The ‘Extremism’ of Civic Nationalism

It is interesting how the media frames ethno-nationalists and white nationalists as extremists compared to civ-nats (or mainstream conservatives, in general), yet if you go down the actual issues and policy, a different picture emerges.

Consider Kevin Williamson, who writes for National Review and epitomizes the archetypical civ-nat. In 2017 I referred to him as the ‘most extreme person ever,’ not because his positions are that right-wing (they are not), but rather due to the sort of callousness and elitist contempt he projects and conveys through his articles, unrivaled by anyone else–very much the modern-day version of Marie Antoinette and ‘let them eat cake’.

In 2016, Mr. Williamson, writing National Review, which is generally considered a ‘mainstream’ publication, in response to what he perceived as Trump’s brand of ethno-centric paternalism, famously mused that ‘white towns deserve to die,’ [referring to predominantly white, poor Rust Belt towns that were hit hard by the decline of manufacturing over the past 3 or so decades] and in a rare feat of bipartisanship uniting both the right and the left against him (as pretty much no one on either extreme, or probably anyone for that matter, agreed with him), and in the process also hastening the decline of National Review, too, which to its credit and display of loyalty, kept him anyway. A Kevin Williamson article is likely to elicit more anger and rebuke than anything by Moldbug or any white nationalist, neo-reactionary, or white supremist I can find. Maybe the Turner Diaries are more extreme, but that is fiction. Universalism, even if from a white supremacist or ethno-nationalist perspective, is not nearly as rage-inducing as elitism and classism.

To wit, many years ago I recall that someone was trolling a forum, and to one-up or shame the troll someone tried to correct the troll’s grammar and called to question the troll’s erudition, and to my surprise, other commenters began actually defending the troll, because the the person who was correcting him came across as insufferably elitist.

Civ-nats tend to subscribe to an overly puritanical, retributive system of justice, supporting huge sentences for small crimes or habitual offenders, as opposed to a restorative or rehabilitative justice.

Ethno-nationalists, on the other hand, tend to support the Nordic/Scandinavian model of justice, with shorter sentences and nicer accommodations, with an emphasis on dignity and rehabilitation, not punishment for the sake of punishment. Even someone like Richard spencer, who is labeled by the media as an ‘extremist’, is in agreement with this, whereas the puritanical civ-nat approach is the opposite, yet these people are considered ‘less extreme’ and ‘reasonable’ by the media, in contrast to those ‘extremists’ they vilify.

The same also goes for foreign intervention. Civ-nats tend to support interventionism and preemptive invasions (such as in Iraq), whereas ethno-nationalists believe that countries should generally mind their business and stay within their borders, and that all ‘peoples’ are entitled to self-determination and autonomy–a sort of ‘universalism’ if you will. This makes civ-nats more reactionary, which is categorically closer to being ‘extreme’, than ethno-nationalism, which opposes such preemptive measures.

Same also for torture such as waterboarding and indefinite detention such as Guantanamo, which to civ-nats are perfectly acceptable. I don’t know about you, but waterboarding seems pretty extreme to me. Civ-nats openly and with pride flout the Geneva Convention against Torture. Ethno-nats and white nationalists tend to to oppose such measures, so who is really more extreme?

The same for immigration. Civ-nats want to make America more accommodating for immigrants, at the cost or in disregard for native citizens, almost as if there is a sort of deep-seated contempt for American citizens, whereas ethno-nationalists and white-nationalists want more recourses for ‘their people’. How is that more ‘extreme’? The civ-nat approach is like a family that neglects its own children to care for stranger’s children, yet that is considered humanitarian.