T Nation

On Nationalism


#1

Hobbesian "state of nature":

Before the state men lived in a state of nature where man was at war with all other men.

Schmitt's "concept of the political":

When men come together and form a state it is a unity against all other men.

Weberian concept of the state:

He who holds the monopoly of force is sovereign.

Scarcity:

Land and natural resources are scarce. States are in competition over land and resources.

If you accept the above then obviously nationalism is the conclusion. Agree? Disagree? Any thoughts?


#2

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Hobbesian “state of nature”:

Before the state men lived in a state of nature where man was at war with all other men.

Schmitt’s “concept of the political”:

When men come together and form a state it is a unity against all other men.

Weberian concept of the state:

He who holds the monopoly of force is sovereign.

Scarcity:

Land and natural resources are scarce. States are in competition over land and resources.

If you accept the above then obviously nationalism is the conclusion. Agree? Disagree? Any thoughts?[/quote]

Nationalism has been the most powerful geopolitical force of the modern era. However, the European Union is an interesting counter example to nationalism. A continent once synonymous with power politics and Realpolitik has managed to transcend the security dilemma and function as a mature common security community. National identities still exist, but a higher sense of being European is palatable. We will see if it endures.


#3

[quote]Bismark wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Hobbesian “state of nature”:

Before the state men lived in a state of nature where man was at war with all other men.

Schmitt’s “concept of the political”:

When men come together and form a state it is a unity against all other men.

Weberian concept of the state:

He who holds the monopoly of force is sovereign.

Scarcity:

Land and natural resources are scarce. States are in competition over land and resources.

If you accept the above then obviously nationalism is the conclusion. Agree? Disagree? Any thoughts?[/quote]

Nationalism has been the most powerful geopolitical force of the modern era. However, the European Union is an interesting counter example to nationalism. A continent once synonymous with power politics and Realpolitik has managed to transcend the security dilemma and function as a mature common security community. National identities still exist, but a higher sense of being European is palatable. We will see if it endures. [/quote]

It will never endure because the EU is an internationalist, utopian and pluralist conception. Globalism is an ideology that is at war with human nature itself.

“Before the camps, I regarded the existence of nationality as something that shouldn’t be noticed - nationality did not really exist, only humanity. But in the camps one learns: if you belong to a successful nation you are protected and you survive. If you are part of universal humanity - too bad for you.”

  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

#4

“There are moments when masses establish contact with their nation’s spirit. These are the moments of providence. Masses then see their nation in its entire history, and feel its moments of glory, as well as those of defeat. Then they can clearly feel turbulent events in the future. That contact with the immortal and collective nation’s spirit is feverish and trembling. When that happens, people cry. It is probably some kind of national mystery, which some criticize, because they don’t know what it represents, and others struggle to define it, because they have never felt it.”

  • Corneliu Zelea Codreanu

#5

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Hobbesian “state of nature”:

Before the state men lived in a state of nature where man was at war with all other men.

Schmitt’s “concept of the political”:

When men come together and form a state it is a unity against all other men.

Weberian concept of the state:

He who holds the monopoly of force is sovereign.

Scarcity:

Land and natural resources are scarce. States are in competition over land and resources.

If you accept the above then obviously nationalism is the conclusion. Agree? Disagree? Any thoughts?[/quote]

Nationalism has been the most powerful geopolitical force of the modern era. However, the European Union is an interesting counter example to nationalism. A continent once synonymous with power politics and Realpolitik has managed to transcend the security dilemma and function as a mature common security community. National identities still exist, but a higher sense of being European is palatable. We will see if it endures. [/quote]

It will never endure because the EU is an internationalist, utopian and pluralist conception. Globalism is an ideology that is at war with human nature itself.

“Before the camps, I regarded the existence of nationality as something that shouldn’t be noticed - nationality did not really exist, only humanity. But in the camps one learns: if you belong to a successful nation you are protected and you survive. If you are part of universal humanity - too bad for you.”

  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

[/quote]

While the EU isn’t perfect by any stretch, it seems to be the display of progression.

When you think of a state of nature how does it progress? It seems to go from individual to family, to down, to city, to state, to multi state, to nation. Maybe the next step in this progression is some sort of Union that is respectful of national culture and all that?

It isn’t necessarily logical that it stops at a certain point. The extra rhetoric is purely based on fear.


#6

If internationalism goes against human nature, so does nationalism. In most of Our existence as a species we lived in Groups of roughly fourty individuals and that may still linger within us and are responsible for making larger collectives a difficult task. My point is that the nation state is as much in conflict With Our supposed nature as internationalism is. However a Return to the tribal structure of the paleolithic is impossible or if possible would mean the Death to billions. Therefor we must try to make the best of Our national and international community.


#7

[quote]Severiano wrote:

While the EU isn’t perfect by any stretch, it seems to be the display of progression.

