The Problem with Proposition Nations

Two proposition nations.

Two proposition nations.

The United States of America is not a nation of bloodlines, the common refrain goes. Brave patriots founded it on an idea — the idea of individual liberty, of shaping your own destiny, of leaving behind the dead weight of the past for a bright future. Modern American patriots say that most nations, whether in Europe, Asia, or Africa, place too much importance on bloodline and thus stifle their peoples through collectivism. According to them, a nation’s true spirit is in its values and ideas, so anyone can adopt any idea. Much of this is taken to be the highest expression of American exceptionalism.

But there’s a huge problem: For a proposition nation to work, most people have to think the same thing. And this requires greatly denying liberty, the very thing America runs on.

The proposition nation has a self-evident allure. Unlike a “bloodline nation,” proposition nations can be far more racially inclusive. While a bloodline nation would freeze you out no matter how strongly you believed in its ethos, a proposition nation would let you in so long as you believed in its values. For a racially divided country like the United States, the ideal of the “melting pot” had great appeal in the 1910s. That appeal only grew stronger in the 1960s since it allowed Americans to stay patriotic while redressing past racial discrimination and admitting immigrants from beyond Europe. That way, America could fight off leftist accusations that its libertarian ideals were hateful.

However, for a proposition nation to work, most people must believe in the proposition, and this belief must be enforced to maintain unity.

If ideals and not bloodline make a nation, then the nation must indoctrinate everyone into those ideals. Any deviation from them cannot be allowed. To disagree with the proposition is to be a traitor, and traitors would need to be incarcerated and re-educated. The idea is the heart and soul of the nation, and without it, we are nothing.

Does the above sound like liberty to you? Didn’t think so.

For the proposition nation to work, the nation must admit only those who fanatically believe in the nation’s ideals and punish those who do not; otherwise, the proposition withers away. This flies in the face of America’s liberal ethos. As a result, America does not check immigrants’ ideology. While private employers do fire dissenters, it isn’t 100% effective and only breeds resentment. In other words, it doesn’t resolve the paradox at all.

The other proposition nation — the Soviet Union, founded on international Communism, and every bit as diverse as the United States — had no such paradox. That regime used everything from firings to imprisonment and executions to ensure compliance with Communist doctrine. Everyone had to believe in Marx and Lenin’s proposition if they wanted a comfortable life.

And despite all of that, the Soviet Union collapsed anyway.

If a ruthless Communist regime couldn’t make the proposition nation work, what chance does a vaguely libertarian democratic republic have? How can this nation founded on great ideals handle it if not everyone, whether black or white, immigrant or native, even believes the ideals of liberty are worth defending?

It seems that bloodline nations are the only stable ones, but even they have civil wars occasionally. At least in a bloodline nation, everyone doesn’t have to hold the same ideas to be part of the national community. Still, if enough people don’t, you get the civil wars mentioned earlier.

Perhaps the “proposition nation” works after all — you have a cultural “proposition” believed by a blood-defined “nation.”

Do it right, you get Japan. Do it wrong, you get North Korea.

Neither of which has any workable solutions for America.

We’re in for a hell of a ride.

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9 Responses to The Problem with Proposition Nations

  1. JJ Cintia says:

    What exactly is this proposition these idiots talk about? Its not liberty, cause liberty interferes with the massive social engineering and peer pressure they want to mold you into a compliant subject to the Kleptocracy. Its not equality, because they’re all for quotas that freeze out White people, and heterosexual Christian White Men in particular. Its not a free market, because you need a business license to run a business. Its not private property because they support eminent domain and taxation of activities they disapprove of and want discouraged.
    What exactly is this proposition?

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      What exactly is this proposition these idiots talk about?

      This, in a nutshell, shows why the “proposition nation” concept is fatally flawed: What happens when a large enough number of people either don’t care about or actively oppose the proposition? You have no nation anymore.

  2. Anti-Gnostic says:

    “However, for a proposition nation to work, most people must believe in the proposition, and this belief must be enforced to maintain unity.”

    Which Americans generally do believe in.

    “If ideals and not bloodline make a nation, then the nation must indoctrinate everyone into those ideals.”

    If not ideals and bloodline make a nation, then the nation must indoctrinate everyone into believing that bloodlines trump ideals.

    See how it works?

    One person’s “indoctrination” is another person’s “version of truth”.

    “Any deviation from them cannot be allowed. To disagree with the proposition is to be a traitor, and traitors would need to be incarcerated and re-educated.”

    Extremists think along those lines, not people who are able to reasonably agree or disagree.

    “Does the above sound like liberty to you? Didn’t think so.”

    Liberty is for people to decide for themselves, as the Founding Fathers granted us, who is and who is not a citizen of the United States.

    “What happens when a large enough number of people either don’t care about or actively oppose the proposition? You have no nation anymore.”

    Praytell, what is the magic number? Because millions of Americans, liberal and conservative–black, white, Hispanic, native, Asian–believe in that proposition, contrary to fairytale notions.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      If not ideals and bloodline make a nation, then the nation must indoctrinate everyone into believing that bloodlines trump ideals.

      People already believe that. Blood is thicker than water, after all.

      Extremists think along those lines, not people who are able to reasonably agree or disagree.

      However, a “proposition nation” must have most people believing in it for the nation to even exist. Someone who deviates from it cannot be a member of the nation, since the proposition makes the nation. Hence why I say proposition nations deny liberty.

      Praytell, what is the magic number? Because millions of Americans, liberal and conservative–black, white, Hispanic, native, Asian–believe in that proposition, contrary to fairytale notions.

      Clearly not enough Americans do, or we wouldn’t be suffocating in political correctness.

      • Stephen M. St. Onge says:

        The reality is complicated, with interesting historical roots.

