Nationalism In The Modern Day: Civilizationalism
A common rebuttal you hear when arguing in favor of nation-states (“nationalism“) is that it is antiquated and impossible given the modern era.
The argument goes something like this: “Nation-states cannot exist because most nations are small. Therefore, those nations are naturally going to be captured in some fashion—militarily, politically, economically, et cetera—by their larger nation competitors. Thus creating quasi-empires, and uni/bi-polarity instead of multipolarity. True nation-states therefore cannot exist in the modern era, because they will simply become vassal states of more powerful nations.“
In effect, this is a grim belief that empires are inevitable given the realities surrounding modernity. Under this logic, we should then just learn to deal with empires, as there is no true alternative.
However, I believe this misses the mark both historically and in modern times.
This belief breaks down because it negates the need to factor in civilizations into the nation-state equation. This approach is civilizationalism: Which can blend flawlessly with nationalism.
In fact, civilizations fuse with most any system of national or international structuring, so long as the civilization itself desires such a structure.
For example, we reside underneath Western civilization’s umbrella. Currently, this civilization is overwhelmingly liberal democratic, because of the major players that rest within the civilization. Thus, all nations within comply with the expectation of liberal democracy.
But this is not how it worked in the past. Consider Western Civilization’s three main eras:
These were not all imperial leaning. If we break them down, we recognize this:
- Greek Era: Independent city-states; confederation; nationalist sentiments.
- Roman Era: Imperial
- At times feudalist, other times nationalist.
- Predominantly liberal democratic empires.
When we look at history, what matters more than a specific governing system is the overall civilizational outlook. Are they feudalist, nationalist, confederate, imperial, or something else? During the nationalist Christendom era, such as during Dante’s time, the civilizational outlook was nationalist—So the nation-state concept could thrive. Which it did. Once the Enlightenment occurred, this (mostly) ended.
But the main thing that changed was not independent nations’ governing systems, but the fall of the entire outlook and mindset of Western Civilization: A cataclysmic shift from Christendom to secular materialism. The civilization itself changed from a proud one to our current disturbing one.
When educated proponents argue in favor of nationalism, it is never on a one-nation basis. Because we do recognize that one nation is at major risk if entire civilizations are against it. Instead, we argue for a nationalist civilization. Not an old archaic version, but a new nationalism, one embedded within a strong, nationalist Western Civilization.
This was historically exactly how civilizationalism worked with nationalism. Each nation-state was considered its own nation and state, but the civilization as a whole recognized this and worked to its collective and independent advantage against the imperial/disparate East. For instance, Western civilization comprised many different nation-states in the medieval era, but they all coordinated and worked together to repel the Islamic threat (a separate imperial civilization, at the time).
Internal nation-states (even small ones) can survive just fine when their civilization is geared toward a proper nationalist focus. Because their survival and independence are needed for the overall civilizational outlook against other civilizations.
Smaller nations need not worry about a return to nationalism, so long as the civilization also makes that return. (Which, I admit, means that more dominant nations must first make the transition to protect later arrivals). This is because civilizationalism requires a protection of the independent nation-states within their own civilization, preventing empires. Similar to the balancing acts of the Greek city-states or the Christendom nationalist balance of European powers. We would expect that a modern nationalist civilization would have learned from the mistakes of the imperial past: Empires always fail. Nation-states do not have that same risk. They only fail when the men weaken; not when disunity inevitably arrives from within from population differences.
This is why most dissidents think locally, nationally, and civilizationally. We take into consideration all three, whether knowingly or implicitly. Because we know the truth, which is that all three are necessary for our victory.
We have to start local, but to truly endure we must completely flip this wicked civilization we reside under.
Our task requires us to set the clock back toward the last time we had a proper focus (one of nations)—Which, of course, was the age of Christendom. A time period that comes bundled with nationalism and hierarchical authority.
We can eventually develop (“progress“) further from that point, but we have to first return to our last greatest point before trying to make further progress. Right now, we are going backwards toward the imperial mindset that already failed spectacularly.
So, not only is nationalism viable in the modern era, it’s the only thing that is going to save us from complete destruction. Not just for us, but our overall civilization, as well.
We do not have any other choices. An empire cannot sustain itself as history as shown time and time again, and the ancient Greek system of city-states is not feasible against large-scale civilizational enemies. No one wants feudalism now, either. Maybe someone can devise a system completely new, but I have not yet heard of any possibilities, so that option appears utopian. So our choices truly rest with either an empire or nationalism—But both of a new age and under the banner of our new reality of civilizationalism. We already have the empire, so I don’t know how anyone would find this to be the appealing choice between the two.
Additionally, nationalism is not antiquated, as it is the highest civilizational point we’ve ever reached. Everything since (The Enlightenment) has been a degeneration from this spot. We’ve gone from gold to a heaping pile of compost, and yet we still have people saying the gold is just too antiquated, so we better keep the compost. It’s mind boggling.
There is a great future to be found in a free, independent nation-state system. There is an even stronger future to be found in one that is also bound by a similarly minded Civilization.
This is one we can create. It is one we must create. But it has to start locally. It starts with the first nation-state to return to nationalism. The fruits naturally multiply from there.
Just as France led the backwards revolution into modern liberal democracy, we only need one nation to start our journey out of the darkness.
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