Civic Nationalism or Ethnic Nationalism?
The answer is, of course, “yes,” it must be one or the other. However, it isn’t true that it must be only either one thing or the other, even at differing times. It also isn’t true that one or the other is superior in all circumstances.
One of my very few possibly original additions to human wisdom is that good and evil cannot be measured merely by depth, by length and breadth, by scope and intensity, but must be valued in terms of duration, as well. As I sometimes phrase it for the benefit of the masses, “The best orgasm in human history, followed by an eternity in hell, is what we call a ‘bad deal’.”
The core values of a nation, however, are much more lasting than an orgasm, however grand for the all too brief time that may last. Here, we are talking centuries, not moments, lifetimes, not pastimes. We are also talking differing objective circumstances, not eternal and unchanging external verities.
We, the United States, started off with civic nationalism. Different interpretations by what amounts to barracks lawyers, alt-Nazis, neo-KKKlansmen, Confederate States of America enthusiasts, historical revisionists, Orwellian Winston Smiths creating political and philosophical Comrade Ogilvys, and the like do not change the history. We began as a nation, not necessarily devoted to, but definitely intent on using, the virtues and benefits of civic nationalism to make our place in the sun. We opened up every political and judicial office in the country but one to them. We did so from the beginning.
Civic nationalism saw us to greatness. With it, we vaulted to stellar heights from a muddy, no-account beginning. Think of it: We were a petty and unimportant little slice of mostly wilderness, a mere periphery on the other side of the ocean from Europe. But, fueled by civic nationalism, through various imperialist wars (which also tended to be wars of liberation, in practice), a massive civil war, wars to push the aborigines off the continent or onto reservations, three hot global wars (the Spanish-American War, The Great War, and World War II), and a long lasting global Cold War that, for carnage, mostly inflicted on the enemy, was one of the great wars of mankind as well, we became the hyper power of the world.
Nor was it just that the sons and daughters of immigrants gave us plenty of cannon fodder; no, they also provided us, once they learned America’s ways, with the most – THE MOST – productive work force on the planet, or in the history of the globe and of mankind. Russia and the USSR had General Winter. The Nazis had General Guderian and Company. We had General Motors, General Electric, and General Mills. With those, we won.
Two hundred years of increasing prosperity, power, and security are no momentary orgasm; they are the very stuff of goodness at the societal level. Even the ghost of our philosophical and political ancestor, Republican Rome, is probably impressed.
And so, of course, with their natural reverse Midas Touch – the touch that turns to shit everything they lay a finger to – the left had to destroy it. They’d have had to try even if civically nationalist America hadn’t done to death their fetish, the USSR. You see, their instincts for societal ruin are unerring; they devotion to that ruin is total; and their energy in bringing about that ruin nears the inexhaustible. They’ve very possibly done for us, anyway.
Can we get it back? Honestly, I don’t know. We’ve imported or allowed to self-import sufficient inassimilable foreigners as to constitute foreign and hostile tribes in our midst. Under the left’s guidance and rule, these tribes have been insulated from assimilation, propagandized into hating us (and some already did), coached into fanciful and farcical grievance mongering, and bought off with bread and circuses. Frankly, the civil war that puts us back in position to keep civic nationalism at it was, pre-1965, could possibly cost millions, tens of millions, and maybe a hundred million dead. Oh, yeah, and you alt-white guys? Those corpses are not all going to be brown, red, yellow, and black. Just so you know. And the purely English-descended among you? You’re one of the smallest minorities we’ve got going. You’re screwed.
So is the solution to split into petty little ethnic states? I think not. Based on recent history in both British India and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, there won’t be an amicable split into our little pissant ethnic states, either. That set of migrations and defensive fights, slaughters and sacks, rape-fests and reprisals, all punctuated by waves of starvation featuring kids of the two-legged variety turning on spits over low coals, will probably cost more than the war would.
The peanut gallery pipes in: “But it doesn’t have to be that way. We could reach agreements…” Are you out of your mind? The time to get rid of an enemy is when they’re weak. The time to get rid of them is before they can consolidate a base. Anyone suggesting an amicable break up is really saying, “Let your enemies have bases from which to destroy you later.”
Moreover, even if we were stupid enough to grant bases in our midst to our enemies, there is little or no likelihood of them staying in those bases. You think we have a border problem now, with a finite border with Mexico? Yeah, multiply that, and the problem of border control, by fifty, post breakup. Then go on and multiply it to infinity when you realize they’ll be importing cousins to infinity once we give up any aspect of control of those ceded or lost areas. And those cousins will want to move on and move up. Yes, the Somalis up north, too.
A timocracy1 might save us, but I doubt we’ll get one. Revert to the assimilation apparatus we once had? No, it’s too far gone a problem for that. Stop all further immigration? Doesn’t fix the problem of loss of civically nationalist feelings – and civic nationalism is, above all, an emotional state – that we’ve already suffered.
Short version: I don’t have a solution.
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Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.
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