Is American White Nationalism Racist?
Suppose we understand the concept of American white nationalism as a political view with two central theses:
Firstly, it is the belief that that the American nation was formed by whites with European heritage and ethnicity and that the American nation requires the political and cultural dominance of whites with European heritage/ethnicity; and secondly, because of the first thesis, whites should be politically and culturally dominant in America.
This definition might not be the preferred definition of white nationalism for every white nationalist, but I suspect that it comes close enough for many, and it seems roughly consistent with what I read (for example, see this).
Is this political view racist? Well, what’s racism? If we understand racism to be the belief that one race is intrinsically superior to another in virtue of their race or racial qualities, we can call this the Superior Race Theory, then this political view need not be racist. After all, nothing about that aforementioned definition of American white nationalism entails that a race is intrinsically superior to another – it could just be that, for American white nationalists, the American nation cannot be separated from the political and cultural dominance of whites; hence, inasmuch as the American nation is to survive, and they believe it should, the American nation requires the political and cultural dominance of whites. You might think that this is a false idea, but nothing about it entails the Superior Race Theory; thus, American white nationalism is not racist in that sense.
If you accept this argument, then you should also agree that there is possible way to secure a white nationalist nation that doesn’t involve or entail the racism of Superior Race Theory. For example, such a nation can restrict immigration from non-white people, subsidize the European cultural institutions, reward and support growing white families, restrict non-whites from political office, and so forth. Of course, you might not like these ideas, finding them illiberal and racially discriminatory, but that’s beside the point. We are now merely investigating whether these means involve or entail the Superior Race Theory, and I don’t see that they do. For they are neither justified nor motivated by Superior Race Theory, but are only the means to help secure a white nationalist nation.
Suppose an objector grants me this point, but then says this: “Okay, so perhaps white nationalism is not that kind of racism, but it is still institutional racism.” But why? We have already determined that American white nationalism is not itself racist (here understood as Superior Race Theory) and that there are possible institutional and cultural means to secure American white nationalism that are not racist in that sense either. So where’s the racism? To this question, suppose my objector says, “The racism just is the racial discrimination and the unshared privilege.” What then?
I reply that racial discrimination and unshared privilege are not themselves understood to be racist – it depends upon their justification and motivation. If that were otherwise, then unshared privileges granted to the Amer-Indians would be racist, though they’re not, as I am sure most liberals will agree. So here I think that my objector jumps too quickly from racial discrimination and unshared privilege to racism. That jump needs justification.
Suppose now that my objector replies with this: “Okay, it’s not the racial discrimination and unshared privilege that is racist but the institutional mechanisms that secure racial dominance.” How do I respond?
My first objection is that this line of reasoning seems to beg the question against white nationalists if it is used to show that white nationalist projects are racist. My objector needs a premise that isn’t so close to his conclusion. I’d also complain that this needs justification – why is seeking a racial dominance within a nation racist? It’s unclear.
My second objection is that I think this is wrong. To see why, consider Japan. It’s a largely monolithic nation that likely would not survive without the political and cultural dominance of its people, the Japanese. For the purpose of sustaining their nation, which seems like a fine purpose to have, it is reasonable for them to seek means to secure the political and cultural dominance of Japanese people within Japan, not because they don’t value other ethnicities or races, nor because they believe that the Japanese people are intrinsically better, but just because they value their nation as a Japanese nation. I don’t see any “racism” in that. Do you?
In fact, as an outsider and a person who is not Japanese, I get it. And as a Canadian whose prime minister said that Canada has no core identity, I don’t just get that- I appreciate it. I want the Japanese to secure Japan. I want that for them. It’s a good thing.
Hence, if we can grant that the Japanese can rightly secure Japan for the Japanese people without good grounds to infer racism, then why can’t the Brits do that for England? Why can’t the Germans do that for Germany? Or more relevantly, if the American nation were dependent upon the cultural and political dominance of whites, why would it be racist for American whites to pursue that end? The answer to this question is unclear to me; and so, for the moment, I don’t believe that it would be racist. This not to say that I agree with the white nationalist project, because, I don’t. I’m a Christian nationalist, not a white nationalist. I am just saying that, for now, I won’t be jumping on the “that’s racist!” bandwagon.
Is Racism a Defeater?
I don’t understand why liberals and crew shout “that’s racist” at ideas and ideologies, acting as if the idea or ideology is thus defeated. I mean, so far as I can see, even a true change of racism doesn’t falsify the racist idea or ideology, nor does it undermine its justification. To see why, consider the usual concepts of racism (see here). There is nothing within these concepts that entail the falsity or undermine their justification – they describe a particular idea or practice about race, but they don’t evaluate it. Thus, its truth or justification is always a further question, one that is not answered by establishing whether it is racist or not.
Could there be an unsaid premise here? Sure, I guess. These liberals might be assuming the idea that whatever is racist is false, but what’s the justification for that? It’s not a necessary truth, so far as I can see. So it seems to be a strictly empirical matter, but I am not aware of any empirical justification establishing it. Hence, if there are any liberals out there, or any in-the-know conservatives, I’d like to hear its justification. Seriously, because it seems more like liberal dogma than anything else.
If I had to guess, I’d say that for most liberals and SJWs, they have no clear justification for that unsaid premise. Rightly or wrongly, liberal societies and public schools have socialized and educated them to think “racism is bad” and “racism is false” without much critical thought, justification and explanation, associating racism just to those frightening images of Hitler and those idiots in white sheets. I don’t deny that these men behaved badly and that some understanding of racism is a motivating belief for them, but that itself does not entail that any form of “racism” is false or wrong- that is still an open question.
And because it is an open question, we should be open to hearing arguments about it without getting overly bogged down by the prevalent ideologies and sensitivities of the day. Yes, we need to be sensitive about how we discuss these issues and ensure that the dignity of the human being is affirmed, but we should still be able to discuss these issues, and we should be able to do so without shouting and violence.
Even as a white dude, I’d interested to hear arguments that aim to show that, as a population, Asians have a greater capacity for intelligence than whites, or that Europeans are culturally inferior, or whatever else. I wouldn’t be insulted or irked. My allegiance is to truth, and so I rather know truth than be denied it for the sake of my feelings. The same goes with Catholicism – I’m open to hearing why people think it’s false despite the fact that it is very dear to my heart and an integral part of my social identity.
This is not to say that some arguments don’t irk me – some do. For example, arguments for moral relativism or moral nihilism, or even those for atheism, irk me. I feel irked because those beliefs have dire consequences and implications for us. In this respect, I am baffled to see that some people are unaffected by arguments aiming to show that there are no moral truths, or that rape is not truly wrong, but yet these same people will lose their minds upon hearing an argument for white nationalism. The difference in their responses is neither justified nor rational – it’s crazy. It’s like their brains are echo chambers for postmodernism and modern liberalism. In any case, my point is that despite my feelings of irk, and despite my belief that arguments for moral nihilism and atheism are poisonous and risk the fate of souls, I allow them a space in the public forum. SJWs and liberals should model that for white nationalists.
That’s about all I want to I say.
For any of you SJWs or liberal bloggers, let me just restate some things, because I know that you’re prone to misunderstanding. Firstly, I’m not a white nationalist. We have noted disagreements (see here). Secondly, I only doubt that the charge of racism is a defeater – I don’t advocate that any “racist” view is true or justified. So if you still can’t resist calling me a racist, know this: You are dumb and part of what’s wrong with America. Sorry (not really though).
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