Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Undefining the nation

Australia Day is coming up. There's an interesting post at Tweed Renegades on the official publicity being put out to commemorate our national day (see here).

One of the posters for Australia Day shows a group of people dressed up as Mexicans with the slogan "Australia Day: Celebrate Your Way." Below this is the following advice:
Australia Day means something different to everyone, and it's important you do what's right for you. So on Jan. 26 reflect on what you love about being Australian.

Which prompted this response at Tweed Renegades:
“Reflect on what you love about being Australian”? Evidently, what these people love about being Australian is being Mexican.

I'm afraid that the nation is being given the same treatment as the family. Just as we are told that family can be anything we want it to be, so now the nation is being similarly "undefined" to mean whatever we want it to mean.

It fits in with the liberal idea that we cannot know objective goods held in common as a community and so we must instead self-define our own subjective goods (that which is right "for us").

But a national identity has to be something that has a common element - otherwise it wouldn't be a communal identity. Such an identity works best when there is felt to be a national spirit and culture that individuals are able to participate in, draw part of their identity from, and give their loyalty to.

It doesn't mean as much when it's just something that I generate for myself alone.


  1. At the founding of the Federation of Australia, white identity was fundamental, and national identity was built on top of it. With intellectuals, the mass media and the state leading the way, racial identity was suppressed (for whites, but strengthened for non-whites) and national identity was the substitute.

    With intellectuals, the mass media and the state leading the way, ethnic nationalism was marginalized and weakened (for Anglo-Celtic Australians, but not necessarily for Serbs, Croats etc.) and civic national identity was the substitute.

    With intellectuals, the mass media and the state leading the way, civic nationalism was hollowed out, and a sort of globalist, anti-racist, anti-white-hegemonic multiculturally diverse identity was the substitute for it.

    If you do not have the anti-white, anti-male or anti-Christian identity-politics tickets to take a competing and conflicting stance against the founding Australian identity, either you validate yourself by raw power (if you are a politician or a member of some other wealthy or connected group) or you cannot fully and meaningfully take advantage of the options given you. You are less than a first-class bearer of the officially favored national identity.

    If that still satisfies you, don't get too comfortable, as there is no insurance against further top-down changes in your racial / national / civic identity.

    If you are committed to this, you are committed to submitting to whatever the powers that be say, however absurd and alienating it is.

  2. My reactions:

    (1) Back to blood. There is nothing in these emerging identities I can relate to or hold on to, but my ancestral DNA is what it is, and my ancestors still are who they were.

    (2) Academia, the mass media and the state have proved extremely insecure defenders of Australian identity, to put it mildly. I think this refutes the idea that national identity should be a state cult. You cannot credibly say "an Aussie is what our national government says it is." The national government is likely to suggest that being a Mexican is a second-to-none way of being an Aussie.

    (3) There have to be some institutions, even if they are just non-hierarchical popular ones, that strengthen non-state identity. How to get the state not to suppress any such institutions as casually as it suppressed "cracker night" as a people's celebration is a bit of a problem.

    (4) The problems of Australian identity are essentially the problems of identity in all white countries. There is no explicit national home for whites. We all trusted the state, and it undermines us everywhere.

    This is a serious common problem for whites. Human groups that can't know themselves and affirm themselves can't defend their collective interests and eventually can't survive.

    (5) Back to blood. Whites have a global common interest in our racial identity as a secure, verifiable underpinning for our particular national identities. We should act accordingly, with charity to all but a clear understanding of who we are kin to.

    Letting the state be our DNA, our ancestors and our posterity is an experiment that has failed white people radically. No more.

    1. There have to be some institutions, even if they are just non-hierarchical popular ones, that strengthen non-state identity.

      Yep. It strikes me that it helps to have institutions to nurture the particular relationships we have. I don't see why there shouldn't be a kind of fellowship institution to nurture the sense of connectedness to our larger ethnic/national tradition.

      Of course, you are right that the liberal state, right now, is likely to take a dim view of Anglos and/or whites doing this. That's why I think it has to be preceded by a political offensive that diminishes the unchallenged moral status of liberalism (alternatively, as the white liberal elite is gradually pushed aside a bit of space might open up).

    2. You could be right that there has to be a moral softening-up offensive of some kind. Because any fellowship organizations will be useless without an important role for kids, and fun for kids, especially boys. And as things stand the liberal state would attack all that, and likely ban it.

      And in a way understandably. Because, with however much fun and games, this involves white parents, en mass and thus more credibly, telling their kids:

      "The state does not say who you are. Your ancestral DNA and your ancestors, us included, say who you are. And God says who you are. The state is just a tool of the nation."

      That challenges what has become a treasured aspect of the managerial state's control: the right to dictate what self-understandings people are allowed to have, collectively and communally, and to exclude from the permitted understandings anything that is solid and real and not an ephemeral bit of "image".

      By default, "nice people" will try to ban that challenge and demonize it. If that didn't meet with immediate success, "anti-racists" would be trying to join the fellowship, and suing to get in, and would then try to undermine it from within and would sue again to get their way; and they would have limitless funding for these lawsuits, and friendly courts. Genuine fellowship parents, without wealthy backers, would quickly run out of money.

