Civic Nationalism, Part I: Magic Dirt Theory

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Mon, Apr 3 - 7:00 am EST | 2 years ago by
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Lines of Departure - Magic Dirt Theory

Interestingly enough, no one – or, at least, no one entitled to an opinion – actually believes in Magic Dirt Theory.

Ah, but what, in fact, is the theory?

Magic Dirt Theory appears to be a coinage of the right, or the alt-right. It is a rhetorical construct designed to disparage that kind of liberalism, progressivism, or cosmopolitanism which would seem to hold that everyone born to some place is and should automatically be a citizen of that place, fully equal, indeed, indistinguishable from the pre-existing native population, no matter what culture the newborn is later raised in, and irrespective of any other attachment or inheritance, or lack thereof, he or she may have to the place.

I have some bad news for those on the alt-right who have pegged a good deal of their overall political philosophy to sneering at Magic Dirt Theory. In this regard; few lefties, if any, even if they say explicitly that they believe in it, do, in fact, believe it. What they do believe, in this particular, seems to come, at least for the most part, from one of two related threads. One is the cosmopolitan thread, which holds national boundaries, or any boundaries between peoples, as artificial, preposterous, and evil. In this view, the citizen of Kenya is already as American as anyone native born, because any kind of exclusive Americanism is, itself, a concept both wicked and false. That’s not Magic Dirt Theory; that’s saying the dirt doesn’t matter at all. Of course, it’s a fantastically silly position to take.1

The other thread from the left is not that people that are born somewhere automatically become indistinguishable from and interchangeable with the locals, but that if they can be concentrated, so that their culture, language, and religion are kept intact, and if any other attempts to assimilate them can be defeated, then they will eventually become, not locals, but enemies of the existing population, and tools to be used by leftist politicians who will cater to them to gain and maintain power. That is not only not Magic Dirt Theory; it is its opposite. Indeed, their real position is nearly indistinguishable from that of the more enthusiastic elements of the alt-right and alt-white, to paraphrase: “You can never be an American (because we won’t let you be).” Yes, I do find a certain amusement factor in this, though it’s not quite as funny as the exploding heads you will get from EU- and Eurosocialist-loving progressives when you mention, “I think we should be more like Europe in this, where no country2 at all permits unlimited dirt citizenship the way we do.”

A very different approach is one more or less in the middle. One might call it a “conservative” approach. This is also two part. One part is that, no, no one is going to become one of us if he never learns our language, never adopts our values, outlooks, and beliefs, and is encouraged to remain separate and egged on or bribed to hostility. The other is that there are people, from wherever, whose natural outlooks, values, and beliefs are so in tune with ours that we’d be doing ourselves a disservice not to steal them for our own benefit.3

Those approaches, rather than relying on the magical properties of dirt, instead demand high probabilities of successful assimilation, be it by marriage, or military service, both of which have high powers for assimilation, or some combination of those with forced/enticed adoption of the language, no coddling whatsoever, fairly rapid mixing/separation4 of immigrants to ensure they don’t become self-forming barbarian tribes in our midst5, and the implied threat that, should an immigrant citizen maintain actual loyalty to and citizenship in his former state, we will revoke his citizenship and boot him out of the country.

I’ve discussed it here before6; we used to have a vast apparatus for assimilating immigrants. Indeed, my wife was a beneficiary of the last remaining trace of it, least of which I am aware, at the “English Language Center,” in Boston, in 1979 and 1980. In other words, we have dismantled that machine we once used to educate immigrants to the traditions, culture, myths, and values of America, to train them to the language, and to put them in close enough proximity to guarantee enough mixed marriages to effectively destroy foreign ethnicity within a generation or two. Television, it seems to me, and especially television in the hands of left-wing ideologues and the greedy, denationalized upper class, will not fill in for the loss of things like the English Language Center. And higher education, of course, under the sway of the left-wing professorial freak show7, is not merely useless, but dangerous.

In any case, if it’s not obvious, I take that middle of the road, conservative position. I spurn the theories of the left and sneer at the theory from the right which attributes to the left a proposition in which they do not believe and to which they do not adhere. I believe that small numbers of immigrants – smaller, in any case, than the numbers we’ve been taking in legally for the last two generations, and much smaller than those combined with the massive numbers that have come in illegally, even if subsequently legalized and immunized – can and usually will become us. I believe they will do so if not allowed to form lasting, geographically cohesive, large scale ethnic communities. I believe that, if force fed the language and not coddled in the slightest in matters linguistic8, and especially if required to have come in via marriage or military service, they can and will become citizens as good and useful as anyone else. They may even come in perhaps a bit better, on average, if we select them carefully.

Next week we’re going to talk about the law of citizenship: Jus Soli v. Jus Sanguinis (freely translated: Dirt Citizenship versus Citizenship by Blood)

Photo by istock / Getty Images


1 And one I excoriated – though not to completion; its day is still coming – some years past, here:, and here: We’ll be coming back to this, later on, because there is a part of the alt-right just as wrong as Nussbaum is.

2 Scroll down:

3 Sarah Hoyt, Kim du Toit, Peter Grant, I am looking at you.

4 Mixing among different ethnicities, hence separation from purely ethnic settlements

5 See comment above on the left’s interest in creating tribes of those internal enemies.


8 Like, for example, this little piece of crawling shit cum example of life unworthy of life (yes, it’s a Nazi expression, which I use to express my very non-Nazi belief that this fascist asshole should be gassed):, who wanted a white genocide for Christmas, recently, and can barely control his urge to vomit that someone is grateful to our military defenders. Yes, I emailed him to the effect of, “What a vile, soulless piece of shit you are.”

8 In other words, “Marca numero dos so we can hang up on your foreign ass.”

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 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

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