When it comes to rights we must first understand who can claim personhood. Personhood is much-debated by philosophers — there are so many insufficient attempts to provide an objective test for personhood that philosophers can only agree to disagree over them. For example, if I were to say that being human-madede one a person, this would not suit those who are too retarded, juvenile or vegetative to claim any rights in a court scenario. Also, it discounts the possibility of some advanced dolphin or alien from claiming any rights.
What about rational beings, then? Well, who decides who is rational? You still require acknowledgement by others. My young daughter may very well claim she is entirely rational, but I must insist that she is not prepared to claim rights rationally and consistently yet. As things stand, she is still under my stewardship as her father and not a rights-claiming person yet. As with animals and fetuses, young children only really have rights attributed to them by we persons. Of course, the state may legislate an arbitrary age at which they may recognise the personhood of children and the limited circumstances in which they will do so, but none is better placed to recognise the personhood of a growing child than their family. Even then, there are plenty of adults who behave irrationally, unable to claim rights consistently. No, whichever way you cut it, the recognition of the personhood of others is a subjective thing, claimed by individuals and recognised or not by other individuals. So, who decides who is a person or not?
Historically, nations (in the truest sense of the word) decided personhood and rights-exercising ability based on their being a member of the kin group, not according to whomever the state (if there was one) decided was welcome to citizenship of that nation. Ricardo Duchesne rightly points out that even the rise of Western nation-states, including the US, was not based on civic nationalism, noting their ‘White-only’ immigration policies. He writes,
The nations of Europe were not mere “inventions” or functional requirements of modernity, but were factually rooted in the past, in common myths of descent, a shared history, and a distinctive cultural tradition. While the rise of modern industry and modern bureaucracies allowed for the materialization of nation states in Europe, these nations were primordially based on a population with a collective sense of kinship.
Aliens have always been granted special rules, notably, being treated according to the law of their own people; this wasn’t because they had the wrong passport, but because they were simply not of one’s nation. Many today will presume this was just ancient tribalism, fuelled by irrational xenophobia. Rather, as Duchesne notes, the modern liberal democracy of the West denies the biological impulse to protect one’s own and mistakenly assumes that this denial and even the individualistic, classical liberal ideals of the West, are shared by all the peoples of the world:
Humans are social animals with a natural impulse to identify themselves collectively in terms of ethnic, cultural and racial markers. But today Europeans have wrongly attributed their unique inclination for states with liberal constitutions to non-Europeans. They have forgotten that liberal states were created by a particular people with a particular individualist heritage, beliefs, and religious orientations… They don’t want to admit openly that all liberal states were created violently by a people with a sense of peoplehood laying sovereign rights over an exclusive territory against other people competing for the same territory. They don’t want to admit that the members of the competing outgroups are potential enemies rather than abstract individuals seeking a universal state that guarantees happiness and security for all regardless of racial and religious identity.
This liberal ignorance of racial impulses only really became institutionalised as late as the 1960’s, with the rise of cultural Marxism. Of course, it became more fashionable to distance oneself from ethnic and racial discrimination as this became increasingly associated with the defeated nations of WWII (as though they were the only ones with such considerations). But, as with much of classical liberalism, the basis of this anti-racialism was inspired by Christian and Roman influences on Western civilization. Whilst Duchesne has shown that Greco-Roman concepts of citizenship were not necessarily intended to be universalistic in any multi-racial sense, Roman Christianity has always lent itself to that interpretation of the Roman Law which was promulgated with corporate statism throughout Northern Europe. Whether we hear it from Moses or Paul, the message is clear:
Lev 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt…
Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all… (New International Version)
With the demonisation of those who sincerely take racial and other socio-biological considerations of social order into account, Western nations were primed to accept universalistic and civic notions of citizenship.
Right of Blood
The law relating to citizenship around the world is based on the two Greco-Roman legal concepts — jus sanguinis (right of blood) and jus soli (right of soil). The latter grants citizenship if one is born within the national territory and was famously imposed by Napoleonic France, granting citizenship to many foreign slaves. But the right of blood, that is, citizenship granted to children of citizens, is not exercised as a radical alternative, as this most commonly goes hand-in-hand with jus soli.
Today’s jus soli is almost universally a far cry from the Constitution of Liberia, which limits citizenship to ‘persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent’, or the original United States Naturalization Law which limited naturalization to immigrants who were ‘free white persons of good character’. Only a matter of a few decades ago, ‘British’ still primarily had an ethnic meaning but, today, the civic meaning is dominant by far.
This is an unsustainable mistake which leaves the ethnic groups of Europeans vulnerable to those aliens who are conscious of their ethnic loyalties, willing to take advantage of the democratic system which pits all conceivable groups against each other in competition to wield political power. We cannot ignore the fact of ethnic nepotism — we are all, as individuals, in competition with others over resources in order to achieve our aims, whatever they may be. But we do not just compete for ourselves but our families also, other associations too perhaps; nor do we use brute force but other political and economic means.
The concept I propose, of folk rights or ‘kinship personhood’, takes these matters into account to identify the natural order. To be achieved, we must begin by repealing all but the right of blood, to maintain homogeneity and resolve the issues of unsustainable multiculturalism which threaten Western civilization. On what possible basis?
Biology draws a line where we humans are prepared to stretch our altruism. Ordinarily, we only really care about our immediate family; what sort of parent wouldn’t put their child’s interests before those of another? But, Frank Salter, in On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration, argues that groups who share a greater percentage of their genes form ‘ethnies’ — biological populations that will act for the welfare of the group in times of need. Thus, when endangered, ethnic groups extend their protective impulses to ethnic kinship, as a natural extension of family kinship.
As our biology sets this natural marker of whom we are prepared to extend our individual recognition of kinship to, this not only makes the ethny the most practical point to which subjective views regarding personhood should be extended, but it also explains why human societies have near-universally done so as matter of intuition. Surely, in the same way that I am best placed to identify the personhood of my child, are we not as kin best placed to identify the personhood of our people? Those who would find such a grouping too vague of a definition should recognise that, for example, half of Europeans are descended from a single Indo-European king and study further the fact that our nations have been largely homogeneous through most of history. The Japanese, as one of many other examples, do not have such a problem identifying their own.
As a strongly libertarian lover of Western civilization, to which such individualism is unique, it is important to me that the natural, socio-biological order of the European civilizations is maintained. Indeed, it should be important to all of us with a preference for our own societies and cultures. As Richard Dawkins rightly pointed out, we are machines, blindly programmed by selfish genes for their preservation. In the same way that I am best placed to identify personhood in my child because no other man has the same hard-wired motivation to benefit the child as the father whose genes they carry, so the ethnic group is best placed to do so for their own, for the sake of the gene pool. Whether we are to live under a private or state system of government, the personhood of individuals should be decided by kinsmen of one nationality, who possess the natural inclination to resist threats to our homogeneity.
Author: Rik Storey