      So this has to be prepared by attacking the moral authority of potential attackers.

      But as you often say, it's important to have in mind positive things that you would like to do or build if you could, even if the time is clearly not yet.

      And this is one of the things that needs to happen, eventually. Just trading the obnoxious liberal identity campaigns for a more "conservative" image manufactured in the same way, top-down by academic theorists and mass media experts licensed by the state, isn't enough. Real conservatism cannot be so hollow and so easy to corrupt or replace.

    3. Titus, good comment. One scenario is that the liberal order will gradually hollow out. White males will no longer accept the designated role of privileged oppressor. Material benefits will flow to other groups rather than to white males. Neither the left nor the right will any longer pretend to represent this group. The tribal identity of liberal whites will begin to erode as other groups increasingly assert a presence. If at that time we are there with a clear critique of liberal politics, and some media to make ourselves heard, then there may be enough of a shift to make it much more difficult for a campaign of demonization to have the same effect that it would have today.

  3. Just to be clear, for those whose thoughts run only on familiar rails.

    I am not suggest we need a racial nationalist state with a propagandistic mass media and a politicized academia. We already have a state that takes an intrusive interest in our racial identity (or the compulsory lack of it), a propagandistic mass media and a politicized academia. It hasn't worked out.

    What we need, as far as we can get it, is an internationalist attitude, and a bottom-up, gene-testing and family tree-tracing culture, pruning severely the state, academia and the mass media, devolving them back to their proper and more modest functions, and getting them to back off and stop telling us who we are and who we are not.

  4. Following up on some of the interesting comments by TDT, I expect that the multi-cultural, post-national state will become increasingly expensive and difficult to operate because loyalty and sense of duty will decline in its citizens (subjects). So long as the people think of the actions of the state as "our" laws, "our" wars, "and "our" leaders, most will feel obliged to respect those laws, support those wars, and follow those leaders. And they will do this voluntarily, without need of bribes or threats to win compliance. Once the state becomes "them," however, and the people begin to think of its actions as "their" laws, "their" wars, and "their" leaders, things begin to fall apart. There is more than one way to build a sense that "we" are, indeed, a "we," and that the state is, indeed, "ours," but in this era of republican government, national identity seems to work best.

    Here in the U.S. we have tried to move forward as a "propositional nation," which has worked to a point, but may not have much mileage left in it. My understanding is that this would be much harder for Australians since your foundational myths are historical rather than ideological. What I mean is that traditional Australian national identity seems (to this outsider) to be rooted in the idea of a hearty race taming a vast, difficult and beautiful land, but in this history there is nothing equivalent to the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address that you could weave into the myth that you are a propositional nation. Of course, we too tamed a vast, difficult and beautiful continent, and that experience was, until recently, part of our national mythology. When it was decided to change that story into a shameful chronicle of rapacity and genocide, we could fall back on the ideological myth that we are a propositional nation. With you, I don't know what there will be to fall back upon.

  5. I'm afraid that the nation is being given the same treatment as the family. Just as we are told that family can be anything we want it to be, so now the nation is being similarly "undefined" to mean whatever we want it to mean.

    And gender, don't forget gender.

    What we need, as far as we can get it, is an internationalist attitude, and a bottom-up, gene-testing and family tree-tracing culture, pruning severely the state, academia and the mass media, devolving them back to their proper and more modest functions, and getting them to back off and stop telling us who we are and who we are not.

    Right, the state is lost to us -



  6. JMSmith, I think your comment is excellent and I don't really have anything to quibble with.

    Besides the true myth of the taming of Australia, we have an amazing national achievement, which we do not value, and a half-true national myth, which cannot support a "proposition nation".

    The amazing achievement is that we built our states peacefully and honestly and united a continent and the island of Tasmania with the permission of Queen Victoria and by peaceful simple agreement, with never so much as a stone thrown across a border, from that day to this. Homogeneity, harmony, peace: end of story. (Till the rise of multiculturalism, which endangers that.) I have talked to Europeans, particularly Germans, who just assumed, without thinking about it, that our planet is a battlefield where every habitable bit of earth has been marched over and fought over by hostile armies. Well not our earth. We were different from the rest of the planet, and frankly better.

    But we never really boasted about that, and the anti-white "black armband" view of Australian history as a continuing war against Aboriginal victims has rendered that achievement useless to us as a source of unity. We do not have a Peace Day, we have a Sorry Day, on the 26th of May, since 1998, to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the continent's indigenous population. As though conflict with spear-wielding tribesmen was a remarkable shame to (white) Australians, and peacefully uniting a large part of the world and keeping it peaceful and united was just standard.

