[Update: Quincy Latham at Quas Lacrimas has a superb reaction/expansion responding to this post. Go over there and read the whole thing!]
One of the most widely fought arguments within broad alt-Right circles is the question of “race versus culture.” On one side, there are those who argue for a more or less completely deterministic view, essentially saying that the level and type of civilisation which a people possess are solely determined by their race and their genetics. For them, the culture which a group of people possesses has been “hard-wired” into them due to the directions which their genetic lineage took millennia ago. On the other hand, there are those who would argue that culture, civilisation, etc. of any kind could be created and sustained by literally anybody. These are the folks who seriously believe that you can replace the white populations of Europe, North America, and Australia with brown and black third-worlders and still maintain the same level of civilisation, liberties, etc. as were created by whites. The former position is the one typical for white nationalists, while the latter is usually the domain of so-called “civic nationalists.”
As an ethnonationalist, I tend to agree with neither of these positions. Rather, I see a mutually reinforcing feedback loop existing among language, culture, and genetic lineage which serves as recursive reinforcement for all three of these things. The mechanism by which this loop operates is the process of ethnogenesis, in which new ethnoi are gradually produced through evolutionary processes, mostly involving the splitting off of new groups from parent stocks, though sometimes involving the amalgamation of portions of two or more ethnic groups together to form a new group (e.g. what happened in much of Latin America where lower class whites mixed with indios to produce the region’s many variegated mestizo cultural groups). Per the biblical model, the confounding of languages led to the parting of ways of several very early people-groups who then developed their own cultures, the forms of which depended upon both genetic (intelligence, physical attributes, etc.) and environmental factors. Over the millennia, these groups continued to break apart as they spread out and colonised new areas (or conquered already claimed regions), with new languages developing, and new cultural forms, traditions, and mores evolving. As such, the issue is not nearly as clear-cut as the “race vs. culture” paradigm would suggest. Race and culture work together, along with language evolution, and reinforce each other. However, it is also fair to note that within a cultural group, the members will virtually always share the same race, and conversely that within the main racial groups into which mankind is divided, those of the same race will exhibit cultures (and languages, though this is less definitive) which are more similar to each other than they are to those in other racial groupings.
Having said all of this, I would then note that among the many other things which are influenced by both genes and surroundings are the broad types of governmental forms (specifically, the three “classical” types of monarchic, aristocratic, and democratic) which tend to be “inhering” traits of the peoples who exhibit them. Several months ago, I touched on this in a post which could be thought of as a “case study,” in this case the specific question of why medieval and renaissance republicanism seems to have been limited to high-IQ Germanic populations. Why do cultures – and I’m going to bring the focus specifically to European, European-derived, and near-kin Indo-European populations – exhibit preferences for one type over the others? Are there cultural reasons which may predispose a nation in a certain governmental direction?
Let me first note the three general types of societies which a culture may exhibit, in broad terms, within the larger unit of a civilisation (such as, e.g., Western civilisation or Indian civilisation, etc.).
First, you have what I call core groups. These are groups which, as the name suggests, inhabit central areas within their larger civilisational setting, often hailing from the urheimat of their clade, or from areas which were settled early on in cases of migration. They tend to be more centralised in their cultural and social organisation, and may tend toward the baroque, or even decadence.
Second, you have marcher groups. These cultures exist on the edges of their clade’s contiguous settled areas, facing outward toward alien groups. As a result, they are often more heavily militarised, exhibiting forms of organisation which tends towards enhancing military preparedness and effectiveness.
Third, you have pioneer groups. These cultures usually develop when a clade is undergoing an expansion phase into new lands, and involves a great degree of decentralisation and political experimentation. These groups tend towards greater levels of “rugged individualism” as they find themselves thrown upon their own resources for survival and expansion.
I believe that we can see some tendencies (keeping in mind that they’re just tendencies) that each type of society has toward the governmental forms they prefer. Core groups will tend towards monarchy, marcher groups toward aristocracy, and pioneer groups toward democracy. We should also note that groups can change their configuration over time as their environment changes. Likewise, within a political unit, we can also discern that subgroups of the dominant culture may begin to diverge because of varied roles.
It’s not surprising that the push toward absolute monarchy in Western Europe was strongest in France, which occupied the central point of Latin Europe’s weight. It was in France that the noble lords were most thoroughly stripped of their power and reduced to mere ornaments of court, orbiting around the Sun King. The Spanish subclade, on the other hand, was a set of marcher cultures for centuries as the Spanish faced off against the Muslims during the reconquista, and then across the Mediterranean. Strong aristocracies continued to exist across other fracture points as well. The German states (loosely aggregated under the banner of the Holy Roman Empire) and the Poles faced off across the Germanic-Slavic divide, both showing strong aristocratic tendencies. The case of Venice is an interesting one: She began as a relatively democratic state (founded by refugees from the mainland, thus approximating a pioneer type of situation), evolved into an aristocratic republic with an extremely strong executive (approximating a core state) as her portion in Europe became secure and settled from invading foreigners, but then turned towards a weakened executive and a strengthened aristocracy as she began to be more on the “front lines” of Europe’s conflict with the Ottomans.
England is a fascinating case as well. Though seemingly centrally positioned (and thus, ripe for the development of a more absolute form of monarchy), the country was nevertheless more of a genuine marcher state than any other in northwest Europe. Despite England’s cultural centralisation, her politics throughout the middle ages retained a stronger aristocratic caste, presumably because of the ongoing threat of conflicts with the Scots, Irish, and Welsh. Only after these groups were subdued more or less successfully did England begin to turn towards stronger monarchy with the Tudors and Stuarts, but this was aborted by the cultural shock of exploration and mass immigration to the New World.
