Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: A Defense of Nationalism

The other night, I made the mistake, while cycling through the stations on my car’s radio, of listening to a few moments of an interview on the local public radio station. I don’t even remember the name of the interviewee, and really only remember about him that he was your typical left-wing whiner, in this case complaining that he had not been given a chance to write an op-ed for the New York Times. What really had his knickers in a knot was that Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front party, had been given op-ed space by the Times in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

According to our misremembered would-be author, this was simply a horrible, horrible thing for the Times to have done. The interviewer, admitting that he did not know who Marine Le Pen was, asked why. It was because, as we were told by Nameless Whiner, Marine Le Pen is a “fascist.” He then proceeded to expound upon this point, demonstrating in the process that he had no idea what “fascism” really is; explaining that, among other things, Marine Le Pen is against multiculturalism and open immigration into France from the Muslim world.

In other words, Marine Le Pen is a “fascist” because she believes that France should be for French people.

What a radical concept.

Yet, this sort of sentiment is common among those on the Left. According to the tenets of political correctness, a nation can only be happy and prosperous when it contains the largest possible number of culturally, linguistically, and socially disparate elements. The fact that history shows the exact opposite every single time is irrelevant. Yet, this is why the American Left continues to purvey the falsehood that open borders are good for us, that we need millions of unassimilated foreigners “doing jobs that Americans won’t do” (for $2.50 an hour with no benefits, that is), that it’s a wonderful thing for us to have neighborhoods and entire cities that are basically portions of Mexico scooped up and dropped onto American soil. It’s why the European Left, even in the face of deadly attacks from Islamic extremists in the heart of Europe, can’t find it within themselves to do more than wring their hands about the possibility that such attacks might generate evil, mean, racist hatred against those poor little lambs, the Muslims.

Multiculturalism is idiocy. Plain and simple. It is the province of shallow minds that have no understanding of human nature or how the world really works. Its enforcement upon populations will do nothing more than agitate the saner elements of those populations and eventually bring about societal breakdown that will most likely be accompanied by bloodshed to a greater or lesser degree. Multiculturalism is the creed of those who want to tear down, rather than build up, the good and right and admirable works of a civilization.

What this world needs is more genuine nationalism. What is nationalism? In a nutshell, it is the belief that nations (more on what this word means below) should be separate from each other. Nations should have their own borders, should be able to pursue their own policies, free from the interference of others. In other words, France should be for the French, Germany for the Germans, Romania for the Romanians, and the United States of America for Americans.

Obviously, like pretty much anything else out there, nationalism can be abused, can be used as an excuse for excesses. Yes, nationalism can become a justification for chauvinism. It can be used to pursue revanchist policies. It can even become a rationalization for expansionary warfare.

But it’s not like other, more “good and pure” concepts have never been abused, right? Surely nobody has ever thought to use “democracy” to justify making war on other nations. How about “social justice” or “worker’s rights” or “economic interest”? Yet, nobody on the politically correct Left seems to be in a rush to condemn democracy or labor unions or economic growth as engines of warfare. No, the opposition to nationalism on the grounds of its excesses is simply an artifice of the Left that is designed to advance their globalist agenda, an agenda which nationalism would destroy were it to regain a footing in the hearts and minds of people all over the world.

So, what is a “nation”? I believe that the best and most rational definition of what a nation is happens to be the one provided by Holy Scripture. In the New Testament, the term that is most often translated as both “Gentiles” and “nation” is the Greek term ethnos. This word derives from a root verb etho, which has the sense of “acting by customary usage, to do that which one is wont to do by habit.” Ethnos, then, describes a group of people who are bound together by “customary usage,” what we would call “culture” in its sociological sense. A “nation” is made up of people who share a common culture, which necessarily implies that they share a common language, a common history, a common set of values, similar social and spiritual ideas, and so forth. The Old Testament Hebrew term goyiim also has this same general meaning.

Nationalism is the natural order of things. The Apostle Paul preached to the Athenians,

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)

What this means is that, contrary to what many partisans of Churchianity in the Western world believe, God does not want all the peoples of the world to be united into a one-world government and all having the same culture. Instead, God separated the various nations of men so that they would overspread the face of the whole earth, fulfilling His command to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Indeed, the point to the division of languages in the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 was to enforce this command; the rebels against God feared lest they should be “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4), and desired to instead build a polity bound together by one language and speech, an early effort at what we would now term “one-world government.” God divided them by languages (a process which still continues to this day as languages continue to evolve and divide).

In Paul’s exposition in Acts, we see that God acts in history to appoint to the various nations at various times to dwell within the bounds of their habitation. God defines where and when a nation will live as a distinct cultural and social entity. He did this so that man would not trust in his own ability to unite and “solve his own problems,” but would instead seek after God. Both one-worldism and multiculturalism are defiance of God’s establishment of these boundaries, as is offensive war-making designed to take away another nation’s land.

