A book in the collection: The West
A book in the series: Nationalism
Nation states are in people’s individual and collective interests. Nationalism is community.
The few countries outside the West allowing immigration restrict it to their race or religion. If the West really believes all races are the same, we’d too want countries of our own. We’d only accept immigrants from countries accepting the same immigrants from us: bilateral immigration. Generous as we are, we might grant our friends refuge, but only as long as they need it.
Beyond that, we’d do what countries outside the West do. We’d allow tourists, students, executives, and workers provided our citizens don’t suffer, but not give them rights to reside beyond their jobs, studies, or holidays, pay them welfare or pensions, or subsidise their expenses. We’d not give them citizenship.
- The Need for Country
- A European Home
- Race and Country
- The Zionist Paradox
- The Rest of the World
- Our Age of Isolation
- The Costs of Diversity
- Immigration and Inequality
- Individualism and Immigration
- Refugees and Our Noblesse Oblige
- An Ideology Called Compassion
- Unskilled Immigration
- The Death of Discussion
- Nationality without Nationalism
- The End of Country
- The End of Liberalism
- The Chinese Diaspora
- Other People’s Empires
Chapter 1: The Need for Country
A word we use to describe the West unilaterally opening our borders to all is globalisation, but it isn’t globalisation. It’s individualism. The West dreams of a world without nations, globalism, but when we give up our countries, we don’t gain the world. We just lose our countries.
Our only rights to land (and everything else) are as individuals. We might own pockets of soil, if that, or spaces of air.
Outside the West, we don’t even have that. With our single world view, we’re the citizens of the world, but the rest of the world doesn’t recognise the concept. Globalisation is countries trading and otherwise relating with each other, with citizens aware of what’s happening elsewhere. They’ve opened windows to the world, while retaining their doors. Openness is for their peoples, not everyone else; a multiracial world doesn’t require multiracial countries. Foreigners can visit, perhaps stay for a while, if they have no reason to reject us. We have no rights to remain.
Racially homogenous countries aren’t closed societies. They’re simply societies, serving people within them rather than people wanting to enter. Their lands are theirs, not anyone else’s: distinct and inviolable. Their globalisation rests upon their nations, not ours, bettering their peoples while, for the most part, leaving each other be.
Fifty countries adopted the United Nations charter in June 1945: the month after World War II finished in Europe and while it remained under way in Asia and the Pacific. “The Purposes of the United Nations are,” begins article 1, before the second paragraph says, “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples…”
Self-determination of peoples is nationalism. The United Nations charter assumed relations between nations: internationalism. Nationalism isn’t a matter of superiority, but equality.
A country is a people with territory, but we’re no longer peoples. For all our rights in our postmodern West, a rare right we don’t have is a right to a country: a land to belong. Our view of institutions like the United Nations progressed from being means of nations interrelating to structures superseding nations altogether. We might be the smallest of minorities or, for the time being at least, the majority, but our nations aren’t changing because we have no nations to change. What were a myriad of countries throughout Europe, North America, and Australasia became the near-seamless West.
We used to consider ourselves to have racial rights to territories, with the comfort countries were and all that they gave us. Other races still do. Why wouldn’t they? Human nature is to want a home. The most natural feeling on earth is for people to own the lands of their birth, even if we no longer do, while identifying with their ancestral lands, which we no longer do either. For indigenous peoples, those lands are one in the same. For everyone else, they’re not.
Colonial Europe’s descendants pay great heed to the races we call indigenous and their need to link with their land, according them collective ownership to defined areas now unimaginable for us. Since 1974, New Zealanders have celebrated as a national holiday each anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the Maoris and the British on the sixth day of February, 1840. The Americas are awash with Native American homelands, according tribespeople rights within and without. Europeans in our new homes allow them something of their countries we don’t consider for us.
When we British settled in Australia in 1788, naked Aborigines carrying spears and sticks had left the land almost completely untouched. The continent was the most primitive place we’d seen (Antarctica remaining undiscovered until 1820). Nevertheless, the Australian High Court in 1992 handed down judgment in what quickly became known as the Mabo case, rejecting the traditional view that Australia had been terra nullius, nobody’s land, in 1788. It initiated a process formalising Aboriginal tribal rights to land: native title.
In 2012, the Arabana people were granted title over seventy thousand hectares of the South Australian outback, including Lake Eyre. Arabana chairman Aaron Stewart explained that “our land is identity, it’s who we are.”
We could say the same for white people, but no longer do. Without land, we lack identity, definition: something to ground us. Without a country, what have we? We have nothing.
