. Since this is clearly not happening at all on behalf of the Black Nationalists and their very vocal, and very violent, supporters, civic nationalism dies in the fires set to building and home.
That’s not even getting into the smaller, and less violent, various ethno-nationalism that are sweeping young Asians, Latinos (especially), or Middle Easterners (typically marked by the rise of Islamic faith both violent and non-violent). And that’s not even talking about Jewish Nationalism.
So you have a bunch of young white people, raised on identity and diversity, who are faced with a branch of ethnic nationalism that is openly violent, openly racist, and openly wanting to replace them. In the nation that is “theirs” and was built by “their race” by “their principles,” with “their culture.”
The fuck did you think would happen? That a bunch of racially conscious young people would just sit back happily as their race was “erased and replaced?” It’s certainly not expected of the Latino community, and it certainly isn’t expected of the Black community. And Oy Vey! do not even hint of it to the Jewish community! And one the defining principles of America is “all men are created equal, no one shall be persecuted because of their race.” They can’t keep with the culture if they accept themselves being denigrated and treated as 2nd class simply because they’re “white.” Not when their people fucking built the country after all.
So that’s the iron bar and the fire it was heated up in. But what does it get forged into?
Well, that depends. Right now, “white nationalism” probably will grow more violent. Oh it will be a slow process. But events like Virginia are going to make it happen. Being labeled as responsible for deaths they had nothing to do with, and being labeled terrorists for “killing” a woman who was openly and actively a Communist Terrorist is going to do nothing but hammer that heated bar into a blade. Nothing makes people angrier than an obvious double standard being worked against them to deny them their rights and oppress them for the sake of others who are openly engaged in violence against them and calling for their deaths.
It is said that Donald Trump was elected on a wave of “white nationalism.” I don’t know how much of that is true, but I won’t deny there was probably an element there. To me, it shows that “White Nationalism” doesn’t automatically become a “sword.” The truth is, nationalism gets a bad rap because of violence associated with it, but it can just as easily be a force for good.
NASA, most of our infrastructure, hell, even our government and Constitution were the results of nationalism, ethnic or otherwise. Motivating people based on their identity and tying that identity to the nation can be a powerful constructive force that literally can reach the stars and colonize planets.
Just as it can easily burn the entire world in war.
It is important to consider what we want our nationalism to be. Unpopular though this idea might be, perhaps we should consider finding a way to inspire White Nationalism, and Black Nationalism, and all the other ethnic-nationalism to constructively create new and better things for our nation, rather than condemning only white nationalism for its “inherent violence” while happily letting groups like black nationalists engage in their racially motivated killing completely unopposed except by the “evil white nationalists.”
Or, you know, we could keep calling them Nazis till they actually just become Nazis and try to kill everything in an attempt to preserve themselves and their people. Because that’s where we’re headed, and frankly, I don’t like anyone else’s odds at this point. Because by the time we reach that point, most “white” people will either join them or at least get out of the way simply because of a desire for self preservation.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this: “Is White Nationalism Automatically Bad?” Most people would probably answer an unequivocal “yes.” But if we are to be egalitarian in our rules (which we should be), we must then apply that rule to every other form of Ethnic Nationalism. We must then ban Black Nationalism, for it certainly is as violent as White Nationalism. One need only look at the massive, genocidal wars waged across Africa for the last few decades to see where Black Ethno-Nationalism leads, or consider the violence and supremacy found in American Black Nationalism which has already lead to multitudes of deaths. The same could be said for various Asian Ethno-Nationalisms. In the case of Jewish Nationalism, the list of war crimes and human rights abuses protested by their Palestinian conquests speaks to the abuse inherent in the system.
If we are to condemn “white nationalism” then we must condemn all nationalisms based on ethnic or racial identity. Failure to do so makes people nothing more than hypocrites whose rage against white nationalism means less than nothing. In fact, said hypocrisy only justifies white nationalism. After all, if a race is to be discriminated on the basis of its race, does that race not have the right, nay, the necessity, to rise up as a race and secure its position in the world if it can? We certainly accept that argument when it comes to Black people or Jewish people.
Peace cannot be maintained through hypocrisy.
I debated putting this in a separate post, but I think I’ll put it here. Because of the events of the weekend, I’ve had to start taking a look at myself and where I stand. The truth is, most of my life I’ve easily been a civic nationalist. I simply didn’t care about anyone’s ethnicity or race, I cared if they were a good person. I’m till pretty much there. I don’t care if someone is black or white or Arab, I care if they’re honorable, will keep their oaths, and live by the law.
But as I have read of the events and watched the news coverage, I’ve had to face some hard truths. I can easily be called a Nazis, both because of my writings, and my religion. And I’ll be honest, my religion has me looking at things as well.
I’m a folkish Heathen. I’m pretty open about that. I believe my people have a right to their ethnic religion and its culture. I believe that all cultures are unique and as a rule, deserve to be preserved and practiced by their ethnic people. Doesn’t matter the race or ethnicity, they have that right, just as I and mine have that right.
Because of this, Identity is important. I am who I am because of who my people are and were. I am here now because of them and what they did. My children, should I have any, will be where they are because of what their ancestors did and who they were, that includes me. What I do will effect their future. And their children’s future, and their children’s children’s future.
Because of this, I pretty strongly stand with European Ethnic Nationalisms. Germans have a right to Germany. French have a right to France. Sweden for Swedes. Denmark for Danes. Russia for the Rus. When it’s come to the USA, however, I’ve typically just been a Civic Nationalist because, for the most part, everyone was abiding by the Civitas. But that Civitas has been abandoned, and those who have abandoned it are supported by those with terrible power over society. Now, race is more important than the Civitas, simply because of the race who created that Civitas with the goal that all should live by it equally. And a great many want that “Race” exterminated. Not all, but enough to cause concern.
If the Civitas is abandoned, there is only the ethnic. If life is to be based on the ethnic, then certainly the ethnicity that created something has the right to that creation. Given that it was unquestionably “Whites” who created the USA, who created its Civitas based on their ethnic cultures and philosophies, why should they not retain possession of it? America for the Americans?
Do they not have a right to their existence, as does the Chinese, Japanese, Swahili, or anyone else? My faith says that I have a right to my ancestral ways because they are my ancestors…so how can I hold anyone else to anything but the same standard of rights I set for myself? Morally, I don’t think I can.
I desire the Civitas restored. But it seems that too many feel they have too much to gain by abandoning it. And if that’s the case…I have to decide where I will stand.
I don’t know that it will be an easy decision, no matter the ease one of the answers danced before me with the hypocrisy I witnessed this last weekend.