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Scottish Demography 101:
Basic Information for Immigration Patriots

S. J. Irving discusses the central role played by demography in Scotland's potentially bright future.

Introduction

Whither goes Scotland? The prospect of Scottish independence has been an energizing topic, both within Scotland and farther afield. It’s surreal for me, as a Scotsman myself, to have heard political commentators discuss this topic in the most bizarrely narrow terms, during the run-up to the referendum. Outsiders seem to have a very confused understanding of Scotland’s situation in general, let alone the referendum specifically and, by extension, our prospects for making our way in the world. Their misconceptions are forgivable, but as much as they can be forgiven, they can’t be forgotten — and mustn’t go uncorrected, if facts are to win out over fears.

Among commentators on the Dissident Right, demography is a major bone of contention — most especially regarding the fears and figures surrounding immigration. Fear-mongering about Scottish independence has apparently afflicted the alternative right blogosphere as much as it has the mainstream of British politics. In this, we have a clear testament to the power of the mass media and organized financial interests (both of which closed ranks against independence) to influence even those seemingly on the fringes of their hegemony. Scottish independence has, by and large, exactly the same institutional enemies as patriotic immigration reform. This alone must make serious food for thought, to be digested slowly. Beside this, there is the question of hard facts, the question addressed — and answered, in some measure — by this article.

What is needed at this point is not more reflexive condemnation of Scottish independence as an option for our nation, but a certain amount of disabuse and serious re-thinking about the issue. The same, tired, old lines can be repeated ad nauseam, but they’re no longer really fooling anyone — whether they’re bemoaning the uncertain prospect of Scotland going her own way or assuming that the ‘No’ vote is anything other than a temporary victory, if indeed a victory at all. We’re told that it means both that (1) the issue is now settled (Clue #1: it’s not); and (2) remaining part of the union is somehow better than the alternative (Clue #2: it’s not). In both cases, it amounts to little more than wishful thinking. Again, rather than uncritical acceptance of the scaremongering narrative what we need instead is reference to simple facts, which show this narrative to be irrational and un-constructive.

The facts, in this case, need a spokesman with a different perspective. Since I’m in a position to clear this up and have already, in a previous article (namely, ‘England’s Missed Opportunity’ for the Civil Liberty website), addressed the demographic differences between Scotland and England in a cursory comparison of the proportions, it behoves me now to give a more detailed analysis.

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Demography and Ethnicity

First, let’s expand on the statistics to which I alluded in the earlier article.

“A quick glance at the British census of 2011 shows the discrepancies in the statistics, between Scotland and England. The figures show that Scotland at the time of the census had a population which was about ninety-six per cent European, while England’s was about eight-five per cent. That’s not a small difference. Given the size of England and its much larger population, something around fifteen per cent is a lot of foreigners, their greater numbers making them far harder to assimilate culturally, if nothing else.

“Supposing Scotland left the United Kingdom, not only may there be the much-touted (perhaps oversimplified) right-ward shift in the make-up of the British parliament, but we will additionally see the English forced to look more closely at their own demography, as the non-European elements will suddenly become a bigger proportion of the UK population — and less pleasant fellow citizens than we Scots.”

The 2011 census to which I referred showed that nearly thirteen per cent (12.83%) of the population of Britain was non-white/non-European at that time, if we count the unspecified ‘Mixed’ as being non-European since it is a category for those who are not fully so or those whose heritage is a mixture of two or more non-European ethnicities (and this author counts them as such simply for the purposes of illustrating the extent of immigration and foreign birth-rates). The non-white statistic for England alone in this census was nearly fifteen per cent (14.6%). It may not sound like a huge difference between the UK baseline and England’s higher proportion, until one considers that the equivalent figure for Scotland is just under four per cent (3.98%), making Scotland ninety-six per cent (96.02%) native European as against England’s eighty-five (85.4%) at the time of the same census. This is not a small difference, by any stretch of the imagination.

Native births also merit a mention here. The percentage of Scotland’s population born outside the UK was around seven per cent (7%) versus the UK’s almost fourteen per cent (14%) or, in other words, nearly double.

Out of all of Scotland’s cities, Glasgow has the highest proportion of ethnic minorities at twelve per cent (12%) of the population. This means that our dear green place, at eighty-eight per cent (88%) native European (the lowest figure for a Scottish city), is still significantly above the English average.

When I said that “[g]iven the size of England and its much larger population, something around fifteen per cent is a lot of foreigners”, what I meant by ‘a lot’ was specifically the 7,731,314 identified by the 2011 census as non-white, non-Europeans resident in England. In other words, England’s population of mostly unassimilable aliens is larger than Scotland’s population period. Yes, to repeat that, more than our entire population.

The figures over time are also interesting. In the ten years from the census of 2001 to that of 2011, immigration and foreign birth-rates decreased Scotland’s white European proportion of her population by less than two per cent (1.97%) as against the nearly six per cent (5.6%) drop experienced by England over the same period. It’s estimated that about half of the birth rate in England and Wales right now is attributable to foreign (mostly non-European) fecundity.

By mid-century, projected at current rates, the United Kingdom will be the most ethnically diverse state in the West, overtaking the United States(!) as the world’s great ‘melting pot’. 2066 has been pinponted as the year when white Britons will become a minority in the British isles. Needless to say, the vast majority of this is accounted for by English demography alone and very little of it by Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

These numbers speak for themselves. Supposing we believe, as European Rightists are supposed to do, that ‘Demography Is Destiny’, then Scotland’s destiny is far more viable than England’s. It’s hard to adequately communicate just how far-reaching the ramifications of these divergent numbers are for the nations in question. At this point, the quantitative variables touch against and become the qualitative. It was accordingly that I wrote of the political ramifications of Scottish independence — the ‘ripple effect’ — in the Civil Liberty article.

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The Verdict of the ‘Dismal Science’

What about fiscal, economic and employment figures?

First, Scotland contributes more in tax revenues than the rest. Recent figures show that Scotland paid nine point six per cent (9.6%) of the tax revenues last year and cost nine point three (9.3%), a net gain (0.3%) for the Treasury with regard to Scots. Scots have contributed more per head than the UK per capita figures for over thirty years. Indeed, despite selective citation of spending figures in Westminster and inane drivelling about ‘the Barnett formula’, suggesting we cost more than we contribute, it is the worst kept secret that we do much better than the rest of the UK off our own backs. Supposing Scots wanted to live high on the hob, on the rest of Britain’s ‘dime’ (as our American friends would put it), then why do Scots consistently and overwhelmingly seek the alternative of increased taxation powers at home? Block grants from the British state would do just fine were that the case; and yet, we oppose them. Why, indeed, do we want to support our spending with taxes raised in Scotland alone? The answer is simple: we want to have spent in Scotland what is raised in Scotland. It’s in Westminster’s interest, not ours, to keep us beholden to HM Treasury.

In addition to proportionately greater tax revenues, the rate of unemployment is lower in Scotland (6.4%) than any of the other three constituent countries in the United Kingdom; and this, despite the constant depiction of Scots as scroungers. This also means that unemployment has also returned to a low not seen in Scotland since 2009.