In 2013, sixteen thousand Aborigines owned ninety-seven thousand square kilometres of Arnhem Land, which other Australians could only enter with permits from the Northern Land Council. Local Aborigines allowed Bruce to visit because the former Ku-ring-gai municipal councillor came to help them. The right we respect for other races, we don’t claim for us.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 established the Indigenous Land Corporation to help indigenous people acquire and manage land to achieve social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits, exempting it from anti-discrimination laws. The most natural thing in the world for the new Aboriginal owners of Yulara, a Central Australian tourist resort, in 2011 was to increase employment of their fellow Aborigines among the six hundred and seventy strong workforce. The discrimination we’d condemn in our treatment of foreigners is all well and good when practiced by indigenous peoples against us.
“Let me begin,” say the hosts and hostesses introducing school presentation nights, concerts in parks, university debates, and other public gatherings in Australia, “by acknowledging and respecting the traditional owners and custodians of the land, their elders past and present.” A school captain said it at our local primary school although he was Persian, speaking as he was told to speak. We smile warmly each time a child expresses the custom of our era.
Those revered owners and custodians are normally named. They used to be us. They’re now Aborigines who came before us, specified by the particular tribe. In the case of our local municipality, it’s the Guringai.
By November 2013, our local primary school letterhead included the statement, below the school name and addresses: “Built on the land of the Guringai people.”
The first words that viewers of my eldest son’s high school website saw were that the school was “in Guringai Country. We acknowledge the Guringai People as Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past and present.”
By August 2015, the high school administrative manager’s signature to her electronic mail didn’t begin with her name. Instead, “I acknowledge the traditional owners on whose land I work, the Guringai People.”
I’ve never met any Guringai people. I doubt any of the speech-makers and scribes have. They might be extinct.
Indigenous tribes don’t need to exist for us to recognise their links to the land. In 2008, Hornsby Shire Council issued its Statement of Reconciliation with Aborigines. “The land we now know as Hornsby Shire is home to the spirit of many generations of the Darug and Guringai peoples.”
Those introductions and recognitions are the norm in Australia, declaring the land to be Aboriginal, disenfranchising us from the country. There came a time politicians’ addresses to constituent party audiences on Sydney’s North Shore began, “I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we stand.” Some in the audience sighed, a little weary of it all, before the speaker explained, “The Liberal Party.”
The practice soon waned. All jokes become tiresome after a while. Some take longer than others.
No indigenous people heard those politicians playing to their audiences. Some did when barrister Jeffrey Phillips, Senior Counsel, addressed an official dinner in the Sydney University Quadrangle in September 2012. Completed in 1859 when Western architecture exuded our race and civilisation, the Great Hall is a mammoth Victorian Gothic stone structure modelled upon Westminster Hall, London. Phillips began by acknowledging the “traditional custodians of this place.” Instead of proceeding to speak of an Aboriginal tribe, he spoke of the “Benedictines who came from the great English nation.”
One indigenous student lodged a formal complaint with the university. She was said to be “deeply traumatised.”
“How disgusting,” said Mark Spinks, chairman of the Aboriginal men’s group Babana, “how disgraceful, how disrespectful are those comments? I am outraged, and I am disturbed. For that to have been said at the university, in a room full of students, I am almost speechless.”
Spinks wasn’t actually speechless. He was almost speechless.
We were just as outraged. “It’s just an indication of how deep the rot goes,” said sociologist Eva Cox. Phillips was senior counsel of the university’s prestigious St John’s College, which had been the subject of scandal of late.
“The university is very proud of the fact that it stands on land where indigenous peoples have been teaching and learning for many thousands of years before us,” said vice chancellor Michael Spence, “and we acknowledge this publicly whenever we can.”
We revere Aborigines for what we think they did on the land, although there’s little or no evidence what that was. They left no grandiose great buildings, not even branches leaning against tree trunks, but they’re the people we’ve decided could have remained wonderful, their societies glorious, if only we hadn’t come.
Immigrants aren’t generic. They weren’t simply immigrants but British who built Australia and New Zealand centuries ago. French built Quebec and Louisiana. British built the rest of Canada. British, Germans, and other North Europeans built most of America. Portuguese built Brazil. Spanish and other South Europeans built most of the rest of Latin America. Other Europeans contributed, depending upon colonial powers employing or allowing them. Europeans built countries in and away from Europe, before and after other races came. We contributed to countries we didn’t build.
We whose forebears sailed from Europe to build our mother empires no longer feel the lands to which we were born are ours. Time and again, we declare them other people’s lands. Indigenous people agree.
There was no sense of one-world openness to immigration when Sydney City Council removed all reference to European “arrival” from its official documents in 2011. The word was unacceptably neutral, when we wanted prejudice against us. “In 1788,” said the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statement, “the British established a convict outpost on the shores of Sydney Harbour. This had far reaching and devastating impact on the Eora Nation, including the occupation and appropriation of traditional lands. Despite the destructive impact of this invasion Aboriginal culture endured and is now globally recognised as one of the world’s oldest cultures.”
