October 11, 2005

The war between white culture and white nationalism

To follow up on my citizenist critique of white nationalism, let me discuss further why one of the practical problems with the white nationalist movement is that white nationalists unavoidably but unproductively spend a lot of their energy arguing with each other over is: Who is white? The persistence of this question for them turns out to be not a technical problem, but a fundamental one for their whole project.

While ethnocentrism is a natural inclination, converting it into a formal political ideology requires defining the "ethny" that one is ethnocentric about. The problem for American white nationalist intellectuals is that in America over the centuries, this has kept changing, broadening.

And the reason for that goes to the core of white American culture, which primarily has its roots in Northwestern Europe and its distinctive culture of individualism, nuclear families, and the freedom to marry your true love.

The Washington Post reports:

When the Family Went Nuclear

Why, it seems like only yesterday that large extended families lived together and shared their lives from cradle to grave, men ruled their households with an iron fist and everyone got married young to spouses selected by their parents.

Dream on, says Arland D. Thornton, a University of Michigan sociology professor. In Western Europe, those family structures were as dead as the dodo centuries before the last dodo died, Thornton claims in his new book, Reading History Sideways: The Fallacy and Enduring Impact of the Developmental Paradigm on Family Life (University of Chicago Press).

Many key characteristics of the "modern" family make their appearance as early as the 1300s -- during the Middle Ages, a time more closely associated with intrigues in Europe's royal courts than with the emergence of the nuclear family. He says this era saw the appearance in northwest Europe of small parent-child families, weakened family ties, independent teenagers and marriages between men and women who had chosen each other.

In contrast, in much of the non-European world, the ethnies are dramatically more stable because of arranged marriages. For example, a few hundred Samaritans, good, bad, and indifferent, are still around after 2000 years, living on two hilltops in the Middle East. Why, like so many other Middle Eastern groups, have the Samaritans managed to survive as a distinctive people? Because they don't have the freedom to marry their true loves. If a Samaritan girl falls in love with a Druze boy, well, tough, she can't marry him. The same for the Druze boy. Their personal happiness doesn't count compared to the perpetuation of their sharply-defined ethnies.

This clear-cut ethnic distinctiveness makes ethnocentrism a terrifically effective political organizing principle in the Middle East. For example, Druze nationalism is so strong that that Druze in Lebanon, in effect, went to war with the United States of America in 1983. Remember when our U.S.S. New Jersey battleship was shelling Druze villages? Eventually, Reagan decided our whole involvement with all these various groups of Lebanese crazies was just as nuts as they were, and so he got our troops out of Lebanon.

And that points out a big problem for American white nationalists: white Americans don't want to act like the rest of the world, as the white nationalists advise them to, they want to act like white Americans. They don't want to subordinate their individual freedom to their extended families, they want to marry whom they want to marry and then focus on their nuclear families rather than their extended families. They want the law to treat people not as members of an ethny or extended family but as individual and equal citizens under the law.

That's why citizenism embodies white American culture far better than white nationalism does.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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