Saturday, September 08, 2012

Government is the only thing we all belong to?

Here (via Lawrence Auster) is an important story. At the Democratic National Convention a welcome video was shown in which it was stated:
Government is the only thing that we all belong to. We have different churches, different clubs, but we’re together as a part of our city, or our county, or our state, and our nation.

And it's made clear in the video that when reference is made to city, county, state and nation that what's being referred to is these entities as governments.

How did it come to this? It's once more a predictable consequence of a liberal philosophy. It was once the case that individuals belonged not to a state but to a nation, understood to mean a distinct people connected by some combination of kinship, history, language, religion, culture and mores.

This type of traditional nation was ruled out of bounds by the liberal insistence that predetermined qualities ought not to matter in life; human associations could no longer be based on involuntary qualities such as those related to inherited tradition or biological relatedness.

Most liberals opted instead for a civic nationalism, in which forms of commonality and connectedness were replaced by an emphasis on diversity, with a commitment to the liberal polity being the uniting factor.

And look where that's taken us. A major party in America can open up its convention with the slogan that "Government is the only thing that we all belong to". We all belong to the state. That is supposed to make us freer than the traditional idea that we belonged to a particular people.

There's an excellent discussion of the ramifications of all this at View from the Right.


  1. A couple of years ago I attended a musical program at my son's elementary school. The third graders sang a song celebrating diversity. I'm afraid I do not remember the precise words, but each verse described the fact that we are all different colors, and were born in different countries, and speak different languages, and have different beliefs. Then the chorus was "But we are one people!" As I looked around the room at the other parents it occurred to me that the only thing we had in common was that we pay taxes to the same government bodies.

  2. That reminds me of a former Australian PM Bob Hawke who defined an Australian in the most minimal of terms as someone who "chooses to live here, obey the law and pays taxes".

  3. Following your thesis about liberalism and autonomy, the immigrant who chooses to live in Australia is more Australian than the natives. The native Australian just happened to have been born there, and was then too shiftless to emigrate. Maybe we should stop talking about natives and immigrants, and begin talking about Accidental Australians and Deliberate Australians.

  4. JM Smith,

    Yes, that's logical from the liberal point of view. It helps to explain why Peter Roebuck once said this:

    It is debatable whether people born in this country should be allowed to vote. It is no achievement to emerge from a womb. They could just as well be in Winnipeg. Australia is best loved by its settlers.

  5. Someone interviewed some of the Democratic Convention attendees about belonging to the government.

    See here.

  6. Yet the government disregards the Constitution. Personally, any entity that is in so much debt and so dysfunctional would be the last thing I'd want to belong to.

    I'm an American and progressive democrats are not my fellow countrymen.

  7. I've regularly disagreed with James Kalb, but I agree with this:

    "This isn’t just a debater’s point based on an unfortunate choice of words (“belong to” instead of “have in common” or whatever). No matter how you word it, the basic idea is that we don’t have beliefs, loyalties, memories, heroes, habits, understandings, goals, or anything else in common, we just have the government. But if we don’t have any of those things in common, then our common connection to government can only be common subjection to its power simply as raw physical power. National unity growing out of the barrel of a gun is what makes us Americans."

    This does not abolish the Darwinian struggle implied by multiculturalism. There will be winners and losers, and since collective strategies are tremendously powerful in relation to individual strategies in social competition, the winners will be collectives such as La Raza (the Race!) and the losers will be disaggregated and thus deracinated individuals. Survival is a team game.

    What the doctrine that government is the only thing we all belong to does is to abolish any space for collectives other than those the government licenses. The government, since we all belong to it, can say that Black pride is legitimate, Brown pride is legitimate, and so on. (Indeed it's the American government alone that's created the racial category "Hispanic".) But if the government is not disposed to authorize a racial group or some other group, there is no other way for such a group to become legitimate. There is no "bottom up" path to forming a team.

    This gun is pointed at Whites, and only at Whites.

    As an illustration of what this means, it is legitimate to defend "Aboriginal land" or "tribal land" or even "historically Black" land, but never to make an ethnic defense of White land. And that implies that White neighborhoods will be penetrated, broken up and abolished.

    If we were talking about penguins or seals, it would be very easy to understand what the breaking up of important breeding grounds implies.

