Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Planet nation

Note: this is the next instalment of my e-book. It deals with the issue of whether civic nationalism is fully consistent with liberalism.

Traditional nationalism failed the liberal test because it was based on ethnicity and ethnicity is something that is predetermined rather than self-determined.

But inevitably there will be liberals who will go further and ask if civic nationalism also places limits on self-determination. Does it too set up barriers to where we choose to live and what opportunities we might have?

In other words, is a civic nationalism really consistent with liberal aims?

Some liberals believe, and not without reason, that civic nationalism fails the test of consistency. After all, in a civic nationalism you still need citizenship to be a member of a nation. And that then means that you can't simply choose to be a member of whichever nation you think it is in your interests to join.

Furthermore, because a civic nation distributes benefits only to those who have citizenship, it discriminates against those who aren't citizens. So some individuals benefit, and others miss out, on the basis of a citizenship status that most people get simply through an accident of birth.

For these reasons, there are liberals who not only reject a traditional ethnic nationalism, but a civic nationalism as well. They prefer the idea of a global system of open borders, in which there would be no restrictions on where we might choose to settle.

Those who support open borders are not just fringe radicals. A former prime minister of Australia, Paul Keating, once lashed out at civic nationalism, complaining that its “exclusiveness” relies on,
constructing arbitrary and parochial distinctions between the civic and the human community ... if you ask what is the common policy of the Le Pens, the Terreblanches, Hansons and Howards of this world, in a word, it is “citizenship”. Who is in and who is out.

According to Keating, a civic identity is both arbitrary and parochial. There can be no distinct civic communities, only a single human one.

The Swedish Greens, the third largest party in that country, have this policy:
We do not believe in artificial borders. We have a vision of unrestricted immigration and emigration, where people have the right to live and work wherever they please ... We want Sweden to become an international role model by producing a plan to implement unrestricted immigration.

The American academic Jeffrey Friedman believes that a genuinely liberal society would be borderless:
A truly liberal society would encompass all human beings. It would extend any welfare benefits to all humankind, not just to those born within arbitrary borders; and far from prohibiting the importing of "foreign" workers or goods they have produced, or the exporting of jobs to them across national boundaries, it would encourage the free flow of labor...

He is arguing that there should be no distinctions based on any kind of nationality, whether traditional or civic. If there are benefits handed out in the United Kingdom, then I should be able to claim them even if I live in Brazil.

That sounds radical (and it is) but it is consistent with the way liberals generally see things. If what matters is that I get to self-determine, then I won't like the idea that I might be limited in some way or disadvantaged by circumstances that I don't choose, such as where I happen to be born.

Friedman is aware of a flaw in the liberal argument. If nationality is something we are merely born into, and therefore is an "arbitrary" quality that ought not to matter, then the same thing has to be said for family. Why, for instance, should a man direct his earnings to his own children and not to others? Doesn't that mean that some children will receive an advantage that others don't on the "arbitrary" basis of a relationship that they are born into?

Friedman justifies discriminating in favour of our family, but not our conationals, on this basis:
We would be miserable if we could not treat our friends, spouses, and siblings with special consideration; but is this necessarily true of our conationals?

That doesn't seem to me to be a very principled or persuasive response to the liberal dilemma.

In 2004 the American economist Steven Landsburg declared that he wouldn't vote for the Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Why? Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, was a supporter of protectionism: he believed that tariffs should be used to protect local jobs from overseas competition.

This angered Landsburg, who argued that by putting his fellow citizens first Edwards was no different from those, like David Duke, who put their coethnics first:
While Duke would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of skin colour, Edwards would discriminate on the arbitrary basis of birthplace. Either way, bigotry is bigotry, and appeals to base instincts should always be repudiated.

An Australian writer, John Humphreys, commented that,
I largely agree with Landsburg in that I see little moral difference between discrimination based on colour of skin or colour of passport.

So liberals have a problem when it comes to nationalism. If it is thought wrong to allow a predetermined, unchosen quality like ethnicity to matter, then it can also be thought wrong to allow a largely predetermined, unchosen quality like citizenship to matter. Both can be thought of as arbitrary and therefore illegitimate forms of discrimination.

Which then leads at least some liberals to renounce any kind of national existence, even a civic national one, in favour of a one world, open borders policy. They arrive at a similar outlook to that of Australian political commentator David Bath who wrote on Australia Day:
On our national day we must realize that...the nation must cease to exist

We have dropped the torch of early ideals, the only advance being the yet imperfect acceptance of the immateriality of accidents of birth of our fellows: the color of skin, any faith of forbears, the borders within which they first drew breath.

Until [we act morally] by subsuming our nationhood into the single world polity...then we are lesser folk than our forebears...

Just as our nation was formed as a collective, it must dissolve into a greater collective, with fairness to all, not within the borders that must and will disappear, but bounded only by the atmosphere we all breathe.

Dave Bath's liberalism leads him to the view that the only morally permissible nation is the planet.


  1. These people are nuts, their ideology will cause the world to be thrown into constant warfare. I fear for my future children and grand children whom will grow up during this time.

    I believe liberals know what they're doing, I believe they're entire goal is to bring the downfall of society because humans are considered a "virus" on the planet, while animals are good. Liberalism's entire goal is to destroy the family structure, destroy any sense of connection through traditions, religion, culture, they believe the main culture in the west only got that way because of oppression of other cultures.

    I firmly believe this is the ideologue of Satan, notice how liberals love deceiving the masses, they love telling them that morals are socially constructed, and that if it feels good then it must be entertainment and therefore free of any morality that had been attached.