In Russia, we see a divided situation. In the settled west, the Russian monarchy increased in power at the expense of the aristocrats. In the east, and especially in Siberia (which the Russians conquered and occupied throughout the 17th and 18th centuries), the conflicts with the (initially) thickly populated natives led to the evolution of a marcher state organisation, with local lords, Cossacks, and tax collectors wielding much greater power than the boyars of the west.
Outside of Europe, we can see similar patterns in pre-Islamic India. The decadent states occupying central and southern portions of the subcontinent were rarely the ones which formed the great empires. Rather, the marcher states of the north and northeast in the Indo-Gangetic plain – facing Tibet, the steppes, and southeast Asia – tended to be the military states organised along strong feudal lines and which built the empires (Kuru, Pancala, Videha, Kosala, and later the Nanda, Mauryan, and Sunga Empires). Indeed, in the earlier Vedic, or Iron Age, era in India (c. 1200-800 BC), there were even a number of states which existed as “republics” and included a number of democratic elements, such as elected leadership. These states correspond to the “pioneer” stage of the Indo-Aryan invasions into the subcontinent, as the evolving Vedic civilisation spread southward across the wide expanse of India after driving out the natives (i.e. a pioneer type of situation). Indeed, this pattern seems to be common to Indo-European groups which migrate and expand into new regions.
In Pre-Alexandrine Persia, the aristocracy initially held a strong position vis-a-vis the Median and Persian monarchs during the period in which Persia was essentially a marcher state facing both India and Mesopotamia. After the conquest of the Near East and the advent of peace with the Indians, Persia developed a much more centralised monarchy and eventually saw the rise of a near absolute autocracy (though of a generally more enlightened kind, as compared to other states in that era).
Let me turn to the cases of a more classic type of pioneer society – those of the Anglo-Saxon plantations in North America and Australia. In both situations, you saw initially tenuous colonies actively work to develop themselves because of the distances from the mother country. In the process, they both engaged in rapid expansion across vast areas of land (there is a strong case to be made that a major cause for the rebellion of the 13 American colonies was not taxation, but the refusal of the British crown to allow expansion beyond the Appalachian Mountains). In both cases, the white settlers were essentially bringing entire continents under their sway within a relatively short period of time. Concomitantly, all three of the political units involved – the USA, Canada, and Australia – developed democratic institutions more rapidly, and in the case of the USA to a much greater degree, than did mother England. It is likewise observable that as the early settled regions became more developed, they began to approach core status. Even to this day, the cultural differences are readily observed between the Acela corridor, eastern Ontario, and the Sydney-to-Melbourne strip on the one hand, and the Rocky Mountain states and provinces and the Australian outback on the other. Not surprising, all three nations see power being centralised into the early settled power centres and their originally democratic institutions being transformed into ones with an imperious oligarchy and strong executives.
All of this is important because they bear strongly on the neoreactionary program of being prepared to replace the current modernist and decadent democratic systems of the West with more rational and traditional forms. Typically (and unfortunately), for many this manifests itself in a desire to see absolute monarchy “restored” everywhere – even in places which have no tradition of absolutism. Actually trying to do this would be an error in many places. While France, Germany, Austria, or Russia may feasibly accept a restoration of a more absolute style of monarchy, it is unlikely such a program would be successful in the Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian worlds. Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, neoreactionaries who theorise about the restoration of more traditional and authoritarian systems in the West should be cognizant of what sort of society any particular nation in question is, what it’s culture and history are, and whether (genetically speaking) its population would be capable of sustaining any particular kind of government which may be implemented.
For the United States (or any successor states which may appear after a breakup due to the Great Reset, which seems more likely), an absolute monarchy is probably off the table. In the South, an aristocratic system with a weak monarchy might be feasible (prior to the Civil War, some not unserious southern thinkers proposed such a system). In the mountain West and other parts of the country, a restricted franchise republican system (approximating what the Founders actually implemented, with immigration limited to whites and voting restricted to white male property owners) may be about as far towards a true Right system as you could get, at least initially. Though the USA has few actual frontiers to pioneer and conquer anymore, cultural lag still affects large parts of American culture. I suspect the same could also be said for Australia and Canada. The United Kingdom itself could likely sustain a rollback of parliamentary power and a return to monarchical powers analogous to those of the Tudors (Moldbug famously noted that when we think of absolute personal rule in an Anglo context, we should be thinking of Elizabeth I).
The important thing to note is that even though we live in a world which is much smaller due to globalisation, the existence of marcher (and even pioneer) nations has not ended. Despite the high degree of world development, not every state and not every nation within the various states are necessarily core societies whose culture/genetic complex would tolerate absolutist authority systems. There are still fracture areas between civilisations and clades which will militate toward aristocratic systems entailing personal loyalty and distributed military power. It is always possible in the future that (depending on how bad any Great Reset event might end up being) situations involving rapid expansion and the formation of (relatively) more democratic pioneer-type societies may still occur. One of the goals for neoreaction is to seek to bring order to the chaos. This order will demand greater authority for rulers. Even in democratic-tending populations, the foolish errors of universal suffrage, egalitarianism, and mass society must avoid repetition. Yet, those who would desire absolute monarchy may have to suffer the existence of aristocratic republics and feudal organisations. Nevertheless, the goal should always be to keep the momentum moving away from the democratisation and egalitarianism we currently see and towards more orderly, stable, and hierarchical governing systems.