Patriotism, nationalism and racism
Warner Todd Huston sets out at some length the simple but rather denied truth that American Leftists only pretend to be patriotic. In a patriotic nation they have to do that for PR purposes but their hearts are not in it and they manage the pretence only by claiming that they love what America COULD BE rather than what it is. Rather pathetic.
I have set out at some length above evidence that patriotism is not in general aggressive. There is however a related attitude known as nationalism. Nationalism can mean two quite different things:
- A desire of a people for independent existence as a nation — as in 19th century German nationalism or 20th Scottish nationalism;
- When the lovers of their own country want to dominate other countries.
It is meaning 2 that I am concerned with here. And all the examples of that which I can think of, from Napoleon to Hitler, have been Leftists. So my summary of the matter is that nationalism is a Leftist perversion of patriotism. No wonder Leftist leaders are so suspicious of patriotism! They judge others by themselves. They know how vicious they would be with an entire nation behind them and assume that others think similarly.
But, as already mentioned, both patriotism and nationalism are only one sort of group loyalty. Rotarians are often strongly attached to their club and even homosexuals feel “gay pride” apparently. And many church members are strongly attached to their religious denomination or local church. And religious identity can extend to something like nationalism — with physical attacks on members of other denominations. There is still a faint remnant of that in Northern Ireland (though the enmity there is as much historic as religious) and in Islam there is a lot of it. Muslims are great slaughterers of other Muslims — if the other Muslims don’t subscribe to the “right” brand of Islam. But Islam is Fascistic anyway.
And then there is the great unmentionable. You CAN feel proud of your race. And if the pride is “black pride” that is just fine. But “white pride” is apparently a breath from the depths of hell. Yet history’s most destructive example of racism was not concerned with whiteness at all. Hitler in fact allied himself with the non-white Japanese and attacked many nations that were just as white as Germans are. In fact there are proportionately rather more blue-eyed blondes (idealized by the Nazis) in Russia and in Poland than there are in Germany — and Adolf slaughtered millions of both. Hitler’s bag was — following Woodrow Wilson and Houston Stewart Chamberlain — ARYANS. And most Aryans are in fact brown (Indians).
So the Leftist suspicion of pride in being white has exactly no foundation in the place where it might be most expected! So when Leftists associate Nazism with white racism, it is just the normal Leftist ignorance of facts and history. So white racism as an oppressive thing is mainly an American phenomenon. And the KKK were overwhelmingly Democrats! Clearly, conservatives were not the problem there.
I refer in particular to my prior comments showing that patriotism is not in general necessarily aggressive, hostile or oppressive. And I see no reason why what we might call “white patriotism” should be aggressive, hostile or oppressive. In other words, a feeling of connectedness with other whites and a pride in being white does not necessarily imply a wish to oppress or attack people of other races. But when we come to nationalism, however (the Leftist specialty), it is a very different situation. White nationalism (the desire to conquer or control non-white races) is indisputably a very bad thing.
But white nationalism is also a very rare thing. Hitler wasn’t moved by it nor was the British empire. The chief enemy of the British empire was the French, who are quite white. The KKK is about the only example of white nationalism that I can think of. And the KKK at one time were a major power at Democrat conventions (The 1924 “Klanbake” convention, for instance). Such acclaimed Democrat Presidents as Woodrow Wilson and FDR both had solid KKK support. So if we are careful with our definitions, white pride is only dangerous in the hands of Leftists. The very small band of modern-day neo-Nazis are probably an exception to that but there are small exceptions to most rules. And the modern-day political parties that are most often called neo-Nazi (Britain’s BNP and Germany’s NDP) do in fact have a lot of quite socialistic policies — just as old Adolf did.
Note how easily everything falls into place once we have swept away the Leftist hokum about Nazism and the KKK being “Rightist”.
Possible objections to the above account
1). A challenge to the account I have given above could be the fact that, right up to JFK, Leftists were patriotic too — almost crazily so in the case of people like Theodore Roosevelt and the followers of Hitler. So have I misunderstood or misrepresented present-day Leftists? If Leftists were once patriotic, surely it is wrong to see lack of patriotism as characteristic of them.
I think Obama worship gives us the answer to that. Because Leftists are more emotional, their POTENTIAL for group loyalty generally and patriotism in particular is unusually great. But the more there are things that they hate in the world about them, the more they are inhibited from giving rein to any such feelings. But when something arises that they can give undivided loyalty to, they go overboard — as we saw in Fascism, Nazism and in the Obama worship of 2008.
So the Leftist is in perpetual conflict: He WANTS connectedness but so many things in the world about him are unsatisfactory to him that he ends up as a rejectionist rather than as a participant. In the past, it was only “The Bosses” who were the focus of his ire and he could kid himself that most of the people around him were not responsible for the “injustices” that bother him so much. Now, however, when it appears to him that even “rednecks” and “NASCAR dads” are on the side of what upsets him, he is completely alienated. He once felt that “the workers” were on his side and appointed himself as a spokesman for them. That illusion is now gone and the whole country is on the wrong track from his viewpoint. So how wonderful for him it was when the Obamessiah came along to rescue him from that dreadful dilemma and offered the prospect of reshaping the country into his desired mould!
2). I have argued primarily from real-life examples above that patriotism does not imply hostility towards others. I might mention that there is a very large academic literature in psychology which assumes otherwise — starting with the work of the Marxist Adorno et al. (1950) on “ethnocentrism”. Leftist psychologists claim that patriotism and racism do go together. When I did survey research to test that assumption, however, I repeatedly found that the facts showed exactly what I have asserted above — that patriotism does NOT in general go with hostilty towards others.
Reference: Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950). The authoritarian personality New York: Harper.