Thursday, January 31, 2013

Observations: I am an American vs I am an American Citizen

I was watching a movie, TED, and there was a particular scene where the bear is kidnapped and hey starts saying he is an American citizens and that he has rights. It's innocuous, and the movie probably didn't mean anything by it, but I've been mulling on it anyways. What significance is there in saying 'I am an American citizen' versus 'I am an American' and I could see many people saying that differentiating the two is simply splitting hairs. But there is a difference, a big one, as they convey two separate identities. 

The two different phrases, while ostensibly describing the same person, an American is also an American citizen and it would appear to be vice verca, there is something at play.  The difference between the two phrases is the same difference between a nation, and a nation state. Individuals that study history and geopolitics know that a nation state is different from a nation.  Ideally, a nation state is simply the political organization and geopolitical boundaries that encompasses a nation.  Think Japan and Japanese, yes there are some minorities such as the naturalized Koreans and the Ainu, but their numbers are a mere fraction of the dominant people of the Island. 

In some instances a nation state borders does not encompass a single nation of people, think of the Kurds, whose people are split between Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Armenia. If you have paid attention to the news these last 20 years, it has been no small source of instability and tension in the region.  This isn't always the case, the United States has the various Indian nations, but once again their population is too small to be a source of instability, and the United Kingdom has been very stable in its 300 plus years of existence; There is talk of partitioning of Scotland out of the U.K, but I do not think it will happen.

Now, for the United Kingdom, they illustrate the difference between considering themselves a national or citizen of a nation.  Every person living in the United Kingdom is a British citizen and given their shared culture, trails and tribulations you would think they would think of themselves as British. However, talk to someone living in Glasgow, Cardiff, London, or Belfast, most individuals in these regions do not think of themselves as British, they are Scottish, Welsh, English, or Irish and this is self evident because if the people did think of themselves as British, then devolution wouldn't even be discussed.

Now, the British Isle could eventually have it's residents think of themselves a s British, national identities take a long time to form, and Great Britain has only existed for a couple hundred years. Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales as we think of them today have existed for over a thousands years.  But it could happen, three thousand years ago the Italian peninsula was a collection of competing tribes that spoke different languages, and it wasn't until the iron fist of Rome held it in unity for almost a thousand years, did an Italian identity really develop.

So how does this relate to America?  The United States is an anomaly in that regard as most individuals I have meet throughout the country think of themselves as American. I have spoken with people from the south that identify as Southerners and dudes from Texas that call themselves Texans, however, they will also say that they are American. It's a dual identity, one that I cannot identify with because I am not from that part of the country, but they still think of themselves as Americans, ad it is extraordinary.  This nation is only a few hundred years old, but it has managed to create a national identity in a short period of time, which has helped keep our country stable, however, recent cultural trends threaten this stability.

This isn't a post against immigration, far from it, as this nation was built upon immigrants and has enjoyed almost unrivalled success in spite of everything that history has told us should happen. This was largely due to the willingness to take who ever would come, but with the expectation that they would become American, that they would leave their old world traditions behind, and adopt new ones.

At the turn of the last century this was articulated as the melting pot idea of immigration. Pour in a bunch of different metals, heat it up, purge it of the impurities, and create a new metal stronger than anything that it was made out of.  Japanese, French, Russia, Jewish, Italian, Cuban, Indian so on and so forth, put it through the crucible of America, and you would get an American. It served the country very well but in today's progressive age, it is considered to ethno-centric, and the salad bowl, multicultural idea of America, came into being.

Now, instead of Americans, people who may look different and come from different lands but bound together by a shared culture and purpose, we get American citizens.  These are individuals that posses the rights and privileges of being a member of the polity, but they don't necessarily identify with their country of citizenship, it would be far more accurate to call them citizens of the United States.  Their numbers aren't widespread, but they do exist. The best example of these types of individuals are people who come to this nation, stay long enough to make their fortune, get their citizenship, and then they return to their home nation, all the while never giving up their citizenship to the United States.