We see much merit in something being old, unless it’s ours. We don’t care that our forebears came without meaning to harm. We deride them for thinking they could do any good.
When colonial Europeans first arrived, indigenous peoples didn’t feel invaded. Without nation states, tribes staked out no more than valleys, watering holes, and so forth; nomadic tribes didn’t even do that. Europeans setting camps nearby didn’t affect them, especially when they presumed Europeans were passing through. Conflicts arose when they both wanted the same land.
If colonial Europeans owe such copious regret to the indigenous peoples whose lands we entered, then the immigrants we graciously allowed to come owe us gratitude. As it turns out, they don’t. We owe them apologies for not admitting them sooner.
The same week that Sydney City Council decided Europeans colonising Australia were invaders, Australian Chinese demanded an apology from the Australian government for, among other things, past immigration policies preventing Chinese from immigrating en masse. “The time has come for a number of Chinese Australians to get rid of the last vestiges of white superiority,” declared Daphne Lowe Kelley, president of the Chinese Heritage Association of Australia.
With no sense of appreciation but only complaint, what she really wanted was another tranche of white inferiority. No one cared that the Chinese government refused to offer citizenship to people of other races born in Hong Kong when it took control of the British colony in 1997. No one considered apologies from Chinese and other governments that still aren’t admitting immigrants. We’re completely uninterested in restrictions other races impose upon immigration. Instead, we’re preoccupied with restrictions we used to impose. New Zealand, Canadian, and Californian governments had already apologised to their Chinese immigrants.
We think refusing other races immigration into our countries makes them our victims. We don’t imagine ourselves victims of them denying us admission to theirs. The only nations we reject are our own.
So consumed are we with what we can do for other races, we insist immigrants and their successive generations feel greater rights to be in colonial European countries than we allow ourselves. Borders we refuse to recognise to keep other races immigrating to the West stand stark in the sky when we remember our colonial period. Ignoring borders here in the present, we imagine borders that weren’t there in the past.
We denounce our forebears for entering other peoples’ homelands uninvited, not complying with laws where there were no laws with which to comply, breaching borders where there were no borders to breach. We damn them still further for keeping other immigrants in check.
Indigenous peoples didn’t give up their homelands as we give up ours, as they often remind us and we often recall. We respect them fighting our colonial forebears in defence of their land, presuming they’re right to deny us a welcome we’d be wrong to deny anyone else. Their rights to prevent us coming weren’t rights we had to prevent other races coming.
The West thinks little of countries, at least our own, but if we really believed all peoples are the same, in some primeval, instinctive ways, we’d see in ourselves what we respect in others: our yearning for a collective connection to country. We’d want countries and a continent as other races want or enjoy. If we’re not so bold as to dream of recovering them, we can at least stop our circumstances worsening.
We’d only accept immigrants from countries that accepted the same immigrants from us: bilateral immigration. Beyond that, we’d do what the rest of the world does. Foreigners can be tourists, students, executives, and workers, but if they visit our home and forever sit in our sofas, eat from our kitchens, and sleep in our beds, then it’s no longer our home. We’d not give them rights to reside beyond their jobs, studies, or holidays. We’d pay them their wages and salaries, but not welfare or pensions. We’d not pay or subsidise their health and other expenses. We’d not give them citizenship.
Generous as we are, we’d grant our friends refuge, but only as long as they need it. We’d prohibit trespass.
Wanting a country to own isn’t fear or loathing, prejudice or bigotry. It’s not for American Indians, Australian Aborigines, or New Zealand Maoris whose craving for their homelands we so wildly applaud, or for Asians we admire. Nor is it for Palestinian Arabs we support or Israelis we defend. It’s not for Africans to whom we send money or Turkic peoples we leave be. Nor is it for Tibetans for whom we place stickers on our cars, or Uighurs and Kurds whose killers we shelter.
We can like all the people and places on earth, but still need countries of some kind. Other races don’t insult us by not letting us live in their lands. We wouldn’t insult them if we did the same. White people wanting our countries back don’t hate other races. We just don’t hate our own.
For all the nice people from other races we know, and I know many, we have more than enough reason to think our descendants will suffer more than we suffer from mass, indiscriminate immigration. I’ve never met a person who’d rationally examined races and cultures to conclude open borders won’t condemn us. I’ve only met people who refuse to consider the possibility. They frown upon, if not berate, those who do. They’re the people with whom I’m trying to converse.
If we honoured our ancestors as we honour other races’ ancestors, we’d respect not just our indigenous hosts. We’d respect our forebears who created our countries inviting to others, many dying to defend them. Instead, we’re a string of ideologies by which we advance other races at the expense of our own. We’re immersed in self-sacrifice: deferring to everyone else, demanding nothing in return. If we landed on the lunar surface today, we’d begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the moon.