Adam T.C. Wallace has a piece up at West Coast Reactionaries critical of the tendency of various racialists and nationalists to reduce every problem to biology and demographics. For this crowd, racial and ethnic purification and homogenization are seemingly not just the supreme, but the only goal of Rightist politics. Moral decay, family and community dysfunction, breakdown and disintegration, and pervasive individualism and materialism all disappear from view, and the politics of renewal understood as little more than some kind of bio-demographic laundry day where we’ll wash and scrub all the foreign dirt from our whites and be done with it. But moral and social decay, argues Adam, are what led to the debacle of uncontrolled migration in the first place, and the racialists who relegate these factors to secondary considerations- where they take notice of them at all- are left in the same position as somebody blaming the snow for bringing the winter:

Focusing just upon the “biology” is to put the cart before the horse. Racial purity is firstly a consequence, secondly a cause. Without entering a “chicken and the egg” scenario, of course, healthy social traditions when confined to one group will carry-forth with the physical offspring of said group, but it’s morality which safeguards this.

I shall say, in light of this highly suggestive piece, that racialism, in its iterations from the eugenics movements of the early 20th c. to the “White nationalism” of today, itself forms part of the very same syndrome of Modernist folly and pathology that gave us the open-border and population-replacement programme to begin with.

Modern racialism must be rigorously distinguished from “tribalism”, with which it is often confused. The diffuse distrust of outsiders characteristic of “tribalism” flows from the internal fellow-feeling of solidarity that obtains between concrete individual members of a concrete social group in their immediate personal ties to one another and the group as a whole, which ties are under-girded and sustained by sentiment (love, care, and affection) and obligation (honour, loyalty, devotion, piety, sacrifice, etc.). Once again, these sentiments and obligations are strictly personal and particularistic; the distrust and hostility a true tribesman feels towards outsiders are directed against any and all outsiders, against anybody one isn’t related to or didn’t grow up with in the same neighbourhood or town, regardless of race or nationality. Indeed, with respect to the latter, in both past and present tribalism and particularism are among the biggest obstacles to the rise of the nation-State; nation building cannot proceed but to the extent that local, personal, and particular ties to family, lord, neighbours, village, and so on are erased and the isolated individual recast as a citizen, and his loyalties and sentiments exclusively reassigned to the nation-State.

It must be rigorously emphasized that the nation-State to which the ex-tribal, newly-minted citizen owes allegiance is not a new tribe on a bigger scale; it is something altogether qualitatively different: The members of the tribe are heterogeneous inasmuch as they occupy different positions in an internally differentiated hierarchy (e.g. husband, wife, and child in the family; priest, lord, and farmer in the village), each of which carries with it a unique set of personal obligations and sentiments (e.g. children ought to obey and feel reverence for their father, who ought to provide for and feel kindness towards them in turn). None of the differentiated and heterogeneous social roles in the hierarchy can exist except in relation to the others, both by definition (it makes no sense to speak of a father without children)  and as a practical matter (children can’t survive without their father); the mutual dependence between its non-interchangeable and indispensable individual members is a key mechanism of tribal solidarity.

If the tribe, considered as a hierarchy of heterogeneous, non-interchangeable individuals in personal relations of mutual dependence and reciprocal obligation and affection, is to be broken down as a primary focus of allegiance, then the citizenry forged out of its ashes is a set of isolated, equal, and homogeneous individual atoms who are interchangeable and dispensable, and have no direct ties or personal obligations to one another. Whatever obligation the citizen can be said to owe another is discharged impersonally and indirectly, i.e. it assumes the role of an obligation to the State: instead of feeling obliged, out of fellowship, to directly help out my neighbour if he loses his job, I have a standing legal obligation to pay taxes so that the State can run a welfare program from which my neighbour, in turn, can draw benefits.

And it is not only the citizen’s obligations towards his fellows that are impersonal, but his obligations towards the State as well- since State and Nation are impersonal and fictive abstractions, which concretely exist, respectively, only as a monopoly of legitimate physical violence and the administration of justice over a territory, and as the sum total of isolated, equal, and homogeneous individuals within that territory. It follows that my obligations towards the State as a citizen of Canada assume the form, not of  rendering personal homage, obeisance, and service to the Queen, but of regularly sending tax checks to the pertinent faceless bureaucracy, obeying various impersonal rules and regulations made without reference to anyone in particular (“the rule of law and not men”), and otherwise doing my “civic duty” by myself and on my own time. The focus of my sentiments and affection, likewise, is directed not to concrete persons, but to abstractions in the form of symbols such as the flag, to nationalistic slogans (“Canada is the greatest country in the world”), and, importantly, to an abstract official national ideology, namely Liberalism (“Canada is great because it is a Parliamentary Democracy in which the Constitution guarantees Good Government and Equal Rights for All”, and so on).

