(Originally published in Tribes Magazine, 2018)
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”
– Attributed to William Paley
In approaching a term as contentious as ‘National-Anarchism’, I’d suggest beginning by taking a moment to consider the subjectivity inherent in the act of conceptualisation. In spite of having pondered this subject a good deal since having it brought to my attention around the age of 18, I still find it necessary to remind myself on a regular basis of the following fact: that the concepts I’ve evolved through the course of my lifetime, through calibrating inherited linguistic structures with my own experience, may well have precious little correspondence with the concepts that another person employs precisely the same words to describe.
Further, that this can only be the case, since no two human beings’ experience is alike, and therefore each of us will have a different contextual substrate from which our respective concepts were shaped. And subsequently, that I should never allow myself to assume that the concept I intend to transmit through the use of a word is the one that will be received in the mind of another. Hence, if one wishes to honestly approach the question of ‘what is National-Anarchism?’, then, I propose, these things must first be taken into account. And it is through inquiring further into the nature of this dynamic that I hope to shed some light on the term itself.
The extent to which such conceptual divergence occurs is subject to a number of factors, many of which are extremely subtle; it would nonetheless seem reasonable to expect that where culture (by this I mean both way of life/material culture, and cosmology/nonmaterial culture), and genetics are shared to a greater extent, the amount of variation in conceptual ideation between individuals will be lesser compared to where culture and genetics differ. And while the influence of culture is fairly self-evident (‘nurture’), the contribution made by genetics (‘nature’) might be harder for some to grasp. If, however, we posit the possibility that one’s ancestral experience is somehow encoded within and inherited through the DNA, then we may acquire a means of orientating ourselves within the murky realm of ‘ethnicity’. In addition to these factors, we should also acknowledge the role of ‘individuation’ – a subject I’ll return to later.
The critical element here seems to be that those who belong to an ‘ethnic group’ – to varying degrees, depending on how the term is defined – share a commonality of experience, and so possess a shared context from which to communicate about their situation. Thus, the extent to which the culture of one ethnic group differs from the next, and to which the group either keeps itself isolated from or intermarries with culturally distinct neighbouring groups, will be a major factor in informing the degree of similarity of ‘experiential substrate’.
And even in cases where members of discrete cultures regularly mixed, incomers would still be brought into what might be described as the collectively-held informational field that constitutes the cultural inheritance of the group they’ve joined; while their offspring will likewise receive the genetic inheritance through the other parent. Hence, the defining characteristics of an ethnic group’s culture are resilient to a certain amount of influx of ‘new blood’. Nonetheless, it must be emphasised that instances of the mixing of completely disparate cultural-ethnic groups on the scale of what we see today would have been previously unimaginable – not least because the large discrepancies in the range of knowledge and skills required to survive in the places inhabited by different cultures would’ve meant that most people would have been completely out of their depth if transplanted to an unfamiliar bioregion, among unfamiliar people and languages. Rapid urbanisation and globalisation have of course now significantly altered this terrain.