We Need a Bismarck

But is it good for Whites?

When Scotland voted on secession from the United Kingdom, the Scots said “No, thanks.” The largely left wing, pro-Third World immigration “Yes” campaign was hardly a model for most Identitarians. Despite these failures, the disruptive potential of an independent Scotland was sufficient reason to support the campaign because of the opportunities it would’ve created all over Europe.

However, separatism and secession raise more questions than they answer for the New Right. The usual suspects are analyzing the vote from the viewpoint of their own Tribal interests, but Europeans concerned about the future of their own people face a more complicated situation.

There’s much to be said for the position of nationalism for all nations. Yet this runs into practical objections almost immediately. What, after all, constitutes a legitimate ethnic nationalist community? If Scotland is a nation, why not Wales or Cornwall–or for that matter, Mercia or Wessex? And if Welsh and Cornish independence is legitimate, then why is the territorial integrity of Ukraine so important and Novorussia somehow fake? And does this ultimately extend into a reductio ad absurdum where we go back to the dozens of petty German states as some kind of ideal?

Ultimately, even the most benevolent ethnonationalist runs into practical problems. The nature of tribal communities is to expand and conquer–and as supporters of hierarchy, we can’t deny this reality. Conflict is natural and inevitable–and the progressive effort to deny this reality has led directly to the contemporary Western Eloi who would rather die than face the responsibility of struggle.

Thus, even if we could establish an order that would render such competition non-violent, tribal conflict would still continue. In tiny Belgium for example, the Flemish, Walloons, and German speakers fiercely contend over money, language rights, and control over public institutions even as the country fills with Muslims from the Third World. If the Flemish succeed in achieving independence, even in the context of an entirely White Europe, new battles would ensue that can only be solved with political or physical struggle. An Identitarian utopia in some future Europa would get us no closer to an objectively “correct” answer about who gets to control the historically Flemish but now largely Francophone city of Brussels.

Every nation is to some extent an “imagined community,” conceived necessarily as both limited and sovereign. This is not to say that they are not based on cultural or biological realities, but every nation depends on an almost artistic conception. To belong to a nation is to feel attachment or even love for multitudes of people you will never meet. Nietzsche writes in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “It was creators who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.”

But what does this mean in practical terms? We can posit that a German people, for example, exists more or less objectively regardless of polities or ideologies. Yet is it somehow “better” if Austria is independent, or is that unjust or improper? What about Bavaria? After all, Adolf Hitler’s political career began when he denounced a speaker arguing that right-leaning Bavaria should secede from the Weimar Republic and form an independent state.

If we were to adopt this situation to the present, many on the New Right would actually welcome the idea that a more Traditionalist polity should break away from a larger leftist regime. And yet it is those nations and peoples who can combine a large population and a strong, united identity that will hold sway in any political order. Strong nations will always seek to expand–and conquer.

A conservative (or reactionary) counter to this idea would be the reactionary monarchies of Christian Europe that ruled over widely disparate peoples for centuries. In the distant recesses of antiquity was the European dream of Universal Monarchy, the ideal of a ruler of all Christendom. After the Protestant Reformation broke the religious unity of Europe, the links between royalty and the particular confession they supported served as a new focus for identity–for example, Protestant Prussia was distinct from Catholic Austria. The conservatism of post-Enlightenment Europe became the support of the transnational royal principle against the liberal ideal of nationalism. And perhaps the most important example of how these two differing ideologies can be reconciled in a way we can learn from today is the unification of Germany under Otto von Bismarck.

Bismarck: From Anti-Nationalist to Founder of the Reich

Otto von Bismarck originally was known as an arch-conservative and opponent of nationalism when he appeared on the political scene. If the price for the unification of Germany was popular sovereignty, than he forthrightly opposed it. One Liberal leader of the time called him the very embodiment of the medieval spirit, and he was widely regarded as a champion of what was largely seen as Junker parochialism.

Bismarck also opposed the Revolution of 1848 and condemned the constitution produced by the Frankfurt Parliament as “organized anarchy.” This is the same kind of rationalization that led Frederick William to refuse a crown offered by an elected body, rather than by the unanimous grouping of the German princes. The eventual failure of the Revolution led to a reactionary movement that restricted democratic participation in the new government–and allowed the then massively unpopular Bismarck to attain power.

Over the following years, Bismarck made the strategic decision to embrace German nationalism in order to advance specifically Prussian foreign policy goals. In his own words, he was far more of a Prussian than a German. Perhaps more importantly, he cynically disregarded his own former legitimism when it conflicted with his policy ends. Writing to the reactionary monarchist General von Gerlach (an advocate of the ideals of Karl Ludwig von Haller), Bismarck said he still shared the “principle of the fight against the Revolution,” but also noted:

“I subordinate legitimism in France completely to my specifically Prussian patriotism. Without any regard to the person at the head of the time being, France counts for me merely as a piece, albeit an unavoidable one, in the game of political chess, a game in which I am called upon to serve only my own king and my own country… “

Similarly, Count Johann von Rechberg of Austria wrote to Bismarck “that all the Conservatives of Europe must join together to fight revolution and to defend the legitimate structure of Europe as a whole.” As Erich Eyck noted critically in Bismarck and the German Empire, “The ‘legitimate structure of Europe’ was the situation created by the treaties of Vienna in 1815. But it was exactly this settlement which Bismarck was determined to destroy.” [71]

As he consolidated power for Prussia, Bismarck would outmaneuver Rechberg over Schleswig-Holstein , fight a war with Austria, and consolidate Prussian hegemony over the petty German states and kingdoms as the precursor to independence.

Bismarck used remarkable ideological and tactical flexibility in order to accomplish his goal–which in the end was a function of Prussian patriotism and his own efforts at self-realization rather than an expansive German vision. Knowing he needed the Tsar as a friend (or at least not as an enemy), he allowed Russia to brutally crush Polish revolutionaries, despite the protests of the West. He tempted Napoleon III with promises of territorial gains before defeating him in the Franco-Prussian War. He formed alliances and partnerships with powers that old-school European conservatives would regard as illegitimate and revolutionary. The reward was the Second Reich.

But what was the price? As William Lind notes, Western Civilization was eventually doomed by this kind of parochial and petty competition between dynasts and states, rather than ideological unity. In World War I for example,

…[T]he obsolete paradigm was dynastic competition, especially that between the Houses of Hapsburg and Romanov; the new paradigm was set by the mortal threat posed to all Christian, conservative monarchies by the notion of popular sovereignty and Jacobinical definitions of human rights. By fighting each other instead of uniting against the left, three dynasties doomed themselves and possibly us as well. Western culture’s last chance of survival may have been a victory by the Central Powers in World War I.

Yet the “Central Powers” only had a chance at victory because of German unification and German power. And Germany under the Kaisers was only a broadly conservative power because Bismarck prevented the German Empire from becoming the liberal, democratic state dreamed of by the revolutionaries of 1848, instead forming what Mencken called in his 1914 essay The Mailed First and Its Prophet:

[A] delimited, aristocratic democracy in the Athenian sense—a democracy of intelligence, of strength, of superior fitness—a democracy at the top. Its prizes went, not to those men who had most skill at inflaming and deluding the rabble, but to those who could contribute most to the prosperity and security of the commonwealth.

Politicians, it is true, sprang up in its shadow, as they must inevitably spring up     when any approach is made toward universal manhood suffrage; but the part that they played in the conduct of affairs was curiously feeble and inconsequential.

How do we resolve this bundle of contradictions? Bismarck arguably subverted the liberal principle of nationalism in order to create a dynamic state that Traditionalists can admire in many ways (at least compared to what we have now). He also unleashed a virus of state competition over territory that would culminate in the eventual destruction of the European order.

However, had Germany won either of the world wars, it seems more likely than not that Bismarck’s achievement would be regarded as the foundation for a Western dominated world order, with the White race in a secure demographic position. Nationalism can either create a New Order that could empower Identitarians; or serve as the trap that leads us to mutual destruction.

