Monday, 16 November 2020

Liberals Writing Nationalist Philosophy > Class Warriors Appropriating History


By Guessed Worker

The prevailing liberal system has grown stale in the extreme and, for our people, not just unproductive but destructive. There are political signs all across the West of a yearning for an alternative. The timing is ripe for ethnic nationalism. But then as nationalists we come up against the stops of our marginalisation and downright persecution (which will get a lot worse if the Law Commissioners get in England what the SNP government has wanted for Scotland).

The one defence we possess is that the political, media, and liberal Establishments are marginalising and persecuting a political standpoint we, as ethnic nationalists, do not hold. It is no more correct and appropriate to attack our politics than it is to attack the politics of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Advocacy for the existence, natural right, and natural interests of whole peoples cannot be illegitimate, and advocacy for the existence, natural right, and natural interests of the native British people cannot be separated out and treated differently simply because as the natives of this land our interests run counter to those of the non-native populations colonising it. All politics of the instinct are equal, and none are morally inadmissable. Properly explicated and rid of false associations from the judge and jury which is liberal thinking, ethnic nationalism is unimpeachable, whatever people it refers to.

Obviously, this is a utilitarian argument for theorising the mechanics of ethnic nationalism. It is a good argument but it is not the whole of the argument, the most serious part of which is the necessity to fashion a philosophy capable of changing history in an epochal sense. I think we are moving closer to that. But nothing is yet extant, and in the meantime the narrative of our politics is supplied by so-called "ground-breaking" academics of nationalism. All working from within the liberal order, they have produced little that we would recognise as our politics. For example:

Eric Gellner (1925-1995), a Czech-born Jew, theorised nationalism from the starting point of cultural plurality, treating nationalism as a product of modernity and an artificial and strictly political imposition upon the state. He held that nationalism can only exist in industrial society, by which assertion he could divorce it from the principle of ethnicity (which he did actually hold to be enduring). In turn, that divorce enabled him to assert that nationalist sentiment is actuated by "the feeling of anger" or "the feeling of satisfaction", depending on whether "the political and national unit" is "congruent". Gellner's academically influential notions about nationalism are narrow and near-sighted, quite lacking the sense that the fundamental interests of the people must be expressed in their government.

Benedict Anderson (1936-2015), an Anglo-Irishman born in China, also concluded that nationalism was modern, and a response to capitalism. His famous work ''Imagined Communities'' made the classic sceptical plaint that peoplehood requires everyone to have been introduced over the dinner table to everyone else or the people must, to some extent, be a work of the imagination.

This assertion has become a staple of the Marxised left's stabby little denials. We could, I suppose, turn to the Mooreian Shift to dispense with it. But, in fact, that natural acceptance of what is in another because that is also in oneself ... the quiet but utterly solid contentment conferred by being-in-kind, walking among kind ... that suffices. Were it otherwise ... were a man unable to acknowledge his entire people because he hasn't met all of them in person, then, in principle, knowledge of the immediate and singular is reified over knowledge of the expansive and plural. So, for example, a plurality that is a crowd at a football game can only ever possess the meaning of individual football fans as witnessed by each one of them. When those people leave the stadium they must, by Anderson's scepticism, remain only and always football fans and not be husbands, fathers, brothers, lovers, workers, shoppers, travellers, holiday-makers, or all that is of the endless round of human experience; because that human fullness would be "imaginary" for everyone at the game. But we do not hold that other people are incomplete human beings simply on the ground that we do not know them completely. We know and experience them to be just as we are, even those we have not ourselves met.

Anderson, by the way, gave his memoir the title of  ''A Life Beyond Boundaries'', which figures.

Anthony D Smith (1936-2015), a Jewish sociologist, argued that ethnic nationalism, as a common ethnic address of power and agency, was a thing of the non-European world. But in the European world such a nationalism is an invented imposition upon pre-existing ethnicities, histories, myths, and so forth, and properly functions only as an accident of geography and symbolism in the wake, again, of capitalism and modernity. The organisational rule, meanwhile, is civically nationalist. It does not even require that its adherents in any given place look alike.

Walker Connor (1926-2016), an American political scientist, was the best of the bunch born before WW2 in that he made no bones about the ethnic foundation of nationalism. But he approached it through the lens of conflict in the world instead of through the expression of human being, making it too much a negative phenomenon.