        The U.S. didn’t start as a proposition nation, or any kind of nation. It started as a collection of English colonies. About 2/3 of the population was “British”, meaning English, Welsh, “Borderer” (the Borderers lived on the Scottish-English border; their nationality was whichever side’s police were least likely to arrest them that week), Scottish, and “Irish” (mostly English and Borderers who’d been transplanted to hold the Irish down). Of the one-third that wasn’t British, a bit over half were slaves or ex-slaves, the rest Europeans, mostly German.

        The “American” nation was forged in two wars against Britain. But when we weren’t fighting the British, we had a continent to steal from the Injuns and settle, and a chronic labor shortage. So lots of foreigners were brought in from Europe (with the exception of South Carolina, legal slave importation ceased with the Revolution). The U.S. thus faced the question of how to hold itself together.

        The answer was the public school system, instituted to “Americanize” immigrants and their children. That purpose has largely dropped down the memory hole, but you can still find it if you know check the original sources (which the Web makes ever easier).

        One of the reasons these facts aren’t generally known is the “long march through the institutions,” the deliberate destabilization and destruction of the U.S. by the world-wide Left movement. Immigration played a role in that, but there were always native radicals too. The active political movements to destroy the existing U.S. political/economic/social system were always heavily foreign or first generation immigrants, but those were also always fringe movements — the anarchists, socialists, and communists.

        As a means of holding people together as one nation, “propositionalism” arguably worked at least as well as bloodlines. Historians estimate one-third to one fourth of the population stayed loyal to Britain in the Revolution. During the Civil War Between the States to Save the Union for Southern Independence of Northern Aggression to Free the Slaves of the Rebellion, about 10% of white Southern soldiers were fighting for the Union, all volunteers, while the Confederacy early resorted to conscription and was plagued by continual desertion.

        As I read history, nations are defined by their enemies as much as by blood and culture. The U.S. was born fighting the British, and the Soviet Union was strongest just after WWII and its struggle with Germany. This is not happy news.

        Increasingly, I think the future will belong either to Heinlein or New Guinea. Either the society of STARSHIP TROOPERS, or constant wars with outsiders seem to be the only stable states.

  3. Insightful post.

    I hadn’t thought of the USSR as a proposition state before, and the case you made expanded my thinking on the subject.

    Unlike the Soviets, America’s problem is that our proposition is based on compromise; not adherence to objective truth. Hence the self-defeating contradiction you pointed out.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      I hadn’t thought of the USSR as a proposition state before, and the case you made expanded my thinking on the subject.

      Very good, Brian. A lot of people who argue for America as a “proposition nation” fail to note the propositional nature of the Soviet Union. I’m glad my post aided your understanding.

  4. Pingback: Propositional Nation – wisdom4dummies

  5. Mish Ochu says:

    I stated on Twitter that this almost makes a case for a billion nations of one where no one could force their ideology (or proposition) by force on another.

    Like them or not (I do not) the administration in the USSR was being honest with itself (perhaps inadvertently) by using force to propagate a failed proposition.

    American politicians (past and present), by contrast, are not being honest with themselves. To paraphrase JJ Cintia somewhat, the proposition implies “life, liberty, and [property]” (the pursuit of happiness is overrated and, to me, merely alludes to one’s freedom to choose the employ of one’s *property* for self-interest as opposed to the “greater good”). However, from the beginning, adherents fail to keep the proposition “pure”.

    A compromise is made with a few who deny self-ownership to some (all rights are, or can be boiled down to property rights).

    Fast forward to modern times and an increasingly large number of people who claim to believe in self-ownership want to redistribute the proceeds from the self (labor/income)…all without realizing the irony. However, the dilution of the proposition must have predated this.

    Proposition nations are appealing, many people flocked to the US based on the prior successes and opportunities available (due in part to the proposition). The tide has set on the US being a bloodline nation, but if several groups of people want to institute new propositions I think it results in one of two things: splintering or demise.

    Demise might not have to be as violent as it sounds. America gets to keep on calling itself America, but it is no longer the home of the brave, land of the [somewhat or mostly] free. The idea doesn’t sound good to me, I would be screaming internally as Kira Argounova did in “We the Living”…”I don’t want to fight for the people, I don’t want to fight against the people, I don’t want to hear of the people. I want to be left alone”.

    Splintering sounds much better to me. It aligns (barely) with the intent of the Articles of Confederation a little more than the Constitution. It let’s each proposition compete (almost like a free market of ideas).

    I originally offered six billion nations of one as my ideal metric of splintering. It’s sensational, slightly humorous, but ultimately incorrect (though it does fit into Twitter character limits).

    ***Warning***: Opinions Ahead

    Not that the above isn’t fraught with opinion, but these are blatant. I do see the benefit to bloodlines, I believe in the stable family as the only suitable form of government. There, peaceful and loving teaching (indoctrination if you will) is permissible. In my community I would (as I do today) teach my children to reason and question authority. I would have to gain credibility and trust from these children and their self esteem, love of liberty and self-reliance would increase.

    If a peaceful stateless society (or community) ever came into being, I imagine it would be consumed with the efforts of defending its propositions from external threats. That’s where moral agency comes in: https://youtu.be/OQHCR__-FRA.

    If I believe I can defend my small community it follows that I can delegate the defense of it. It would be of interest to contract out this defense in situations where my abilities alone are insufficient. I might even keep my defense agent on retainer (or pay a premium).

    To stay profitable, this defense agent would likely contract with other parties. This agent would probably recognize that force (and its consequences) hurt the bottom line and is a last resort instead favoring arbitration between parties. The defense agent might stipulate that I be liable for reparation of unwarranted initiation of force on others that I commit. I and my community might prefer to interact with those who have like defense agents or utilize arbiters, a plurality of non-geographical competing justice systems might spring forth.

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