Quick Take: Colonial and Ancient Nations

As a nationalist, it is only natural for me to believe in a deep spiritual connection between a people and their land. Our surroundings will naturally shape our culture and worldview; and how much more so if they were also the surroundings of generations upon generations of our ancestors, descending back into distant time as mirrors within mirrors. This fact must be impressed on me more than most, for I grew up in the dream city of Cambridge where I was constantly enveloped in the beautiful handiwork of the long dead. It is impossible to escape history in England - almost every settlement is ancient, if not founded by Saxons, then Britons, Romans or Stone Age unknowns instead. Therefore, eternity has always been familiar to me. