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530. Youthful folly (XII)

You have probably noticed a tendency for people who would otherwise pounce on any patriotic sentiments to become blood-crazed cheerleaders for wars conducted by Israel or, in recent days, the Ukraine. These people are usually drawn from the right, so it seems peculiar: otherwise sober commentators who are at most civic nationalists suddenly demand “total war” and heroic struggle to the death—by people other than their own. “Victory to Ukraine!” appears in Ukrainian in Twitter bios that belong to people who only know that Kiev is the country’s capital city—and they are quick to point out that the real spelling is “Kyiv”, not “Kiev”; a self-conscious virtue-signal to show how smart and cosmopolitan they are.

Genuine ethnonationalists are left confounded at this display. Where is this bloodthirsty sentiment at home? Where is the desire to kick the Muslims out? Why is it that otherwise timid conservatives become lions for Israel or the Ukraine, while at home they are church mice who run away and squeak “Nazism” at the palest proposition to make immigrants speak the native language? The cause behind this surrogate nationalism can be found in democracy itself. Western states are total democracies and in a democracy it is forbidden to be exclusive. It is, therefore, forbidden to cheer for your own tribe; if you do so then you suggest that the core population is somehow distinct—bound together by blood, language, and history. To do so is undemocratic, it suggests distinction. However, it is permissible to express martial ferocity for an out-group, since liberal democracy venerates the minority; and it is particularly acceptable to express ferocious support for the underdog—for the victim.

This is why Western conservatives express ridiculously exaggerated support for Israel in her wars: Israel is affirmative action for the Jews. The Jews have a special temporary dispensation to be nationalists, whereas other nations do not, to make up for all those centuries when they had no army and no nation—sections of the left think this dispensation should now be revoked, the Israelis should be seen as being as “Nazi” as any other nationalists. Today, the Jews are almost insufficiently victim-like for liberal democracy to defend them.

Conservative people who would naturally express martial ferocity on behalf of their own tribe are also acutely aware as to what is normative in society; so they would never be so ferocious for their own society. To cheerlead for Israel or the Ukraine gives them a normative outlet for this unexpressed ferocity. Unfortunately, the emotion comes out “wonky”. This means that the worst offenders in this regard—war nerds who venerate Western military equipment—express grotesque yet unfelt hatred for “the enemy”; hence you will see conservatives engaged in squalid fantasies about “barbecued Russkies”.

There is always a spiteful, petty, and dishonourable undertow to these sentiments; and this is because you cannot really and truly cheer for the out-group in war—you do not really care about Israel or the Ukraine. All you can do is adopt the underdog position to express your martial energies, and the underdog is spiteful and bitchy because he is weak. However, if we were in a real war with Russia the Western democracies would do as Stalin did in WWII: drop the ideology. We would be endlessly regaled with films that depicted strong white men in martial authority; suddenly Henry V, Elizabeth I, and all the “racist” material would be back—the Union Jack would be everywhere.

This is because the managers of democracy, just like the Bolsheviks, know very well that what they do is against nature. When the state is under threat you drop all the bullshit: you drop the Internationale, wheel out the Orthodox bishops, and let people weep for the Motherland—or else the state falls. The same would happen with LGBT, feminism, and the demonisation of white men the moment Western democracies were under existential threat—until then, Westerners with a martial inclination have a furtive wank over underdog wars.


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