Directly parallel to what is described as currently happening in The Balk, and starkly contrary to what some thinkers enamored of slow cultural change wishfully propose, this article discusses people voting, balkanizing, and seceding with their feet.
by Ryan Andrews
Published on Alternative Right.
I’ve always tried to make the case that as far as ideals go, White (flight) nationalism is a good one, and White Imperium-ism (whether it be the European Imperium ideal, or any other variant of intra-white universalisms) is a bad one. Here though, I limit my argument to the practical advantages of “White flight nationalism.” Pro-White Imperium essays are usually infused with the slightly shrill and insistent tone of idealism infused with ideology. A less-kind reviewer might call it an emotional tone, but the actual arguments are practical appeals. If practicality is the territory on which they are most comfortable fighting, so be it.
As a practical matter, the issue essentially boils down to a simple trade-off between internal security and external security: the white flight ethnostate(s), without question, offers greater internal security; whereas Trey Knickerbocker’s Reconquista-of-all-of-America ideal, if it could be realized, would theoretically offer greater external security. Being smaller in size and population, the white flight ethnostate would presumably be at least somewhat more vulnerable to external aggression. On the plus side, the white flight ethnostate would have a self-selected population, making it less likely that it will lapse away from ethnonationalism. Manifest Destiny 2.0 would be a superpower, but the White population would not be self-selected at all. And of course, they would have to figure out what to do with the 135 million non-whites (and counting) who are already in the country.
Knickerbocker offers three inter-related rationales for a Euro-American Imperium. (1) We can’t run away because non-whites are going to follow us wherever we go. (2) Therefore we must retake all of North America. (3) Knickerbocker is an old-stock Dutch New Yorker (if only there were some subtle way he could wear this identity on his sleeve, or on his breeches), and given his long familial connection to the area, he refuses to cede it to non-Whites—or for that matter, non-White nationalists. This cursory outline provides all the information needed to realize we’re dealing with a paranoid and quixotic worldview. This unhealthy state-of-mind is endemic on the Right, and is the driving force behind White Imperium-ism.
If non-whites are determined to follow us wherever we go anyways (which is questionable, to say the least), then what difference does it make what we do? This is where the military conquest rationale enter into things. We are going to have to stand and fight, Knickerbocker claims, and presumably, he assumes that we will be in a better position to win that fight as a larger country.
Would we really be in such a better position though (assuming we can even manage to obtain such a position? Should we really take it as a given that a country of 20 million self-selected white nationalists would be in a worse position to defend itself than a country of 190 million whites, tens of millions† of whom will oppose their own government? And remember, we only get to that country of 190 million whites after forcibly removing 135 million people, a feat—thankfully, frankly—which has never before been accomplished in the history of the world. Such a process would likely be one of the most brutal undertakings in human history—how many millions more whites would lose their nerve along the way?
If by some miracle a white nationalist superstate did emerge in North America, the regime would forever be on the knife’s edge, as the country would always have a large minority of dissidents. Even I would oppose such a regime (there may be scenarios in which I would support such a regime, but they are difficult to imagine). Undoubtably, many of you will say I’m being a “cuck,” but consider that I am willing to go further than 99.99% of whites. If even an irredeemable “racist” like me is not willing to follow you, then how can you realistically expect to rally a majority to your side, and then to keep them there beyond a generation or two? Clearly, it is not just the 135 million that will have to be disposed of.
I argue that the smaller, but more unified, ethnostate would be in a better position to defend itself, especially because the war against our existence is probably not going to be an actual shooting war. Only a generation ago, South Africa was not just a white nationalist state, it was also essentially a modern day Sparta, and almost universally condemned by the outside world. But were they invaded? No. Their enemies fought them ideologically and with economic sanctions. That is the kind of opposition which we should expect a white ethnostate to face. And I think that a self-selected population—a determined population who knows what they’re getting themselves into—would obviously be best positioned to resist those sorts of attacks.
