How should someone concerned about the Genocide of the European Peoples respond to the question of Scottish independence? I have seen a range of views expressed, including many from those who see the world broadly as I do yet oppose Scottish independence because they view it as furthering the EU agenda of disempowering “nation states” and moving towards a Europe of regions presided over by the Brussels superstate.
That, in my view, is not the right way to see it. The arguments against the United Kingdom are the same as those against the European Union. Transnational governmental structures don’t work. Democracy needs a demos, a people. In transnational governmental constructs, the people lack empathy with one another, based on our genetically programmed tendencies to empathise with those who share our genes. Most of the world’s problems, historically and in the present day, are caused by the lack of empathy between distinct peoples force to live together in the same physical space or under the same governmental authority. This tendency towards differential empathy is so strong that it tends to overpower any other consideration. As a consequence, ethnically divided countries find themselves caught up in endless conflict between the distinct peoples.
This, incidentally, is why Judaism and Islam cause havoc wherever they spread. Because Judaism and Islam are deterritorialised forms of nationalism. Deterritorialised nationalism doesn’t fit within the mental paradigm of our modern ruling class (although the concept was generally recognised prior to the French revolution). They therefore cannot process or react rationally to the problems that Judaism and Islam cause.
The key question of course is: what is a people? What divides one people from another? Most of history can be explained by rulers attempting to impose their preferred, artificial definition of peoplehood on the one that people actually felt. It seems to me that the sense of identity is irreducibly subjective. If a set of individuals mutually feel themselves to belong to a distinct “tribe”, then they are a distinct “tribe”. Their self-definition should simply be respected. The Scots see themselves as fundamentally distinct from the English. Virtually ALL Scots see it that way, including those who, for pragmatic reasons, will vote NO in the upcoming referendum. It makes no sense to argue about whether they OUGHT to see themselves as being distinct or not. If they do, they do. That’s it.
Ethno-nationalism is the optimal organising principle for the world because it maximises the sense of empathy between people. And empathy is a precious commodity. What we have seen throughout history is that ambitious rulers create an artificial definition of who “their people” ought to be and use their power to terrorise others into accepting it. This applies to historical empires like the Habsburg one and to constructs in the present day, like the European Union, which in many ways is a recreation of it. The Habsburg empire is what gave birth to Hitler, Zionism, the First World War and therefore also the Second World War. The ethno-nationalism of Hitler and Theodor Herzl (the founder of Zionism) was shaped by their experience of growing up in the Habsburg imperium. They could see the different ethnic factions at one another’s throats, making the “country” ungovernable. They drew the correct lesson from that experience, namely that ethno-nationalism should be the vital organising principle for any healthy state. Of course, this is not to say that their attempts to realise this principle in practice were without flaws.
The elites of modern Europe have completely misread history. They blame nationalism for the catastrophes of the First and Second World Wars when the truth is that they were caused by the artificial repression of nationalism. Since nationalism cannot be successfully suppressed over the long term, attempting to repress it means only that it gathers its strength in subterranean bitterness. When it eventually breaks out, it will do so all the more cataclysmically for having been repressed. In response to two apocalyptic wars caused by the repression of nationalism, Europe’s ruling class decided that the proper response to it was to repress nationalism some more, thus sowing the seeds of more misery and death to be inevitably harvested by future generations.
Everywhere we look in the world, from the Ukraine, to Iraq, to Nigeria, to Israel/Palestine, we problems caused by individuals who see themselves as belonging to distinct peoples yet are forced to live together, against their will, in the same physical space or under the same government. The proper response to this is to recognise that nationalism, instead of being repressed, must be rationally accommodated. Ethno-nationalism must be valorised intellectually and then implemented in practice by redrawing the borders of the world and, in some cases, simply moving people from one place to another to form homogeneous ethno-blocks.
This is the first argument in favour of Scottish independence: that it would represent the specific realisation of a more general, desirable organising principle: ethno-nationalism. I will explore other arguments in Part 2.
UPDATE: This article, which was published yesterday in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, provides an interesting counterpoint to what I wrote above.
For much of the summer, Europe has been gripped by a fear of violence wafting from the Middle East and settling in the continent. For the public, the threat is the spectre of hundreds of homegrown jihadis, returning from fighting in the ranks of radical Islamic movements in Syria and Iraq and carrying out terror attacks in their countries of birth. Jewish communities have felt a double threat. First, there are the European jihadis who have succeeded mainly in carrying out attacks against Jewish targets: Mohammed Merah at the Otzar Hatorah school in Tolouse two years ago and Mehdi Nemmouche at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May. In addition, there has been the concern over the way protests against Israel’s operation in Gaza have prompted hundreds of anti-Jewish attacks and incidents throughout Europe.