Food production is another area of interest. One of the scare stories told about independence was that we would ‘starve’ without the rest of the UK’s acreage to feed us. This is pure fantasy; wrong in a number of ways. In fact, Scottish agriculture is far more productive by comparison with the rest of the UK. Every year, we produce proportionately far more in crops and livestock than England, whether you measure per head or per hectare. We constitute less than ten per cent of the total UK population and yet, year after year, our farmers and our land produce consistently contribute over ten per cent of the total agricultural food production for these isles. Additionally, when you adjust the figures to show food produce for human consumption alone, we produce more than twice what England does, by any measure.

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‘Scottish-ness’ and Ethnic Nationalism

There are more subjective factors as well. A figure which I neglected to mention in the Civil Liberty piece, which was relevant to the difference in national character between the Scots and the English, was national identity statistics. Specifically, I mean self-reported national identity, a question included in the 2011 census. The answer options for this question were ‘Scottish only’, ‘Scottish and British’, ‘British only’, ‘Scottish and Other’ and ‘Other’ non-Scottish. The majority of those who answered opted for the first answer, ‘Scottish only’, while in total there were between eighty-two and eighty-three per cent (82-83%) who identified as Scottish in some way. This figure trumped those for ‘Englishness’ in England and ‘Welshness’ in Wales.

Moreover, ‘Scottish-ness’ became a good predictor of how strongly areas would vote in last month’s referendum. The most strongly ‘No’-voting cities in Scotland, namely Edinburgh (61.1% ‘No’) and Aberdeen (60.4% ‘No’ in the Aberdeenshire council area as a whole) were also the ones returning the lowest levels of self-identified ‘Scottish-ness’ in the 2011 census, a respective seventy (70%) and seventy-five per cent (75%). Even so, the interesting thing is not simply that these cities both returned the lowest figures for Scottish nationality and the highest proportion of ‘No’ votes in last month’s referendum (both over 5% the national average); but even more so that their demographics for those born in Scotland almost perfectly match the two results, at seventy (70%) and seventy-five per cent (75%) respectively. Now, as of 2011, Aberdeen has the largest share of non-UK-born residents in Scotland (15.9%), whereas Edinburgh, although its share is a tenth of a percentage point lower (15.8%) has the largest population of non-UK-born residents in absolute terms.

In the ten years between the censuses, the percentage of the Edinburgh population born in Scotland specifically fell from seventy-eight (78%) in 2001 to seventy (70%) in 2011, the best part of ten per cent. Our former ‘Athens of the North’ is becoming — and has already become to quite an extent — a deracinated cosmopolis.

These two cities are really the notable exceptions which prove the ‘Scottish-ness’ rule. So, what does the high level of Scottish national feeling mean for demography? What exactly is the sticking point with Scottish nationalism, independence and immigration?

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Independence and Immigration

The white paper ‘Scotland’s Future’ (PDF) makes the immigration priorities of the Scottish Government clear: a couple tens of thousands of skilled workers, supplemented by university students. This is the heart of the SNP’s immigration platform. According to this white paper, “[the Scottish] Government will take forward a points-based approach targeted at particular Scottish requirements. The system will enable us to meet the needs of Scottish society with greater flexibility, for example by providing incentives  to migrants who move to live and work in more remote  geographical areas, assisting with community sustainability,  or adding new categories of skills.” (p.270)

The proposals regarding students are even more precise. “A particular issue for Scotland is the post-study work visa”, according to the Scottish Government.

“There are over 30,000 international students from more than 150 countries in Scotland; over 11 per cent of all students studying in Scotland are drawn from elsewhere in the EU and about 10 per cent are from the rest of the world. This Government plans to reintroduce the post-study work visa. This visa will encourage more talented people from around the world to further their education in Scotland, providing income for Scotland’s education institutions and contributing to the local economy and community diversity.” (Ibid.)

Disappointing concessions to PC and fashionable phraseology (e.g. ‘community diversity’) aside, the main concerns of the Scottish Government speak quite clearly from the text. This is all a fancy way of saying that the immigration concerns are economic — specifically to benefit the national economy, rather than the narrower needs of corporate interests — and result from pragmatic politics.

Skilled professionals and graduates are not particularly objectionable categories of newcomer. Those also happen to be the two groups least opposed by Scottish public opinion. The Migration Observatory survey touches on this: “Only a minority wish to reduce immigration of highly-skilled workers (23%) and university students (22%)”.

Conveniently, the more vague and generous aspects of the SNP’s immigration platform (that is, generous from the immigrant’s point of view) benefit from the fact that Scotland doesn’t currently set its own immigration policies. So, the SNP get to appear generous without actually giving anything away. There are compelling reasons to believe this would change, if the Scottish Government became the government of a sovereign nation.

Besides, the SNP’s immigration policy, even if adopted as proposed, would not lead to imminent minority status and replacement for native-born ethnic Scots by mid-century, whereas remaining in the United Kingdom would push us farther and faster in that direction with every passing year. So, all in all, the worst-case-scenario of independence with the SNP is better than the best-case-scenario staying in the UK.

Now, we know the SNP’s position on immigration, but where to real flesh-and-blood Scots stand on the issue?

The University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory (an excellent academic source for immigration data, by the way) reports in its Scottish Public Opinion survey ‘Immigration and Independence’ (PDF) that a majority of Scots, fifty-eight per cent (58%) still want to see immigration reduced, compared with England’s seventy-five per cent (75%). The fifty-eight splits into thirty-seven (37%) who want to see immigration ‘reduced a lot’ and twenty-one (21%) ‘reduced a little’. More importantly, only ten per cent (10%) wanted to see immigration actually increased (versus 8% for England and Wales).

In February of this year, an article from the BBC (‘Immigration: Is Scotland really different?’) cited the main figures of the Migration Observatory survey (58% vs 75%), along with those of the annual British Social Attitudes Survey. BSAS places our opposition at around sixty-nine per cent (69%) compared with England’s seventy-eight (78%). The range of difference these two sources give us, namely the 9-16% range, is quite considerable, but also understandable in light of the innocence that comes with homogeneity.

Scots on average have much less contact with immigrants, much less harmful contact in particular, and this is reflected in our relative magnanimity toward them. Furthermore, our attitudes also reflect differences in what is meant in context by ‘immigration’, i.e. different kinds of immigration and different kinds of immigrant. Are we talking about EU or non-EU immigration? Students or asylum seekers? Highly skilled workers for specifiable jobs or incalculable masses of cheap labour? Legal or illegal?

Interestingly, Scots and other Britons have different things in mind. The Migration Observatory survey shows that more Scots thought of immigrants as more likely to come from the EU than did respondents in England and Wales; “similar numbers had EU and non-EU citizens in mind (64% and 65%, respectively) while respondents in England and Wales were more likely to report thinking of non-EU citizens (75%) rather than EU citizens (59%). This difference between Scotland and the rest of Britain is consistent with migration patterns, in that EU citizens make up a larger share of the migrant population in Scotland than in Britain as a whole.”

A higher proportion of our immigrants are European. Scots see more fellow Europeans as immigrants than the English do. This is bound to influence our viewpoint.

