Clarity About Nationalism

Dennis Prager writes:

In order to make arguments for nationalism, we have to define it.

The first definition in Merriam-Webster is “loyalty and devotion to a nation.” But in a second paragraph, it adds, “especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

Let’s be clear: If the second paragraph is the only definition of nationalism, nationalism is always a bad thing. Furthermore, I acknowledge that this definition is what some people have in mind when they call themselves nationalists.

At the same time, even anti-nationalists would have to acknowledge that if the first paragraph is the definition of “nationalism,” nationalism can often be a beautiful thing.

So, if we are to be honest, the answer to the question of whether nationalism is good or bad is “How do you define it?”

The normal Orthodox Jew has “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” There are other forms of Jewish identity aside from Orthodox Judaism but none of them have been able to sustain themselves, so therefore they don’t matter. The only form of Jewish identity that can sustain itself is one that has “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

I don’t think Jews are separate from the rest of the human race. The only form of nationalism that works in the real world is one that has “a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.”

How does a marriage work? Do spouses tend to place a primary emphasis on promotion of their interests? I think they do. A spouse that does not give primary loyalty to their own family is not in a happy marriage. If members of a family don’t give their primary familial loyalty to their own family, I suspect they are not in a happy family.

Families do not have to be based on genetic relatedness, but it helps. Parents tend to treat their kids better if their kids are their biological offspring. The more genetically related people are, the better they tend to get along.

Vox Day responds:

Nationalism is, by logic, linguistics, and definition, a subset of racism because nation is a subset of race. The only “nationalism” that is not intrinsically related to race is civic nationalism, which is not nationalism at all, but an ersatz paperwork substitute for it.

UPDATE: Phelps points out that (((Prager))) also lies about “e pluribus unum”.

This is an ABSOLUTE lie. It never meant, “out of many races”, it explicitly meant “out of many states, one confederation.” That is why it is the United STATES, not United Races.

Comments at Vox Day:

* “when it celebrates a nation as inherently superior to all others and when it denigrates all other national commitments.”

Any nation which does not consider itself superior to all others is not long for this world.

The only necessary commitment by a nation is to the nation itself. All other commitments are tactics and strategy to advance and improve the nation.

* All the words related to nation that are explicitly related to birth, family, blood, etc.

The Spanish word for being born is nacir. The past tense, “was born”, is nació. Natal means birth, “née” denotes a woman’s maiden name, etc.

It’s very clear where the word nation comes from. Just drop the n from the English word and you get the Latin root, to be born.

Total lies from Dennis Prager. Now I just have to get my mom to stop listening to him.

* No comment section available.


Professional liars NEVER allow responses to be posted to their lies.

* I should like a world where England celebrated the English race, Japan celebrates the Japanese race, Egypt celebrates the Egyptian race, America celebrates the American race, etc.

It would be far better than the bizzaro-world where foreigners are praised and preferred over citizens. (e.g. H1Bs)

* “American nationalism, based as it is on the motto “e pluribus unum” (“out of many, one”), by definition includes Americans of all races and ethnicities. That is how conservatives define American nationalism.”

Well, then the way conservatives (i.e., Civic Nationalist cucks) define American Nationalism has nothing to do with what the term actually signified when it was originally used.

As Phelps correctly pointed out, it is a reference to the original 13 colonies uniting, and had nothing whatsoever to do with different races or ethnicities “coming together.”

The fact that the Naturalization Act of 1790, the first statute in the United States to codify naturalization law, restricted citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person” who had been in the U.S. for two years is bad news to those who would believe Prager’s expected distortions.

* That physical separation of groups of peoples, over time, producing differing sets of heritable physical traits from elsewhere, is understood and currently generally accepted. That such separation and differing environmental stressors would have similar tendencies in heritable behavioral traits is not even a leap, it is part in parcel. Denying that latter part is the glue of civic nationalism.

Nations arising out of these differing traits would create differing patterns of stability and conflict/conflict resolution, among other heritable behaviorally influenced cognitive patterns. Providing differing levels of stability for groups sharing social, economic, and governmental systems of organization.

* Civic nationalists are no different from the rest of the Leftists because they are all egalitarian, which disqualifies them from being conservative, by any definition, and anyone who is not also egalitarian (to them) is awful, and cruel, and mean, and wrong….and the worst thing they can think of, which must be Nazi Germany. Only in this way could anybody equate the Confederacy with Nazi Germany or to elevate the KKK to being a nation.

So Dennis wants the rest of the Leftists to know that the civic nationalists are egalitarians too, so it is OK to negotiate with them, and they can paint anyone who is not egalitarian as the enemy. The only thing the civic nationalists have to compromise with the Leftists is personal income tax rates for the wealthy and corporate private property.

* The civic nationalist have swallowed whole Breitbart axiom “politics is down stream of culture.” I believe this can be used against them by adding to it in the following way, “politics is down stream of culture, and culture is down stream of demographics.”

* I think the problem is not that people lie as much as that the ideas of “nation,” “race,” and even “culture” are so fungible. I suspect that Mr. Day and Mr. Prager define nation differently, not that either is “lying” when they use the term.

