Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Christian defence of nationalism

Ruskin at Occidental Traditionalist has posted an interesting Christian defence of nationalism. He writes:
Before birth God assigns to every man the species, sex, family, and nation to which s/he will be given. These assigned identities can never be truly revoked. In this case we are dealing specifically with the nation and to a lesser extent; the family. Since God has pre-selected for us our nation it is our responsibility to love what God has chosen. To express our appreciation, beyond prayer, would be to love one's nation, the people who built it, the land which sustains it, and the culture which had sprung forth from it.

Reading that is going to give a liberal a headache, as the emphasis here is not on self-chosen identity but on appreciating an identity we are assigned by God - an identity that is so part of us that it cannot be wholly abandoned.

Ruskin argues, tellingly I believe, that we express our appreciation for what God has chosen by acting on our responsibility to love our nation, our forebears, and the land and culture to which we are connected.

22 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I can't agree with what he says, insofar as, "To express our appreciation, beyond prayer, would be to love one's nation, the people who built it, the land which sustains it, and the culture which had sprung forth from it."
    Supposing that the people who built one's nation were wicked men who had no love of God? Supposing that the culture which has sprung forth is godless, violent, pagan, and ought to be eradicated?
    Why must we love our culture, or the men who founded our country? I happen to know that the founders of my country, America, were many of them deists, with a contempt for the Bible and a French mindset of an exaltation of reason above all things. The culture I live in the midst of is corrupt and debauched, so much so that I would never send my children to public school in a million years. The culture I live in the midst of defends abortion to its last breath, demeans those who believe that 'homosexuality' is a perversion and abomination, attacks the Bible at every turn, and generally calls evil good and good evil. Should I love such a culture? I think not. And I don't think there's a society or culture on earth that, were I a part of it, I could love.

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  2. Oh, and my country was the first to have 'Women's rights' movements, giving us so many of the problems present today that you, Mr. Richardson, are always writing about and criticizing. We may have more freedom than most (or any) other country, but that doesn't mean we aren't increasingly losing or giving up those freedoms.

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  3. Laura, whether a national government or culture stays true to God's word is not the only test of a countries worth. We enshrine free will in our countries, or at least we do in principle. This may be something that many people are not able to live up to, but which nonetheless is one of our better characteristics.

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  4. Laura Elizabeth makes some very good points. It is one thing for a medieval Castilian to love his country, wherein the state worked with God's Holy Church, & wherein the entire culture was suffused by the light of the Faith, but quite another for the subject of one of the modern Masonic "republics"(which are really plutocratic oligarchies), which as Laura Elizabeth points out are modern Babylons wherein every form of wickedness & abomination is exalted & every good & decent thing is hated with a visceral satanic hatred. These modern countries are worse than the Carthaginians who sacrificed their children to moloch, as they did so in the hopes of saving their city from the Romans. Modern neo-pagans, our fellow "citizens" kill their unborn children so that they may go on living as feral beasts, without the bother of having to care for an infant. The Holy Scriptures say to come out & be separate from the heathen, & that is what we, as Catholics must do at this point. Jesse 7 ought to remember Our Lord's words, "What doth it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" The Holy Faith alone truly matters, all the rest is as straw.

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  5. I don't think there's a society or culture on earth that, were I a part of it, I could love.

    Wow! That's a strong statement.

    When I lived in Japan I loved that society even though I'm not Japanese - and even though my grandfather and great uncles fought against the Japanese.

    Japanese society had its own pulse, its own unique flavour - its own soul, if you like. You could still sense this even in the midst of particular things I didn't like about modern Japan - some of the urban areas were crowded and ugly, some of the sexual morality was questionable etc.

    But still it was there - the land, the culture, the people, the history. There was a spirit of people and place that was unique and valuable - so much so that by the time I left I felt protective toward it.

    And growing up I loved my own tradition in the same way. The Australians I knew were decent, open people. They had built (up to the 1960s anyway) beautiful environments: charming bungalow houses and gardens, landscaped parks, beautiful churches and town halls.

    There still existed a culture of family life; there was a real love of nature that was expressed in frequent visits to beaches and forests and the creation of national parks; Christianity was still strong enough to imbue festivals like Christmas and Easter with a sense of communal goodwill; the women were exceptionally beautiful; the cities were safe; and there was a strong middle-class and a good lifestyle for all classes in society. There was still room, too, for the higher arts in middle-class life.

    So there were many particular things to love and identify with.

    But more than this, it was possible to have a sense of the transcendent good of one's own tradition - a good that is more than the sum of its parts - but something like a collective being that we are rightly connected to and have a responsibility toward.

    And it's this that is lost when society is made open-bordered and globalist. You get instead an atomised, individualised kind of existence. It's a grievous loss.

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  6. "What doth it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?" The Holy Faith alone truly matters, all the rest is as straw.

    But how do people become soulless? The more we become abstracted beings, living in a world dominated by material values, the less likely it is that we will become spiritual men.

    Christians ought to recognise this "dragging down" process. We are being dragged down from a higher, spiritual life to an existence in which we are supposed to be little more than careerists and consumers.

    A true love of country, like a responsiveness to nature, a love of the fine arts, marital love, or a true sense of honour or nobility or virtue, is an aspect of an intact soul.

    If I am lost to all these things, then the chances are that I am lost to God as well.

    It is not a competition between God and nation - we were not made as blank slates but were given (assigned in Ruskin's terms) a sex, a family and a nation - and our responsibilities to each, and the loves drawn from each, considerably define our development, our fulfilment and our inner life.

    Our relationship to God occurs within the context of our created being, not separate from it and certainly not in opposition to it.

    Does it really make sense to think that we are to entirely reject the nature God gave us, and the purposes God gave us in life, in order to worship God?

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  7. The Hebrews didn't stuff around in their understanding of earthly favour being a consequence of spiritual loyalty and as a consequence expected immoral behaviour to be met with divine sanction. However, I would state that we have work to do on earth and we are not meant to live purely spiritual lives divorced from the world and the possibility of immorality. Achieving a spiritual life in the world is a challenge and it is not one that should be avoided by saying that everything is damned and everyone is going to hell.

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  8. Well, I don't have a long time to respond to everything ya'll have said, but I'll do my best to give some quick answers.
    In no way do I mean that we shouldn't love our countries, which is why in my first comment I didn't take issue with that part of the author's statement of loving one's nation and the land that sustains it. I'm fiercely Southern and am proud of my Southern heritage. But the culture of the South is mostly gone, and I can't find a great love for the current culture. I do love America; it's my homeland, where I was born and raised, and as such I definitely feel a connection to it.
    But, in another sense, I also find myself even more conscious of my Christian citizenship; in other words, I would be able to find a great many more things in common with a Nigerian brother in Christ than I'd find in a white, Southern unbeliever. I guess what I'm trying to say is that love of country is not the highest and noblest emotion, but also it's not worthless either. Did I explain myself well enough (it's really late where I am)?
    I also want to say, Mr. Richardson, that I really like your blog, and read almost every post, even though I don't comment often. So this isn't an attack on you by any means :)

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  9. Laura,

    Believe me, no offense taken. Your comment has prompted a good discussion.

    I do understand when you write this:

    I'm fiercely Southern and am proud of my Southern heritage. But the culture of the South is mostly gone, and I can't find a great love for the current culture.

    We're all of us increasingly in the same boat. It's more difficult to love and feel connected to the modernist liberal societies we inhabit.

    But the conclusion I draw from that is that we need to create countercultures/countercommunities. We shouldn't passively allow the liberal elite to take the traditions we identify with away from us. And while we're doing that we can try to put things on a better foundation.

    Finally, I partly disagree with you here:

    I would be able to find a great many more things in common with a Nigerian brother in Christ than I'd find in a white, Southern unbeliever.

    It depends. There are some white liberals I do not feel any kinship with. I no longer view them as being part of my community.

    But I'm still more likely to have a sense of kinship with those members of my own ethny, even if they're not Christian, than with a Christian of another nation.

    That's one of the things about a traditional nationalism. You can have a degree of separation when it comes to beliefs and values and still be closely connected to each other (admittedly the separation can become so great as to rupture the in-group loyalty).

    It's a little bit like a family. Let's say you had a sister you grew up with and were fond of and who was the one biological kin you had in the world.

    Let's say that you differed a bit in your values - would you really feel less connected to your sister than to a complete stranger whose values were a bit closer to yours?

    It would, presumably, take a real gulf in values and beliefs before you would let go of the sibling relationship.

    An even stronger example is that of our parents. My father and I are worlds apart when it comes to values. And yet on both sides there is a sticking together - the paternal/filial relationship is too strong to be broken by the absence of shared beliefs.

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  10. In a way I feel the current world will have to be torn down, or cease functioning as is. Perhaps there will be another great war involving the rising Asian countries for resources, triggered by a world economic crisis...

    I found this article to be really interesting, and the fact building a civilisation again from the ruined foundations is quiet possible.

    http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2012-0430-medaille-zombies.htm

    Nationalism will of course come back, from local, state, federal level. In fact we could get a start on this by encouraging short and long term goals.

    Another good article for the long and short term political process, in other words what we should be practising in real life, at some level.

    "The Role of Party Politics in the Culture War"

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2012/04/the-role-of-party-politics-in-the-culture-war/

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  11. Dear Mark

    You've chosen the wrong word for the title, it should be Patriotism not Nationalism.

    Whats the difference?

    Well I think the best way to describe the difference is the IRA, in the IRA it has always been more important to hate England than to love Ireland.

    Patriotism is love of Nation and your fellow countrymen.

    Nationalism is blaming foreigners.

    You can also see this difference clearly in the Palestinian issue, you never hear "Life to Palestine" (or anything similar) what you hear is "Death to Israel".

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  12. "But, in another sense, I also find myself even more conscious of my Christian citizenship; in other words, I would be able to find a great many more things in common with a Nigerian brother in Christ than I'd find in a white, Southern unbeliever."

