A Nationalism of Australian Culture within Western Civilisation

A couple of years ago, there was a large amount of controversy in universities and in the press over the establishment of The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation in Australia, and especially over its goal to finance tertiary courses with a positive perspective on Western Civilisation. Leftist activists quickly mobilised to defend their turf in the universities and prevent any possibility of students being exposed to narratives that present the West in a constructive way. The response was telling, and suggests that Australian Nativists need to approach our struggle on a general civilisational level as well as a narrower national one. In this post, I start by outlining my perspective on right-left political struggle in terms of philosophical symbolism, before applying this perspective to the three different levels our Nativist struggle takes place on.

While it may initially seem arbitrary, the political binary of “right” and “left” ultimately begins with our everyday bodily experience. Most people are right-handed, and so the right becomes associated with strength and dexterity, while the left is associated with weakness and clumsiness. These experiences develop on a more abstract level in language, where to be correct and true is to be “right,” whereas our word “sinister,” meaning dishonest and dangerous, comes from the Latin word for “left.” This linguistic level of meaning continues to be abstracted into symbolic ideas of the right as an integrative or constructive force and the left as a disintegrative or deconstructive force. On a contemporary political level, we can see this in true right-wing actors striving to defend the integrity of the family and the nation, while leftist activist fall behind every campaign that seeks to “deconstruct,” whether it targets institutions relating to sex, ethnicity, religion, nation, or whatever else may fall in their crosshairs. This is my understanding of the basic right-left polarity that constitutes what Joel Davis has called “one-dimensional politics.” Below, we’ll see that in general the woke left acts as the political face of nihilism, beginning now with its attempted annihilation of Western Civilisation.

To start, we need to define Western Civilisation. Western Civilisation can be considered the marriage of Athens and Jerusalem, meaning the union of the classical high culture of Greco-Roman antiquity with the Christian religion and way of life. The binding force that brought these two things together into a coherent whole was Platonist philosophy, with the identification of Plato’s One/Good with the God of the Christian Bible. Those who want a basic exposition of political Platonism can see my post on the topic, but the important point here is that, in his hierarchical vision of metaphysics and politics, Plato was a firm enemy of democracy, while the early Christian Church launched an assault on the religious pluralism of the pagan cults, both of them in the name of absolute Truth.

This point is important because we find that institutions like the Ramsay Centre, though they present themselves as defending the marriage of Athens and Jerusalem, are limited in their ability to defend Western Civilisation due to their acceptance of a narrative that instead focuses on tracing the negative liberty (“freedom from”) of modern liberalism and pluralism back to Athenian democracy and sophism, rather than focusing on the constructive philosophy of Plato. This unfortunately puts them closer to the realm of controlled opposition rather than the sort of force really dangerous to the left, as it is within this “liberal” tradition that we can see a nihilistic core that, in the name of negative liberty, aims to deconstruct all collective identities into individuals, and individuals into psychologically fragmented schizophrenics who have a different gender identity for every day of the year. It was the acceptance of incorrect liberal presuppositions and the mainstream right’s narrative on Western Civilisation that also made the Proud Boys an incoherent political force that eventually collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions. At this point, the Nativist should see both some shared ground and a very necessary difference with the self-proclaimed defenders of Western Civilisation. We can work with them when it comes to the preservation of things like the classical architecture we see in Melbourne, or the higher standards of classical education, but we have to differentiate ourselves from them in our philosophy and narrative concerning Western Civilisation so that we do not swallow the nihilist poison. Our view of Western Civilisation and White European identity must be integrative and constructive, not deconstructive.