Further, he held it to be non-rational and emotional in character while at the same time insisting that it was based on kinship. Well, you can't have it both ways. Either it is of the human instinct for kin or it is non-rational. The assumption that the first proves the second is wrong. ''Ethnic'' nationalism, as the whole people's freedom to pursue its interest in survival and continuity, is not at all problematic to explain intellectually, although such explanation is not a pre-requisite - which it cannot be, of course, because instinct precedes thought. The idea that anything, actually, is entirely constructed of thought is itself a nonsense.

It is the same with Connor's related belief that because nationalism belongs to the human instinct it is subconscious. Do men and women have subconscious mutual attraction, or it is fully and gloriously conscious? Well, just so with ethnic self-preference. Connor commits the same error of sloppy thinking and terminological inexactitude that he spent his whole life correcting in fellow academics. His career-long insistence upon exactitude gave us the clumsy appellation ''ethnonationalism''. We have no reason to avail ourselves of it.

With the exception of Frank Salter, the later generation of academics have largely devoted their energies to the political relationship of the ethnic group to the state, or to the political expression of ethnicity in citizenship. The nativist aspects of ethnic nationalism have been treated positively only in respect to archaic Third World tribes. The nativism of European peoples is consistently reduced to a negative manifestation towards immigrants and immigration, as if the rest of humanity has absolutely no opinion on the colonisation of its homeland and its own replacement by alien populations.

At present, a lot of noise is being made around the self-promoting Israeli religious scholar Yoram Hazony, whose rise to prominence really got going with his 2018 book ''The Virtue of Nationalism''. But, of course, while he is for "nationalism" and against globalism as a governing power over nation states (which he characterises as a form of imperialism) he is against tribalism, ie, he is for the multiracial nation state (after all, 20% of the population of Israel is Palestinian, and it's not like the Israeli government is going to flood its Jewish population with Sub-Saharan Africans and North Africans, and the masses of the Turkic world, Arabia and south, central, and east Asia; so that's alright, then).

The Chatham House "scholar" and globalist pet Matthew Goodwin is the resident go-too British "expert" on all things allegedly right-wing. He has treated his mainstream political clientele to studies of the "fascist" BNP, UKIP, populism, the radical right and, with his next tome due in 2021, the whole shebang of nation, identity and belonging. Goodwin is not a philosopher, of course. So the strong probability is that, writing from the liberal mentality as he does, he will have no more comprehension of the real dynamics of ethnic nationalism - its ontology, its philosophical principles and interior workings - than any of the gentlemen above. I strongly suspect that nationalism as a naturalistic and emergent organising structure or system for the whole life of Man is something neither he nor any of them can penetrate because that cannot be done from the non-emergent, indeed imposed and artificial organising system which is liberalism. A clumsy new word for this a lá Walker Connor would seem to be needed. ''Liberocentricity'', perhaps.

At this point we should acknowledge that we, connected though we are to the whole world of nationalism, are little better at formally explicating our own system of thought. We seem to be content to recline into the comfortable notion that it can't matter too much because as ''ethnic'' nationalists (please let us not employ Connor's semiotic) it's all effortlessly instinctive.

Accordingly, we have brought forth vast reams of critical analysis of our deteriorating racial circumstance, such that even those of us who qualify as long-standing nationalists with developed critiques of our own rarely rise in our politics above reaction, be that born of our instincts or from our factual observations and judgements. To put it bluntly, critique is an unsexed thing. It can never seed the ideational future. So it can never serve the historical obligation upon us to re-order the world for the life and good of our kind. A politics which seeks that has to come out of an holistic and original nexus of thought about the life of Man. From the moment that modernist thinking appeared as a revolutionary tool of the powerful, nothing less ever had historical agency.

To demonstrate the point I am going to conclude with a (lengthy) reprise of the very first time in the history of the English that instinctuality was demonstrated to be historically inadequate.

