Friday, August 18, 2006

The Nation-State vs Anarchy and Imperialism

Mark Steyn thinks that pan-Islamism represents a serious challenge to the nation-state. I concur.

Steyn marshals as evidence for his theory several factors:

  • The collusion of the MSM with those who wish to destroy Western traditions. The latest example, of course, is Reuters’ conspiracy with Hezbollah. One could also point out the special care some members of the French press have taken in setting up “scenes” in Gaza for the Palestinians to demonstrate the barbarity of the Israelis.
  • The Pew poll taken recently in Britain: eighty-one percent of British Muslims consider their primary allegiance to be Islam, not Britain.
  • The situation in Lebanon.

As Steyn says:

Lebanon is a sovereign state. It has an executive and a military. But its military has less sophisticated weaponry than Hezbollah and its executive wields less authority over its jurisdiction than Hezbollah. In the old days, the Lebanese government would have fallen and Hezbollah would have formally supplanted the state. But non-state actors like the Hezbo crowd and al-Qaida have no interest in graduating to statehood. They’ve got bigger fish to fry. If you’re interested in establishing a global caliphate, getting a U.N. seat and an Olympic team only gets in the way. The “sovereign” state is of use to such groups merely as a base of operations, as Afghanistan was and Lebanon is. They act locally but they think globally.

“And,” he adds, “that indifference to the state can be contagious.”

I used to be sanguine about the pseudo-intellectuals’ takeover of our academy, the press, an exponentially expanding governmental bureaucracy and an activist judiciary concerned with a “living” Constitution – though the death of this document had escaped the notice of most of us.

I thought this change was a generational thing brought on by the silliness of the sixties and the historically, economically, and philosophically ignorant — i.e., those who swallowed the Soviet line about the triumph of Marxism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union, like many others I thought it was simply a matter of time before peculiar people like Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky aged out and left the field to those who has seen the mistakes socialism had wrought, even in this country.

Of course, that was before 9/11 and the steep rise in the national consciousness of militant Islam, and the national argument about whether or not it represented a “real” threat to our country or to its sovereignty. And my illusion was also prior to the full impact of the EU’s transnationalist agenda, or the attempt to blanket world governments with the faux science and unfair practices of the Kyoto Protocols, or the endeavor to place the U.S. under the laws of a world court — an appalling menace that seems welcome to some members of our own Supreme Court.

These are all threats to our sovereignty, but none is as loud, as violent, or as large and relentless as the threat of Islamic terror — bloody murder carried out in the name of Holy Law, beyond which there is no appeal. It is this we must address first because it is this rebirth of the idea of empire (call it the Ummah; it’s still an empire) that most jeopardizes the United States and the Anglosphere. At least those members of the Anglosphere which are obviously firmly in the camp of the notion of the nation-state and even those, like Britain, who might eventually be retrieved from the maw of the transnational EU — a nation-killer if ever there was one.

But before discussing the critical issue of the nation-state, we should step back a pace and consider the alternatives to national sovereignty, and what these alternatives represent both historically and to our future as a country.

We have known only two other choices when it comes to political organization: anarchy or imperialism. [Yes, of course, the U.S. has been accused of imperialism — when it is not being accused of isolationism — but we’ll leave that aside for the moment since the accusation exists in theory only. There are no examples of colonies for our so-called empire, so we’ll dispense with evil Amerikkka for the moment and simply define the idea of empire for the sake of clarity, not to mention brevity.]

Part III of Redefining Sovereignty (edited by Orrin Judd), covers a wide range of concerns under the title of “ The Transnational Threat.” For our purposes, the salient essay is On the National State: Empire and Anarchy, by Yoram Hazony.

Mr. Hazony posits the national state as the “linchpin” of the central ideas in the political traditions of the West, and on it depend our ideas about the rule of law, representative government, and, above all, personal liberty. He compares the “tyranny and disorder” of these two alternative polities, anarchy and empire, and gives a brief historical account of their persistence in history.

