Recently I received an email from a friend commenting on ethno-nationalism. She contends that while group belonging by birth is a factor in establishing societal cohesion, loyalty is in reality much more important to that end. I generally agree with her assertion, but with some qualifiers.
Group or institutional loyalty certainly goes a long way, but it is only a part of the whole equation. The other side of that coin is acceptance by the rest of the group, which in turn nurtures loyalty. Loyalty and acceptance together form an identity, a term that the Right needs to learn to embrace.
The word “identity” works well because it does things that other terms such as “race,” “ethnicity,” or “nationality” cannot, at least not as elegantly, and it paints a picture of the realities of human tribalism. This is because identity is not like loyalty to a sports team. Fans can pick the team they like, wear the jersey, and cheer for the men on the field who wear those same clothes, all while requiring no measure of personal sacrifice. But arbitrarily declaring citizenship, waving the flag, and singing the state anthem simply does not cut it. Tribal identity requires more than superficial markers of loyalty.
Birth into the group and blood heritage are concrete foundations—reasons for loyalty. Coincidentally, they are also the primary bases for group acceptance. One’s blood ties to his ancestors supports admission to the tribe and provides an impetus for learning the myths and traditions of the folk. Loyalty to the tribe develops organically, because it is “ours.” Our people, our culture, our God, our king, our homeland, our ancestors are all worthy of great sacrifice.
“Identity” is also useful, particularly these days, because it is not hung up on purity. It gets us to focus on race to the extent that it matters. Identity acknowledges that being of the blood is integral to tribal identity, but also that it is unproductive at best to quibble over percentages of foreign admixture. It simply is not important. Belonging to the tribe is akin to being part of the family, rather than whether one falls into a category that must be defined by statistics and figures. The important questions must be, “Are you tied to us by blood or similar bond?” and “Are you willing to sacrifice everything for our culture and our people?”
Julius Evola, one of tR’s greatest inspirations, wrote extensively about the relationship (and even preeminence) of “race of the spirit” to “race of the body.” In Synthesis of the Doctrine of Race he writes,
Race is a profound force manifesting itself in the realm of the body as in the realm of the spirit. In its full meaning the purity of race occurs when these two manifestations coincide; in other words, when the race of the body matches the race of the spirit and when it is capable of serving the most adequate organ of expression.
There are actually too many cases of people who are somatically of the same race, of the same tribe, indeed who are fathers and sons of the same blood in the strict sense of the word and, yet who cannot “understand” each other. A demarcation line separates their souls; their way of feeling and judging is different and their common race of the body cannot do much about it, nor their common blood. The impossibility of mutual understanding lies therefore on the level of supra-biology. Mutual understanding and hence real togetherness, as well as deeper unity, are only possible where the common “race of the soul” and the “spirit” coexist.
Merely being tied by blood, although significant, is not enough to form an identity. Loyalty to the group, its culture, and its institutions are all prerequisites for acceptance and belonging.
Ignoring loyalty and identity is having tremendous ramifications for governments today. Decades of rule by disloyal ideologues is withering away at the legitimacy of the post-Westphalian state. The modern nation-state is no longer an instrument for the defense and betterment of a people (if it ever really was), and people are beginning to realize this. They are recognizing that their leaders are not part of the tribe.
Identity may be the state’s only hope of survival and, yet, coincidentally, is the only political movement with a possibility of shaping what might come after it. It is also the only vehicle rightists can use to revive and defend Western Tradition.