The history of how the ancient, socially vivifying quality of fair-dealing between English brothers in pre-Norman society flowed not into the timeless, naturalistic ethnic politics which we espouse today but into the modernist politics of equality and class conflict … that history is interesting and instructive. It centres on one event in the autumn of 1647 at the close of the first English Civil War and the very dawn of the modern era itself. It is a story about the coming time of an idea, and the ideological clamour and energy which impels it into the political consciousness and into history. It is a story about the ease with which an ancient contention can be suborned and bear consequences quite opposite to it. It is a story, for us, about what might have been, but also a reminder that we possess the prior right to speak from those vivifying moral virtues which both socialists and Establishment anti-racists so readily and promiscuously ascribe to themselves.

With Charles Stuart under lock and key at Hampton Court, and believing themselves victorious, officers and men of the New Model Army (which had just driven the forces of the king out of London, and set up headquarters at Putney) gathered along with commoners at St Mary the Virgin Church. They were there to debate the rights of free Englishmen, the meaning of sovereignty and consent, and the future Constitution of England, all which they did over the course of fifteen days from 28th October to 11th November. They were the very antithesis of a rabble and a wondrous demonstration of the creativity and high-minded principle which abide among the ordinary and unassuming like water in the rocks.

St Mary's Putney still stands today, hard by the bridge over the river. Emblazoned on a plaque above the transcept is a single sentence uttered by Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, member of Parliament and the highest ranking Leveller officer present in those fifteen days. It was the enduring sentiment, and it reads, “For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he.”

The Putney Debates resonate strongly with liberals, and have an honoured place in their socio-political iconography as a watershed for the rights-based liberty of the individual against the over-bearing power of the state. But Rainsborough’s truism, so plainly of its time in its usage, is also of its time in its relational certainties. They are not the certainties of present-day liberals. They do not relate to bloodless civic entities, each induced by the philosophical gods to unfetter his or her (or whatever's) individual will while domiciled in the constitutional space otherwise known as England. They relate to “the free people of England”, in the words of the Leveller Manifesto of 1649, actually titled An Agreement Of The Free People of England, signed by Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburne – “Freeborn John”, as he was known – and leading Levellers William Walwyn, Thomas Prince, and Richard Overton. The text styled England as “this distressed nation” and, most interestingly, “this Common-wealth the land of our Nativity”.

Rainsborough’s England, then, and that of his fellow Leveller sympathisers at the debates (Edward Sexby and William Allen from the Army and the civilians John Wildman and Maximilian Petty) was not the neutral administrative space of the liberal rationalist who would come a century after, nor neutral at all but the home we nationalists of today would recognise, where mutual belonging and fellow-feeling bestowed meaning and worth upon the life of every Englishman and woman.

The English Civil Wars are situated in the long (and, obviously, on-going) struggle of the Anglo-Saxon sons and daughters of the soil for deliverance from the Norman heel, and thence from all arbitrary power. Lilburne – as near to an English nationalist as one could get in that religious age - actually wrote of common law as a Norman Yoke. It is easy for us as nationalists today to understand the instinctive sense of English peoplehood which imbued and inspired Lilburne and all the other Levellers. They were instinctively of the people and did not set themselves over the people, but desired only the free and just part of the people in their own government. Today we call such people populists. They could command the stated support of a third of the populace of London. But they were a minority in the New Model Army. While all the parliamentarian forces made war on the degrading, subjugating power of absolute monarchy, the majority did not support the cause of a universal participatory democracy, as conceived, for example, by Rainsborough who, after uttering his celebrated dictum at Putney, said:

“I think it clear that every Man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own Consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put Himself under.”

And therein is the outline of a second struggle of that time. The greater part of the senior officers or Grandees present at St Mary's, including the future Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and his son-in-law Henry Ireton, had fought not for a parliament with supreme authority over the law but for a constitutionally sovereign parliament above the people. They fought not to give the people an equal vote but to restrict the vote to landowners like themselves.

That second Rainsborough statement is oft deployed by liberal thinkers but it is not complete. For next he fired a real fusilade at his Grandee opponents:

''... and I am confident that, when I have heard the reasons against it something will be said to answer those reasons, insomuch that I should doubt whether hee was an Englishman or no, that should doubt of these things.''

You are no English brother, Rainsborough is telling his opponents, if you do not have the sense of kin to "the poorest hee" and thus to the whole English people.

Ireton himself said in response to Rainsborough:

''Give me leave to tell you, that if you make this the rule I think you must fly for refuge to an absolute natural right, and you must deny all civil right; and I am sure it will come to that in the consequence.''

