Nationality versus Ethnicity

Posted on July 27, 2011 by


In a recent exchange on In Mala Fide, I was asked:

There was a time in history, before the rise of nationalism in the 18th century, where peoples preserved themselves without the need of a nationalistic ideology. I wonder how they did it?

(I responded there, but would like to expound upon that here.)

What’s better than nationalistic ideology?

Ethnic ideology, of course, including religious ideology. Strong ethnicities make intermarriage and travel more problematic, which reduces the need for outer controls. Nationality is becoming more difficult to maintain and will soon devolve down into violent conflict because everything has become so bland, generic, and secular. Trying to use violence to stop that is pointless, and European ethnicities have been so diluted through international marriage and international movement (especially within Europe, although the nationalists would have us forget that, as they consider all white people to be interchangeable) that resurrecting the old “family ties” is a losing proposition. All of those immigrants want to move to Norway because Norway is no longer very Norwegian — something that changed before the immigrant influx. “Looking alike” is simply not enough to maintain a true ethnicity, as we can see throughout the West.

So, how do you build an ethnicity?

The alternative to violence is to limit immigration and strengthen your own group coherence so that outsiders feel less comfortable taking up residence in your neighborhood. It is not enough to simply “keep out the brown people”. You would actually have to make the Norwegians more Norwegian. If a Brit or a Belgian or an Italian would feel comfortable living there indefinitely without intermarrying and adopting your entire culture (i.e. “integrating”), then you aren’t Norwegian enough. You are still too Euro-generic to maintain group coherence, and you will soon die out or be overrun by outsiders.

This is the path Christian Orthodoxy is a natural defense against, as it’s so damn difficult to maintain orthodoxy that only True Believers will want anything to do with you, or to live anywhere near you. This is one reason why humans are so ritualistic and wedded to traditions: those rituals and traditions make life more meaningful for members and help to keep out non-members. Even secularists come up with their own traditions (shopping, sports clubs, national holidays, music and movies, etc.) to support increase their group coherence. These are, however, mostly such widely-appealing and “easy” traditions that they aren’t exclusionary (except military service, which is being phased out everywhere). Christian chastity rules and the five pillars of Islam are better examples of exclusionary traditions as they require sacrifice and are generally regarded as “difficult” or even onerous.

Promote integration by raising the bar

That’s what stops integration: the lack of a distinct culture to integrate into. If you have a strong local culture and limit integration (so you aren’t simply swamped by immigrants), you can be very welcoming of newcomers while remaining secure in the knowledge that most of them will leave. There are people who “marry in” from weaker cultures and integrate (such as myself), but few who “marry out”. This is what happens when you have a married (patriarchal), ethnically homogeneous community with mild immigration controls. The few who want in are forced to integrate, and few want in.

But also, few want out and fertility is above replacement-rate. The latter is because ethnicity is a civilizational construct controlled primarily by men (culture-based), whilst race is a biological construct controlled primarily by women (womb-based). It is possible to have high fertility with a combination of the two, or one limited to the former and eventually producing a “new race”, but limiting yourself to the latter leads to pedestalization and eventually matriarchy (as we saw in the West with Victorian Angelism leading directly to feminism). This is why White Nationalism leads to woman-idolization and phrases like, “Only a white woman can have white babies.” This is simply true and an inevitable consequence of the inherent structure of such a system. Race-based systems depend upon genetic-purity to survive, and only women can ensure that purity. An ethnicity-based system depends upon ideological-purity to survive, and only men can ensure that purity.

Both systems require endogamy, but purely race-based systems limit partner choice more severely (as race cannot be adopted) and weaken patriarchy. Generally, the stronger the patriarchy and culture, the more racially-diverse the group can be. This is why Norway seemed to do quite well without patriarchy: they were highly homogenous. It only took a few years of immigration to bring chaos, as it no longer had strong cultural underpinnings and was simply a group of people who looked alike and ate Big Macs. The USA could handle more diversity for longer (although it is now also weakening) because it had a much stronger culture based around its patriotism (similar to nationalism).

Why nationality doesn’t work for long

Nationality tends to be a weaker “ethnic system” than other ethnicities because the area and population is so large that diversity/tribalism creeps in to undermine the system. You soon have to start dropping specific aspects of your nationality (a national religion or set of laws, for instance) in order to accommodate the various subgroups, and the lack of near-neighbors of different ethnicity tends to undermine the importance of maintaining traditions. I therefore see a return to regionalism and resulting national fragmentation. The groups are simply too large and unwieldy now, as humans aren’t designed to live in such enormous and ethnically diverse communities.

And no, race is not a specific-enough ethnic identity to support the new structure. It is even more vague than nationality. It would have to be race+ideology (and nationalism or racism as an ideology would be redundant) to be workable. Starting off with race as the main differentiation won’t work as effectively as the group size would be absolutely enormous, and therefore even more unwieldy than nationalism. Race combined with nationalism is also still too large.

Will race make a comeback as the main marker of ethnicity?

I suspect it will mainly be after the re-establishment of ethnicities (Southern Christian orthodoxy being a fast-growing one, for instance) that the groups will again splinter by race, as the members look for more and more ways in which they can fragment themselves down to a more comfortable human group size. Because the racial splintering will occur after the ethnic splintering, I further predict that the specific racial classifications will change within each group and between groups, much as they are different between the various nations today.

There are some segments of Christianity that are quite preoccupied with racial and/or national homogeneity, but they tend to be more lukewarm in their religious orthodoxy. In other words, the fact that many of their members self-identify as Christians is more a cultural artifact rather than a unifying principle, and they often refer vaguely to a “Western culture” that is loosely defined and of which Christianity is merely a part. This is a weak, matriarchal structure that will lead to extreme splintering down to tiny tribes and neighborhood-wars, rather than regrouping followed by growth and civilizational advancement.

Likewise, there are a growing number of race-based tribes roaming the streets, but these are not backed by any common ideology, so they will eventually dissolve in the face of more civilized and coherent groups. Unfortunately, they will create massive chaos for years first. Such groups are better about tearing things down than building them up, so they have little growth-potential in the medium-term.

Those for whom Christianity (or another patriarchal conversion religion) is the main unifying ideology are less race-focused because otherwise their numbers would fail to grow at a fast enough rate for them to protect their own interests (strength in numbers requires numbers, after all), as Christian orthodoxy is so difficult that it has a limited appeal to possible members. Such groups tend to start out tiny in single-ethnicity groups based around family ties, but grow and diversify rapidly. The benefit of such a structure is that it is more stable and will hold up better while expanding in population because of its strict patriarchy and rules-based organization. (See the Amish and Mormons as examples of this.)

In other words, group-adherence will  have to be more strictly limited, whether along biological lines (racial purity tests) or along ideological lines (strict orthodoxy, whether secular or religious). One sees this happening already, with the growing demand for political pledges.

Some practical examples

If you notice, the Catholic Church takes an ethnic tactic, with the Church splitting down into ethnic churches based upon the various rites, while holding onto a few hard-and-fast doctrines everyone has to follow. It has thrived for thousands of years by offering a parallel, but not competing, structure for each ethnicity. The new-but-old Latin Rite being the newest addition to cater to the human inclination to limit group size, with even that being slightly tailored to each ethnic group.

The same goes for Islam. In both of these groups, religion became the main marker of group adherence, which (because of conversion and the reproductive boost religious faith provides) has led to explosive demographic growth, and will soon cause them to all displace nationalism while supporting ethnic splintering through the process of “tailoring”.

The time of the tribes returns.