Anarchical arrangements are distinguished from imperial ones by focusing on the principal political loyalty of each: in the former, the loyalty of the individual is to himself alone. He transfers his fealty to clan, tribe, or lord, and that loyalty is indeed transferable.:

For if allegiance is given to a familiar individual or lord, and if allegiance to this lord will remain unshaken [until] the day he withdraws his allegiance to his own lord and gives it to another, then… [it is the nature of] the anarchic or feudal loyalty [that it] remains always with the particular and the concrete individual who is our lord, and to whom we have sworn allegiance…


Under empire, on the other hand, one’s allegiance is never to a familiar individual, but rather to the empire itself, whose ruler is distinguished precisely by the fact that he is so remote and unapproachable as to in effect be no more than an abstraction.


On this basis we can recognize that empire and anarchy are not merely political constructs, or competing methods of ordering political power. Each is in fact a political ordering principle that draws its legitimacy, and therefore its strength, from its rootedness in the moral order… men understand the political order in which they live and to which they are committed in terms of principle and that struggle between empire and anarchy is not only a war of opportunists and villains seeking the greatest power for themselves, but equally a confrontation between men of goodwill who disagree regarding the degree of moral legitimacy and sanction that can be ascribed to each.

As Mr. Hazony points out, both impersonal universal rule — the moral order of empire — and individual rule — the moral order of anarchy — lead to endless strife. The empire must expand, while anarchy quickly leads to arbitrary violence (think of the anarchic and conflicting urban gangs). As he says, “it matters little whether the tormentor will be one or many.”

This dilemma arises out of our very nature, but the conflict between these two extremes of subservience is resolved by the creation of the nation-state, whose laws are derived neither by lord nor emperor, but by the citizens of a bounded country. Personal liberty is assured by the very nature of this polity where leadership passes from one elected leader to another in an orderly manner. Personal allegiance to one’s country arises from the experience of living in freedom, balanced by the personal obligations all citizens have to preserve the nation that claims one’s allegiance and bestows citizenship.

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Next: On its surface Islam is simply another form of imperialism, although its content is — and always has been — murderously anarchic fragmentation.


felix said...

If we are at war with a movement more than with a country, then we need to Declare War on the movement. President Bush said we are at war with Islamic Fascism. So here is my suggestion.


Joint Resolution Declaring that a State of War exists between Radical Islam and the Government and People of the United States and making provisions to prosecute same.

Whereas the extraterritorial movement known as Radical Islam has planned, advocated, and committed unprovoked acts of War against the people of the United States of America

Whereas, numerous representatives of said Radical Islam have announced that their exists a State of War between radical Islam and the United States,

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, that a State of War now exists between Radical Islam and the United States and is hereby formally declared. The President is authorized and directed to employ the military forces of the United States as needed and the resources of the Government to carry on the war against Radical Islam. Further, recognizing the danger posed by individuals who are loyal to Radical Islam who are now or may in the future be residing in the United States and its territories, the President and the Attorney General of the United States are hereby authorized to identify such individuals, take them into preventive custody, and deport them from the United States.

For purposes of this Declaration, Radical Islam is defined as those individuals or organizations who advocate, support, plan or execute jihad attacks against the United States and its foreign allies and interests or those who support the overthrow of the Constitutional government of the United States and in its place the establishment of Sharia law. Further, the distinction is made herein between Radical Islam and Moderate Islam (the later being expressly excepted from the intent of this Declaration.)

Pax Federatica said...

It seems to me that the real threat to the nation-state (which the pan-Islamists are merely exploiting to the hilt) is the perception of the nation-state's waning relevance in the age of the Internet, satellite TV, worldwide 24/7 instant news and cheap international air travel. When you find it just as easy - if not easier - to observe and/or interact with people living on the other side of the globe as to observe and/or interact with your next-door neighbor, the concepts of cultural assimilation and geographically discrete nations can't help but seem a little silly.

Being that the genies I just described escaped their respective bottles a long time ago, I'm sorry to say that the fate of the Westphalian world order may already be sealed. Perhaps the best we can hope for now is that whatever replaces it doesn't take an Islamic supremacist cast.

bernie said...

Prior to WWII, the US may very well have declared that we are at war with radical Nazism, but not moderate Nazism. By 1945 no one would have tolerated excluding moderate Nazies.

Although I understand one hopes that moderate Muslims means safe Muslims, in the end, we will have to deport them all.

Despite all your hopes and the protests from Eteraz to the contrary, moderate Islam and modern civilization are not compatible and cannot be.

