Steve Sailer wrote a few days ago that most people in the world, essentially all non-Europeans, are strongly encouraged to be nationalist, in terms of loyalty and identity, while this is actively discouraged among Europeans. This got me thinking about why nationalism would be good for non-Europeans, but not Europeans. Mindweapon just wrote that most non-Europeans are strongly encouraged to be nationalistic in terms of personal performance, doing well in education, while the mass culture actively discourages this among Europeans. This confirmed for me what I had been thinking about in the first case.
These two things- nationalism of identity and loyalty, and nationalism of performance- don’t seem to be connected. Groups with high loyalty and identity- such as blacks and orthodox Jews- often don’t have high personal performance. And groups that emphasize high personal performance, such as the Chinese and Indians, seem to do it mostly out of personal striving and not to benefit the group.
Still, loyalty will give a group power even if their performance is low. And high performing individuals will help other members of their group- with one important exception. A group with both high loyalty and high performance, such as secular Jews, will have very high power.
A group that is a nation will have both high performing and low performing members. The high performing members will form an elite. This elite will be partially hereditary, and partially formed of people from the lower classes who have shown ability. The strength and cohesion of the nation will depend on how these two sub-groups relate to each other. Ideally the elite uses their abilities to benefit the nation as a whole, and the non-elites reward them with their loyalty. This arrangement is called “nationalism”.
Since nationalism is the arrangement that gives a national group the most power, nations have tended to encourage nationalism among themselves while undermining it among others. Colonialism tries to transfer loyalty from the colonized nation to the colonizing nation among the colonized, while strengthening the national loyalty of members of the colonizing nation. Being loyal to England was a good career move for an Indian; and being loyal to England was a good career move for an Englishman. Pseudonationalism tries to transfer loyalty to a non-national political entity such as the Soviet Union or the United States. Among some ethnic groups there has never been national loyalty, such as in the Middle East and Africa, and loyalty has mostly remained with the extended family and tribe. In this area the religion of Islam has commanded loyalty that accumulated in the various caliphates and ultimately in the Ottoman Empire, in a sort of supernationalism.
The modern world does not work like this, however. As Sailer and Mindweapon have noted, the global elite- primarily Anglophone- discourages nationalism at home while encouraging it abroad. How did this inversion occur?
I have noticed my tendency to ramble, but I like to ramble, so I will make my point briefly and thenin more detail. Briefly, non-European nationalism does not threaten Puritan progressive globalism, and in fact usually helps it. European nationalism forms a brick wall for it as is its direct mortal enemy. A non-European country led by an educated technocratic elite will be a willing and possibly eager junior partner in global capitalism, not even if but especially if it is officially communist or post-communist. If communism has wiped out the traditional elite and any traditional sense of national feeling, consumerism and political correctness look even more appealing than they otherwise would. The filthy, hellish workshop of the world used to be northern England, now it’s southeastern China. An educated elite will see raising living standards as seen from the global capitalist standpoint as a desirable thing, and will deliver their loyal, competent, cooperative population as workers and consumers. That’s the short answer.
For the long answer we need to think about the history of nationalism in Europe. I think that nationalism was originally invented by the poet Virgil, in his epic poem the Aeneid. Rome was a city that became an empire by extending loyalty past the nation to a culture and political system. The new Roman Empire, the empire we dare not name, originated in England, and it originated in a conflict that eventually turned nationalism inside out.
Rome was a military empire. The elites served in the army as officers, the common citizens as foot soldiers. Nationalism and militarism are almost inseparable, because the military model of a stratified society united by common loyalty and purpose is the closest practical example for nationalism available. After the Roman Empire, armies were composed more of cavalry and became mostly elite affairs. The English, however, employed a large number of common citizens as archers, which reestablished the military nationalism of Rome. The English like to think of themselves as the heirs of Rome. Napoleon had a short but good run with French military nationalism, Bismarck a longer but less glorious run with German military nationalism, and even Japan gave it a go.
The collegial and respectful, at least in theory, relationship between elite and commoner still exists to some degree in English culture- witness Prince Harry in Afghanistan. But the formative event of the modern world was the revolt of the affluent but not elite against the military aristocracy of England under Oliver Cromwell. The Commonwealth didn’t formally and English military nationalism lasted up until the 20th century, but it made serious permanent changes in how power was accumulated and wielded.
The Puritans were fierce fighters at one time but in general the English non-conformists were interested in money and not glory and over time continuously undermined the prestige of the military aristocracy. English anti-military sentiment is illustrated in the Rudyard Kipling poem “Tommy”. The English commercial class needed the military to make the world safe for business, but didn’t like to admit it. Soldiers don’t like to die for making the world safe for business so they have to be told they are doing it for king and country or democracy or some shit. The commercial elite is pro-military when it is personally convenient, then switches back to pacifism.
The British Empire like the Roman started out as a military nationalist empire that eventually transcended conventional nationalism by creating loyalty to a language and culture. It was, like the Roman Empire, to some extent a victim of its own success. Once you have a variety of nations unified under a legal, political, and economic system, the military doesn’t have too much to do and becomes almost irrelevant. What England had that Rome did not was a commercial class that wanted to overthrow the military aristocracy, and eventually succeeded.
Foseti, among others, likes to say England must have lost World War II because they lost the colonies. But just what exactly did they lose? A few Colonel Blimps lost their jobs as colonial administrators, other than that little changed. All the former colonies are part of the English commercial empire, which is all that really matters. The Blimps were more an embarrassment and obstacle than anything else at that point.
The non-European world has been made safe for capitalism either by English occupation or communist infection. Non-Europeans didn’t and don’t have the ability to resist this. Europeans are another story. Europeans will resist the destruction of their culture and abuse and exploitation in the name of business. A European who thinks of himself as a citizen and a soldier, and who can look for leadership to a patriotic elite who are also citizens and soldiers, will not cower before a merchant, banker or manager.
So instead of a patriotic elite, the West trains its elite youth, those who are born elite and those who show ability, to be self-seeking, self-entered careerists. The dream of most elite youths is to get into an Ivy League school, then to Wall Street and maybe run a hedge fund one day and make millions shuffling around stocks. The common people are encouraged to buy as much junk and consume as much mind-rotting entertainment as they can. Non-whites are celebrated and idolized.
As MW says- nationalism is high-investment parenting writ large. The Western elite don’t want you to be smart and accomplished, unless it is in the service of them, and they don’t want you to be loyal to your own kind. Do it anyway.