In perspective, Scotland’s opinion poll figures for opposition to current immigration policies, while not as high as English figures, are remarkably high for such a small, homogeneous country with little experience of the immense and sobering kind of demographic transformation undergone by England or, say, the United States.

Comparisons aside for the moment, let’s return to specifically Scottish attitudes. Additional figures stand out.

Scots at a ratio of virtually two-to-one would prefer that immigration policies, as well as asylum/refugee policies, were set at Holyrood as opposed to Westminster.

Supposing Scotland were independent, though, exactly what direction would Scots (and what proportion of Scots) prefer for its immigration policy?

The Migration Observatory’s survey covered this as well: the largest number of respondents, at forty-five per cent (45%) favoured more restrictive policies and less immigration, the second largest (28%) preferred basically the same policy the UK has currently, while only fourteen per cent (14%) thought there should be more immigration.

For asylum/refugee policies, the numbers are almost the same; forty-three per cent (43%) more restrictive, twenty-nine per cent (29%) for the same as current UK policies and only sixteen per cent (16%) favouring more generous refugee and asylum rules.

So, the largest categories of opinion are for more restrictive policies regarding asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants in general, while an overwhelming majority of those polled believed that such policies would be best set in Holyrood, rather than Westminster. These overlaps are too considerable to ignore.

Now, when you add Scottish independence to the mix, things get even more interesting. After all, independence would have an impact on immigration specifically, as surely as it would in other areas — but how would it impact these issues?

In an article for Civil Liberty back in 2012, Colin Liddell detailed the “powerful effects” of independence on our political landscape:

“With Scotland freed from Westminster, there would be much less reason for Scottish voters to vote Labour. This would effectively result in the collapse of Labour in Scotland. Of course, the SNP, having fulfilled its historical purpose might also face a serious drop in support as a range of new parties rose up to take advantage of the new political ecosystem.”

There is no reason to believe that immigration in particular would be immune from drastic changes to our whole way of ‘doing politics’. On the contrary, it’s probable that immigration would be more impacted than other policies. After all, what’s more crucial to the National Question than the issue of immigration and birth-rates?

Liddell may be the only one to state it with such force or nuance so far, but the academic experts seem to agree with him on the skeletal facts of the issue.

Indeed, the abovementioned BBC article quotes two Scottish scholars to the effect that independence (and, implicitly, responsibility for our own immigration policies) will change everything.

First, the article quotes Robert Wright, a professor of economics from the University of Strathclyde:

“I think the difference between Scotland and the UK really boils down to the fact there has been less immigration in Scotland than the UK for a significant period of time. So the fact I think there is more tolerance here is because there has been less of it. That does not mean there will be tolerance in the future when there is more immigration, so this will be a hurdle we have to jump later.”

So much for ‘tolerance’ in Scottish public opinion.

Next, Christina Boswell, of the Politics Department at the University of Edinburgh:

“Even if at the moment the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour are largely supportive of a more liberal approach, in the event of independence, actually the temptation to break ranks and criticise and tap into public concerns about immigration would be quite high.”

Professor Boswell’s point, interestingly, differs very slightly from Professor Wright’s in that it’s not simply about a shift in attitudes among the electorate, but an adjustment of policies and discourse among the Scottish political parties, which could potentially bring more fluidity and dynamic change to the party system in Scotland.

Everything would be up for grabs in the immediate aftermath of independence. The issue of immigration would take on newfound importance for a nation finding itself again, restructuring its identity — that is, determining what it is and what it’s not — and formulating the answer to its National Question. On this, its most pronounced weak point, the SNP would have to learn its hardest lesson: evolve or die.

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Demography Conclusions

What one senses confidently from the amassed and collated evidence is a Scotland which, overall, can work on its own — and not only that, but do better on its own. I see very few worrying signs and a great many reassuring ones. Economics, regarded as the strong point of the ‘No’ argument, reveal itself in Scotland’s favour; GDP, tax revenues and employment are all in her favour. Scottish agriculture, fisheries, oil wealth and exports are all in her favour.

Overall, the feeling of a self-evident Scottish national identity is at a high point in Scotland and shows little sign of abating. Perhaps ‘critical mass’ better intimates the political implications. Its effect is positively alchemical. In any case, we find that it trumps most other factors, including Scots’ reputed ‘tolerance’ for immigration. Scottish identity is incredibly strong and could potentially yield great gains for an explicitly identitarian Scottish political force in years to come. The song given to us in living memory reminds us that we can still rise now and be the Nation again.

What more is there to say? Both on the whole and in particular cases, we are presented with figures which build a compelling case for Scottish independence.

This Scotland, which we sense here, is the genuine article as it were, not the straw man of the British media’s sensationalized headlines.

One of the most thoroughly European nations in Europe; wealthy, educated, increasingly self-confident; proudly Scottish — all of this and more; this is Scotland. Simple words could never do her justice.

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Awake! Arise, Britannia! Or Be Forever Fallen! Part I – Multiculturalism

Observe… how nations sink, by darling schemes oppress’d

— Johnson, ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’

Multiculturalism, if we will be honest, is only the very latest in a series of ‘darling schemes’ by which our nation has been oppressed in the last fifty years or so. It is the latest, and quite possibly the most baleful of all the ideological enchantments whose influence we have hitherto come under. Just how it all began, just how we managed to fall into this state of the darkest, most dreadful all-enveloping confusion, which now threatens to wipe us from the face of the earth if we do not at once contrive to extricate ourselves from it – just how all this came to pass, I am not prepared to say. Thomas Carlyle once remarked that ‘it is indeed strange how prepossessions and delusions seize upon whole communities of men; no basis in the notion they have formed, yet everybody adopting it, everybody finding the whole world agree with him in it, and accept it as an axiom of Euclid; and, in the universal repetition and reverberation, taking all contradiction of it as an insult, and a sign of malicious insanity, hardly to be borne with patience.’ It is indeed strange – quite unaccountable, really, a phenomenon such as this! But, all the same, it is a fact of our lives just now. Have we not asked our New-Labourites and other Liberals time and time again, just what are the real benefits of this thing called multiculturalism? And have we not found them, on every single occasion, to be totally incapable, for all their zeal, of delivering a coherent explanation? What man or woman among us has heard a real argument from the likes of them? It is always the same incoherent, cloying ‘repetition and reverberation’ that we are forced to listen to. And all one has to say is ‘Well sir, I don’t buy it’ and suddenly one becomes ‘maliciously insane,’ an ignorant racist, and what’s more, a Nazi and a denier of the Holocaust! Impossible to say how we managed to get ourselves mired in such utter foolishness; suffice it to say that we are in it, in it very deeply just at present, and, God help us, we must find our way out of it!