I suppose Knickerbocker and other European Imperium-ists/White unionists would answer that if the ethno-empire were large enough, it would not be vulnerable to economic sanctions. At this point, it becomes clear that White unionists are setting-us-up to repeat the mistakes that have brought so many imperial regimes to ruin. In a sense, this paranoid expand-or-die mindset is what got us here in the first place. At root, empires are forged for the sake of security. Many imperialists may be motivated by the promise of riches, but empire can only be a means to riches if it provides security.
In pursuit of this supposed security, whites have repeatedly bitten-off more than they could chew, have imagined themselves too big for their knickerbockers. Millions of the non-Whites in Western Europe today are a direct result of White conquest. And in the United States too, we have collected Filipinos, Vietnamese, and Iraqis as a result of our military adventures. White Imperium-ists constantly complain that our race is not hard-hearted enough toward the racial other, and yet, they insist on once again putting putting us in the kind of situations where our supposed altruistic nature can be most easily exploited by our enemies.
Even if we assume away all these moving parts, White Imperium-ists’ rationales are classic militant paranoia. We’ve seen this mindset at work throughout history, and it always ends in disaster. The militantly paranoid mindset is basically Schmittianism on autism. (I regret that I have to counter-signal Schmittian autistés; some of my favorite people are Schmittian autistés, and I hope we can still be friends.) This mindset sees enemies, lethal enemies, everywhere; everyone who’s not us is out to get us. If we don’t conquer them, they’ll conquer us! So the answer is always conquest, and then more conquest. We’ll never be safe unless we keep conquering.
The results of this thought process in action are predictable enough. The first thing that happens is that most of the sane countries get spooked by your aggression, and so they form an alliance against you. This makes you even more paranoid. Inevitably, there is war, lots of war, in which you overextend yourself and/or find yourself fighting an enemy that vastly outnumbers you, and you lose everything. Afterwards, you muse that if only you had shown more restraint, moved slower and consolidated your position, things might have gone differently. But the militantly paranoid do not have it in their nature to demonstrate self-restraint, because in their mind, the enemy always one second away from attacking, thus they must always be on the offensive.
The militantly paranoid mindset led to Louis XIV, forever scarred by the threat to his throne as a boy, plunging his country into endless war and economic ruin, setting the stage for the overthrow of his ancient line. It led to Emperor Napoleon living out his days as a prisoner in the middle of the Atlantic. And it led to Nazi Germany, whose example has done more damage to the White nationalist cause than any other event in world history.
In addition to his general barbarity (most of the victims of which were white), Hitler also just didn’t know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Already at war and in a stalemate with the largest empire in the history of the world, Hitler decided the time was right to attack the largest country in the history of the world (which opened up another war front). To him, communism was a mortal threat. If he didn’t stab them in the back, they would stab him. And because he was allied with an imperial Japanese regime that was just as reckless as him, before long he was also at war with the largest industrial power in the history of the world. A few years later, Germany was a smoldering ruins. Before the war, Germans saw their country as surrounded by enemies. After the war, those enemies were inside their country, ruling it at gunpoint. All these generations later, and Germans have still not recovered from their psychological war guilt.
In practice, the logic of the White Imperium ideal would almost certainly lead to reckless militarism. Ironically, past regimes who have followed this path have brought about their own destruction. Ideologically as well, theirs is the same argument that has been failing for the better part of a century. And again, this is because they’re trying to bite-off more than they can chew.
I know they’ve adopted a less-defensive and more grandiose tone than the white nationalism of the recent past, and along these lines, they’ve strung a bunch of ideological non sequiturs together—they favor scientific discovery, preserving the natural world, and a beautiful future, and other bold initiatives. The actual White nationalism part of what they offer is the same thing we’ve been hearing for as long as White nationalism has existed: The West, all of it, must be White because it is our home, and racial fellow-feeling is natural and good. Plus, non-whites will probably screw up the place, being as they are so dumb and violent.