These are very real threats – to Europeans and Jews in particular. All 16 people killed over the last decade in anti-Jewish attacks (including theBurgas bombing and the Ilan Halimi murder in France) were murdered by Muslims acting out of hatred of Jews. Dozens of similar plans were uncovered by European and Israeli intelligence services before they could be carried out.
But as bad as the threat posed by the European jihadis is to the continent’s security and to its Jewish communities, it is not an existential one. Even if radical Islamist cells succeed in carrying out major acts of terror, it won’t be the first time Europe has weathered similar attacks. It will be difficult and there will be casualties but there is no reason to suppose that the Jews of Europe, protected as they are both by the authorities and well-organized communal security bodies, cannot withstand these attacks.
No matter what some people tell you, Europe is not about to succumb to a wave of radical Muslim hordes. The numbers are simply not there. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe want to integrate and are in no way represented by a few thousand jihadis. And besides, a backlash is already taking place, and in some cases it is taking the form of an old form of European nationalism that contains within it elements that could be just as dangerous, if not more so, to Europe’s minority groups, including the Jews.
There is a feeling among some Jews, particularly on the right, that for the time being it would make more sense to find allies among the various brands of nationalists and “patriots” in Europe and North America, who see the spread of Islam through Europe as a threat. They are willing to overlook or excuse the racist components of these movements in the belief that Islamism is the mortal enemy.
This is a self-defeating approach, similar to the “pragmatic” attitude that sees the murderous and anti-Western regimes in Iran and Syria as allies of the West in fighting ISIS.
Neither should this be about left or right. The far-left has historically led the fight against some forms of racism in Europe, but at the same time has tried to whitewash other racist brands that were on the good side in their dichotomic worldview. The right may not have such a good record in combating racism in the past but it can argue that the vision of open markets, open borders and globalization, which are all right-wing ideals, offer the best antidotes to xenophobia. Fighting nationalism must not be about politics, but rather about decency and tolerance.
Nationalism is this season’s inescapable fashion in Europe. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but it was an almost uniform trend across the continent in the last European Parliament elections where anti-EU parties made significant gains. The latest polls in France put Front National leader Marine Le Pen ahead of President Francois Hollande and next week, in Scotland, European nationalism may achieve its greatest post-war victory when the Scots, as some polls indicate, could vote in favor of breaking away from the United Kingdom.
Scottish nationalists claim with a certain degree of justification that their nationalism is a tolerant and benign strain, untainted by racism (though the sectarian hatred between Protestants and Catholics has not been totally eradicated). As far as the Jewish experience in Scotland goes, this is certainly true. Scotland prides itself as being the only country in Europe never to have any form of discriminatory laws against Jews, a land where not one Jew has ever been killed because of his or her ethnic identity.
Long before there were Jews in Scotland, the 14th-century Declaration of Arbroath, a text much beloved by today’s Scottish nationalists, proclaimed, “There is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman.”
If the Scots Nationalists win next Thursday in the independence referendum, the new Scotland may well prove to be an enlightened nation where diverse minorities live at peace. But there have already been ugly undertones to the independence campaign, including verbal abuse and even some violence directed toward supporters of staying in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in England the anti-immigration UKIP party has been making significant gains, jeopardizing the Conservative party’s chances of remaining in power. UKIP disavows racism and even has a few Jewish members, but xenophobic, racist and misogynist candidates have a knack of constantly turning up in its ranks.
Just as Front National claims to have changed, and a few French Jews even want to take it at its word and join it in fighting the Muslim menace, it has yet to repudiate Le Pen Sr.’s anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
There is no question that, historically, Jews have never been safer and better integrated than they are in the English-speaking nations that were either founded by immigrant groups (United States, Canada, Australia) or that, as in Britain, absorbed large influxes of immigrants over the centuries. None of these societies were perfect – they harbored racism and slavery, severely mistreated native populations and are still dealing with difficult historical legacies to this day. But no other countries in the world can match their level of tolerance and the freedom enjoyed by their minorities; the success of the Jewish communities in these countries is a testament to that.
Growing Muslim minorities are not threatening Jewish integration and success, but separatism and nationalist xenophobia might. It is no coincidence that the only openly anti-Semitic mainstream party in Europe today is Jobbick in Hungary, a country gripped in nationalism that has hardly any Muslims.
Open anti-Semitism is, of course, unthinkable in today’s politics in North America, but there is one party with representatives who periodically get away with what at best can be described as borderline anti-Jewish remarks – and that is the Parti Québécois, the movement which desires to break up Canada into Francophone and English-speaking parts. Once again, it is hardly a coincidence that this throwback to European nationalism in the New World falls foul time and again.
The venal corruption of some of the inane bureaucrats of the European Union has obscured this body's unique achievement. For the last six decades, it built a European society that turned back the tides of separatism and nationalism that had drenched the continent in so much bloodshed over the centuries, afflicting none more than the Jews. A return of these twin evils to Europe has the power to unleash destruction and hatred that Islamic jihadism could only dream of.