Before I start this, I want to put in the link of the article that got me started. Now you have it and can refer to it, and also read the whole thing if you have no better use for an afternoon when there’s nothing good on the telly. Usually, when I take off after an article, I try to reproduce it in its entirety, but this one consists of miles and miles of derp, and we’d be here all day. So for the full derp effect please follow the link. Meanwhile, I’ll shred selected tidbits and the general thrust of the article which amounts to denying the elephant in the room.
The Guardian – aka teh Grauniad, in homage to their amazing spelling — is nothing if not consistent. The domain of international socialists, they continue the project the socialists started, after WWI, of convincing the west that it should be “post nation-state” or that in fact the “nation state is obsolete.” What they fail to adduce is, in fact, anything that would convince those of us not of their persuasion to believe the same.
They start, mournfully, by telling us that populist victories in a lot of countries are making it look like there’s a resurgence of a nation state, but they use language that assures us it’s no such thing, including referring to the Brexit as a national nervous breakdown – instead of a sane defensive measure to separate oneself from a Europe being eaten from within by unassimilated minorities – and resorting to the laugh line of referring to Germany as a bastion of European stability.
Seriously. I laughed out loud. Germany. Which has only been a country since the mid-nineteenth century, and which in that century and a half has been the fulcrum of two world wars, and had been broken in two for fifty years.
When it comes to history, Teh Grauniad has learned nothing and forgotten everything.
Then they go on to tell us that the nation state is obsolete since we all use google and can order from Amazon.
This is where I do the sinal salute, inclining my head and pinching the bridge of my nose between thumb and forefinger.
You’d think it was impossible for the author of this article to be a blinkered provincial since the author’s name is Rana Dasgupta, but who knows? Perhaps the author grew up in England with relatively little exposure to any other culture. Or perhaps Dasgupta is an international “intellectual” belonging to that elite that goes abroad only to communicate with their counterparts, stay at the same five-star hotels and eat the same food.
But it is obvious that however it comes about this person isn’t aware of the saying, common among archeologists, that potsherds aren’t culture. Or in this case, the stuff we all buy from Amazon and read in Google is used in completely different ways, according to the hardware in the head. As someone who had to acculturate from a relatively industrialized country to the U.S., the differences are more than would hit the eye of a casual observer — trust me on this. Cultures are still different and very much alive, and people venturing on the internet from their own nation states see everything through the lens of their own culture and might not even be aware of the differences between their view and others. (I’ve watched people from the U.S. and Europe argue past each other without realizing it.)
The next paragraph deserves to be quoted in full, because not only is it so wrong it’s not even wrong — it’s more like from another kind of world, a parallel world perhaps where the laws of physics operate differently.
Why is this happening? In brief, 20th-century political structures are drowning in a 21st-century ocean of deregulated finance, autonomous technology, religious militancy and great-power rivalry. This is the Meanwhile, the suppressed consequences of 20th-century recklessness in the once-colonised world are erupting, cracking nations into fragments and forcing populations into post-national solidarities: roving tribal militias, ethnic and religious sub-states and super-states. Finally, the old superpowers’ demolition of old ideas of international society – ideas of the “society of nations” that were essential to the way the new world order was envisioned after 1918 – has turned the nation-state system into a lawless gangland; and this is now producing a nihilistic backlash from the ones who have been most terrorised and despoiled.
Um…. The 20th-century political structures trended, almost from the beginning, towards internationalism. There was a lot of talk about how the League of Nations and the UN were the start of supranational systems that would rule the whole world.
As for the old superpowers’ demolition of old ideas of international society – say what?
In the twentieth century, the only demolition was of that “colonialism” the left is so fond of nattering about. That is, the old superpowers withdrew and left the “colonized” to deal on their own.
If there has been a lawless gangland – and there has – and if people have been terrorized and despoiled, it is because their native systems – often imbued with tribalism – took over.
Need I say that departing from this faulty thesis, there is practically nothing salvageable in this article? It is the sort of “heads I win, tails you lose” to which we’ve become accustomed from the left.
There is one laugh line I must share.
The unwillingness even to acknowledge this crisis, meanwhile, is appropriately captured by the contempt for refugees that now drives so much of politics in the rich world.
The dear fluffy head has never considered that the contempt for “refugees” comes from exposure to them, and from the shenanigans like the rape fests in Germany at New Years, or the fear of rape fests that has caused many German locations – that center of stability in Europe – to cancel Oktoberfest this year. Because they can’t trust their guests not to act like uncivilized barbarians and indiscriminately rape every woman not attired in a sofa cover. Or that contempt and disgust are the only appropriate responses to the Rotherham “refugee” child abuse ring. Or in fact that part of what is driving this response in the West – exposed to what the internationalists meant for its future – is a determination not to be stampeded into becoming one with the countries of the world where the culture inevitably produces – as our president so aptly put it – a shithole.
What the left refuses to see is that far from the convulsions in the world being a rejection of the nation state, they are a rejection of the left and its long project over the twentieth century of making the world a single nation and that nation Russia.
It is true, as the article mentions, that many nations in the world – most of those ex-colonies – are despoiled and terrorized. What they fail to mention is that this happened at the hands of local governments trained in the arts of governing by universities either explicitly or implicitly Marxist.
What is, in fact, failing, both from the West and the East, is the left and the left’s ways of seeing things.
What you’re observing in this article is a great clicking of heels and muttering of “There is no place like internationalism, Auntie Em.”
The problem with this blindness and insistence on their project of internationalism, even when all the signs point to the fact that the dogs just don’t like the food, is that the more they insist on jamming different cultures together the more they give rise to a new, and in fact dangerous, tribalism.
If it is known and assumed that different nations have different cultures, same as has been since the dawn of time, people are often willing to tolerate sojourners or even immigrants — provided the immigrants assimilate and are willing to live by local laws.
If, on the other hand, as the left does, one insists on the fever dream that all cultures everywhere are the same and that refusing refugees from Rapistan could only be due to racism, you risk losing the youth to movements that at least validate what they see with their lying eyes, even if those movements think that all the differences are due to race and not culture.
This effort to forcefully unite the whole world and make it sing Kumbaya only leads to people seeing the things that divide them ever more sharply, including superficial differences of appearance and color.
The left’s project to stamp out nations will cause the rise of a virulent blood-and-soil nationalism, and its continuous screams of “racism” when people actually object to cultural habits will create real racism.
What else can we expect from a movement whose attempts to create a just economic system led to immiseration and death all across the world? (And this author has the nerve to cite Venezuela as a country in trouble. Really? We wonder why.)
The nation state isn’t dead. And if it were, it would only leave the world adrift in a chaos of tribalism, the tribalism that existed before nation states were invented and drastically reduced the violence and misery.
And this is why we must oppose the left’s ideas right now, in the trenches of the culture war. We might not be able to save the true believers, but we should be able to peel away the merely mal-educated.
Otherwise, the world will trundle on into this fairy tale dream, from which the awakening will be only blood and death and civilization set back several centuries.