[/quote]

Yes it is. But internationalism is crazy because:

  1. It can never be achieved - it’s a utopian concept.

  2. Trying to achieve it would be extremely dangerous.

  3. If it could be achieved it would be a nightmare - a tyrannical global government.

Individual > family > tribe > village > city state > nation state

It doesn’t end at nation state. Nations are in a state of perpetual war.

It’s neither desirable nor achievable.

[quote]
It isn’t necessarily logical that it stops at a certain point. The extra rhetoric is purely based on fear. [/quote]

It’s not that it stops; it’s that to continue would require the subjugation of other states - empires are not built with states voluntarily ceding their sovereignty. The progression from city state to nation state involved subjugation.


#8

[quote]florelius wrote:
If internationalism goes against human nature, so does nationalism. In most of Our existence as a species we lived in Groups of roughly fourty individuals and that may still linger within us and are responsible for making larger collectives a difficult task. My point is that the nation state is as much in conflict With Our supposed nature as internationalism is. However a Return to the tribal structure of the paleolithic is impossible or if possible would mean the Death to billions. Therefor we must try to make the best of Our national and international community. [/quote]

There is no “international community” - a “community” requires a civil society.


#9

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]florelius wrote:
If internationalism goes against human nature, so does nationalism. In most of Our existence as a species we lived in Groups of roughly fourty individuals and that may still linger within us and are responsible for making larger collectives a difficult task. My point is that the nation state is as much in conflict With Our supposed nature as internationalism is. However a Return to the tribal structure of the paleolithic is impossible or if possible would mean the Death to billions. Therefor we must try to make the best of Our national and international community. [/quote]

There is no “international community” - a “community” requires a civil society.[/quote]

What do you mean by “civil society”? By which I mean, what is your definition of civil society? I believe that I agree with florelius’s general point here, but not the larger point–internationalism is not desirable.

However I also think it is very possible. I disagree with you there, throughout history there were people who said, with every reasonable case study in history to THAT POINT, that city-states (or even large tribes), were the largest possible community of people. Until someone united the tribes, or merged the city-states, they would have laughed at the possibility of a larger organization at that point in history for many of the same reasons you posted (except with much less refined language due to the Hobbesian/Lockean/etc. theories being nonexistent yet)


#10

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

What do you mean by “civil society”? By which I mean, what is your definition of civil society?
[/quote]

This is a difficult question because I see the civil society as something far deeper than the generally understood definition. In general the “civil society” refers to those non-governmental institutions that hold the community together - especially the church and cultural institutions. It also encompasses a shared set of norms and values and a common identity and purpose. It also implies “civic virtue” - people held together by an interest in the common good. The civil society is parochial in nature because it entails a collection of people who actually know each other personally, are involved in each other’s lives and therefore have some level of genuine affection - think of a town in the old west.

If you want to understand the civil society think of what would be left if the state - government institutions - were taken away. Would there still be a community? Or is the state the only thing that was binding people together?

[quote]

I believe that I agree with florelius’s general point here, but not the larger point–internationalism is not desirable.

However I also think it is very possible. I disagree with you there, throughout history there were people who said, with every reasonable case study in history to THAT POINT, that city-states (or even large tribes), were the largest possible community of people. Until someone united the tribes, or merged the city-states, they would have laughed at the possibility of a larger organization at that point in history for many of the same reasons you posted (except with much less refined language due to the Hobbesian/Lockean/etc. theories being nonexistent yet)[/quote]

It’s possible as either an empire or a confederation of nation states - but it’s not possible as a genuine community based upon a civil society. GK Chesterton explained it well:

“The only purely popular government is local, and founded on local knowledge. The citizens can rule the city because they know the city; but it will always be an exceptional sort of citizen who has or claims the right to rule over ten cities, and these remote and altogether alien cities…To make all politics cosmopolitan is to create an aristocracy of globe-trotters. If your political outlook really takes in the Cannibal Islands, you depend of necessity upon a superior and picked minority of the people who have been to the Cannibal Islands; or rather of the still smaller and more select minority who have come back.”


#11

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

I believe that I agree with florelius’s general point here, but not the larger point–internationalism is not desirable.

However I also think it is very possible. I disagree with you there, throughout history there were people who said, with every reasonable case study in history to THAT POINT, that city-states (or even large tribes), were the largest possible community of people. Until someone united the tribes, or merged the city-states, they would have laughed at the possibility of a larger organization at that point in history for many of the same reasons you posted (except with much less refined language due to the Hobbesian/Lockean/etc. theories being nonexistent yet)[/quote]

It’s possible as either an empire or a confederation of nation states - but it’s not possible as a genuine community based upon a civil society. GK Chesterton explained it well:

“The only purely popular government is local, and founded on local knowledge. The citizens can rule the city because they know the city; but it will always be an exceptional sort of citizen who has or claims the right to rule over ten cities, and these remote and altogether alien cities…To make all politics cosmopolitan is to create an aristocracy of globe-trotters. If your political outlook really takes in the Cannibal Islands, you depend of necessity upon a superior and picked minority of the people who have been to the Cannibal Islands; or rather of the still smaller and more select minority who have come back.”
[/quote]

Chesterton is one of my favorites.

