Sunday 23 October 2016

Conversation with a Professor of International Relations

This is a Facebook conversation with the same professor who, months ago, said to me "I reject the idea of countries".  He's a German, though he thinks that's irrelevant. The beautiful, unworldly spirituality and idealism of the Germans continues to so much harm. Twice they destroyed Europe by insane nationalism and now they seem to be doing so by insane internationalism. 

Prof: And yet the Home Office wants to send asylum seekers from Mosul back to Iraq

Me: Europe unfortunately has to stop taking asylum seekers - we can pay for them to be put in camps or poor countries - this will weed out the many economic refugees. The alternative is a complete transformation of Europe over the next century, unwanted by Europeans, and the end of ethnic states.

Bystander: Strange position for an emigre to take. What makes you such a special human being?

Me: Well I wish there were only 300 foreigners in Romania as in early 90s but those days are gone. We are not many though, max 100,000 all told out of 20 million - perhaps much fewer.

Prof: Foreigners are just people. I find all of this deeply repulsive

Me: Syrians though are coming - I now see a woman in a headscarf at least every month.

Me: I LOVE foreigners and have few English friends. I love Syria and Syrians. 2 Syrian Christian friends whom I made in Damascus ten years ago and who are now refugees are the most opposed to Muslim immigration into Europe of anyone I know - and almost all the people I know in Romania are opposed to it.

It's absolutely not about disliking foreigners but wanting to preserve communities, traditions, nationhood. Nations in the ethnic sense are ancient and beautiful things which are turning into US style proposition nations.

Prof: They are social constructs that separate people. I have nothing against traditions per se but if you reify them in this manner it results in rejecting people who are in a dire situation and discriminating against people just because of where they happen to have been born.

Me: Discriminating against people just because of where they happen to have been born is the basis of nationality and citizenship!

Prof: It is immoral and results in actions that are inhumane

Me: A false religion is a social construct. Ethnic groups are I suppose social constucts, but they are organic and beautiful. They enable us to be fully human. The man who is a citizen of the world doesn’t understand the meaning of the word citizen.

Prof: I agree with everything except the last sentence which is ludicrous. But ethnicity can be used to exclude those who happen to be of another ethnicity. There is no moral basis for that and defending ethnic or racial purity has given rise to the great crimes against humanity.

Me: Joseph de Maistre put it well. "In the course of my life, I have seen Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, etc.; I am even aware, thanks to Montesquieu, that one can be a Persian. But, as for Man, I declare that I have never met him in my life. If he exists, I certainly have no knowledge of him."

Me: There is no reason why people should start new lives in Germany because Syria is at war. It's absurd. Is the whole country to decamp to Europe?

Prof: Moreover, what makes us a member of an ethnic group is quite superficial and fundamentally all men and women are themselves.

Me: And there are always wars and always will be and half these people are not fleeing war - there is no war in Algeria!

Prof: It's not about war. It is about rejecting people just on the basis of where they were born or the ethnic group they belong to. That is fundamentally immoral

Me: You are of course thinking of the Nazis as everyone does - and everyone learns exactly the wrong lessons from them! The lesson I draw is that different ethnic groups can live together side by side - unhappily, often - but when a demagogue comes along war and murder can break out. Therefore it's unwise to make societies more ethnically mixed than is necessary.

Rejecting people just on the basis of where they were born or the ethnic group they belong tot is not fundamentally immoral. It's the essence of the English nation, the German nation etc. We are born, if we are lucky, with parents and relatives and a country, an ethnicity. My next door neighbour may be a fine man - or not - but I do not invite him into my house. If he were in great need and homeless I might do so for a night but not permanently.

I suggested he read a very good article in the American Spectator called Unmakling England. I urge you, gentle reader, to do so too.

Prof: You know that I completely reject the assumptions and arguments in this article that I find contrary to human rights. This reification of the nation or ethnic groups is deeply disturbing and harmful. These concepts of country and nation are outdated and untenable in the modern world.

Me: Do you consider patriotism disturbing and harmful?

Prof: You are just using these terms that need deconstructing. I don't consider the well-being of people in other countries less important than that of those in the country in which I live. Not sure if that answers your question. Do I wish the UK would prosper? Absolutely. These efforts to reduce immigration are harming the UK more than anything else.

Me: I don't consider the welfare of foreigners less important, objectively. I don't consider the woman I love to be objectively better than all other women in the world but subjectively I do. But this is not the point, is a red herring. Patriotism is love of country. And I suspect you regard the emotion with suspicion rather than as a very important virtue that needs to be fostered in the young. Apart from anything else it serves a vital function in creating social cohesion and buttressing the social order. The UK economy might prosper more - though it is very doubtful - if in 50 years' time half the population of my country were Chinese - but I do not want this and I do not think it would mean my people were prospering. I think it would mean they were lost.

Prof: Since my wife and daughter are Chinese I clearly reject such ideas. In my family each one of us has a different nationality. I am very proud of this fact. Nationality is a temporary social construct, we need to transcend it and embrace the whole of humanity. Nations will cease to exist as time progresses. If not we are in serious trouble.

Note: I did not invent the professor or anything in this dialogue but, reading it over, he sounds very like a creation of the late Michael Wharton. 

Do you think he sounds crazy? I wonder if his ideas are very different from those of Bill Clinton, who believes in “the ultimate wisdom of a borderless world”, his wife, who says her "dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders" or many other world leaders.


  1. Good convincingly champion unfashionable opinion here ...but do so always sounding humane.

  2. It seems that God gave us borders. The Holy Bible, Acts 17:26
    "From one man He made every nation of men, to inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands." On the other hand, in Tarot, card no. XV, The Devil, signifies the lack of boundaries.
    Gabriela Craciunescu

  3. Interesting concept however racial identy,religion, nationality,ideology are all factors in this discussion.we still have a biblical tower of babel here on earth.We have nuclear weapons to protect our nation's or national identity. To truly go foward Ala Star Trek we need to find a solution to the prejudices we foster towards one another. And unfortunately I do not see this happening in the near future!

  4. There are only two kinds of humanitarians, those that are a problem and the others who are dead. The difference between them can save your life in a matter of minutes based on their preferences and positions in the government.

  5. The professor in your conversation sounds like a modern German, disavowing blood and soil, deracinated in his own country. I am sure he is a very decent person but I ask myself: W(h)ither Germany?

    1. He has spent his life in England where he teaches. He considers himself post-national, which shows how very German he is.

  6. Those Germans. They certainly do love their world governments. Alex Woodcock-Clarke