The next level of identity that Nativists should defend, moving towards a greater degree of specificity, is our British identity. One of the rifts within Australian nationalism is the divide between the more pro-British or Anglo-Saxonist ideology and the Radical Nationalist or Nativist school of thought. Those in the British camp emphasise Imperial Benevolence as one of the five pillars of the Deakinite Settlement, and stress the strong British identity of Australians throughout our history, pointing to the reverent and solemn celebration of Empire Day in Australian history as opposed to the more casual celebrations of Australia Day and Wattle Day. They also point to the common ethnicity and cultural continuity of Australian Anglo-Celts with our brothers and sisters in the British Isles and throughout the Anglosphere, and position the ANZAC legend within the context of Australia’s contribution to the cause of the British Empire, much as it was understood at the time. The Radical Nationalist, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on white labourism as a driving force in establishing a unique Australian culture and ethos, focusing more on the egalitarian Bush culture expressed in the poetry of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson as opposed to the more Anglophile metropolitan culture of the major Australian cities. The Nativist sees this Bush culture taking political form in the union movement with the strikes of the late 19th century. In this perspective, the significance of the ANZAC legend is more the waste of good Australian men by incompetent Brits than a common struggle.

Realistically, I think that a nuanced Australian nationalism needs to consider seriously the strengths and weaknesses of both points of view, and realise that these positions are not so much in opposition as focused on different degrees of specificity. Just as at the level of Western Civilisation, we are a White European race, we are more particularly a British or Anglo-Celtic race and society, having much in common with old England including our language and political and legal institutions. Nevertheless, we are Australian Anglo-Celts. What defines the Nativist position is not an opposition to Britishness or Anglo-Celtic culture in general, but an insistence that we prioritise our own Australian form of Anglo-Celtic life over that of the British Isles, and our own ethnic interests over the broader geopolitical interests of the British and now American Empires. Just as Australians clashed with the British Imperial authorities over immigration restriction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to the British concern for their Indian and Chinese subjects, we should not now allow Indian immigration because it supposedly supports the Quad network led by the United States. Taking this into consideration, we still need to realise that our current geopolitical and civilisational position is most likely untenable without some greater imperial support; therefore, like our ancestors we should take a principled position in relation to support for a specifically Anglo-Celtic Commonwealth that explicitly defends our ethnic and cultural interests. We should also strive to support the development of a patriotic international Anglo-Celtic high culture in place of the rubbish propaganda that comes out of Hollywood and US-based international corporations. In terms of our opposition to the nihilistic left, this will take the form of a defence of British colonialism and civilisation-building in Australia and a positive appropriation of the British elements in our culture.

Lastly, at the highest level of specificity, we have Australian ethnicity and culture as the core of Australian identity. This is where the strength of the Nativist position can be most appreciated. While I mentioned Imperial Benevolence as a pillar of the Deakinite Settlement earlier in relation to our British connection, it is only one pillar of five. At least state paternalism, protection, and wage arbitration of the other four can be considered more uniquely rooted in our Australian history and experience, and in our white labourist tradition. Like any ethnic group, we have our own folk songs, forms of dance, and ways of socialising. Australian country music, New Vogue dancing, and the egalitarian spirit of Australian mateship and larrikinism are all expressions of our own particular form of Anglo-Celtic life. To appropriate an idea from the social historian and right Labor writer Miriam Dixson, we need to defend the Australian Anglo-Celtic identity and culture as the core culture of Australian society, but without treating it as identical with Britishness. In a sense, we could treat all the levels of identity I discussed above as concentric circles, with Australian identity in the centre, British identity revolving around that, and Western Civilisational identity revolving around British identity. In contrast to leftist deconstructionists who will focus on ethnic tensions between the Anglo-Saxons and the Irish in Australian history to challenge a unified identity, or see New Australians like Greeks or Italians as opening the door to complete relativism with regard to immigration, we should analyse these issues using the above vision of what is central and what is peripheral. We still share Western Civilisation with Greeks and Italians, and British identity, though complex, is something that Anglo-Celts of all the Anglosphere countries largely share. These must be brought into the service of Australianism as the core of our vision for the future. Only we can decide our own destiny.

In the end, if we are to have victory, the true right in Australia must be an integrative force that both defends and strives to construct a grand unified vision of Western Civilisation, an Anglo-Celtic Commonwealth, and Australian culture and nationhood. As Australian Nationalists and Nativists, we need to push the correct line on Western Civilisation and British heritage in order to lead the broader right-wing in a constructive national direction, with a positive vision for Australia and the Australian people in the face of the nihilist opposition of the left. We are approaching the end of the age, and as the circle turns, we must seize the opportunity for glory for our people!

Elias Priestly

ANA Victoria