    The only problem with liberal ideology is that when they need to defend it against an armed decenter they will have problems getting protection because no one will feel like they should protect something that has no meaning to them; at least, I hope so. Traditionalists have the tendency to fight with a sort of zeal for their values, because their values and traditions are what they identify as, and if someone attempts to destroy their identity they become enraged enough to die for their family and friends. My evidence for that is the US military, the soldiers do not defend America in the sense of the land, but rather what America stands for: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness; this is why liberals hate the military and wish to cripple it with defense cuts.

  2. These people are scum. "One-world Marxism" and "atomized individualism" are actually a good way of depriving human beings of a reason to live, given that it forces people to sever all ties with family, kin, ethnicity, race and nation - which are ultimately the only bond we have between that which came before us, and that which is to come after. Indeed, in such a system, the only bond that the individual really has is with the state.

    Ideas about "the unity of humanity" and "solidarity" are Marxist poison!

  3. Anon above,

    That's the entire goal of liberalism, unbind the bundle of sticks i.e the family unit, social bindings, loyalty among like-minded friends, and once you have the sticks broken you can implement an authoritarian state without so much as a peep.

    Why else would liberals be forcing multiculturalism and dividing the electorate, in US it's the democrats "war on women", "racist", and "hates immigrants" strategy.

  4. Anons, good comments, thank you.

    The only thing I'd add is that this is not just coming from the far left. Some of the quotes in my post are from Labor Party/Social Democrat types, others from right-liberal/libertarian types who want the free movement of labour across borders.

    The point made by the last anon is important when we argue against those libertarians who support open borders. A loss of the natural units of society isn't likely to lead to a small state but to a larger and more authoritarian one. Anon wrote:

    unbind the bundle of sticks i.e the family unit, social bindings, loyalty among like-minded friends, and once you have the sticks broken you can implement an authoritarian state without so much as a peep.

  5. The NWO meme is being pushed heavily now, I think the centralised government, monetary goons see this epoch as the final chance to accomplish their goals of one world government, one world financial system, and a global universal Unitarian population, among the 1st and 2nd world countries.

    Yet all I see is chaos coming, and these foolish leaders arrogance will lose control over the beast they have created.

    Ironically where technocrats have replaced democratic appointed leaders such as in Italy and Greece, the citizenry is already starting to flock towards ethno nationalism.

    The harder the liberal internationalists push, the greater the push back, and out of desperation the liberals will resort to authoritarian martial law. From there it won't take long for the liberals to fall from power.

  6. Ethnic naturalism is not arbitrary but natural. Genetically and logically it is the leaguing together of people who have common ethic genetic interests and thus it is adaptive (in Darwinian terms) and likely to call forth altruism (because of evolved predispositions favoring altruistic behavior favoring relatives). Historically it's the successor to mega-tribes.

    On the down-side it's unacceptable to liberalism.

    Civic nationalism really is largely arbitrary. Different peoples with cross-cutting genetic interests inhabiting the same territory still have conflicting genetic interests. There is some common interest, in, say, the continued fertility of the soil (and, in primitive societies, in religious rites purported to assure the regular rising of the sun and the turning of the seasons etc.), but that is weak in the presence of big questions about who will live on to enjoy the bounties of the territory that genetically diverse communities inhabit.

    On the good side, civic nationalism can seem less arbitrary to liberals, until they lift their eyes to look outside the boundaries of the ready-made state.

    The unpleasant-for-liberalism nationality question can be resolved by saying "we are all Australians!" or "we are all Americans!" as long as we are thinking of "all" as merely "everyone in a particular territory".

    As soon as you are forced to look outside the boundaries of the state, that doesn't work.

  7. How could intelligent people go into such an obvious dead end? It's because people follow leaders, and the leading spirits of liberalism are "anti-racist," which is code for "anti-White".

    "We are all Australian" or "we are all American" dissolves the natural boundaries of groups of Whites, and gives away their identities and rights. "Everyone is Aboriginal" or "everyone is Apache" won't fly because anti-racism requires that non-White groups be supported in their collective identities and given (legally and definitively) group rights that prevail over the inherently weak rights of de-tribalized and de-nationalized individuals.

    That's why liberalism isn't going back to the obvious refuge from the logical and practical incoherence of civic nationalism. It's not that ethnic nationalism is illogical; various non-White forms of tribalism are just as illogical and liberalism is all for them. It's simply that the anti-White "anti-racist" streak of liberalism won't permit the valorization of White tribes and White nations.

  8. "Dave Bath's liberalism leads him to the view that the only morally permissible nation is the planet."

    But will typically anti-White liberals stick to such a view when they saee non-White tribes and nations asserting rights that conflict with the interests of Whites?

    Experience says that anti-Whites will make exceptions in such cases.

  9. All extreme ideologies end up contradicting themselves when they are pushed to there logical conclusion.

    The liberals believe that pushing individual autonomy to its logical conclusion will result in greater freedom, peace and prosperity, when it practice it will result in greater censorship, division and outbursts of violent anarchy.

    Law and order is a good example of this tendency. In the 70s and 80s crime increased (thanks to the liberal left) and more laws and greater spending on the police were required to keep it from spiraling out of control.

  10. Mark, you interpret this in terms of your autonomy theory, but another way to view it is as the progressive reaction to the horrors of WWI and WWII, which they believe were caused by ethno-nationalism. They have a long-term plan to create one world government, one race of people, one allowed political viewpoint, and one culture.