Tribe, Nation, or Empire

What can broadly be called Identitarian political parties are largely united in rejecting the European Union while simultaneously claiming a larger European union. As the youth organization of the surging Sweden Democrats put it in a video, “Europe Belongs to Us,” it is a Europe that is “against the European Union” and “for a Europe of Nations.”

Of course, as Richard Spencer argues in “Why We Need Europe,” even if the European Union disappeared tomorrow, our circumstances will not have really changed. The same people will run our politics, our banks, our media, and all the other mechanisms of power. The new “friend-enemy” distinction should be based on race and a recognition that Europe wants to come together. Historically, nations are the interloper–Europeans of the past would have regarded themselves as residents of a certain locale or region and then belonging to a larger Christendom rather than a middling concept like “Germany” or “France.”

The highest moments of Western Man came from the quest for unity. From Greeks uniting against the Persian invader, to the First Crusade, to the international forces resisting the Red Army at the end of World War II, Occidental unity gives us teasing glimpses of what could be possible. Europe is still but a broken empire. And yet in all of the quests for unity, it was specific polities, leaders, and nations that served as the core of a larger effort.

Whatever we may think or theorize about it, nationalism is not a spent force. Whatever Western revival is to come will be largely championed by nationalist movements. However, as with Bismarck and his Prussian patriotism, even the quest for power by one state or nation could quickly turn into a larger crusade for European unity–not the sterile bureaucratic tyranny of the so-called European Union, but the real unity of the Occident hinted at by our highest moments. On the other hand, it could lead to the kind of mutual destruction that led us to this point.

The way I view secession movements is opportunistic. I support whatever undermines the power of the governing elite and presents openings for nations to break free of the governing consensus. I support the unity of Spain and the breakup of the United Kingdom. I support the territorial integrity of Germany and France, the breakup of Belgium and Italy, and the absorption of Flanders by the Netherlands as part of the creation of Dietsland. I look with both skepticism and hope to Putin’s Russia and its territorial expansion. And I claim the right to change any and all of these positions as circumstances permit.

Because in the end, none of them are particularly important to me. Nations and nationalist movements are the means to an end–the goal is an Identitarian order that will lead to Western Unity and the upward development of the race. And an authentic local patriotism will be mean a movement both down and up–autonomy for cultural regions as diverse as Brittany and Bohemia yet still united in a greater European identity that encompasses and transcends them.

We who claim the mantle of Identitarians have a dual rule. Like the original pan-German intellectuals, we have to foster an identity that transcends what has come before. But to make it meaningful and not a pointless abstraction, this means acting locally above all–building tribes that are loyal only to their own rather than the established social order. We need to build autonomous white communities that serve as safe zones for the New Right. Let a thousand Oranias bloom.

Still, underneath all of that, we have to cultivate that dream of unity, of Imperium, even Empire–lest we fall into the traps of the past and the pointless European Civil Wars–military, religious, or cultural—that have brought us to the brink of ruin. There is no necessary contradiction between supporting both Tribe and Empire–but it has to be our Tribe and our Empire. Indeed, it will be less a centralized Empire than a gathering of tribes.

But make no mistake–we will get there as if by accident. We need a Bismarck to arise in a major European state. We need someone who, by pursuing the interests of their nation-state, can create something that will transcend their nation state. And unfortunately, this means that there will be a hierarchy even within the new Europe. If the driving force comes from Germany or France–or for that matter, the “wind from the east” predicted by forces in Hungary or even Russia, that will have consequences in the arrangement of power. And there will always be struggle and conflict within the new European Imperium.

The new Bismarck that will impose this order will likely not meet our standards of ideological purity. Mainstream politics will create the opportunity for victory–not the victory itself. Our role is to create the vanguard communities and intellectual movements that will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities when the time comes. It’s by building centers of power at the most local and restrictive level that we can lay the foundation for the most expansive Imperium the world has ever seen. And by cultivating the dream of Unity, we can ensure that when we get there, we won’t tear ourselves apart as the West has done so many times before.