Failure of Liberal Thought

I have said that multiculturalism has no real basis, that, as an idea it is but a semblance; has in fact no substance. Though in reality it has no basis at all, this has not prevented Liberal theorists from trying, by various philosophical conjuring tricks, to invent one for it. Perhaps it will be worth-while to explore some of these ‘theories’, since most of us no doubt have been left quite bewildered by the endless ‘jangle and babble’ of the journalists, politicians and other ‘talking heads’ in our society. In defence of multiculturalism, some Liberal ‘scholars’ like to dredge up the old Utilitarian doctrines of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. They start with a very simple proposition, namely, that man is at bottom nothing but a selfish pleasure-seeker, and that the world is, in its essence, a very large and elaborate amusement park. They express it less offensively, of course, with much meaningless jargon thrown in to confuse the matter, but if their doctrine does not boil down to this that I have said, then, I say, it boils down to nothing at all. For this selfish pleasure-seeking man our Liberal theorists have cooked up, all things in this world are objects of prospective pleasure; that is, all material goods, religions, cultural activities, and even other persons are mere things from which he may derive some amount of pleasure, and that is the extent of their meaning to him. It being assumed that the summum bonum (‘greatest good’) for a human being is pleasure, it is concluded that the best human society will be that in which the absolute maximum quantity (or ‘diversity’) of commodities, religions, customs, and everything else imaginable is available for the pleasure of the public. Each individual, born into a multicultural society with its various commodities, religions, customs &c. &c. will have infinite prospects of pleasure open to him, and therefore each individual will be able to lead a happy life, or so the theory goes.

Humans are merely shoppers

Allow me to re-state the argument in simpler terms. Many of you have at one time encountered the old Utilitarian slogan, ‘the world is a workshop, and man is the worker in it.’ Well, the new Utilitarian slogan should be, ‘the world is a department store, and man is the shopper in it.’ Simply put, the liberal theorists referred to above believe that man is a shopping animal, an animal whose purpose in life is to go shopping. Moreover, they believe that the world is essentially one gigantic market-place where this shopping can occur. They assume that in order to be happy, a man needs to be surrounded at all times by multifarious consumer goods, which he can sample or purchase at his pleasure. They then claim that multiculturalism is a natural extension of their universal shopping principle. Man must not only be surrounded by multifarious consumer goods; he must also be surrounded by multifarious cultures and religions. Multiculturalism is said to broaden the range of ‘pleasant experiences’ that a shopper can have. Just as a man may go shopping at the marketplace of consumer goods, so may he go shopping at the marketplace of cultures and the marketplace of religions. Thus are his chances of experiencing pleasure and amusement increased dramatically. But is it really possible to take any of this rubbish seriously? Is religious worship nothing but an ‘intriguing experience’ to be had every now and then for a diversion? Is culture but a series of ‘entertainments’ to be paid for, enjoyed for an hour or two, and forgotten the next day? Honestly, what could be more absurd than a theory such as this? Let us consider for a moment a young British man. This man learned the value of hard work early, and has supported himself since he was eighteen. He now has a wife and two small children who attend church with him on Sundays. Like any conscientious parent in these times of ours, he worries often about what the future has in store for his children. I ask you, how shall it please him to know that there are so many thousand mosques in his country? In what way will it be comforting to him to know that he might go and experience the Islamic Faith at any time, without even leaving Britain! In fact there’s a mosque just across the way there! How convenient! Never mind that their manner of worship is completely alien to him, that their religious principles are quite contrary to his own, and that, with that little gold cross hanging from his neck, it is doubtful they would even let him past the door — How joyful it would be to visit there, and experience an alien religion!

Cultural void

Another rather different theory of multiculturalism goes something like this: It is assumed, first of all, that all creativity in individuals and societies is the result of conflict, the clash of different ideas and beliefs. That proposition made, it is asserted that all the great artistic and literary productions that we now see in our national museums and libraries are to be credited not to the individual genius of the artists or writers who produced them, but to whatever religious or ideological ferment may have been in existence at the time. Never mind the inspiration of true genius, or the noble perseverance, the hard work of truly devoted men and women; we have only the conflicts of the times to thank for all our art and literature! The claim is then made that as religious and political strife have brought about creativity, so must a clash of cultures, a clash of races, a clash of religions. What an extraordinary claim! I think we have all seen what delightful things have been produced in the last 30 years or so by racial and religious tension of this kind. But perhaps that’s too cynical. Surely it has created something, not brought us death and destruction only. Well, yes, to be sure, we have seen that too. Not too long ago I saw something called a ‘cross-cultural rap’ featured in one of our newspapers. This particular piece, far less aggressive and uncouth than most I have encountered, was touted by the editor as an example of the ‘creativity’ coming out of our so-called ‘multicultural communities.’ Some of you have no doubt seen this or other similar ‘works of art’. What, then, are we to make of it? Perhaps if we were to try to define what precisely rap is, as an art form? This is not so easily done. Properly speaking, it cannot be called music, nor yet, I think, may it be described as poetry. What then? – a sort of semi-articulate disharmonious chaotic jangling mishmash of the two, as near as I can tell. Very well, but that is only the form; I suppose art doesn’t necessarily have to be pleasing to the senses. Perhaps it is, for all that, grand and inspiring, tender and moving, profound and edifying, or even mildly thought-provoking in some way?

These naive liberal theorists seem to have forgotten, or else, in order to support their erroneous theories, have found it necessary to deny, what creativity in reality requires: that is , most of all, two things that your ‘rap artist’ does not have, and never will have, namely, Genius and Devotion. Genius, at least in an artist, is simply an ability to see things clearly, an ability to discern in all things the eternally true from the eternally false. It is, above all, an immense power of discernment, which only a select few among us can boast of. And of course, such genius also involves an uncommon talent of self-expression, an ability to express oneself, whether in song, on canvas, in poetry or prose, in a way that is irresistibly inspiring. That is what I take to be ‘genius.’ Equally important is devotion, of utmost importance, I say, that the creative genius focus his immense powers of perception and expression on something worthwhile, a subject of great significance both to him and to us, his audience. We British have been blessed with many such devoted geniuses in the course of our long history. It can be argued, I think, that the greatest poets our nation has ever seen were all ardent patriots, all devoted to their country and their people. Such poets wrote with the express aim of enriching our culture and language. It is well-known, that whenever Milton had occasion to sign his name to a document, he would make sure that there could be no confusion as to his nationality; ‘John Milton, Englishman’ thus always did he sign his name. This is the man who resolved at the age of 30 to

fix all the industry and art I could unite to the adorning of my native tongue; not to make verbal curiosities the end–that were a toilsome vanity– but to be an interpreter and relater of the best and sagest things among mine own citizens throughout this island in the mother dialect. That what the greatest and choicest wits of Athens, Rome… did for their country, I in my proportion with this over and above of being a Christian, might do for mine: not caring to be once named abroad… but content with these British Islands as my world…

Milton did not disappoint; he wrote about our Christian religion, and I know of no Christian poet or prophet who has since surpassed him. Tennyson, our poet laureate during the latter half of the 19th century, wrote in celebration of our ancient notions of chivalry, of our legends of King Arthur. Shakespeare is called by many a ‘universal’ poet, but what, then, are his Histories, Henry the Fifth among others, if they are not national epics? These men of genius used their talent for the glory of England; each was in his own time the voice of England. And their voices are still heard, I think, at least by those of us who have not yet succumbed to the cult of multiculturalism that has swept over these islands in recent years. All our great achievements in art and literature were the products of great minds and devoted souls, such as our Shakespeare, Milton, and Tennyson had. What need have we, then, of the black rapper, with his head full of ‘racial tensions’ and a few other extraneous noises, utterly empty of all else, what need have we of him and other cheap imports like him? What contributions these people of the Third World may make in the way of culture are as nothing compared to what we British already have, nothing compared to the culture we have developed over a span of more than a thousand years.