It is in fact moderate Muslims, not extremists, that have asked for pork to be removed for EVERYONE from school lunches. It is moderate Muslim Lawyers on the ACLU, not extremists, that have petitioned the court to stop the NSA program. It is 800,000 moderate Muslims, not extremists, living in the UK that have no objections to Sharia Law.

Americans would know what to do if they saw a Muslim extremist running down the block with a bomb strapped to his chest: shoot him down dead.

But what is more insidious and more deadly is the moderate Muslim. He is the one who will ask for offensive paintings to be removed from our museums, for little children to drape their shoulders for passport photos, for our lunchrooms to be Halal.

It is the moderate Muslim that has taken over tens of cities in Europe that already operate under Sharia law and local police dare not venture in, nor do national laws apply.

They will form a state within a state, and then that state will tell the rest of us how to eat, dress and think.

No, I don't worry about Muslim extremists, we are arresting and confining those. I am afraid of Moderate Muslims. I am very afraid.

KG said...

"No, I don't worry about Muslim extremists, we are arresting and confining those. I am afraid of Moderate Muslims. I am very afraid."
Exactly. Moderate muslims are the Trojan horse that will bring down the West.
Video clips of an F16 blowing away terrorists may be immensely heartening, but while that show's playing the termites are eating away at the foundations.
Soon enough the will to USE the F16 will be gone. Or paralysed.

Frank said...

What Bernie said. Moderates are the ones who are making hay. One need only look to Britain to see the bad cop of Islamic terror and the good cop of MPACUK attempting to direct British foreign policy by blaming the terror on Britain's stance on Israel and its particpation in Iraq. On top of that there are the million little things, niggling away at the fabric of western civilization; a rape here and a mugging there, a "suggestion" here and a small law there. Here in Canada it takes the form of "Sharia in family law", an innocent enough request on the face of it, until one sees it in conjunction with every other demand by CIC, including a suggested "blasphemy law" in response to the riots over a cartoon. Its insidious and dangerous and I will personally do whatever it takes to spare my son and daughter living under this backward and filthy 3rd world religion.

Beach Girl said...

Have found your site. Have read the above comments. All I can say is that I had better read more. The moderate Muslims in MN (?) already have instituted the call to prayers five times a day. In Northern Virginia, traffic stops on a major highway throughout the day for the Muslims to cross in front of the many-lanes of traffic to attend prayers. The changes to our way of life are subtle but they are there and the pace is constant. What will wear us down is the slow, persistent pace. What I fear is that before I turn around, the world will have changed and Shaira(sp) will be the law of the land. Is CAIR the first Islamic organization set up to handle our little disputes as time goes on? They certainly quelled the President and he no longer says Islamofacism. That's all it takes to erode our freedoms.

Thank you for your site. I plan to put it on my "to do" reading list. Forgive me as I am not up to speed with your regular readers. Will persevere.

KG said...

Good to hear another voice, beach girl. :o)
Slowly, so slowly the tide may be turning.

felix said...

I think you have to start somewhere. There are, right now, certified Islamofascists living in the USA and the UK and all of EU. There is no excuse. Radical Islamists have to be taken into custody and deported.

Profitsbeard said...

Seconding Bernie:

It isn't the noisy infil-traitors who are the most dangerous to the West, but those silently undermining the framework of our freedoms [through our laws' own 'flaws']. "Sapping" our structures, quietly, as the loud distractions -like Hezbollah's attack, or Hamas' attack, or the Iraqi Sunnis and Shi'ites sowing chaos, or Mahmoud of Iran playing with the A-bomb, ad nauseam- are used by the Ummah to mesmerize the Idiot Press, the invertebrate politicians, and that impacted cadre of self-loathing sucidalists in the infidel culture at large: anarchists, ahistorical journalists who print your side's war secrets during wartime, and their nihilistic ilk.

As Sun Tzu put it: "Loud noise in North, attack silently from South.".

Dry-rot is perfectly soundless, but can ultimately destroy your home.

Sharia Law is just such a rot... a spiritual smut.

The debate with Islam needs to come out of the shadows. Unchained minds in the West -and East- need to oppose its intolerant dogmas directly. Armed and informed by Muslim doctrines, from Koranic suras to the 'folksy' Hadiths. Enough to sidestep the predictable theological tap-dancing that always erupts and tries to hijack the direction of all such honest arguments.

