The other day I was tinkering around in my bedroom when I came upon my passport. Seeing it made me reflect on what it means to me to be an American, which is, to be perfectly honest, not very much. I recalled what Gregory Hood once said, in his review of Dinesh D’Souza’s ultra-patriotic, ultra-nonsensical documentary America: Imagine A World Without Her. Quoth Hood:
“America isn’t a people and a history – it’s a flag and a piece of paper.”
Just so. America, we are told endlessly, is a “proposition nation” instead of one based on blood, soil, faith, or history. And just what are the exact propositions involved? Democracy, secularism, equality, and all the related ideals of the French Enlightenment as filtered through 18th century Virginia plantation owners. Anyone can become an American, we are told, so long as they believe in these concepts. Both the citizenship oath and the oath taken for military service require a promise to “support and defend the Constitution” – which is not a people, or a tribe, or a king, or a faith, but an abstract list of ideas. That is what one must believe in to be an American.
Ah, but here’s a troubling question – what if an American comes to not believe in those concepts anymore? In that case, no matter what may be stamped in his passport, he becomes a man without a country. Which, I’ve come to realize, is exactly what I am.
Well, drat. What now?
No problem; I’m a resourceful lad. And so I came up with a solution. If non-belief in America’s propositions precludes me from being an American in anything but name, I’ll just found a nation that *does* reflect the propositions I believe in. Then I’ll pledge allegiance to it. I can probably even find some other people who believe approximately the same things I do, and if they take the pledge, then I won’t have to be a one-man nation. Problem solved; what’s for lunch?
“Cool story, bro,” I can hear you saying. But why is this a worthwhile project? What’s the value added?
The answer to this can be illustrated by examining the curious case of mainstream conservatism in the United States. No matter how much their government abuses them, no matter how much it works to tear down everything they value and believe in, no matter how many things Democrats break and Republicans refuse to be bothered to fix, the “conservatives” of America remain steadfastly, fiercely loyal to their nation (assuming it is indeed a nation). The reason for this goes deeper than blind patriotism; it is a need for belonging, for something larger than themselves that they can be a part of. This is in and of itself not a contemptible thing, and yet in Americans of any manner of non-progressive bent it has devolved into something like “beaten woman syndrome”, in which their loyalty has turned into collusion in their own slow destruction. traditionalRIGHT’s in-house military theorist William S. Lind has often spoken of the idea of “primary loyalty” – of the hazards of investing it in the wrong institutions, and of the necessity of transferring it to better ones when one finds that it has been misplaced. Americans–and indeed people in many nations throughout the West–are in desperate need of another, better entity to which to transfer their primary loyalty. They are, in short, in need of a nation. If nothing else, it can at least serve the useful function of helping to break them out of their beaten woman syndrome by pulling their primary loyalty away from the nation-states that abuse them. In this way, even as just a thought exercise (though it has the potential to be much more), it can be of great value.
Well that’s all fine and dandy, but it turns out that founding a nation is a trickier business than you’d think. As is so often the case, people tend to consider the big things, like what would be in its constitution, but neglect the more esoteric details that seem small at a distance, but are really oh, so important. I mean, sure, we can put together a hum-dinger of a constitution, but that doesn’t tell me how we avoid ending up just being “a flag and a piece of paper”. No, there are other considerations that are easy to neglect–a real nation needs a history, a mythos, heroes and villains, a culture, a dialect, national symbols, traditions, songs, literature–all the things that give people common touchstones; that give them a sense not only of belonging, but of what exactly it is that they belong to.
These things aren’t easy to come by. Southerners already have Dixie, which is great, but what if you’re not a southerner? What if you’re from Brooklyn or Berkeley or Edinburgh or Stockholm or Ljubljana? In that case, southern traditions are alien to you, and adopting them is simply phony. Making up new ones on your own is fun, but always comes across to others as forced and artificial. And making yourself into the father and founding hero of your own made-up nation tends to be seen as a little bit dickish, no matter how pure the intent.
A thorny problem indeed, then! But wait – there’s a simple, elegant solution at hand. What about reviving a nation that existed once, but went out of business? It would have everything we’d need, and since it is no longer a going concern, its intellectual property is basically abandonware that’s fallen into the public domain. I see no reason, in that case, why I can’t simply pick it up and start using it. Besides, who’s going to sue me over it? In what court?
So I started vetting candidates. Lots of ancient empires came to mind, along with a few Renaissance city-states. None quite fit the bill. Finally, though, from much more modern times, the perfect choice appeared, one that has virtually every quality a reactionary of any stripe would want in a nationality: Rhodesia.