The only difference European/White Imperium has with basic White nationalism is their idea of transcending “petty nationalism,” but what this really amounts to is a doubling down on a failed White nationalism. Basic White nationalism says all White countries should remain White; White Imperium says that all White nations should remain White, and merge into one country, or at least form some sort of closer connection to one another (their doctrine is still somewhat vague).
Which is exactly the wrong direction to take things. Basic White nationalism was not flawed because their vision was too small, their problem was that their vision was too big, and White Imperium’s is even bigger. Both ideologies depend on a nearly universal sense of inherited nationalism. Both assume that White nationalism can be restored as the default opinion of the overwhelming majority of whites, which is only possible in a world where inherited nationalism is dominant. Unfortunately for them, the logic of the society is drifting away from a structure of inherited identities, which includes inherited nationalism. As I wrote a few months ago:
“It is not as though people no longer desire to be part of a community; what’s changed is that people now choose their communities, instead of simply inheriting them. In other words, their communities and identities are elective….
Anyone with the least skill for prognostication can see that the future will bring ever greater individual choice. We already see it in every aspect of society. The audience shares of the ‘Big Three’ networks are a fraction of what they once were, because now we have hundreds of channels that cater to every niche. Every broad-based institution is less-broad than it was a few generations ago. Fewer boys are Boy Scouts, fewer people go to their high school reunions, or go to the Homecoming game, or to church….
The White Nationalist consensus was only possible because it was the only thing Whites had ever known.
In hindsight, we can see that the White Nationalism of many of yesterday’s Westerners went no deeper than status quo bias….
Multiculturalism/multiracialism is an ideology, yes, but it is also [now] an objective fact of the world. And the factors that make it so—economic globalization and modern ease of travel and communication—are not going away….
Yes, it is true that until sixty years ago or so, ‘almost all whites agreed with us,’ as Jared Taylor likes to say. But that was only because “White Nationalism” was the only reality they had ever known. Westerners of a century ago lived in nations that had been overwhelming White for as long as they had been nations. It may be said that this fact can be its own justification, and it was for most people at that time, but this is a different time. Racial diversity is no longer a hypothetical ideology, but an objective fact.”
The White Imperium interpretation of all this is simply that the world is getting smaller. And so the nations of the Western world increasingly share a common experience, including common racial problems. Europeans are “coming together,” as Richard Spencer says. And so Whites should overcome “petty nationalism” and come together as one people. The problem with the analysis is that while it is true that the nations of the Western world (and much of the rest of the world too) have more and more in common with each other, the individuals within any given nation have less and less in common with each other.
So White Imperium-ists are not preaching a straightforward vision of turning-back-the-clock, but they may as well be, because their idea would require us to reverse irreversible civilizational trends. The European Imperium model assumes these trends are the products of a wrong-headed ideology and/or a wicked, anti-white ideology and/or tragic miscalculations. They are wrong. This is not liberalism vs communism. The atomization of society and the shift from inherited identities to elective identities are extremely deep structural trends, so deep in fact that they are probably the inevitable results of civilization itself.
We can’t win the future by fighting the current of history. One of the primary reasons that ‘politics is broken’ is that societal consensus is broken. And the reason for this is that we live in an age of elective identities, but our states are holdovers from the era of inherited identities. If the logic of history is moving toward elective identities, then nationalists should move toward a model of elective nationalism. For White nationalists, this means moving to a “White flight nationalism.” Whereas the ideology of White Imperium attempts to reimpose a set of wants from the past, elective nationalism satisfies the wants of the future.
†According to the results of the American National Election Studies 2016 pilot study, around 35% of whites rate their racial identity as either not important at all or only a little important. Now, that is a minority, but that’s a pretty damn big minority. When a third of your population feels little or no loyalty to the state’s foundational creed, I’d say your not off to a good start.
I think it is fairly uncontroversial and commonsensical to observe that people like us with a very strong racial identitarian inclination are a minority, and people with no racial fellow-feeling at all are a minority. And most people are in between somewhere. The question is how far do you want to push your luck?
Ryan Andrews is the author of The Birth of Prudence, which was published by VDare.