Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Recommended Reading

For an interesting read on ethnonationalism:

Click here.



It is written by Jerry Z. Muller of Catholic University.

I am not sure if I agree with all of it. But Dr. Muller makes some very interesting points, worthy of some further thought and discussion. Here is one part that does make a point that is quite overlooked when the MSM presents their reports:

Recently, for example, in the course of arguing that Israel ought to give up its claim to be a Jewish state and dissolve itself into some sort of binational entity with the Palestinians, the prominent historian Tony Judt informed the readers of The New York Review of Books that "the problem with Israel ... [is that] it has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a 'Jewish state' ... is an anachronism."

Yet the experience of the hundreds of Africans and Asians who perish each year trying to get into Europe by landing on the coast of Spain or Italy reveals that Europe's frontiers are not so open. And a survey would show that whereas in 1900 there were many states in Europe without a single overwhelmingly dominant nationality, by 2007 there were only two, and one of those, Belgium, was close to breaking up. Aside from Switzerland, in other words -- where the domestic ethnic balance of power is protected by strict citizenship laws -- in Europe the "separatist project" has not so much vanished as triumphed.


The thing I find interesting about Europe is the tendency of some Europeans to expect that multiculturalism is so easy to achieve. But when it comes time for practical implementation of the principles they preach, they aren't as fast to accept.

One economic example of where there is some disparity can be found is, there are nations within the EU that are far more protectionist than they let on. On one hand, they criticize the U.S. for not keeping the southern floodgates open and Israel for mistrusting Palestinians enough to not want to incorporate them into a combination state with political power. On the other hand, they are very stingy about who they let into their borders and who invests in (and owns) their businesses/corporations.

Anyway, read it when you get time. It is quite exhaustive for an internet essay.

4 comments:

Greg said...

"the problem with Israel ... [is that] it has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a 'Jewish state' ... is an anachronism."

A common view these days. People who espouse it are, in my opinion, either totally ignorant or bigots. Are people like Judt not aware of the nature of the other countries in the region? Has Judt ever tried to bring a bible into Saudi? It's not allowed. His unclean (ie, non-muslim) body isn't even allowed in some Saudi cities. When French special forces had to be called to Mecca to help resolve a hostage crisis, they all had to be converted to Islam before they could bail out the racist Saudi royal family. Has Judt ever tried to open a church or synagogue in Egypt? Would he don a yarmulka and walk the streets of Islamabad? I doubt it!

So, in the end, yes, Israel is an anachronism - in that it's way ahead of its time for the region. It is a beacon of freedom and tolerance amid a sea of racism, oppression and intolerance.

Mustang said...

Israel is an anachronism in the sense that the state represents a nation founded on democratic ideals and value placed on such principles as hard work, education, and honesty. Countries that surround Israel are anathema to these values. In my view, it is in Israel’s interests to implement and preserve an ethno-nationalist domestic policy.

Like you, I think Dr. Muller has made a thoughtful argument for ethno-nationalism, even if I disagree with some of his premises. For example, what he observes with respect to immigrants arriving in the United States is generally true, with two notable exceptions: Mexicans and Muslims. They do not seek to internalize American culture, and will not.

Few people understand the forces to which many Europeans have been subjected over the past half-century (or longer). Kosovo is but one example of the difficulties of finding a home for ethnicities in a place with historic cultural Serbian-Christian roots. It is a story that is far from being over. National, ethnic, and social difficulties are compounded by the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who continue to arrive in culturally dissimilar Western European nations. And while the offspring of these immigrants may enjoy citizenship (France, Germany, the Netherlands); they nevertheless remain on the periphery of mainstream society. This reality generates dissention and causes civil unrest. Europeans, who want the advantage of cheap labor, must now contend with the challenges of including those who do not share heritage, language, or religious values — and have no interest in doing so. It is clearly a self-inflicted wound, even if socialist politicians choose to ignore the truth of their own Frankenstein creation. We should recall that Churchill first called for a United States of Europe: we might say now that he was wrong.

Dr. Muller is correct to assert, “The core of the ethno-nationalist idea is that nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry.” It is only true, however, when large numbers of immigrants are willing to adopt that heritage as their own, learn the common language, and share values perpetuated by a common religious philosophy. Failing that, the opposite (multicultural ideology) is true and derisive to the interests of the nation as a whole. The United States erred significantly when it abolished “national origin” quotas, but it was perhaps typical of Johnson’s quest for a “great society.” If the United States does not act to reverse this unseemly law, we may pave the way for the ultimate destruction of our beloved America. The subjective “we” can only exist when most people unite behind a sense of national identity. If immigrants are not willing to do this, they have no business here — period.

LASunsett said...

//Israel is an anachronism - in that it's way ahead of its time for the region. It is a beacon of freedom and tolerance amid a sea of racism, oppression and intolerance.//

Careful Greg, the thought police will be after you, next.

LASunsett said...

//It is only true, however, when large numbers of immigrants are willing to adopt that heritage as their own, learn the common language, and share values perpetuated by a common religious philosophy.//

But sir that would be racist. Everyone knows that the U.S. has always been a beacon of freedom and should allow whoever to come in, whenever they want, to do whatever they want. Never mind that others do not practice what they preach, it is appalling that you would expect people to willingly surrender their cultural identity as they depart the plane or cross the river.