Yes, Rhodesia! Founded by Cecil Rhodes, great techno-commercialist of his time – clearer of forests and builder of railroads! Unabashed ethnostate dominated by the descendants of the pioneers who came along with him to build a new nation out of nothing! Daughter of empire! Heir to the traditions of Christendom and the Anglosphere! They fought hard for the future of their children against overwhelming odds! Finally destroyed when the Rhodesians naively believed the promises of globalist egalitarian leftists and allowed universal suffrage under one-man-one-vote democracy, which laid waste to what was once their nation! What great heroes! What great villains! What history! What tradition! Yes, we shall be the New Rhodesians, and we too shall say: “Never Again!” We will not repeat the mistakes of our forebears, the Old Rhodesians! We will learn the bitter lessons of their suffering! We will be smarter, cagier, less credulous – we will never again trust those who betrayed and abandoned them!
Great! So how do we get started?
The first thing I bet you’re wondering is where this new nation is going to be. What, you want a country to go with that nation? Why? Historically speaking, you don’t quite exactly need one. Nations are often associated with a certain piece of territory (especially since 1648), but they don’t necessarily have to be. Remember that Arthur was King of the Britons, not King of Britain, and Clovis was King of the Franks, not King of France. They were kings of tribes, not of geographical areas. The difference seems small, but is actually crucial. Nations based on geographical areas lend themselves to multiethnic, multiculturalist thinking. If a nation is just a geographical area, then is not everyone who hangs their hat in that geographical area a part of the nation? Why not? That question is harder to answer than it seems. If it were easy, Western nations wouldn’t be in the multiculturalist mess they’re now in.
Okay, so having a country might be nice, but we don’t necessarily have to have one, especially right off the bat. So how is this nation going to work, then?
Here I’m going to take an idea from the cyberpunk writer Neal Stephenson. Our revived Rhodesia will, at least for the foreseeable future, be a distributed nationality. Wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Cecil Rhodes, there will be Rhodesia in the midst of them. Heck, where even one Rhodesian is, there is Rhodesia. And the internet makes a distributed nation more practical then ever. Rhodesians, even ones far separated in distance, will network, will get to know each other, will come to each others’ mutual aid when they can. And here’s the best part – since we have no fixed territory to defend, there is no need for a large population, and thus citizenship can remain quite exclusive.
So, here are a couple of good basic tenets of our new Rhodesia:
1) Rhodesia is an explicitly white nation. However, that doesn’t mean that just any whites are welcome. Also, worthies of other ethnicities may be considered for citizenship on a case-by-case basis.
2) Rhodesia is an explicitly Christian nation. However, that doesn’t mean that just any Christians are welcome. Also, worthies of other faiths, or of no faith, may be considered for citizenship on a case-by-case basis if they show good moral character and agree to not publicly denigrate the faith of the polis.
That’s all fair enough, I hope. So what else must one do to show that one is worthy of being a Rhodesian? First and most importantly, one must want it; one must believe in it. These ideals, these symbols, these restrictions – they won’t appeal to all. Rhodesia isn’t for everybody. If it’s not for you, that’s fine–we’re not Rousseauians, trying to find ways to bind you to a “social contract” you never agreed to. If you self-select out, then God bless and good luck.
But if you are a reactionary at heart, if you are a Traditionalist, if you understand the history of Rhodesia and what it means, if you have read what I have written and it speaks to you deeply, then you too can be a Rhodesian. In short, if you’re a true Rhodesian, you know it in your heart and soul.
Preposterous? One can’t be a Rhodesian simply because one believes oneself to be? I remind you that we live in an age in which the conventional wisdom, fully endorsed by the Establishment, is that someone with a Y chromosome and a penis can be a woman if they simply believe themselves to be. We live in an age in which “transracial” is a word that exists and is, in some powerful quarters, taken seriously. How is my proposal any more insensible? “Love is love,” as they say, and if you love Rhodesia, you can be a part of it. Why not?
Finally, we’ll need a King. Of course we’ll be a monarchy–we’re Traditionalists! There are a few fine candidates out there. Say, how about traditionalRIGHT’s very own Mr. Lind? He’s intelligent, well-respected among the sorts of people who would want to be Rhodesians, has an excellent sense of historical perspective and a deep knowledge of military history–he seems just perfect. What say you, Mr. Lind? The pay isn’t much (well, okay, it isn’t anything at the moment), but since we don’t have an actual country to administer, duties are light. And “King William I of Rhodesia” is sure to look very impressive on your business cards. Think it over.
So there you have it, fellow Rhodesians–we are a nation once again! More details to come eventually. Until then, study the history of our nation and its great founder, Cecil Rhodes. And hoist a tankard to our refounding! And to yourself! Finally, you are a citizen of a nation that is worthy of you.