Sunday, September 03, 2017

Clarifying white nationalism

My post on white nationalism drew quite a number of comments. There was one in particular that I thought it useful to reply to. It was from a long-time reader who usually has no issue with my posts, but this time thought differently:
You have missed the boat here. Any time you argue that Whites have no interests as ethnic and racial groups, no right to demand those interests and be organized to ensure they are promoted, you have gone off course.

You are basically justifying by clever rationalization the past 40 years of anti-White policy. That leads to White genocide in action.

The comment made me think that I had not made my position clear enough. The reader and I both want our ethnic groups to survive into the future. Where we differ is on the "legitimating principle" for pursuing this aim. He takes the white nationalist position that the legitimating principle is a right to pursue one's own collective interests. For me as a traditionalist, the legitimating principle is that it is a defence of the good. As I wrote in my original post:
We would argue that the ties of ethnic community form a deep part of human identity and provide a deep sense of belonging. That it connects us to generations past, present and future and also to the land and to the urban and rural landscape we inhabit. That it powerfully motivates our social commitments, including a willingness to commit to a stable family life.

We would also see these ethno-national traditions as having an inherent good in representing a unique expression of humanity.

This raises the question of whether we should defend our ethnies on the basis of promoting our collective self-interest (white nationalists) or on the basis of defending the good (traditionalists). The pursuit of self-interest does have some points in its favour. It is direct and straightforward. It also plays into an important strain of political thought that is part of the American tradition, namely the classical liberal tradition which emphasises the idea of man being free to pursue his self-interest (albeit an individual self-interest in the market rather than a collective self-interest). In other words, it is more "modern" in seeing value as residing in what people desire or seek rather than in a good that transcends these desires.

There is also a positive aspect to the emphasis that white nationalists put on the pursuit of a collective self-interest rather than an individual one. Once you make a collective existence legitimate and its furtherance a political principle, then other things follow. It is more likely that a healthy family life will be supported and that arts which aim to demoralise people will be rejected.

But there are problems too with a pursuit of a self-interest principle. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are few moral limits built into this principle. Nor is there much reason to extend the same goods that you claim for your own group to others.

And you also have the same general issues that come with modernist philosophies that lack a transcendent good. If it is just about self-interest, even a collective self-interest, then you put yourself at risk of the intellectual class falling at some point into an existential crisis that breeds rancour or perhaps extreme ("vitalist") strategies to assert a meaning to individual life or national life. This is not as likely if the intellectual class has a powerful sense that they are serving a meaningful, transcendent good.


  1. I think you're both right. The continuance of peoples is a good; those peoples have a right to pursue their own continued existence and flourishing , though not at the expense of other peoples' existence and flourishing. There are of course other goods.

  2. The notion that values can transcend people and be defended in a disembodied form sound pretentious to me, and Platonist. There is no dichotomy between self/collective interests and what is considered 'good'. i.e. throughout human history, the 'good' has been constantly redefined to advance self/collective interests. This is just reality stripped of all self-serving pretensions, such as 'transcendent values', 'the good', etc.

    1. Anon, I'd like to reply in two parts. Yes, I personally do think values can be defended "in disembodied form" as you put it. I would defend the notions of honour and nobility on this basis, just as I would that of "patria".

      I am not alone in this, but I understand that not everybody has this perception of how things are. The definition of "transcend" that I put forward in the post does not require a belief in disembodied values, simply a belief that something can be a good outside of my own subjective wants, desires, will or interest. I don't see why nations cannot be defended as such. If it can be agreed, for instance, that it is in the nature of man to identify most deeply with his ethny and that this best motivates his social nature and therefore the fulfilment of this aspect of his existence (as researchers like Putnam have found), then this becomes a more objective basis for defending the idea of man existing within his ethny (as just one possible example).

      If it is just about advancing self interests, then what if you belong to a mobile class of international professionals whose self-interest is to keep borders open? What if you think there won't be any danger to your self-interest until after you are dead? In other words, what if you are self-confident that you can get your interests met outside of membership of any ethny?

      And what kind of interests are being pursued through membership of the ethny? If you want to keep things strictly materialistic, then it would have to be goods like money or physical security - you are back to the classical liberal view of life goods. I suppose you can argue that many people are hurt in terms of these goods via open borders, but as we know the upper ranks of a society with the most political influence, are exposed to these things last.

  3. A shared belief in a higher, transcendent order seems essential in overcoming all manner of social problems yet the group sharing that belief requires definition to begin with. Historically that definition has centered on ethnic distinctions. But if a good is truly transcendent why should it not transcend such boundaries? This seems to be the message from the post-modern churches today.

    Might the transcendent good argument be used to negate the importance of race or ethnicity altogether?

    1. Leadpb, yes, the transcendent good argument can be, and is, used to negate the importance of race or ethnicity. The people who do this have little sense of how the universal is expressed through the particular - they seem to hold to one universal good and then apply it in some vast, abstract way to break down the usual categories of life.

      So the value of the particular has to be spelled out and defended explicitly within a community.

  4. Liberals believe that the question of the good cannot be resolved, and that efforts to do so only lead to conflict. Instead they call for equal respect for all ways of life, at least if they are not so immediately visibly harmful to others as to provoke a sense of revulsion.
    Absent efforts to pursue a shared vision of the good, there is nothing left but identity.-Thucydides

    1. Liberals believe that the question of the good cannot be resolved, and that efforts to do so only lead to conflict. Instead they call for equal respect for all ways of life

      Modern liberals certainly don't call for equal respect for all ways of life. Only those ways of life approved by them. And that's becoming a narrower and narrower range.

  5. I don't think that sense can be made of this, or that elements of a public policy or strategy can be organized into a set of sensible tactics, until we agree on what we mean by "white nationalism". Meanings are all over the map, and are almost always derogatory.
    Stormfront is the most notorious white nationalist organization in the U.S. They argue that whites (which many argue are not a "race", but are a collection of recessive genes) need separate white nations for their own protection against ongoing exploitation by rising non-white authorities. They also argue that being separate from non-whites precludes any possibility of a so-called white supremacy.
    Otherwise, do we separate - by principle - white men who marry only white women and father only white children because they live in a white-only population; from white men who chose to marry only white women and to have only white children while they live self-consciously and self-interested as a shrinking white minority in a increasingly non-white population?
    How can traditionalist white families be traditionalist white families and unconscious of their status as such, in a population that is also not consciously maintaining itself as an authoritative white majority, be seen as such?
    How can traditionalist white families be conscious of their traditionalist white family status in an imagined, purposefully maintained white majority population, any less than a decidedly traditional white family which is surviving as a minority within a growing non-white majority population that is also conscious of that family's status; inspite of or because of any perceived measure of, or lack of, a collective self-interest?
    How is the self-interest of one man and his family not an inseparable, integral, necessary element of any collective self-interest within a consciously white population, whether or not the one man is himself conscious of any collective self-interest? Build a tall fence around your house, gate your community, wall in your city...whatever. White nationalism, by definition desires and seeks white nationhood. Do traditionalist simply desire and seek a peaceful plurality, a growing diversity and increasingly shared multicultural space, like we are experiencing now? Or is the whole point of this discussion that we don't? What do white nationalist want? Is what they want attained only at the "expense of other people's existence"? How do tradionalist expect to achieve or restore the order that they wish for, without excluding other people's and without providing them something better, at no expense to the "other people's existence"?
    The good, as defined by most traditionalist, I assume, excludes a substantial measure of what any white nation would, by definition, also exclude.
    What would a traditonalist conservative designed nation look like?