Steve Sailer has found a soft spot in his heart for nationalism, in contemplating the troubles in Ukraine. Steve’s thing has always been “citizenism”, basing political thinking around identity as an American citizen, loyalty to the American nation and one’s fellow American citizens, rather than a racial group, or, as I believe he implies although he doesn’t explicitly state, rigid adherence to political or economic ideologies.
As an aside, I don’t know what to make about Ukraine. Usually nationalists like Putin, but Putin has his own version of nationalism which includes oppressing Russian nationalists who object to Moslems harassing Russians in Moscow. To me this makes Putin a Russian imperialist rather than a Russian nationalist, but as Sailer has pointed out Russia has historically based its security on creating a multinational empire, which doesn’t necessarily mean having non-Russians making a mess in Russia, but as a practical matter does. I can’t object to Ukrainians not wanting to be a part of this, or hating Russians for communist oppression, even if they ally themselves with such dubious outfits as the EU or the State Department.
Getting back to the original subject, I was at Disneyland recently and it occurred to me the whole place is a monument to a cultural philosophy long out of date but once very powerful, and still pretty strong in the imagination of Americans. It never really had a name, but I think it can safely be called Americanism. It comes from the old anti-ethnic European idea of the “melting pot” and the New Deal unification of various white factions.
I read a quote somewhere of a politician saying in the late 40’s or 50’s, “There’s no Democrats or Republicans any more, just Americans versus socialists.” I worked with an older guy years ago who said as a high school student in Florida, they had a course called “Americanism versus communism”.
The philosophy was people needed to set aside their differences, which weren’t all that important anyway, to respond to external and internal threats. The “Americans” would then enjoy the warm feeling of unity in common heritage as well as safety. The need for Americanism became apparent to the elites in World War I, as maybe the harsh suppression of dissent and German culture in the US didn’t seem like a long-term solution. So the elite put Americans on a pro-democracy crusade- which was really an anti-German crusade- which was so effective it became not just a pro-democracy but an anti-racist crusade in World War II. The rubes became so enamored of fighting for democracy they wanted to keep doing even after the Germans had been crushed- Americanism had become a very powerful thing.
The elite wanted to contain communism, so a pumped-up Americanist population was OK to an extent, but Americanism after World War II had served its purpose of creating an Anglospheric hegemony over the most important parts of the world so it was time to wind it down. The New Deal coalition was slowly disbanded and the new coalition of progressive elites and minorities began to form.
Steve’s money quote is here- “Europe between Warsaw and Moscow lagged behind Western Europe in developing effective nationalism, and continues to pay the price for its nationalism-deficit in looting by elites.” Nationalism- a self-conscious understanding that people need to put some of their personal interests aside, in the interests of unity and strength, which leads to better outcomes for every party- is poison to any parasitic or exploitive unit, be it non-elite such as a parasitic minority like Gypsies or blacks, or elite such as the English commercial class. Still, nationalism the elites can manipulate for their own purposes- typically for a war, or maybe for stuffing some onerous social policy on a reluctant people, such as was done in the 1960’s with civil rights in the name of the national good- is of some use to hostile elites, so they have mostly been reluctant to eliminate it completely, except until recently.
Does Steve see the end of citizenism, or Americanism, in the US? I think his newfound interest in nationalism suggests he does, but we will have to see what more he has to say about it.