Imagine being a part of a political movement where Europe was a dirty word.
Imagine being a part of a political movement where Europe was a dirty word.
Where Europeanization was synonymous with socialist tyranny and thrown as an epithet at ideological foes.
Think this sounds idiotic? Welcome to American conservatism.
This is a movement that was battered around Europeanization as a slur during the Obamacare debate and used it to denote the “terror” that will arrive with government-subsidized healthcare.
Here’s Neoconservative gentile Victor Davis Hanson on the perils of Europeanization back in 2009:
I don’t know quite what the allure of Europe is for the American Left. But it seems to be that more of us will soon all be working for the government, habitually striking, hunting out that rare capitalist in hiding for a shake-down, and bitching over our weary 35 hr. work week.
Yet without hardship, challenge, and hope, the individual dies daily. Once the government ensures that all your needs will be taken care of, from your teeth and joints to job and retirement, ennui sets in, and with it the cargo we see in Europe—pacifism, cynicism, the loss of transcendence marked by atheism and childlessness, and worry about what others have rather than what you aspire to…
We can see what Europeanization leads to: you worship at the altar of the goddess Pax, but hate the United States for still having a military that saves postmodern you from premodern others…
Europeanization is so at odds with human nature that it bifurcates it—a false public face, a cynical private one…
In Hanson’s mind, modern Europe stands for “Last Man syndrome” and an unwillingness to fight wars on Tel Aviv’s behalf. America is also the modern Sparta in his mind, and Europeanization would sap our will in the same way Athenization sapped the ancient city-state’s.
Ridiculous . . . but his definition does strikes (in a contrived fashion) at the Last Man that’s created by the triumph of liberalism. It also imagines life that should be lived in struggle and overcoming. The problem is that America hasn’t stood for that for nearly a hundred years, and fighting pointless wars in the Middle East on behalf of liberal democracy doesn’t make us Nova Sparta. Nor is Last Capitalist Man more superior than Last Socialist Man just because he had to buy his own health insurance.
He also echoes Donald Rumsfeld in 2003 when the former Secretary of Defense bashed the European nations that were critical of the Iraq invasion as “Old Europe“—a set of dying nations that have lost their virtu to take down benign dictatorships that keep an unstable region relatively stable.
Since the conservative movement is not known for inventing new ideas and loves reanimating notions from their past (Reagan Forever!), the specter of Europeanization is once again arising in conservative media.
Is it because we aren’t willing to invade Iran? Is it because we want universal healthcare? Or, is it because too many Americans have become overnight soccer fans?
Well, there’s some hand-wringing about the last item, but the new concern for Europeanization is due to a worrying amount of White Americans rising up against mass non-White immigration.
In other words, it’s the leaders of conservatism bashing their own followers.
In a column for the neocon newssite Washington Free Beacon, Editor-in-Chief Matthew Continetti trotted out the old tropes of the feared menace of Europe (socialized healthcare, lack of desire to invade Syria, etc.) before unveiling a new parallel with the Old World that is “not a good one,” in the writer’s opinion:
There was a time when Americans could feel superior to our European allies on matters of immigration and assimilation. That time is passing. With the arrival of the Dreamers the issues of migration, border security, amnesty, and incompetence are refashioning American politics, fracturing allegiances and commitments and social bonds, exposing the contradiction between liberal humanitarianism and national identity, and forging new coalitions, with the elites of both parties on the one hand, and the fading American middle on the other.
One cannot look at the images of protests in Murrietta, California, where demonstrators waving Gadsden Flags stopped school buses carrying the sons and daughters of Guatemala and Honduras to shelters, without recalling the vitriolic debates over busing in the 1970s, without thinking of the anti-immigration marches in Western and Southern Europe today. One cannot look at the images of the children themselves, sleeping in detention, looking vacantly in the distance, lured to this country under false pretenses, desperate for food and shelter and attachment and hope, without remembering the Spanish detention camps in the Canary Islands, or the Italian “Identification and Expulsion Center” in Rome. This isn’t An American Tail. This is Children of Men.
Continetti writes of the rise of populism in Europe with a foreboding and mentions detention camps is an intentional allusion to certain other camps that were created by Europeans … He puts the anti-immigration protesters in Murietta, California, in the same category as Front National and UKIP—which for Continetti is not a comparison made in praise.
But since the Free Beacon has to appeal to the conservative base that has embraced the Murietta protesters, he has to beat around the bush and not openly condemn their actions as an unfortunate outburst of xenophobia. Instead, he appeals to the supposed all-American value of welcoming the stranger and never seeing another group of people as the Other.
Taking a different angle from the goofy Christianity of Glenn Beck (who also called Americans to open up our compassionate arms to these Mayans), this author says that compassion is one of the defining cornerstones of America. We have no defined Others because anyone can become an American. Thus, in the minds of necons like Continetti, opposing these immigrants is a definably un-American act. It is an act only Europeans would do—Whites who have organic national identities and have no problem with identifying another group as the Other.
His article is an expression of what Richard Spencer labeled the “Metapolitics of America.” America began as a project rejecting the traditions and identities of Old Europe. It based itself on the abstract values of the Enlightenment and created documents that declared all men are created equal, with the implication that all men have the ability to become Americans (even though the creators likely didn’t believe in them to their full conclusion).
If you believe in the idea of the compassionate proposition nation, how could you protest these immigrants coming here for a better life?
Of course, there’s a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance in the minds of conservative Americans who still cling to the idea of America, yet are terrified by the changing demographics of the country they love.
