White Nationalists should be ethnonationalists, and ethnonationalists should be for ethnonationalism. I don’t say this to be glib and uncompromising, but because I believe it to be a truth that we ignore at our own peril. Many among us, particularly at Radix, seem to be drifting toward the idea of a European Imperium as a more realistic and more effectual vehicle for White preservation than ethnonationalism. This is a philosophical and tactical mistake.

Perhaps the greatest tactical mistake with this idea is that it is a philosophical mistake. The best strategy for ideological success is to have an attractive ideology, and ethnonationalism is far more idealistic, and more logically sound, than the idea of a European Imperium. Indeed, the European Imperium idea, as outlined thus far, is essentially a strategy, not an ideal. And an overemphasis on strategy at this point is to put the horse before the cart. It is little use building castles in the sky, if you haven’t yet convinced enough people of the necessity of building real castles. At this time, we should be building and refining our ideology, arguing why our vision is superior to the current Western consensus.

There is, of course, virtual total consensus in the West, at least among its political nations. In every Western country, and many others besides, the reigning ideology is a combination of Liberalism/Libertarianism/Libertinism; they vary only in their relative emphasis on these points. If the natural desire of man is, and ought to be, the desire to perpetuate himself, the modern West has decided that the best means to this is freedom. Allow the individual the freedom to pursue his unique vision of the Good; the state exists merely to safeguard this natural right of all people; the politics of the state is no more than the means of deciding how much government is needed to protect and promote freedom. What could be a happier arrangement? The problem though, is that perpetuation of the self is dependent on others; with every man as an island, no one is able to perpetuate himself. The paradox is that if freedom is the ends, it empties all meaning from freedom as a means, and vice versa.

The most obvious, and to me, most persuasive, counter to this is Particularism, one form of which, is ethnonationalism. Particularism, in my formulation, is the idea that the state ought to be the citizen writ large. The state’s role is to protect the life and property of the citizen, yes, but it ought to do more than allow the citizen to perpetuate himself, it ought to part of that perpetuation. If individuality is to be prized in people, why not apply this principle to the state? The state, more than any other institution, is capable of perpetuating an idea and a community.

To the ethnonationalist, the state should be a means of genetic perpetuation, the state as a large family. He may also believe—this one does—that, all else being equal, the more genetically similar the citizens of a state are to one another, the more likely their notions of the Good are to be similar to one another’s, and so the more likely they are to be pulling-in-the-same-direction. Other Particularists may wish for a state organized around religious or ideological principles, or some combination of these.

A European Imperium is a degradation of the Particularist and the ethnonationalist principle. Race would not have to be the only principle underlaying it, granted, but a gathering-in of Whites in one super-state, by definition limits Whites’ societal potentialities—one European Imperium must be either democratic or not; it cannot be both a confessional state and an officially atheist state; it cannot be both Socialist and Libertarian. A genetic Particularist principle is honorable, but it is not reason enough to deny all other Particularism. Europe has been well-served by its division; the genius realized in the city-states of ancient Greece and of Renaissance Italy puts to shame all other eras of Mediterranean history, and it sure is not for a lack of competition.

European Imperium advocates claim that the current and future nations of Europe could continue their separate existences within the new Euro-Empire, while simultaneously arguing that the ethnonationalist ideal is dangerous because it has the potential for infinite regress. I answer that, in general, if a people feel strongly enough about their nationhood to demand a state, they should have a state; if the existing state opposes it, let it make its case. Ultimately, the preservation of a state always depends on the people, or at least the right people, accepting its legitimacy. Of course, realpolitik will interfere, it always does. And if imperial Europe is to remain a Europe of nations, what is the purpose of Empire?

Security of course. Stated, but never argued, is the belief that the preservation of the White race as a whole is so much more important than “petty nationalism,” that all White nations should relinquish their sovereignty to a central authority, The White Power, I suppose we could call it. The actual argument for the European Imperium—betraying an unappealing taint of paranoia—is that if this central government had enough power vis-à-vis the nations, it could prevent destructive “civil wars,” and in general, keep everyone inline, and on message. And so we are that much less likely to destroy ourselves. It’s clearly true, but is it worth it?

No. For one thing, small states have never been more physically secure than they are now. If tomorrow, Denmark decides to pursue a blatant and aggressive “Whitening” social program, no foreign tanks will come to try to stop her. As long as the policy does not involve expulsion (or worse) under armed force, the Danes will have little more to fear but light economic sanctions, and increased NGO meddling. The same goes for Iceland, or Liechtenstein.

Still worse, European Imperium would simply exchange one Western consensus for another. In my opinion, it would be a better one, but I also think that fact of a consensus itself, at least so comprehensive a consensus, is part of the problem.

The European Imperium is a powerful ideal that can inspire both the most simple, and the most sophisticated White Nationalist. Distilling the focal point of national identity down (and at the same time, up) to the level of race has a certain scientific, while at the same time, romantic, and commonsense truth. It is one of those rare simplifications that impart a fuller, deeper understanding.

To go all the way though, would be to lose too much in the bargain. The state is potentially the most effective means of perpetuating the community, and the community is the only means of perpetuating values. The role of the state, again, aside from protecting its people, should be the cultivation of particular aspects of the human spirit. The fundamental premise of my Particularist Nationalism is my belief that there are many aspects of that spirit that are worth cultivating, many even, that may all exist under the banner of White Nationalism. And the demands of a European Imperium would put unacceptable limits on this. I would support the creation of a state with a purely “Whitemanistan” ideology, but it should not be the only option for Whites, or even for White nationalists. I mentioned the ancient Greeks earlier; they believed deeply in the ideal of the city-state, but they felt just as deeply about their civilizational identity. As for so many other things (for example, their combination of a sophisticated awareness with a primal sense of identity), their example should be the model.

Ryan Andrews is the author of The Birth of Prudence.