The supposed nationalist revolt encapsulated by Brexit and Trump have now been adequately shown to be elaborate exercises in pacification, further sweeping away questions of European and American White identity in the 21st century as populist insurgencies prove to be wholly conjunctural. They represent neither the beginning of a new order or the end of the old, instead showing a stopgap in the working orders of modernity. Trump nor Brexit will become harbingers, as both are mired in discourses and forms of mass. Mass in this case being a centralised totality of peoples, flows and governance. Alongside the mass of the Cathedral and the neoliberal economy, these new populist totalities are effectively vying in this centralised arena.
Populist insurgencies of these kind thus live within a pre-defined field, that of mass democracy combined with a bureucratic centralised state. This institutional field is the same that houses the Cathedralist policies of multiculturalism, de-ethnicisation and the production of individualisation/anomie. Such institutional structures have produced the conceptions of European and American as de-nationalised identities, stripped of any ethnic or cultural markers and instead defined by a progressive, utopian idea of history and a belief in the everlasting existence of the capitalist market and civic governmental systems. Events like Brexit and the election of Trump have not and cannot be removed from this matrix of understandings, and the prevailing discourse of these events shows that those initiating and propagating them have little intention of doing so. Brexit, for all the talk of sovereignty and secession, is defined by market Eurosceptic think tanks and politicians who are all too happy to increase non-European immigration to plug skills gaps and link the UK to a wider set of disparate systems such as the WTO. The historical predisposition of Brexit and Brexiteers tends to place British history as a form of civic progressivism, moving from the Magna Carta to the Industrial Revolution while ignoring the de-hierarchisation of English society, with the dispossession of church and common lands and the implantation of a more centralised class of nobles and juridical institutions. In the modern context, the dialogicians of Brexit are happy to tout the benefits of market society (much of it constructed and scaled by states) but decry the phenomena of atomisation and concomitant destruction of communities. They fall head over heels for globalisation, yet fail to recognise the link to large levels of migration.
In a similar vein Trump has ushered in a slightly updated version of American internationalism. For all the talk of America First and building a wall, the appointments of the Trump administration suggest an increasing accommodation with the deep state. Despite the idea of these events constituting some kind of insurgency that opens the prevailing discourses to criticism and change, they have proven fully subsumable to the wider Cathedral. Brexit’s socio-cultural conjuncture has not led to the development of a wider national-ethnic conscience, instead entrenching the centralised nature of British politics through Henry VIII powers and the complete lack of serious debate. Populist events have not produced a heteroglossia of alternating narratives that allow for the development of post-national ethnic identities, but have emphasised a hyperglossia existing within the narratives of modernity. Such moments will only ever be placed within a civic progressivist understanding of history and society so long as it chooses to accept this hyperglossia.
” Even civic nationalist outbursts like 2016’s Brexit or the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States are still taking place within a firmly integrated Atlanticist context (which is a form of liberal globalism). Britain will remain economically and ideologically tied to continental Europe, even if it has its own currency and trade regulations. The United States will remain the engine of NATO and heavily involved in the geopolitics of Europe”. The socio-cultural and economic regeneration needed to re-emphasise native identities and provide a space for ethnic cultures is not going to be found in the prevailing Atlanticist institutions that inhabit Western governments. Western governments themselves (and the wider idea of Westernism) can only be understood as a post-national existence that actively supports efforts to increase immigration and decrease efforts to mitigate its effects.
Thus if we are to re-emphasise and develop a European concept of ethnic identity, those who believe in a European identity must recognise their de-nationalised context. As Titus Quintus describes, a European identity is a diasporic one, an identity that exists between and apart from nation-states and international institutions. In this tribal foundation a European diaspora can grow, leaving behind the nationalistic conception of a unified nation-state. This effectively means moving forward toward new futures, rather than wishing for a utopian past. “If we see these ghosts of the nation-state as entities drawn by the managerial elite of the Atlanticist system, we can check most of our historical baggage, finally end the wake, and proceed to the funeral. After commending their spirits back to our forebears and creator, we are at last free to create and restore rather than slavishly inherit. We must outlive the nation-state and its demo-bureaucratic successor, not cling to them”.
In the increasingly fragmented, de-containerised world that exists around us, such a prescription is timely and necessary. The various organs previously attached to states, from trade policy to healthcare and infrastructure are increasingly being provided by a multitude of actors existing in varying networks and hierarchies. The attendant developments of the fiscal crises of states and the minoritarian character of increasingly influential social movements necessitate the growth of movements and networks that can guide European identities in the move toward a post-national environment. The fragmentary nature of modern governance means that stepping backwards from the prevailing system, creating clashing heteroglossias in place of demo-bureaucratic Atlanticism, and pushing the need for an ambiguous position in relation to the state. There will always be those whose affections will sit with the prevailing nation-state, as there will always be a range of bureaucracies that will sit in their own prevailing power (such as the local quangocracies in the UK and the TVEs, SOEs and political entrepreneurs of Chinese government). And with a future of governance that looks itself dis-affectual and schematised (“The distinction between ‘state’ as government and ‘state’ as schematic protocol continues to erode – the meanings collapse. Prime factorization, merkle trees, eliptic-curve cryptography, public keys, proof of work, and synthetic-time are the ideological currents of the future”) the best position seems a cyphered glance that exists interstitially within the prevailing structures, moving in and between them, developing overlapping trade and social relations while maintaining an in-group stability and homogeneity.
Attempting to assuage the hyperglossia of modernity through forms of mass democracy and civic nationalism is a fruitless endeavour. A European ethnic identity will never be founded through the modern state, no matter the dreams of 1950s Americana or the desire for “independence” from Europe. The redevelopment of an ethnic culture can only be born in the tribal network that focuses upon “separation and social re-foundation”, moving in and between self-perpetuating bureaucracies, social movements and the remnants of nation-states.
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