No need for immigration

Such a lot of extraordinary rubbish our liberal journalists have cooked up, it would seem! Yet, I think we ought to give them credit for at least attempting to find some method in all of this multicultural madness. Trouble is, that in the last analysis, there simply is no method to be found in it, no method whatsoever in the government’s mad policy of forced multiculturalisation. Truth be told, multiculturalism offers no advantages to the native British population, offers disadvantages only. Far from improving our quality of life, far from making our lives more exciting and enjoyable, it makes life more dangerous and bitter for many among us, especially for those living in our Northern communities. Third World immigrants do not enrich our culture; on the contrary they contribute to its impoverishment. And what of other issues, such as Crime, and the Economy? Strangely enough, it appears that crime rates have gone up throughout our island in proportion as immigration from the Third World has increased. Furthermore, the government and the media always insist that mass immigration will be necessary to maintain our economy in the coming years, but even these so called purely ‘economic arguments’ of theirs don’t hold water. According to the EU’s own numbers, if Europe wants to maintain its 5-to-1 ratio of working-age persons (15 to 64) to pensioners and elderly (65 and over), Europe must import — 1.4 billion people from Africa and Asia by mid-century! Such as scheme as this is not only unfeasible; it is simply fantastic! If, in order to meet their economic targets, the EU bureaucrats find it necessary to import 1.4 billion people from the Third World, then it is clear that their economic targets are unrealistic. Clearly, it is time for the EU planners to go back to the drawing board, or, better yet, it is time for said ‘planners’ go before another sort of board, if not to the gallows directly, and allow the sovereign states of Europe to tackle their own economic problems individually.

Blair & Co. and the Proponents of “One World”

Something here must be said, I think, apropos of the recent and present occupants of Number 10 Downing Street. Not at all clear, however, what ought to be said about them. On the one hand, it is very tempting to dismiss Blair, his successor Brown, and the new LibCon creature, Cameron-Clegg, as typical politicos, men who, notwithstanding their impressive talent for tongue-wagging, are in all other aspects that we are apt to consider in a leader of men (to wit: intellect, know-how, integrity, courage, accountability) sadly, sadly deficient! The manifold failures of this government, daily unfolded in our newspapers, would appear, on the face of them, to be attributable merely to the negligence and incompetence of worthless men. These are not men of long views; they do not consider what is in the long-term best interests of this country. These are men who look forward to the next election only, they look ahead no farther. Perhaps that really is the whole extent of it. On the other hand, one is tempted to see them in an altogether different light, to see them, in Carlyle’s words, as ‘Councillors of state [who] sit plotting and playing their high chess game whereof the pawns are men.’ In all likelihood they themselves for the most part pawns of the multinational corporations that fund their election campaigns. But there is something more sinister at work as well.

A review of any of the former Prime Minister Blair’s asinine speeches will reveal the same tendency in his thinking. Blair wanted to ‘foster global interdependence and make it a force for good, for our own nation and the wider world.’ He goes on: ‘The only way to deal with this is if there’s pain all round so that there can be gain all round,’ and suchlike phrases. Everyone knows that Blair, and his successors, are firm believers in globalisation, but we must understand is that globalisation is much more than a merely ‘economic’ programme. At the heart of it is a certain species of fanaticism, much akin, as it happens, to the fanaticism of Karl Marx. In the words of a contemporary journalist, ‘It is inevitable that at some time in our collective future, this planet, with all its many shades of humanity, will unite into a single whole.’ Note the use of the word ‘inevitable,’ a very emotional word. Marx too thought that the unification of all nations by Communism was ‘inevitable.’ Lenin believed him, so convinced was he of the inevitability of it, in fact, that he resolved, by hook or by crook, to make it happen. He attempted to make it happen, and a great people, the Russian people, was brought to its knees, and still has not recovered from that experience. But what has this to do with Blair and Brown and Cameron-Clegg? Very simple, if you accept the premise I’ve laid out above. Why do Labour and LibCon governments refuse to clamp down on immigration, against the clear wishes of the British people? Because Blair, Brown and Cameron-Clegg have partaken of that poisonous elixir, fanaticism, ‘whereof,’ says Jonathan Swift, ‘whoever drinks, that person’s brains fly out of his nostrils.’ Because Blair and his clones sincerely believe that ‘the unification of all shades of humanity into a single whole’ is inevitable, and they have resolved that by mass immigration they shall bring it to pass. But in their hysteria, they do not seem to realise that it is only white countries that will be ‘unified’ in this manner. In Alien Nation, a book about America’s immigration woes, Peter Brimelow reports the responses of the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Indian embassies, when asked about the possibility of immigrating to their country:— China: ‘China does not accept any immigrants. We have a large enough population.’ Taiwan: ‘You need Taiwanese relatives by blood or marriage’ India: ‘Are you of Indian origin?’… Long after Britain, Europe, Russia and America have been ‘unified’ and ‘multiculturalised’ beyond recognition, China, Taiwan, India, and in fact most non-white countries will have retained their dominant ethnic majorities. We will then be no closer to the ideal of ‘universal brotherhood’: South America, that great experiment in racial mixing, will continue to be a racially stratified mess. And the African tribes, Hindus, Muslims, and Chinese in their billions, disdaining to mix with each other, will continue to vie with each other for regional and global dominance, while members of the Caucasian race will find themselves outnumbered and unwelcome in the homes of their ancestors.

[Continuation in Part II]

Parts II and III examine some key arguments of nationalist political philosophy and discuss questions of national identity in Britain.

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Freedom, Justice and Revolution

In this article, I have set out to explore three terms. They are named in the title. ‘Freedom’ (or ‘Liberty’), ‘Justice’ and ‘Revolution’. These are very attractive terms, to be sure. There is no doubt about that. They are, in fact, so attractive that those who understand them least use them the most. Despite being left ill-defined, these terms, when used in political discourse, have a strong impression upon us. What definitions and conceptions of them which we do have are — quite simply — false, misleading and harmful.

Usually, what makes the use of these terms counter-productive is not their original meaning. Rather, it is the dishonest deviation from this meaning. They are de-historicized and neutered. Rights which were interpersonal, social, legal, contractual become merely (and dangerously) metaphysical. Where origins are forgotten, there the flower of ignorance — monstrous and erroneous — blooms. Specifically, wherever one forgets how and when rights have come to develop (and lacks even a mythical description of this development), there the exploding bud is the ‘Rights of Man’.

What was once understood as historical and contingent, is supplanted by a twisted facsimile — an ahistorical, universal and static parody, suspended awkwardly over history.

Nevertheless, there may yet be something which can be salvaged from them.