And there - right there - is the fissure, the breaking point between the politics of blood and the politics of the rejection of blood for the civic means to rule! The dictate of blood can never be politically acceptable to the elitist mind. In the surviving record Ireton seems to become quite apopletic. Certainly, the text begs to be read that way. If so he recovers to re-state the case for the landed class:

''No person hath a right to an interest or share in the disposing of the affairs of the kingdom, and in determining or choosing those that shall determine what laws we shall be ruled by here - no person hath a right to this that hath not a permanent fixed interest in this kingdom.''

There is no closing that gap. Rainsborough's reply included the following affirmation that not the landed class but the whole of the English people is the first and final source of authority in this land:

''I do find that all Englishmen must be subject to English laws, and I do verily believe that there is no man but will say that the foundation of all law lies in the people ...''

That sentiment was at one with the Leveller's Manifesto conclusion, two centuries before Lord Acton, that the exercise of power is all too frequently a corrupting thing:

''… having by wofull experience found the prevalence of corrupt interests powerfully [incline] most men once entrusted with authority, to pervert the same to their own domination, and to the prejudice of our Peace and Liberties ..''

Not much has changed in that respect.

The Putney Debates were effectively brought to an end on 8th November when Cromwell made sure that the attending officers were ordered to return to their regiments. Then on 11th November the king escaped his confinement at Hampton Court. As a second civil war took hold the New Model Army closed ranks, and the Leveller cause lost its political momentum. Its moment had passed, although the Levellers continued to command wide public support. Rainsborough was murdered on 29th October 1849 at Doncaster during the seige of Pontifract, allegedly in a bungled Royalist kidnap attempt. His funeral in London turned into a great Leveller demonstration, as did that of Robert Lockyer, executed by Cromwell  pour encourager les autres after the Bishopsgate mutiny. It was the last of four Leveller mutinies in the Army between April and May 1649. Each was put down by forces under Cromwell's command.

So the last full-throated Anglo-Saxon cry for all the people's freedom and for fair-dealing died away. Instinct had proved inadequate. It was not, after all, the time for a politics of the people. It was the time for the modern, and the modernist understanding of the individual and his unfettering will and, thereby, a novel freedom abstracted from its ground in human presence and affirmation. John Locke set the course with  An Essay Concerning Human Understanding , written in 1789. Politics and political parties emerged. Some half dozen decades after Locke's death his fellow empiricist David Hume (1711-1776) wrote in his essay Of the Parties of Great Britain:

''A Tory, therefore, since the Revolution [ie, the Glorious Revolution of William and Mary of 1688], may be defined, in a few words, to be a lover of Monarchy, though without abandoning liberty, and a partisan of the family of Stuart: as a Whig may be defined to be a lover of liberty, though without renouncing monarchy, and a friend in the settlement in the Protestant line.''

Hume’s purpose here was to develop his thesis that underneath everything lay one true and enduring ideological division in British government (meaning politics), and that was between the principle of Court, represented party-wise in the primary Tory allegiance to hereditary monarchy, and the principle of Country, represented in the primary Whig allegiance to freedom from arbitrary power as that notion was, in Hume's time, emerging in Enlightenment thinking. The principle of the people ... its life-cause ... is absent.

As the urban industrial era solidified so Enlightenment Man became more and more a creature of caesura and of mere socio-economic import. The Levellers' cause, especially Rainsborough's famous dictum, was not purloined by the moderns exactly but re-interpreted in the only way it could be: as a somewhat picturesquely doomed but nevertheless noble struggle for the franchise and an interpretation of fairness in terms of social conflict and economic inequality. It's a scam. The real principle ... the cohering principle of being and belonging which animates and explains the Rainsborough dictum (which modernist egalitarianism does not) may be formulated as:

''However rich or poor in circumstance, each and every Englishman and woman has the life inherent to us all to live as he or she may, and none can be insensible to that English life in another of the English yet remain a whole and moral human being.''

… and that's what was lost to the narratives of working-class solidarity and social justice. Now how shall we clothe it in a philosophy of life with which to address the whole problem of power and corrupt politics, and the systemic liberalism which underpins and facilitates it?

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