Saturday 7 September 2019

Why nationalism must fail as a right-wing strategy

I've written often over the past decade about why it is a mistake for those in The West who oppose the Left to put their faith in nationalism.

Another reason I have not mentioned directly is a consequence of the universal corruption affecting all large and powerful Western institutions - their loss of specific functions, and their convergence into the single, global totalitarian bureaucracy of New Left Political Correctness.

The problem is simply that the nation is an institution. So, because it is an institution, the nation is Leftist. 

This fact is often missed because the nation is not just an institution; a nation is also (potentially, and to a variable extent) a mystical entity. But it is a mystical entity only insofar as people are able and willing to recognise the reality and importance of mystical entities - which, in the case of modern states, is Hardly At All.

Nationalism was only a strong force in the immediate post-religious generations (from about the middle 19th to 20th centuries) when people were still capable of living by and from mystical beliefs.

But that time is long gone, and mystical nationalism is now far too weak, or non-existent - and what we are left-with is a corrupt, converged national institution, a Leftist national institution.

How can people then realistically hope that nationalism might defeat Leftism? Right-Nationalists are in the position of supporting, trying to build-up and make supreme an institution that solidly and increasingly opposes their goals.

It isn't going to work, is it?

The only genuine possibility, remote and slight though it is; would be a religious revival first, and then (but only then) all kinds of good things become possible.


Francis Berger said...

To say nothing of how quickly and easily supposedly right-wing secular nationalist movements can be derailed if they remain within a democratic framework. And if they do not remain within a democratic framework, they will be derailed by forces beyond their borders through some sort of warfare, be it economic or military.

Your assertion is spot on - any nationalist revival must stem from a sincere and profound religious revival. Having said that, the right kind of religious revival would likely inspire a complete redefinition of what nationalism is and what it encompasses.

Chent said...

You are right, of course. But a religious revival is extremely unlikely. You say despair is a sin and you may be right but it is the only rational position

Bruce Charlton said...

@chent I would call that pessimism - rather than despair. Despair is indeed a sin (because it is to abandon Christian hope) but pessimism is just an expectation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Francis - Yes. Any organisation that is essentially a bureaucracy will be assimilated or destroyed. The answer must come from outside bureaucracy, from the transcendent.

Ingemar said...

Devil's advocate: the nation --is just-- a people who share common ancestry, language, and culture. *The State* is an institution, not the nation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ingemar "a people who share common ancestry, language, and culture"

Why should anyone Care about That?

And if they do, they're fascists.

(Devil's advocate - but its the mainstream - and Establishment - view.)