    Just as long as he doesn't try a 419 scam on you. Wouldn't trust a Nigerian, even if he was a 'brother in Christ'.

    I belong to a belief that we all have the right to our own nations and that it is the only way to have true freedom. My people believed that and the world shouted them down and lovingly paid terrorists and Marxists to try and destroy my country. When that didn't work, they made us out to be demons with propaganda and lies.

    Either way, you either live as a Nation or die as a multicult cesspool with bitter fights amongst small clans.

    Apartheid, nothing else will do.

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  13. "Nationalism is blaming foreigners."

    Negative that is jingoism which is extreme patriotism.

    Nationalism doesn't have anything to do with blaming foreigners.

    It's crude and I personally though not a nationalist(i'm apolitical) grow tired of hearing every thing that isn't open borders having mud thrown at it.

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  14. Wasn't it the Enlightment philosopher Descartes that championed the body-soul dualism? His ideals didn't just affect nationalism. It affected the concept of the after-life and final ressurection in Christianity (displayed in the book of Revelations). Most modern Christians seem to harbor under the impression that after we die we will float around like spirits to Heaven. While it's partly true, it's incomplete. The problem is that we are not angels. We are not just spirits with no body. We are humans. We are spirits which inhabit and have a body. Humans have the body, the soul and the spirit. In the final ressurection we will leave behind our old decacying earthly bodies and will be clothed with new ones when we meet Christ.

    Generally when people talk about knee-jerk rejection or embrance of nationalism they do it in wrong terms. They don't have the correct concept of a body. Bodies to them either have no meaning or they believe that it is the end of all (e.g. materialism, naturalism).

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  15. Mr. Richardson, perhaps what I wrote earlier is a bit too strong, you are right that national traditions can be intrinsically quite beautiful & of great value, & that it is a grievous loss when they are destroyed, but that's the very thing that has happened. It's all gone, replaced by the nauseating "pop culture" of mindless bestial hedonism. If the average modern has any inclination to the spiritual at all, it is far more likely to be manifested as taking an interest in the study of hinduism, or the shamanism of American Indians, rather than assisting at Mass. The traditional culture of the various nations is generally unknown to the young people, to them it is rather like the subject of Akkadian grammar, something which doesn't effect them in any way & which they haven't any great desire to learn anything about. Just as they get their food from a tin or a box, in like manner they receive what passes for "culture" now from what could quite fittingly be called the devil's box, their television sets. It is of course right & good to preserve the little good that remains & to pray for the conversion of one's nation, but as regards being nationalistic or patriotic in the old sense of the words, that seems no longer possible, as there is nothing left to which to render this devotion. The once living nations are now dead & crawling with worms, we can only do our best to preserve their memory, for they have lived, & are now no more.

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  16. Anon, I agree with much of your comment but find the last sentence too downbeat. What matters is getting back on the front foot again - time will then tell what can or can't be salvaged.

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  17. "Humans have the body, the soul and the spirit. In the final ressurection we will leave behind our old decacying earthly bodies and will be clothed with new ones when we meet Christ."

    So Laura how long do you float around for? A billion years or 10 billion or for eternity? Which is a hell (sorry) of a long time.
    It would seem to me that anything past a few days with no-shall we say feel real good earthly diversions would be excruciatingly boring.Frankly I personally would rather be just plain dead.

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  18. "But the conclusion I draw from that is that we need to create countercultures/countercommunities. We shouldn't passively allow the liberal elite to take the traditions we identify with away from us. And while we're doing that we can try to put things on a better foundation."

    No we don't. Counter means against. A counterculture is defined by what it is against. Create alternative cultures if you will. But we don't need any more countercultures.

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  19. http://www.news.com.au/national/aussies-asked-to-take-in-refugees/story-e6frfkvr-1226345214230

    "THE Federal Government will pay families up to $300 a week to temporarily house asylum seekers in their homes to help deal with the increasing flood of arrivals."


    Our country is finished.

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  20. As usual, we have to understand "love" in its proper context. To say "you ought to love your nation" isn't to say "you ought to feel positive emotions toward your nation." Often such emotions will be unjustified and often they will be a barrier to critical evaluation of its faults. Rather, it means to will what is best for your country.

    I recognize that my country is a degenerate moral sewer and cesspool and I earnestly desire that it be punished for its many, horrible sins and crimes. But this is because I want it to repent of those sins and crimes and I know that punishment is the only way this is likely to happen. Moreover, it's good for those who are wicked to suffer punishment. Justice is as much a good for the afflicted party as it is for the aggrieved one, though those afflicted by justice are rarely capable of appreciating it at the time (Dismas, the penitent thief who contrasted the justice of his crucifixion with the injustice of Christ's, is the exception, not the rule). It's exactly that sort of love that we're expected to have, which we can cultivate as a simple act of will, and which is what we mean when we say "God is love" and "For God so loved the world He sent His only begotten son, etc."

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  21. "Christians ought to recognise this "dragging down" process. We are being dragged down from a higher, spiritual life to an existence in which we are supposed to be little more than careerists and consumers."

    In a nutshell!

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