JUSTICE — HOW MEN ASSOCIATE IN A CIVIC SENSE

The Ancient Greeks were preoccupied with man’s place in the community and his prosperity as an individual. It must be noted right away that the Ancients saw the two as being inextricably linked. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to the ancient Roman, the ancient Norsemen and so on. It is only today that the individual in conflict with the body politic.

In the ancient world, the most honourable men associated out of selfishness. This made perfect sense to an ancient Greek, Roman, Nordic or Brahmin. To us, being Westerners in the world of today — with our paltry conceptions of liberty, rights, selfishness and so on — this is rather more difficult to understand. When it comes to liberty, our ‘modern ideas’ obfuscate matters, rather than illuminate them.

Where we have normalized relations with certain parties, we have expectations. These expectations are contingent upon these relations. So long as these relations continue, they will be formalized. Once formalized, they are represented by ‘rights’. So, why is it harmful to forget this origin — or even, to forcefully break with this origin? First, because rights are contractual and conventional. Only with provenance can one prove rights. Secondly, because this opens the door to the error of making rights metaphysical. Since rights are conditioned by the power to provide for them, if rights are assumed everywhere, we cease to take account of reality. Our flight of fantasy sacrifices the ‘is’ for the ‘ought’. Moreover, the justification garnered from making it a moral issue adds impetus to the most horrifying conclusions.

It is from the nobility that we have the men who create, inherit and guarantee rights. It is only proper, therefore, that they hold the first and highest rights of all, and grant these to their sons. More fundamentally, these liberties are based on their valuations and are most at home in the same kind of soil they were born in. The differences which informally (yet invariably) lead to men falling into roughly two distinction groups — (1) the best, and (2) the rest — also lead the first of these groups to form an entire worldview based on their own extraordinary nature. In the class distinctions which follow from this, we find the formalization of qualitative differences. What is made formal is the inequality which is the precondition of rights. What does this mean? Simply, the class-system provides the basis for all rights, as well as the guarantee of liberties. Beyond this, authentic freedom (in a more fundamental sense) is only possible for those with the aristocratic spirit.

Nietzsche’s master-morality (Herrenmoral) neatly and essentially encapsulates this. Also, he tells us that there are no rights without an inequality thereof. Moreover, equal rights only exist between equals — i.e. between those who can requite themselves. Those who can equal one another, in deeds. (“Equality for Equals, Inequality for Unequals” he suggests as a mocking slogan.) Drawing on another use of the word ‘equal’, we might say that one only has equal rights where one is equal to these rights.

Excavating terms (and therefore, concepts) embedded in our language, Nietzsche set out — with great success — to prove this. The etymological ancestry which he thus traces vindicates his theory of a twofold history of morality. What he more or less demonstrates is that we begin with the primary distinction: good-bad. This distinction starting from the declaration: this benefits me, therefore it is good; or, more simply, ‘if it’s good for me, it’s good’). It is, however, to be distinguished from the evil-good distinction (which begins with evil — in short, with what is Other, what is hated, what is to be reacted against). The reader may notice I called the good-bad distinction the primary one. This is what I would call the primal phenomenology of human existence. It is self-consciousness.

On this point, it would be irresponsible not to mention Hegel. Why? Is this due to a fear of influence not being acknowledged? No. Rather, I wish to show the chief, irreconcilable difference between this conception and Hegel’s conception of ‘Herrschaft und Knechtschaft’ (or ‘Lordship and Servitude’) from The Phenomenology of Spirit. Put simply, Hegel incorrectly ascribes the impulse of self-consciousness as residing with the servant, not the master. The Master is the creator-conqueror — he is the originator and arbiter of value. He spontaneously develops the good-bad distinction.

The Master — that is, the superior — has primacy of self-awareness. In his consciousness we have the origination of self-consciousness. The ‘I’ is his contribution to ontology. This is fundamental, in his value-system. The good-bad distinction is underived from anything other than the Master’s own experiences of the world — and his innermost, ownmost feelings. In short, the good-bad distinction originates in a sort of ‘ipsissimosity’. One might call this ‘own-most-ness’, for want of a better form of expression.

Moreover, the Master treasures different things. He reveres that which carries the marks of age; and he reveres tradition. Nietzsche emphasized that “all law rests on this twofold reverence”. Conservatism is indelibly ingrained in the value-system of the nobility, even if they are born and bred risk-takers. Nietzsche argues, furthermore, that faith in one’s ancestors and partiality towards them are noble traits, surely indicative of “the morality of the powerful.” Legal relationships are based upon their profound conservatism.

Naturally, then, it is among such value-creating men, among the nobility, that law is first taken seriously — as in Rome. (“Jus est ars boni et æqui” — that is, “Law is the art of the good and the right”. The Roman would naturally assume — and correctly — that this referred to the nobility.) It is among men of approximate power, who see the advantages in avoiding open contest, that legal relationships — and thereby civil association — first arise. Similarly, it is only among peers that one can have justice proper.

Justice is not based upon everyone being equal, but on the opposite — upon our radical inequality.

REVOLUTION — HOW SLAVE-MORALITY BECOMES ‘PETTY POLITICS’ AND THE ‘WILL TO NOTHINGNESS’

In revolutionary leftist politics, there is a tendency to condemn what is considered reactionary.

However, the proletarian condemnation of ‘everything’ reactionary is insincere. The accurate identification of the bourgeoisie as reactionary is beside the point. That middle-class commoners are reactionary does not make lower-class commoners any less reactionary. They have more in common with each other than either would like to admit. Indeed, more than either has with the nobility. It is this, and not purely economic ‘forces of production’, which makes the capitalist system a hot-bed for revolutionaries. Moreover, it is also precisely this which plots the coordinates for the middle-class Angst so characteristic of the modern age.

One of the few things which is in any way unique about the middle-class is that exists between two classes. The virtually extinct class above it has been everywhere betrayed by the money-grubbers. They feel inadequate next to this, which accounts for all their show. All middle-class ‘selfishness’ is not based on self at all, but based on pursuing what everyone else pursues. They are long on vanity and short on self-esteem. Their ‘self-interest’ consists wholly of the extent to which they are suckers. Knowing that they are unable to match those they have betrayed perpetuates an inherited guilt. Put bluntly, they feel, even if only unconsciously, they have robbed the world of something they know to be beautiful and matchless. Something which, for all the ‘forces of reproduction’ at their fingertips, is irreproducible.

Perhaps that’s why they must deify capitalism and reinterpret history in a whiggish fashion, to marginalize the part of the nobility in securing ancient freedoms. In fact, the nobility did not make a mere contribution to the concept of liberty. Liberty itself is the aristocratic contribution to European life! This is somewhat like Freud’s interpretation of monotheistic religion as being founded upon feelings of guilt (and perhaps remorse) over killing the father-founder. Given their utter inadequacy as a ruling class, they must feel, given their inability to live up to the responsibilities of a genuinely ruling class — by the ruling class.