Modern racialism squarely and inextricably belongs to the national-Statist  tradition, not tribalism. Its stance is not that of a tribesman surly and aloof, and sometimes violent, against strangers, but that of scientific “biopolitics” as analyzed by Foucault: a set of State interventions in the population of individuals within its territory, carried out in order to advance various policy interests and objectives of the State. Since, as we have seen, localism, particularism, and heterogeneity or difference are fundamentally at odds with the nation-State, a standing goal of biopolitics is the normalization, standardization, and homogenization  of the national population. Racial purification is clearly a tactic in this global strategy of normalization-standardization-homogenization; this grand strategy is the true driving force here, not the tribe’s rejection of the outsider.*

The first clue is that racialist discourse always assumes the form of demography and/or epidemiology, which as a matter of method take the individual as their unit of analysis, abstract the concrete social being of the individual in his relations to others away altogether, and otherwise reduce him to a carrier of pertinent statistical variables. In short, this demographico-epidemiological  discourse, at the very level of its conceptual and operational definitions, does not and cannot recognize the existence of the tribe (e.g. ethnic and racial indicators of whatever sort register as the strictly individual traits of a sub-population, which is a statistical aggregate and not a sociological group). It can therefore never be deployed to the benefit of the tribe– since it presumes a liberal State presiding over a national population of rootless individual atoms as its condition of conceivability and hence practical applicability.

The second clue lies in the typical demographico-epidemiological rationale for purity. Where the tribalist says: “this man wasn’t born here, he’s not of my blood, I don’t know him, he has no place here, save perhaps as a guest”, biopolitics reads off a checklist of public-policy negatives for government: the presence of out-group members will cause a rise in national crime, poverty, and unemployment rates, reduce the average IQ, consume too many social services and thus increase expenditures for the State. None of this concerns the tribe, only the State (which, N.B. is avowedly concerned only about statistical incidences and rates, and not at all about the well-being of the actual people behind the stats, e.g. victims of crimes committed by migrants).

Indeed, in this respect a third and perhaps decisive clue is that a common complaint about out-groups in racialist discourse is precisely that those out-groups form tribes: they self-segregate and withdraw into closed and self-sufficient communities, refuse to give up their languages, religions, and customs, and are otherwise “unassimilable” and so threaten to re-introduce particularism, heterogeneity, and mutual dependence in a hierarchy where everybody is supposed to be equal, totally independent of one another and totally dependent on the State (as Rousseau recommended as a democratic ideal), and otherwise act, think, and dress exactly the same. (Lest the last point be taken as mere rhetoric, in Quebec, Canada, just a few years ago a far-Left government tabled legislation to ban women from wearing Islamic headscarves in government buildings, on the grounds that the practice comprises a rejection of feminist gender equalism and official atheism- which, according to the government, are “national” values shared by all Quebecois).

Make no mistake: I am not some kind of Libertarian (an ideology that is foolishly wrong-headed at best and Satanic at worst), and nor am I virtue-signaling for some anti-racist agenda (I’m racist ten times over by present definitions and proud of it, albeit admittedly a bit lackadaisical about it). What I’m concerned to do here is to warn against an ideological Trojan Horse of Liberalism/Modernism that would have the militants of the Right unwittingly serve as unpaid agents of the very order they’re striving to bring down. By all means: Do what you can to rebuild community, morality, and tribe; and defend it by any means necessary against strangers threatening to do it harm. But let the Liberal nation-State fight its own battles, and hire its own social hygienists to advise it in that fight, which does not concern the Right. For the nation is not your tribe, and the State not your chieftain. Arguments against open-borders and uncontrolled borders, where made, should always be based on explicitly moral criteria such as blood, soil, and belonging, and not public-health, criminological, fiscal, or other considerations proper to the nation-State and its agents.

*Note that the multi-culti, open-borders immigration line, while ostensibly the radical antithesis of racialism, is simply the other end of one and the same biopolitical pole. Multi-culti does not, in spite of superficial appearances to the contrary, challenge the biopolitical imperative to normalization-standardization-homogenization. Rather, it is explicitly predicated on an assertion of an intrinsic unity and singularity of human being-in-the-world, e.g. “we’re all the same inside” and “all bleed red” no matter where we’re from or what we look like. Accordingly, this discourse always confidently predicts complete assimilation of immigrant populations within a few generations, with any residual cultural or religious differences comprising nothing more than trivial personal tastes and preferences of the otherwise-standardized citizen.


2 thoughts on “Racialism, Tribalism, and the nation-State

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