When I ask someone who starts opining about the “white” race who, exactly, is included and excluded, I get a different list almost every time. And each of these people is absolutely convinced that *his* list is the correct one, and everyone else is wrong. Who knew, for instance, that the Celts were (and are) not “white” to many folk? Those Irish,eh. Or the Slavs. Or Semitic folk. Or Gypsies. Or Visigoths/Latinos. Spanish people are white, but Argentinians are not. Blue-eyed Mexicans are white, but brown-eyed Mexicans are not.

Similarly, only their definition of nation is right. When did did the Roman empire stop becoming a “nation?” When it started making Syrians and Arabs emperors? When the Visigoths started running the show?

And only their classifications of cultures is right. And only their classification of religions is right. Catholics are Christian, but Baptists are not. Anglicans are Christian, but Catholics are not. Seventh Day Adventists are Christian, but Latter Day Saints are not. Charismatic Lutherans are Christian, but Pentacostals are not.

When, as all right thinking people know, it’s *my* definitions that are correct.

* Empires are not, definitionally, nations. And even a cursory study of history will show that empire is the ruin of every nation that tries it. Either the other nations around them destroy them, or they succeed and become a cosmopolitan empire, and eventually replace themselves in their own home.
Greece, Rome, England, France, Germany, Russia, America. Some nations recover, to some extent, after sufficient time.

* England itself is composed of several nations. Wiki lists the following that preceded unification.

East Anglia
Welsh Marches
Principality of Wales

* Nations don’t last forever, when they mix and match. Those identities have been lost. Strangely though, they do not list Yorkshire, which is a still separate national identity within England.

Vox Day writes:

I read Hazony’s book. Unlike many on the nationalist Right, I saw through him immediately and pointed out that his “National Conservative” conference was an obvious attempt to set up yet another neoclown gatekeeping organization, this one focused on nationalists. Hazony’s further attempts to “defend his ideas” readily reveal him to be not only a gatekeeper, but a shameless liar of the Ben Shapiro variety for two very obvious reasons.

First, to the extent there is any distinction between two terms that have historically been used in a synonymous manner, nation is a subset of race. Necessarily. So to base an argument on the idea that nation is actually a broader category than race is worse than dishonest, it is deeply stupid. It’s a total nonstarter.

Second, the etymology of nation makes it obvious that racialism is, and always will be, an element of nationalism.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin nātiōn- (stem of nātiō) birth, tribe, equivalent to nāt(us) (past participle of nāscī to be born) + -iōn- -ion One's nationality derives from one's birth, not one's geographical location or paperwork. It is an identification based on DNA, blood, and family, not ideology, confession, documents, or current location in the space-time continuum. By appealing to the fact of adoption, Hazony is stupidly attempting to derive a rule from its occasional exception.

Comments on this Vox Day blog post:

* The civnat nonsense usually has an appeal in Christian countries because of the supra-national, confessional nature of Christianity to which the civnats draw false comparisons with nationality. Churchians are particularly susceptible. You don’t generally see this in non-Christian nations. Where you Don it is because of a secular religion that holds to some sort of confessional membership (international socialism), but it tends to be fairly weak due to the inherently false nature of secular religions. There is an element of it in Muslim nations, but it is weak due to strong tribal bonds (see, e.g. pan-arabism, Persian international influence through Shia islam, etc.).

* And the examples that he pulls from the Bible (Naomi and Ruth, I believe) in his book to demonstrate that nation does not equal race, though somewhat valid, are not even remotely relevant to the modern world and mass migration. A handful of migrants and refugees can, of course, be assimilated both genetically and culturally into a larger nation. Millions of them, however, cannot be.

Furthermore, I thought his examples were cherry picking data. He could have given a more balanced biblical view had he mentioned all of the evil religious and cultural practices that were brought in by Solomon’s (and other king’s) foreign wives.

* Should we expect ideological purity from Hazony? Let’s not be naive.

One the one hand, he and his spouse are working overtime to ensure his tribe’s posterity, what with their nine kids. He’s taking personal responsibility for “an identification based on DNA, blood, and family.”

One the other hand he’s got nine kids and, hey, a guy’s gotta grab the punditry dough while he can with all those mouths to feed and send, presumably, to Princeton, the loving couple’s alma mater.

Oh well. If he makes the term “nationalism” respectable that’s progress of a sort.

* Historically, there were a few ways to claim legitimate membership in the tribe:

1. Be born into the tribe to one or two parents who were full members of the tribe.
2. Be accepted by tribal authorities as an adopted member who had earned their place through legitimate, proven loyalty.
3. Marry a member of the tribe.
4. Be adopted by members of the tribe as a child.

Nothing about Jus Soli gives you legitimate membership in the tribe. Being born in proximity is simply not sufficient.

That said, one area where the “racialists” are generally wrong is that the tribe has no right to disinherit someone from membership in the tribe because they are of mixed blood or were adopted in accordance with custom and law. That sets a dangerous precedent wherein the ancient rights of inheritance and familial authority are altered or abolished based on modern theories.

What the founders of the United States really thought about race.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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