Such guilt is compounded by their fear. There is a kind of collective neurosis in the middle-class. That is to say, there is a vague fear of something, and that trembling expectation is, in fact, a dim recollection of their treachery. Note that it is ever the adulterer who is quickest to accuse their spouse — and it is ever in the adulterer’s mind to suspect adultery, just as surely and as soon as the adulterer’s heart is capable of adultery. Adultery is only wrong when and insofar as it is treachery. This explains the discomfort and the otherwise inexplicable outbursts of the middle-class ideologues — fascists, libertarians and generic right-wingers — against the aristocracy, whenever this sore point is even lightly brushed.

Adducing Nietzsche’s counterpoint to the aristocracy’s abovementioned respect for what is old and traditional might clarify. He says that this respect is indicative of “the morality of the powerful; so, it is just as sure a sign that when, conversely, men of ‘modern ideas’ believe almost instinctively in ‘progress’ and ‘the future’ and show an increasing lack of respect for age, this reveals clearly enough the ignoble origin of these ‘ideas’.” How seriously are bourgeois belief-systems committed to tradition and veneration of the old over the new? The answer is: Not nearly enough.

The vulgar temperament is secondary and reacts against what is old, inherited, traditional and so on — often, it even does so when it tries to do otherwise. On the other hand, a retention and reiteration of origins is aristocratic and primary — and, therefore, not reactionary.

So, what is really reactionary?

Reaction is weakness. That is, one reacts in the political sense out of weakness. When a person or group react politically their conditions of life, with some kind of demands, they are reactionary. Reaction is the closest that commoners, the weak (formerly known as the bad also), can come to requital. (The repayment of acts — good or ill — is the crucial precondition upon which one is regarded ‘good’ in the sense of master-morality. The ‘bad’ are identified as those unable to return either generosity or wrongdoing.) They cannot repay the debt, so they would rather wipe it out altogether. Revolution is a form of acting out so as to erase one’s origins — even if only temporarily.

What is revolutionary, therefore, is invariably and necessarily reactionary.

To be genuinely and fundamentally reactionary is to feel the weight of another’s existence more heavily than one’s own. Complaint is the act of signalizing one’s permeability. It is virtually consent. Complaining, as we usually think of it or act it out, is the acceptance of victimhood. Implicitly, one admits that another is the victor and oneself the vanquished; or ‘worse’, that another is lord and oneself the vassal. Revolutionary violence in the name of freedom, social justice or some other such nonsense is going too far. It is an over-compensation for the inescapable knowledge that one is and always will be a slave.

Revolution is always slave-revolt; and the slave-revolt is the acknowledgement of one’s status as such. In politics, the slave doth protest too much. For example, gay-rights activists invoke the latter-day iteration of Judeo-Christian metaphysics as their own basis when they champion their cause as homosexuals — a category invented by nineteenth-century physicians. They, as a once-frowned-upon minority, are revolting against the societies which “oppressed” them by its own terms and on its own playing-field. This is just a particular case of a general phenomenon.

The slave admits and internalizes his irremediable status as a slave by the very act of revolution. Revolution does not abolish or disprove the master’s view of the low-born (that is, the view of them as wretched and predisposed against virtue). Rather, it vindicates this view.

The slave is always profoundly unfree, even when he is unchained.

WHAT IS FREEDOM?

The question of what freedom is, what it means to be ‘free’ (if one can indeed be free), is of crucial importance.

Liberties, like rights, have a basis only insofar as they have a provenance. Not only is this manifestly and demonstrably true, it has to be accepted by conservatives. Similarly, Liberty itself — or Freedom — can only be regarded as authentic if we can find out where she belongs. Supposing She is our totem, we will find a place for Her among ourselves and our own origins.

So, how is the term ‘liberty’ used politically? We could digress indefinitely in answering this, so let us look at one particular answer.

Incidentally, another triad of terms containing the term ‘liberty’ was the rallying cry of the French Revolution (Liberté, égalité, fraternité). This at first sounds appealing, until one realises that it completely misunderstands the nature of the very first term: liberté. Did the Revolution bring liberty? Do revolutions in general allow greater liberty? Is equality the same as justice? Is revolutionary ‘brotherhood’ better than civil association? The reader is now in a better position to answer these questions. Indeed, I can answer them right now.

The French Revolution opens the door to an interesting ‘cast study’ of sorts: France in the modern period.

My position on the inheritance of guaranteed rights can be largely summed up in the thèse nobiliaire. The reason why is quite simple. One need only look to the environment in which this thèse was passionately expressed. There is a perverse continuity between the projects of the centralized, absolute monarchy and the motivations behind that series of events making up the French Revolution, the ‘Reign of Terror’ and the progressive décadence of France thereafter. Moreover, both of these involved rationalistic State-building projects (explicitly, in the case of the Revolution; implicitly, in the case of the Bourbon monarchy).

So, the thèse nobiliaire is the only one which conservatives can accept. Anything less and one is no conservative at all. Metaphysical rights, without history, without precedent and without limit, have ever been the justification of usurpation; and liberties will ever be the justification of unchecked state expansion — and of tyranny. This is what genuine conservatives have ever railed against. Montesquieu can be correctly called a conservative in his efforts to prove the case for this thèse.

Incidentally, the Constitution of the United States is based — albeit imperfectly — upon the framework observed by Montesquieu. It includes a separation of powers — the trias politica — albeit in a form quite different from what Montesquieu actually envisaged; but it does not contain the corps intermédiaires or pouvoirs intermédiaires — that is intermediary ‘bodies’ or ‘powers’ — which are, in fact, crucial for the proper operation of government. The flourish of the baron’s pen is in that founding document of supreme law. In fact, Montesquieu’s influence upon the Founding Fathers — both Federalists and Anti-Federalists alike — was various yet vast. Even these democratic dreamers were swayed by his pluralism. It is little emphasized today, but this is an important influence in early American (constitutional) history. The intermediary powers — or “little platoons”, if we want to use Burke’s turn of phrase — in securing the separation of powers and the privileged place of liberties is an important part of the history of the Founding of the new political order. Debates about the role of the Senate brought this to the fore. It was, in fact, the Anti-Federalists who were anxious for the Senate to hold the “natural aristocracy”. The Founding Fathers were swayed by the pragmatic pluralism of this. Such a well-ordered diffusion — favoured by Montesquieu, Hume and Burke — promotes the general welfare within the States, the integrity of the Republic, and the soundness of the laws. It is a conservative position.

Of course, Montesquieu is supportive of something even further down the road than this: a separate and self-protecting upper house with a suite of unique powers. Needless to say, this is also something which would be forbidden by the contemporary understanding of the Constitution. Clearly, the separation of powers was more nuanced in the mind of its most famous formulator. A powerful and self-concerned “upper house” of the legislature would represent the nobility. More importantly for modern political theory, it would serve a functional purpose: a body counterbalancing the fads, errors and careerism of unrestricted democracy. This house would also exercise judicial powers in cases involving peers of the realm — just as such bodies had done in Europe. The nobility was allowed the privilege of protecting itself; they could not be subjected to popular magistrates. Montesquieu is no democrat. It is only when taken out of context, can Montesquieu be said to support either pure monarchy or democracy. Montesquieu is a pluralist, yes — but he is a conservative also. On this latter point, Boulainvilliers before him can likewise and a fortiori be called a conservative.

