Put Not Your Faith in Nation-States
The Death of the West
By Pat Buchanan
St. Martin's Press Review
Review by Ryan McMaken
Pat Buchanan's latest contribution to the literature of the National Question in America is a tale of a dying patient. The patient, Western civilization, is dying of a repeated infusion of self loathing perpetuated by the purveyors of an anti-Western cultural revolution. Insofar as Buchanan diagnoses the disease, he appears to be right on the mark. A question remains, however, about how exactly the disease continues to find its way into our civilization. The nation-states of the West are dying demographically and culturally. Their citizens no longer have enough children to replace themselves, and the Western elites seem to be glad of it. Buchanan blames all of this on the decline of the nation-states, yet even he recognizes that the nation-state has been the primary engine of Western destruction. The evidence Buchanan presents for the West's problems is compelling, but by placing the West's salvation in the hands of the modern nation-state, he presents us with a problem that cannot be easily put aside.
Buchanan's thesis is simple and direct. Western Civilization has learned to hate itself, and as a result, it is slowly committing suicide via a series of fatal procedures. Birth rates are below replacement levels in most Western nations. The Christian nations of the West suffer birthrates below 2 children per woman, and in Spain and Italy, the birthrate is barely above one. The declining birth rates are due to both medical and cultural developments. Cheap birth control is available in every Western nation. While abortion is still heavily restricted in some European nations, contraception is readily available in all of them. While contraception has contributed to a declining birthrate, the widespread usage of contraception can be attributed to major changes in how Westerners view children in general. Compared to the rest of the world, Westerners have a low opinion of having children. Many Westerners have become DINKS (double income, no children) and regard children as little more that bratty obstacles to a long vacation in Bermuda.
Ironically, the West, which enjoys the highest average standard of living, is able to live in greater luxury than any other civilization, declines to allow children to partake in the bounty, and within the affluent West, the most affluent have the fewest children. While these people don't want to bother with the cost of raising children, they certainly want someone else to bother with paying for their early retirement vis-à-vis the welfare system. The result is a downward spiral in population where affluent populations become old and childless, and must resort to importing foreigners that speak non-Western languages, practice non-Western religions, and accept non-Western ideologies.
Mass Third World immigration is not only a result of an under-financed welfare state, however. According to the multicultural mind, nations have no right to control their borders, and must accept anyone from anywhere as an equal partner in citizenship. Multiculturalism teaches us that we cannot claim that Western civilization is in any way preferable or superior to any other civilization, and that any resistance to immigration as a threat to Western civilization must be regarded as closed-minded nonsense. As birthrates remain at high levels in the Third World, and as they plummet in Western nations, there is increasing pressure to open the floodgates and allow immigrants, legal and otherwise, to enjoy the fruit that Western civilization has produced, and that Westerners now take for granted. Since multicultural ideology tells us that Western civilization must not be taught to new immigrants, the old idea of the "melting pot" has been abandoned for the "salad bowl" where various presumably equal cultures mix and mingle together in a nation with no majority race or culture and no common public morality, save multiculturalism itself.
It is hard to argue with Buchanan's diagnosis of the problem. Anyone who's spent any time at all in a public school or university knows that the exaltation of immigrants is widespread while the denigration of Western civilization is central to the "college experience." Buchanan is correct in attributing most of this sentiment to leftists who never tire of using Western ideas of liberty and justice to destroy the very society that produced such ideals. Much of the anti-Western sentiment is driven by people who cling to the idea that they are "citizens of the world" and owe allegiance to nothing other than abstract ideas of "social justice," but as Bill Kauffman has noted numerous times, "citizen of the world" is really just another way of saying "citizen of nowhere".
It is these new Westerners who want to see themselves as defenders of an abstract "humanity" rather than defenders of their own native cultures who are bringing about the enormous changes taking place in Western nations. Citizens of the world make no distinction between children growing up in their own cultures and children growing up in distant Third World cultures. Within a multicultural ideology, the two are perfectly interchangeable.