    What this tyrannically assuming idea of government as "the only thing we all belong to" means is that even mere survival, in a long term collective sense, is something you can't have unless the government grants it to you.

    Even if Western governments were inclined to let Whites organize for ethnic, cultural and territorial defense and thus long term survival, the whole concept is bad. The idea that no race has a right to survive except to the extent that the government grants it such a right is something that Stalin, breaker of nations, would have relished.

  8. Breaking up the breeding grounds of the race consigned to destruction:

    "The number of nearly all-white communities has plummeted since 1980, dramatic evidence that the nation's growing racial and ethnic diversity has spread far beyond large metropolitan centers into smaller towns and rural parts of the heartland, new research shows."

    When you belong to the government, and the government supports your rivals and doesn't grant you permission to exist collectively or in the long run at all, you will decline till you change that.

  9. Wow - a troubling statement, no less troubling for its ambiguity. It's quite possible whoever penned that line simply meant to use 'belong' in a benign sense - ie, we all 'belong to the government' in that we all 'take part in government'.

    But the sinister interpretation that we are the 'property' of government is inherently implicit in that statement, too. Double-meaning phrases are important in politics, as George Orwell made quite clear when explaining the concept of 'doublespeak'.

    Also there is the ambiguity around the very word 'government'; it could mean 'democracy' or 'monarchy' or 'tyranny', or many other things. Indeed, it need not even refer to politics - in a more general sense it means 'management'. So do we all 'belong' to 'management'? Does this implicitly mean that we are objects to be 'managed' rather than free subjects with clearly defined rights and responsibilities?

    A defining statement in the US political race; indeed it's probably one that's going to define a generation of politics, just as Ronnie Reagan's various denouncements of 'big government' defined a previous generation. And I don't like what that means, at all.

    (Of course this specific statement applies to the USA and the electoral race there, but can be extended to the rest of us also)

  10. TimT, check out this YouTube Mark Richardson linked.

    If you put it straight to the Democrat attendees that it is good to belong to the government, they agree. It is the Party Line, and who could disagree with the Party Line?

  11. Yes.. its kind of fun in a way to see the left on all its true colors: condescending and totalitarian. As orwell saw, utopianism inevitably goes towards totalitarianism.

    By belong to, they mean you are their property, like a 13 yr old. And they can direct your life, what you eat, and indoctrinate you.

    A more pleasant and liberty affirming statement wld be " freedom and pluralism" is what unites us . But the dems don't really believe in either, or the freedom to form associations as we please.

    Unknowingly, they are also making the govmt God... spiritual people believe that they are children of god, and try to align themselves with his will. Brainwashed godless socialists try to please his holiness yourmama.

    Let's hope the Americans don't become brainwashed dispirited manipulated sheep like most Europeans...

  12. I'm a recent immigrant to Aus, and I don't consider myself to " BELONG to " the govmt of the day. Belonging to fat lazy bureaucrats in govmt offices making arbitrary regulations to justify their salaries ... no thanks.

    Actually they are my employees... as clint eastwood said. They need our taxes and our vote to have a job.

    What Unites us is the more genuine question .. I guess the Anzac tradition, love of the land , respect for its traditions, respect for democracy and liberty ... that's why simple ceremonies like putting our hands on our hearts and watching the flag go up can unite diverse people in a nation.

    I don't belong to the dept of waterways, the justice dept, the ministry of recycling and brainwashing... if people want to be slaves to bureaucrats, that's their problem.

  13. It's one of a class of several 'totalising' statements or ideas that are commonly used in politics - ie, ones which apply in a universal sense. Hence:

    'Everything is economical' - a Marxist rule.
    'The personal is political' - common feminist statement.
    'We have all strayed from God' - Christian sentiment.

    My response to those is of course they may be right but they just aren't very helpful in some circumstances - indeed they can often be downright misleading. Just because the 'personal is political' doesn't mean you want politicians physically in your bedroom. Everything may be 'economical', but that doesn't make a shred of difference to the composer labouring away at his symphony. And so on.

    The striking difference about this latest statement, 'government is the only thing that we all belong to', is that it seems to seek to do away with all those other generalisations. Government is the ONLY thing etc.