Now, nations do change throughout history. It is simply impossible to maintain that one nation will always and at all times throughout history maintain a pure genetic lineage. Indeed, genetics are largely unnecessary to the scriptural and natural concept of a “nation.” Don’t believe me? Then show me where the English nation was 2000 years ago. You can’t. The English are an amalgam of Briton, Angle, Saxon, and Jute, with a little Dane thrown in for cultural measure, and then some Norman overlaid on top. Same with the French, who are the joining of Frank and Gaul. Or what of the Italians, who are Lombards and Ostrogoths mixed with the old Italic stock? Yet, each of these is now a distinct nation with a distinct language, culture, and traditions. They exist because God worked in history to make them what they are, for His inestimable purposes. Nations make change, but nations as the concept of distinct cultural entities that have a right to their own lands haven’t gone away.

A “nation,” as history abundantly testifies, does not always coincide with political boundaries. Nations may find themselves sharing a political entity with other nations, sometimes peacefully and profitably, but more often parasitically–a nation may be the parasite, or it may be the host, the oppressor or the oppressed. The nationalism of the 19th century strove to set about a natural order for nations, bring together people of the same nation into union with each other, while freeing those of one nation held in political bondage to another. Nationalism was essentially the assertion of the principle that nations should define borders, rather than borders defining nations.

Despite the widespread erroneous perception that “nationalism causes war,” it’s actually the opposite. Genuine nationalism in which nations of people don’t impose themselves on others and essentially “mind their own business,” actually works to create more peace and amity between them. Indeed, the cause of much strife in our world has been through forces that work AGAINST real nationalism – when one nation seeks to impose its values or political control over another, when nations are forced against their will to coexist within the same political unit, in which case they will nearly always seek to gain the advantage over each other.

Multinationalism almost always eventually fails every time it is tried. The Austrian Empire was already falling apart along ethnic lines even before World War I sealed its fate. Once the dictators of Yugoslavia went away, Serbs and Croats and Bosnians fell apart into squabbling ethnic conflict, seeking to gather the largest pieces for themselves. Tutsis and Hutus killed each other in the artificially defined state of Rwanda. Much of the warfare and strife in the post-Cold War world has been at the instigation of the United Nations and other internationalist, globalist elements seeking to advance that agenda. The list goes on.

Genuine nationalism does not have to be the enemy of international cooperation. Peace and amity can and will exist when nations are free to interact without coercion. Nations can trade with each other, enter into alliances and pacts, and all the rest freely and peaceably. The failure of the recent Scottish vote for disunion from the United Kingdom suggests that the majority of the Scottish nation is not altogether unhappy in their political union with the English nation. That’s fine, that’s their choice.

Nor does it have to be the enemy of rational emigration and immigration. A nation should be free to set the limits and conditions under which foreigners can live within the borders occupied by their own people. If the foreigners are willing to abide by those stipulations and are willing to assimilate themselves to the nation among whom they are living, then all is well and good.

This point is quite salient when we question the presence of large numbers of Muslim immigrants in Europe, and increasingly in the USA as well. The fact is that the Muslims, by and large, do not do this. Even though they may (sometimes) learn the languages of their host nations so that they can interact with the welfare offices and other edifices of government, one cannot say that Muslim populations from the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and North Africa make any significant effort to assimilate themselves to the cultures, mores, values, and societies of their host nations. Instead, they actively segregate themselves into banlieus and ghettos of their own design. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, I saw many stories (designed to create sympathy, but which only generated nausea) about young Muslims living in France who complained about not being accepted by French society. But they have no one to blame but themselves. They (or their parents, many of these were second, or even third-generation residents) came to France but never made any effort to conform to French culture. They came, got on public assistance, and then lived their entire lives in self-segregated communities in which they purposefully protected themselves from anything that was not North African in culture and Islamic in religion.

When you come to Europe and then march against democracy while proclaiming that you want to assassinate anyone who “insults Islam,” you are by no means assimilated. You are, instead, an indigestible lump creating an ulcer in the bowels of your host society. France, Germany, Italy, and the rest should have the right to send you home. It’s a positive sign that more and more people in these nations are beginning to wake up to this fact.

Genuine nationalism says this: if Muslims want to do their thing, if they want to live in barbaric, 7th century degradation, then let them. Let them do so in their own countries across the Muslim world. But don’t do it in our countries. The only thing difficult to understand is why that is such a hard concept for many to accept.

As Traditionalists, we must continue to assert the benefits of genuine nationalism as a force for good in this world. As the saying goes, good fences make for good neighbors, and we would see a lot more peace and quiet in the world if people would take that principle to heart. The strife and problems arise when we defy the natural order of nationalism–when nations covet the lands of other nations, when nations seek to enter en masse into another nation’s society and refuse to assimilate, when wrongheaded internationalists seek to impose one society’s values onto other nations against their will. It’s perfectly fine to think your ways are better than someone else’s. Perhaps you’re even right in that belief. But peace only comes when you mind your own business and leave other nations to their own ways. favicon