Both of these men — Boulainvilliers and Montesquieu — may be tentatively placed into a particular tradition of thought. Both men take the position of the thèse nobiliaire, although their arguments take slightly different forms — Montesquieu gives almost utilitarian reasons, because it makes for a workable mixed government and yields the best results, but Boulainvilliers establishes that it is customary and it enshrines the prerogatives of the founding stock of France’s political and legal order. In any case, both men adduce proof in a fundamentally conservative way — by showing evidence that there are inherited rights, liberties and so on belonging to the aristocracy as such, and independent from the Crown. At least in this — that is, in considering their most sacred rights and franchises as an inheritance — they are as one with Edmund Burke. Even if it were only in that, this is still sufficient to prove their conservative temperaments.

The Bourbons seriously invoked the ‘divine’ right of kings, while failing to consider the actual nature of this right and its legal origins. Nietzsche wrote, incidentally, that there is no right that is not granted from some other source (in other words, were there are rights there are relationships); we only regard a right as inherent once we have forgotten who granted it and even that it was granted. (Again, regarding rights as inherent necessitates a misunderstanding of the very nature of rights.) In the case of the Bourbon kings, they forgot that it was the nobility who granted their ancestors and predecessors rights as extraordinary arbiters in settling disputes between noblemen. The monarch is an instrument of an aristocratic form of social organization. Once this is forgotten, he becomes a tyrant — and an enemy of aristocracy. Such a tyrant must rely on popular support, or at the very least, the contentment of the masses. He must provide them with bread and circuses, offices and (unjustified) titles.

Tyranny reliant upon popular support has a name: despotism. Note that this is the distinction which Montesquieu makes in his L’esprit des lois. Additionally, it is the only definition of despotism which really meaningfully distinguishes it. (This is a distinction so obvious that even a Marxist — namely Althusser — can admit it!) The House of Bourbon, especially from Louis the XIV onward, was engaged in a continuous campaign to circumscribe and enervate the nobility. This was a concerted effort between the monarch and the commoners to dispossess the nobility of that which was righ2tfully theirs. Absolute monarchy, therefore, is just another name for despotism — and democracy is a hair’s breadth from despotism. Montesquieu is at pains to show that both are harmful — and to show something else which they have in common. This factor is the nobility. There is no ability to protect the mixed government without a class system. Nor, for that matter, is it possible to hold the state and civil society apart — without an aristocratic component in each.

Of course, this is what has been learned throughout the twentieth century. Popular government is accountable to itself — i.e. to no-one. (One sees the same problem in libertarianism. In this respect, the doctrine is identical to liberalism. Libertarians, like liberals, are so busy looking for ways to secure civil society against interference from the State, that they forget to do vice versa and secure the State against such interference from the masses. Libertarianism provides a despotic model for government. This is invariably the case for libertarianism — unless taking an outright anarchistic form, in which case the divorce from reality is complete.) This unmoderated government derives from the French — or, as Nietzsche insisted, English — error. The Bourbon absolutism was dynastic, but it paved the way for dictatorship. To put this in Carl Schmitt’s terms, the framework for political decisions is completely accessible to the fickle masses, and therefore inefficient, beleaguered and compromised. In such a situation, there is a kind of “short-circuit” so to speak, in civil society. Unprotected, the circuit dies — and with it, the realm of liberty. When dealing with the public and private spheres, there is a distinction and a distance between them which must be respected in both directions.

The nexus of these two spheres is the class-system which maintains both. It is the aristocracy which alone can hold these spheres apart and maintain their mutual integrity, like Atlas holding the sky and the earth apart from one another. So long as this distance is maintained, there shall be no tyranny — popular or otherwise. Liberty thrives within a genuine class-system. This brings us to our problem. The absolute monarchy of France destroyed liberty only and precisely insofar as it destroyed the class-system. This point cannot be emphasized enough, given its importance.

In modern liberalism, we see the same divorce from origins as in the latter-day ancien régime. The French Revolution was the turning point, as we have seen, at which the emboldened commoners (the same bureaucratic bourgeoisie which the absolutist monarchs of France had artificially and illegally empowered) took the remainder of the power which the Kings had not already granted them. Maistre wrote that the French Revolution happened as if it could not be stopped. Indeed, the Revolution occurred like a force of nature — precisely because the heedless Bourbon dynasty had injudiciously prepared the way for it. The existence of the Parti de l’Ordre in the Second French Republic is an echo of the spirit which led to France’s bloody and ignorant democracy in the first place. In actuality, it enabled the same bourgeois bureaucracy which had been enabled by Kings since Louis the XIV. What we see throughout is the steady disenfranchisement of the nobility, with much more continuity than would at first appear.

What is sure is that from Louis the XIV, the “Sun King with his unprecedented, unrestricted political power and his massive State bureaucracy, down through his dynastic successors, to the French Revolution and beyond, the ancient privileges, rights, liberties and prerogatives of the French have been under continuous assault.

So, there are lessons to be learned from France, in the lead-up to the Revolution. One’s answer must not exclude other such events, however.

Our modern understanding of ‘rights’ is flawed. Human rights (civil rights, individual rights, social rights and so on) are an obstacle to, not a foundation for, liberty. The bias behind this is slave envy. It goes without saying that appeals to ‘social justice’ arise from the same motivation. There is a whole slant which runs through all of these misunderstandings, whether wilful or not. The slave-revolt accounts for this perversion — or, more accurately, inversion — of our deepest values.

Clearly, the Judeo-Christian (also the Jacobinliberaldemocraticsocialistsocial-democraticlibertarian and so on, ad nauseam) understanding of legal/political concepts, like rights and liberties — not to mention, of actual freedom — is both limited and flawed.

Nothing cut off from its roots lives long afterwards. It is not assuming too much to extend this, by way of metaphor, to our liberties. The species of ancient rights and liberties to which I refer may grow in other climes — as in the Vedic class-system which prevailed in the Indo-European civilization in the Indus Valley — but it must ever be in the same kind of soil. There must be a value-system, a class-system and a background amiable to their growth. Moreover, they must have an aristocratic provenance, just like the men who were for so long their guarantors and protectors.

In short, our rights and liberties must have nourishing roots.

CONCLUSION

Our treatment so far has clarified where these terms ‘stand’ in their contexts.

To clarify, we may separate the three terms into two groups. We misunderstand the meanings of ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’, but reasonably think them good; on the other hand, we understand largely what is required for revolution, but should accordingly think it bad. Yet it is thought good — and that is most probably because we mis-recognize the first two terms.

So, there is a profound méconnaissance here — it is singular, but has a twofold significance. It affects how we view the words ‘freedom’ and ‘justice’ on the one hand; and, on the other, the word ‘revolution’. This is, of course, the inversion of values mentioned above. In our depraved efforts to abolish aristocratic prerogatives — the only political approximation of freedom — we, as Westerners, have not brought ourselves any closer to achieving freedom for ourselves. Rather, as revolutionaries — that is, as reactionary killjoys — we are the enemies of liberty and justice. Our Revolution is an Inversion.

This leaves us Westerners, then, with a sobering thought. We are not only unfree; we are unjust.