It might perplex Americans, especially those who now how Byzantine and expensive our legal immigration and citizenship laws are, why anyone would do this, but there is a reason. Citizenship to the United States confers advantages. I met one man in Korea, a very devout and brave man, he once faced execution in North Korea as an accused spy, who had become a United States citizen, but now resides in Korea. When asked by a newspaper why he retained American citizenship, his answer was simple, and to the point, 'You guys (Americans) are like the Roman Empire. Americans can go to other countries far easier than many others.' 

The man was very forthright with his response, and I don't blame the man at all, he paid his dues and acquired citizenship, if he wishes to return home to his people and keep American citizenship then so be it, but I mention it to illustrate a point. He, and others like him, are not Americans, they don't say they are, but they are American citizens.  Whether we will admit it our not a persons loyalty is to their family, friends, and people, the state comes afterwards. Just look at the "Americans" who went back to their country, or parents country of origin, to fight against us. We can call them traitors, and ask how they could attack their country,but you have to understand, they were never Americans.

This issue is admittedly minor. America, despite the citizen of the world none-sense pushed by globalist progressives, is a very patriotic nation. Love of country isn't a dirty concept in America, how much some self loathing Americans might wish to to be, and we are rapidly seeing that globalists progressives best efforts in Europe, that it isn't there either. But it is a potential issue.

Once again I refer to Rome who, at the end of their empire, at millions of citizens, but few Romans. I mentioned in my post about the Constitutio Antioninia that Rome started to suffer a manpower crisis after extending citizenship, because the major impetus to get non-Romans to join, citizenship, was removed. They had what they wanted, the benefits of being associated with Rome, so why bleed for Rome, after all, they were Celts, Germanics, Iberians, Dacians, Thracians and Greeks, not Romans, let Romans bleed for Rome.  It's strange to think ,that an empire encompassing a quarter of the worlds population, was overcome by a couple of hundred thousand barbarians.  When the Celts assaulted the eternal city a thousand years before the fall every man in Rome, and almost every Latin and Italian allied to Rome, stood up against them and ultimately prevailed. And they prevailed because they were defending their home, their people, their 'patria'. The Empire fell because the various factions of Rome turned inward, to their own people, rather than assist their supposed brethren, after all, they were all Romans weren't they?

Culture matters, this is something we can never forget. I do not care who my neighbors and countrymen are, be they Jew, Islamic, Christian, Black, Asian, or White, it makes no difference to me so long as they share my culture, my American culture.  And this is something globalists need to understand, it took almost 12,000 years, since the settling of Jericho, and the beginnings of the city state, for the modern concept of the nation state to develop. It seems utterly foolhardy to think that we can advance humanity to the next stage of interconnection, the world nation state, that is a mere fraction of the time that it took for the nation to come into being.

Fortunately for us, in all the battles that we will have to fight, the infantilization of our country, statism, corruption this one is probably the easiest. It doesn't require a large government policy, in fact I think government action would hurt this cause, and it only requires that we speak out against the globalist nonsense and refuse to be shamed by those who would argue that patriotism is something to be ashamed of. It's a war of ideas, and the battlefield is in our favor in this one, but we must never give an inch. I will not apologize for being patriotic, nor do I equivocate or back track when individuals dare say that my expectations that people assimilate and become American is provincial/racist/close minded, I dismiss those arguments for the foolish ones that they are, and I have said outright that I consider citizen of the world idea an infantile one. We (the West) can offered to think this way (for now) due our position in the world, but it would be a grievous mistake to think that national sentiments do not exist elsewhere in the world and that in our coming struggles that nations will not act out on their sentiments.

For those who would say that I am advocating a kind of nationalism that resulted in two terrible World Wars, I would first reply and say that you need to study why those wars actually happened, and I would then also say that I am not. A realistic world view is not something to be turned away from, nations and people act out in their own self interest, it is simply the macro version of what human beings do on a daily basis, and it doesn't mean you cannot come into accommodation. The citizen of the world concept is far more dangerous to global peace and stability than accepting the reality of national differences. Just look at what the EU wrought in Greece, their (the EU) efforts to try and stifle national sentiment in favor of a trans-European identity, that does not innately exist, has resulted in the rise of Islamic violence, but of course the butchering of a youth in England is not related to that now is it, and counter extreme national retaliation, and it all resulted because the EU tried to create a nation of European citizens before there was a unified sense of Europeans among them. We must not make the same mistake as Europe.

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Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.