This is the mindset of the Murietta protesters and the militias forming to patrol the Texas border. They chant “U! S! A!” and wave the Stars and Stripes and claim authority over the real American legacy. They have no idea that the flag they wave and the country they love hates them and no longer shares the same values they cherish.
As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out, the latest push for global human rights trumps all cultures and tradition–making it clear that the America of today has fully embraced the abstract values of the Enlightenment and wants to disregard the values bequeathed to it by its European heritage. It’s more of a de-Europeanization rather than a Europeanization that’s happening to America. That is why the previous frettings of conservatives were so ridiculous—the great America of yore had a European character and defined itself as so. One example is the vast majority of America supported the Immigration Act of 1924 because it preserved the traditional, Northern European character of this nation. That’s a sign of a Europeanized America (because there’s more to Europe than socialized medicine and great unemployment benefits).
But America has lost any sense of being a White nation and has embraced the promise of becoming the continental, Lockean shopping mall. Both the right, the left, and the leaders and followers of the conservative movement subscribe to this notion and firmly reject Identitarianism. And who can blame them when the founding documents tell them to?
And that is the tragic element of these protests—they’re fighting against the ideas of their own nation. Their nationalism is implicitly White, but it will never progress to White nationalism, which they view that as un-American (they still believe in the civic promise of the US of A). The problem for them is that their patriotism is now antiquated. Every major leader now subscribes to the vision of America being the great spreader of liberal virtues to the world and wants their own country to act out these values. Gay marriage has triumphed, multiculturalism is unchallenged, and immigration continues to rise. And that is what our nation is now all about.
They still cling to the jingoism that was encouraged and harvested by the neocons to drum up support for the Iraq War and is now thoroughly mocked by SWPL nationalism. Whenever the young and educated see someone wave a flag and sing “God Bless America,” they laugh and feel zero connection to it. They celebrate this country not through a genuine attachment to it, but through irony. The World Cup highlighted this as thousands poured out into SWPL hubs like DC and Seattle to cheer on their team in bald eagle shirts and tacky Old Glory shorts.
To them, patriotism is a joke. To the vast majority of young people, the patriotism of Murrieta is thoroughly passé and they have no connection to it whatsoever. Middle America doesn’t grasp that the jokes on them.
Which brings us to why we have to abandon these outdated symbols if we hope to forge an authentically right-wing, Identitarian movement in this country. Leftist writer Sinclair Lewis is attributed (wrongly though) with shrieking, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Disregarding the use of “fascism” and understanding the left uses the term to denote any right-wing movement they don’t like, it’s the opposite of the truth. If Identitarianism ever rises in America, it will not be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.
Some of you reading this might question that statement. You’re probably already saying that these symbols still carry power among the people we are trying to reach and we should re-appropriate them for our cause. We can’t alienate potential followers that would flock to our cause if we weren’t so down on the United States. There is one major flaw with that reasoning though: these symbols represent values that we are utterly opposed to. We cannot say we are opposed to egalitarianism while brandishing flags that were created by men that wrote “all men were created equal.” We cannot say we are committed to create communities based on organic identities with symbols that give off the hope that man can live in deracinated, proposition states.
If you want to know why there’s never been a strong and coherent nationalist movement in the United States, it’s because of the unwillingness to abandon the idea of America. Yes, we will alienate people in the process and limit our audience for the short-term–but we have to firmly reject the concept of this proposition nation. It is killing us and not allowing us to represent our own interests. It hates our identity and wants us to sacrifice it for the “good of humanity.” This is not our country and we have to finally accept that. We have to Europeanize ourselves—meaning we have to start seeing ourselves as children of Europe rather than Americans. We have to see ourselves as a distinct group that other groups and other individuals can never be apart of.
We have to represent the spirit that Continetti is so worried about—the willingness to stand against the Other and fight for our own interests.
Part of this process of Europeanization is the rejection of the symbols of the American state. They are not some type of ancient icons associated with our Indo-European ancestors. The Saxons were not emblazing the Stars and Stripes on their shields as they went into battle. They were created a little over 200 years ago. They are not sacred objects.
We can create symbols that will resonate with the men and women we want to attract. Namely, young people. They are the future and no successful movement has ever gone without their energy and vitality. No revolutionary movement was ever stocked full of pensioners. If we want to change the world, we have to attract the people who want to change it—not people whose primary concern is the preservation of their 401ks.
We will not reach them with Tea Party-style patriotism and trying to associate ourselves with Sarah Palin. That will only serve to alienate them from our cause, while making us look like a bunch of deluded rubes in the process. Besides, does anyone who reads Radix actually feel any real emotion during the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner”? I think not, and so we should not make disingenuous attempts trying to act like real ‘Murican patriots.
SWPL nationalism has gone a long way in cutting the ties young people have for this country—which presents an opportunity for us to finally reach people who no longer have patriotic hang-ups.
There’s also the promising trend which Murrieta is only the latest example. There are more and more cases of White Americans rising up against the state and perceiving it as a body that doesn’t represent their interests (the Bundy Ranch episode being another example). While they still embrace the America they grew up in, it is another question whether their children and grandchildren will—especially how that very same country treated them. We can only expect more incidents like to this to occur as our federal government continues to go after every single White person who goes off the reservation.
But to become that alternative, we have to first separate ourselves from the idea of American. We have to disregard the worries of yesterday’s people. It’s time to look towards tomorrow and step over Old Glory and the Constitution and prepare for the day that the spirit of Europe will arise in our people once more.