    The half-true myth is Gallipoli and Imperial service. I insist on "Imperial" and that the myth is half-true, because of an old soldier who once wanted to speak in church on a Gallipoli Day (or next to that day, I forget) and was allowed to and made a powerful impression on me. He insisted that the reasons he and his mates had fought and suffered and many had been wounded and died for had nothing to do with what the government was saying it was all about, and he wanted to say his piece before he died, and be heard. He said, and I looked up the history and it supported him, that they had fought for the Monarch and the Empire, and not for all this manufactured republican national cr*p; and that they had fought for each other, with a different sense of who they were than prevailed in the country he could see around him, which for him negated the point. We were saying they had sacrificed for us. Well, they had not sacrificed for us to be like this. And he lovingly damned us for our lack of military patriotism, and outlined his nightmare scenario of India attaining a military supremacy over us and flat telling us to take a hundred thousand Indian darkies a year as immigrants or else, and we would do it. He was not weak enough to weep at that, but his emotion was not less because he was strong. That would be the end of his Australia and everything, not just when we were physically adulterated, though that was his ultimate nightmare, but when we buckled and so were not the kind of people he had fought with and for. And the old soldier knew nobody wanted to hear this, and that they all thought his views were Imperialist, racist, backward and an embarrassment, but that was all the more reason why he had to speak while he could.

    I do not think we have come within a million miles of telling the truth about or loyally doing justice for that old soldier and others like him, and that is why I think the Anzac story is only half-true, despite the place-and-date accuracy.

    Anyway, you tell me how you can honestly, with justice turn that into a myth about a raceless, diverse, multicultural, a-historical "proposition nation".

    I think he would have gladly shot anybody who tried to do that. In defense of his nation. Which unfortunately is not our nation.

    1. TDT, at an ANZAC Day service at my school it was solemnly announced that the soldiers in WWI had fought "for Australia to become a melting pot" and that we shouldn't let them down.

    2. The gulf in culture is so great... even people who are "for the monarchy" have nothing like the passion for King and Empire the old soldier did.

      I don't think that passing on our culture instead of our genes (collectively in both cases) works.

      Especially when the same people determined to blend away our genes are determined to lie about the past, and erase it as a truth that one can anchor things in, and replace it with nothing more than fleeting images of different narratives of identity, projected on a screen of a blended and pulverized population.

      I think the only thing we can do for those who came before us, who struggled and fought mightily for their posterity, us, but whose culture and world-view we are simply unable to share, is, well: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

      Then we can say to the ghosts to whom we have such a powerful debt that we cannot ignore it and can never repay it:

      "We are not as you were, but we are still here and still your children, and we have done everything we can to ensure there are endless generations after us, still your children again. We are sorry we can never be quite what you loved, in culture, but this is the best we can do. And we are not asking our descendants to do more for us than we are doing for you."

      I think that is a good enough answer for the ghosts. And I don't think anything else is. Especially not lies.

    3. TDT, that is very good. My aim would be not only to keep the genetics going, but as far as possible the continuity in identity as well. I can't see that this is going to happen on the same scale as previously, but from where we are right now, to establish something solid on a smaller scale would be an impressive achievement.

  7. I agree with that entirely.

    I do not mean to say that we should strive to pass on genes and not culture. No, that would be a horrible idea. (And it would be self-defeating. A people without culture doesn't know itself and can't secure its collective interests, and will perish.)

    It's just that I was struck by how I was unable to be what the old soldier needed. When he started talking about India and Indian hordes pouring into Australia, to me that was as if he'd started talking about an alien invasion, and I imaging to everyone else it was the same. But I assume the (tacit) world-map in his head was British Imperial and India loomed large in in the world-view of the Empire.

    Much as we want to share the good or neutral aspects of the culture of those who went before us, and much as we want to pass it on as intact as possible and preferably enriched, we just have to do our best.

    And yes, to establish anything solid would be an impressive achievement from where we are.

  8. TDT@ Your old soldier was expressing a sort of patriotism that is, I suspect, increasingly rare because harder to feel. Although we've been taught to feel faint when we hear the phrase, that patriotism is rooted in "blood and soil," and the farther we are removed from our blood and the soil, the harder it is for us to feel that sort of patriotism. Mark mentions the need to preserve identity, and I think a central part of a people's identity is the notion that "we are the people who dwell here." That's not the whole of identity, of course, but without it we become nomads and vagabonds.

  9. Oh so THAT's why we suddenly got a bunch of hits! Very potent comments as always, Mark.

    1. Plato, thanks. The poster was a good find on your part, it deserved your attention.

  10. JMSmith said...

    "So long as the people think of the actions of the state as "our" laws, "our" wars, "and "our" leaders, most will feel obliged to respect those laws, support those wars, and follow those leaders."

    I don't think very many people today think of the ever-changing and ever-multiplying body of laws as "our laws" and I think even fewer people genuinely believe that our leaders are "our" leaders. When people go to vote they are almost always voting for what they consider to be the lesser of two evils, or they are simply voting against those currently in power as a protest vote.

    The problem is that while most people have stopped believing that the law and the government are "ours" they don't know what to do about it. They are angry and frustrated but can see no alternatives. So they effectively opt out, at least psychologically and emotionally. They obey the laws because they have to, not because they have any belief in them.