Knowing their unashamedly despotic tenets lets you get to right the point:

-if you cannot tolerate the rule of secular law, you must leave our civilization..

I hear Mecca always needs extra Morality Cops.

KG said...

david S that's a huge subject and a fascinating one. Here's hoping someone responds--it's a question I'd love to see answered.

Vicktorya said...

Hi folks --
Similarly, I need help finding something. I've been walking through these fine Gates of Vienna for a while now, but haven't become active. I've been immersed in finding the best source material I can find on 'who is saying what', and posting that and encouraging 'thinking' among an international group of education and humanitarian-oriented folks.

Today, I surrendered. While there are some bright lights in the 'love and light' crew, they tend easily to be wrong/left and 'anti' this or that, and all the things that you imagine. When they started quoting Noam Chomsky and Gandhi to me, I just about stopped, but persisted. However, public relations wise -- yes, Hezbollah-attitude has won. So, I quit trying to 'talk sense' to people of heartfelt motives. Very sad.

However, after my retreat of several hours, I still have energy to save humanity from itself. :-) -- and while it is another one of those choices of 'lesser of two evils', my next best guess of 'who to help' is ... (drum roll please) -- politicians.

Oh come on, don't throw the rotten tomatoes at me -- just yet! -- But this is how far it's come to. I want to help, and the 'helpful intellectual' crew are just plain in denial or angry about Bush (as if Islamofascism occurred in the last administration). Yeah right. So -- where I'm going with this is -- who can we support?

While the ACLU may prohibit voting one's conscience (on constitutional grounds of course) -- I was thinking it may be worth a try to help in this mid-term elections -- to identify and support 'the good guys'? (OK, how about just the guys who aren't wrong?)

If you don't think this idea is completely stupid (as I'm feeling a little beat up after vigorously waving 'intelligence' at people who I thought would 'get it' for the last month ... and more -- I need help. I'm a US Citizen, but living in New Zealand for the last ten years, so I'm a bit out of touch with who is who.

Whatever I can do -- via email? -- I'm willing to do. Best that may be is some emails, but ... weirder things have happened. I'm willing (an active verb!) to put my energy into helping find and support and get the word out about anyone who is brave/dumb enough to run for office on some intelligent platform (and be misunderstood and reviled all day long by MSM and general public opinion). If he or she can do that, I'm willing to do what I can.

from way down under (out of the fray of mushroom spores, but ... duh, even being an old blonde California chick, I CAN read the writing on the wall.)

Private messages to me are cool too, if that happens here.
Thanks for hints, advice, (warnings away from the cliff, etc.)
hugs and kisses ya'll,

KG said...

Can't message you mail in your profile.
Keith. (also in NZ)

Vicktorya said...

Sorry Keith, I fixed that, it should show now. Wow a real live kiwi on Gates of Vienna, or are you expat, too? Find me somewhere. My bulletin board is -- the blog isn't active, but the board is.

Baron Bodissey said...

David S --

I think the place to go for info on this topic is Fjordman. Scroll down and look for "The Fjordman Report" on our sidebar, and choose posts that mention the EU. Or go to Fjordman's own blog (now inactive; but with extensive archives; it's on our blogroll).

Fjordman has chronicled at length the rise of the new "soft totalitarianism" of the EU, and believes that it is getting "harder" all the time.

Chris Cameron said...

"Peace through strength" would be a decent slogan. Definitely supports the militarism we'll need to survive.

X said...

Peace through superior firepower. ;)

I didn't think of it, it's already on a shirt somewhere, I just like the sound of it an awful lot. :)

unaha-closp said...



How can someone be so completely blind that they cannot see obvious connection between the two? Iranian missiles, mines, rockets all in Hezb's hands. Iranian troops fighting alongside Hezb. Iranian doctors helping in Hezb hospitals. Iranian nation state money supporting every single Hezb activity and yet this moron Steyn calls Hezb something new, divorced from being a nation state.

In the body of his article even Steyn writes: "...Iran's (Shiite) President Ahmadinejad and his (Shiite) Hezbo proxies...", admitting that the Hezb are fighting for Iran. Stating Iran (a nation state) employs Hezb to fight for it - and yet he calls the Hezb a non-state actor, how?