I took a number of math classes and two physics classes in college. The two physics professors were a strong contrast. The first always wore an untucked shirt, had messy hair, and joked a lot. The second always wore a suit and tie and had a rather formal method of presentation. But they were both lucid, engaged people. The math professors on the other hand ranged from kind of weird to complete space cadets.
Why the difference? I think because physics is about constructing an abstraction that explains and predicts the real world, where math is just a logical abstraction that may or may not be useful in the real world. An idea can be logically consistent but not match with or map reality.
Nick Steves objected to my objection to Mark Christensen. He says I respond to my impression of what he said, not what he actually said. I will respond then to certain specific statements.
Christensen quotes Evola at length, concluding with Evola’s statement that the mob rejects any leader not subordinate to it. He continues in his own words “In other words, nationalism becomes an enemy of civilization when it believes that Shakespeare is great because he was English, rather than that England is great because it produced Shakespeare.”
It’s a difficult distinction to make because the two are deeply intertwined. However, Shakespeare is not a defense of England. England needs no defense. Would England be great without Shakespeare, or other distinguished artists? Maybe, maybe not, but that is not the point. Nationhood is not a competition, it’s a matter of natural law. Furthermore England exists without Shakespeare; but Shakespeare does not exist without England.
Later Christensen says, “If nationalist and humanist forms of regressive egalitarianism are equally false,…” creating an abstraction that is not only meaningless but false and dangerous. Globalism states that all non-elites everywhere are equal, except for some that are bad, and all elites everywhere are equal, and should rule the good non-elites benevolently and the bad non-elites harshly.
Nationalism isn’t “regressive”, unless you can prove to me otherwise, and it isn’t “egalitarian”. Nations exist, and nationalism tries to recognize this reality and improve on it. It sees that nations are coherent communities of people who are not equal as this term is used in revolutionary politics but are interdependent. Nationalism is hierarchical in a way neither communism nor capitalism is, but that’s a subject for a different day.
He continues with “then the allies of civilization must start our work from the bottom up.” His following list then details how nationalism may be harmful, but can also be harnessed to support “civilization”, which is the project of him and people like him.
I am just pleased as punch that my people, my community, my kin might be of some use to Mr. Christensen in his lofty endeavors. With Point 5 he tells us “Those who care about advancing and improving the state of their ethnocultural kin must accept 1. Nationalism or identitarianism which free-rides on the achievements of a few to excuse the failures of many will ultimately destroy the group.”
Here Christensen adopts- whether he realizes it or not- the German Romantic, or Nietzchean concept of the superman, who rises above the common by his dedication to truth and excellence. But nationalism and identitarianism don’t “free ride” on the achievements of the few, they make the achievements of the few possible.
The soil doesn’t “free ride” off the roots, nor the roots off the trunk and branches. The soils exists without the tree, but not vice versa. Bruce Charlton writes sometimes about how geniuses are produced, and treats it as a matter of group selection. Geniuses themselves often have poor survival- Newton was a never-married virgin- but they help the survival of their group, if it can produce them. Charlton thinks England was at one time capable of producing geniuses, but no longer.
Geniuses, like all other kinds of civilization, grow in some soil. Leftists believe this soil to be their governance. The desire of leftists to move Third World peoples to the West and North is not so much belief in “magic dirt” as Steve Sailer phrases it, but in “magic government”. Mainstream conservatives believe in something the call “culture”, which can also produce civilization simply by exposure.
Civilization however seems to me to be something substantially biological. If was a matter of wealth, well, lots of societies have been wealthy and not produced much in the way of civilization. If it was a matter of stable, enlightened governance, well, many societies have been stably and enlightenedly governed and not produced much in the way of civilization.
Governance- in the widest sense of government, but also encouraged tradition and encouraged religion- can produce optimum results from a nation, and since the quality of governance will vary over time, we will see from a nation with a long history what the biology can produce. The results are- China, impressive (excepting current manufactured goods), Japan, excellent to outstanding, the rest of Asia, nothing much, the Americas, nothing not European, Africa, nothing, Europe, the peak of human accomplishment.
Christensen concludes with-“The ethnoculture does not make our heroes great; our heroes make our ethnoculture great. Anything which improves its ability to shape better people should be embraced. The day it stops doing so is the day it deserves its place in the graveyard of history.”
Again, the ethnoculture does not make its heroes great, it makes them possible. Heroes don’t, and can’t possibly, make an ethnoculture great because you can’t make something great on which your existence is predicated. You do not grace or bless it, it graces and blesses you. Nor does it shape them, it produces them. “Shape” implies the molding of something preexisting.
Christensen makes the existence of my ethnoculture contingent on producing something he approves of. William Munny said “Deserves gots nothin’ to do with it” but in any case I deny any judgment on whether my ethnoculture deserves to die or should be destroyed.
Putting “civilization” ahead of the people is putting the cart before the horse, except the people aren’t a horse.