The EU is closer to a confederation of nation-states. However, based on your definition of civil society I don’t think anything larger than a small (very small) town can fit it. Therefore it follows that your comments on internationalism (being implied contrast to your known statements and opinion on the desirability of nationalism) are not sound. If internationalism fails for the lack of civil society, so does nationalism. Hell, so does a populous state in this Union. I think your definition is too narrow and flawed.


#12

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

I believe that I agree with florelius’s general point here, but not the larger point–internationalism is not desirable.

However I also think it is very possible. I disagree with you there, throughout history there were people who said, with every reasonable case study in history to THAT POINT, that city-states (or even large tribes), were the largest possible community of people. Until someone united the tribes, or merged the city-states, they would have laughed at the possibility of a larger organization at that point in history for many of the same reasons you posted (except with much less refined language due to the Hobbesian/Lockean/etc. theories being nonexistent yet)[/quote]

It’s possible as either an empire or a confederation of nation states - but it’s not possible as a genuine community based upon a civil society. GK Chesterton explained it well:

“The only purely popular government is local, and founded on local knowledge. The citizens can rule the city because they know the city; but it will always be an exceptional sort of citizen who has or claims the right to rule over ten cities, and these remote and altogether alien cities…To make all politics cosmopolitan is to create an aristocracy of globe-trotters. If your political outlook really takes in the Cannibal Islands, you depend of necessity upon a superior and picked minority of the people who have been to the Cannibal Islands; or rather of the still smaller and more select minority who have come back.”
[/quote]

Chesterton is one of my favorites.

The EU is closer to a confederation of nation-states. However, based on your definition of civil society I don’t think anything larger than a small (very small) town can fit it. Therefore it follows that your comments on internationalism (being implied contrast to your known statements and opinion on the desirability of nationalism) are not sound. If internationalism fails for the lack of civil society, so does nationalism. Hell, so does a populous state in this Union. I think your definition is too narrow and flawed.[/quote]

This would be true if I was arguing that the nation state is formed around the civil society. But it’s not. The nation state is formed around a common destiny - nationalism is a spiritual community.


#13

What if internationalism, by attempting to group all men together, hence creating a situation where each man opposes all others, brings us back to the Hobbesian state of nature?


#14

[quote]NickViar wrote:
What if internationalism, by attempting to group all men together, hence creating a situation where each man opposes all others, brings us back to the Hobbesian state of nature?[/quote]

The “state of nature” is really a rhetorical device for understanding the nature of man and the political. Mankind was never that atomised in reality. Mammals rear their young so they form families or packs - primitive man formed tribal based societies. These still exist today in many parts of the world.

What would an attempt at internationalism bring about? It depends how it is attempted. Voluntary alliances of nation states like the EU will just fall apart like we are seeing now. The nation states in such unions do not have a shared destiny. If it was tried by force? Then it would resemble an empire and history abounds with examples of what happens to empires - they rise and fall. The first conqueror who actually articulated a desire to actually conquer the entire earth was Alexander. He was actually insane - his army finally realised this when he ordered them to cross the Ganges and take on Magadha’s army of 200,000 infantry, 80000 cavalry, 8000 chariots and 6000 war elephants.


#15

“As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was â?¢thirty-two furlongs, its depth â?¢a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-atâ??arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants. And there was no boasting in these reports. For Androcottus, who reigned there not long afterwards, made a present to Seleucus of five hundred elephants, and with an army of six hundred thousand men overran and subdued all India.”

–Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “Life of Alexander”


#16

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
The “state of nature” is really a rhetorical device for understanding the nature of man and the political. Mankind was never that atomised in reality. Mammals rear their young so they form families or packs - primitive man formed tribal based societies. These still exist today in many parts of the world.

What would an attempt at internationalism bring about? It depends how it is attempted. Voluntary alliances of nation states like the EU will just fall apart like we are seeing now. The nation states in such unions do not have a shared destiny. If it was tried by force? Then it would resemble an empire and history abounds with examples of what happens to empires - they rise and fall. The first conqueror who actually articulated a desire to actually conquer the entire earth was Alexander. He was actually insane - his army finally realised this when he ordered them to cross the Ganges and take on Magadha’s army of 200,000 infantry, 80000 cavalry, 8000 chariots and 6000 war elephants. [/quote]

In other words, attempts at internationalism will have the same fate as every other attempt at world domination. Voluntary alliances will certainly fall apart, because they are voluntary, so that is what should happen to them. Empires, including the most successful and best disguised in history, the United States of America, will always eventually fall. I think all attempts at worldwide control will eventually result in a number of small, independent nations/states/republics. Of course, one or more of those will eventually once again become an empire(or, at least, attempt to become one).


#17

^^Yep. Although I wouldn’t really call America a “disguised empire” - America has allies not vassal states.