Abstractions Are a Weak Source of National Identity

Alex Kurtagic has a nice comment at VDARE.com on British PM David Cameron’s multiculturalism-is-a-failure speech. He notes,

A strong national identity is perforce traditionalist, particularist, and inegalitarian. It is dependent on localization, specificity, and uniqueness, as this is stabilized into a tradition over many generations, what differentiates the indigenous from the alien, then native from the foreigner.

A strong national identity, therefore, implies that what is indigenous takes priority over what is alien. It is incompatible with multiculturalism or diversity.

Surprisingly, Gregory Rodriguez, your basic Latino activist as affirmative action op-ed writer with a lofty perch in the mainstream media, makes a complementary point—that the proposition nation idea is not psychologically compelling:

“Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality,” Cameron said, would provide “a clear sense of national identity that is open to everyone,” especially to young Muslims who are caught between cultures.

The only problem is that the freedoms Cameron champions, worthy as they are, hardly constitute firm “roots.” Anglo American liberalism is essentially a collection of abstract ideas, and abstractions simply aren’t as effective as bloodlines and religious ritual when it comes to bringing people together as a nation.


This is the great disaster of the triumph of the culture of critique. In America it was an onslaught against Christianity and against White racial identity as sources of national identity. This attack was led by Jewish intellectual activists, most notably Horace Kallen, but supported by a  phalanx of activist organizations that marched through the institutions, waging war with everything from law suits against expressions of Christianity in the public square to loading up the school curricula with lessons on White guilt. The traditional sources of identity based on race and religion have been thrown aside as unutterable horrors, but the replacements are nothing but abstractions—abstractions that have rendered Western societies defenseless against invasion by every other people on Earth.

The ties that truly bind are the ones that plug into our evolved psychology—our ethnocultural roots built around a healthy ingroup/outgroup psychology attuned to differences in race and religion. Abstractions like freedom and democracy just don’t cut it at the emotional level. It is true that White people, and probably only White people, do get motivated by abstractions. That’s the whole point of the stuff on the WASP tradition.

But I do think that this devotion to abstractions has its limits. It’s one thing to see it in a more or less racially homogeneous society and when you are not personally threatened, but its another thing when its obvious that the abstractions are leading to a nightmare for Whites. Whites are indeed the most individualistic people on Earth but I do think that we will become more group-oriented and less mindlessly principled when the threats are obvious to everyone.

Rodriguez sees the rhetoric of of the proposition nation as masking deeper sources of Western identity:

Here’s the dirty little secret of the Western world: Exalted political ideals notwithstanding, Western democracies have historically fallen back on whatever tribal, racial, ethnic or religious solidarity they can drum up to solidify their identities. France, for instance, had liberte, egalite and fraternite, but what mattered most was the ne plus ultra of ethnic Frenchness. In Britain and the U.S., national unity has been built as much on whiteness as any other factor.

Right, but it’s hardly a dirty little secret. Latinos like Rodriguez are nothing if not deeply ethnocentric themselves, doing whatever they can to get more people like themselves to the US.

The fact is that right now it’s pretty hard to imagine a plea for American national identity couched in terms of Whiteness. But in the end, White Americans still think of the US as a White country even as the reality of their dispossession is becoming more and more apparent. And even though their sense of White racial identity must remain implicit rather than explicit in order to fly under the radar of political correctness.

Legitimizing and mobilizing an explicit sense of  White racial identity is the great challenge of the present.

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