The problem arises when people who have adopted the multicultural mindset are allowed to govern those who deny its validity. As we see in the United States today, most Americans are opposed to current rates of immigration, yet the American public is constantly being berated by its own government about how wonderful immigration really is and why Washington should have a right to force people into accepting it.
For Buchanan, the cause of the death of the West is insufficient loyalty to the nation-state. Buchanan approvingly quotes the historian Jacques Barzun who credits the nation-state as "the greatest political creation of the west," and blames recent secession movements in Europe and North America for the strengthening of multiculturalism and "world government" sentiments within Western civilization. Buchanan illustrates his argument with what James George Jatras called "Rainbow Fascism." Rainbow Fascism is the process of breaking down nation-states into smaller parts through nationalist and ethnic secession movements, and then incorporating the smaller entities into a world government. It is assumed that rage against the nation-state somehow must necessarily lead to allegiance to a multicultural world government as an alternative to the nation-state. The conclusion that Buchanan must come to then, is that the nation-state is the best possible organization of men under a government and that the strong, modern nation-state is the only entity that can resist the multicultural brave new world.
It is understandable why Buchanan might feel this way, since the most visible people who tear down the idea of the nation state also happen to be people like Strobe Talbott who think of people as perfectly malleable raw materials that can be molded to serve some world-wide multicultural god. However, no where do we see the multiculturalists actually defending genuine secession. If the American globalism of the 20th century has shown us anything, it is that the nation-state has been an indispensible tool in the hands of the globalization crowd.
Are we not constantly being told that American leadership is absolutely crucial to maintaining the viability of useless international organizations like NATO? Has not the United States consistently been the driving force behind United Nations meddling everywhere from Korea to Iraq? Everywhere we look we find that it has been American Presidents and their reckless use of American firepower and American money that have been the primary contributors to the building of international organizations built to enforce the will of global elites. On the home front, it has been the federal government that has forced abandonment of religion and traditional lifestyles down the throat of each and every American, and it has been federally funded schools and universities that have been the central engines of multicultural ideologies.
This has been made possible through the rigorously maintained centralized standards of government and regulation that is passed down to Americans through the organs of the nation-state itself. Even China allows more regional government than the United States, and as Paul Clark has observed, the European Union doesn't even come close to having the level of coercive centralized government that the United States employs.
Ironically, Buchanan would have us believe that the central instrument in destroying American civilization and in building up the international organizations he distrusts is somehow the instruments that will best serve the American people in resisting the multiculturalism that the feds have been promulgating worldwide for the last forty years.
Buchanan's solution, amazingly, is to secede culturally and to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's." To his credit, Buchanan does recognize that "the federal government is today the exchequer of the cultural revolution" and that a "common belief in democracy is too week a reed to support the solidarity of the West." He approaches questioning the legitimacy of an American government that doesn't allow Americans to control their own borders or to practice their own religions. Yet, in the end, he backs off and commands his readers to accept a continued marriage with those who seek to destroy the West.
These are amazing remarks from a man who writes with such passion and alarm, yet comes to the conclusion that no action should be taken if it ends up endangering the precious nation-state. Buchanan's wishy-washy solution takes away from otherwise superb observations about the destructive nature of America's foreign policy and its role in destroying American self-government.
The American states once demanded local sovereignty and control, yet they have gradually and happily accepted being turned into little more than administrative units useful in enacting the federal government's non-stop parade of programs. What is to prevent the United States from doing exactly what it demanded of the states? While the flag-waving no doubt reflects the values of a defiant American people who still love their native culture, there is nothing to prevent their blind faith in America's leaders from being turned into a useful tool for further integration into a global superstate.
The American purveyors of multiculturalism support flag-waving for a reason and it's not because flag-waving is an obstacle to their plans. If the American government has abandoned America, it is time that American conservatives accept the fact and act accordingly. Nostalgia will not make America something that it is not. It may be that the American nation-state in its present form cannot be saved, but that doesn't mean that American civilization can't be.
January 31, 2002
Copyright 2002 LewRockwell.com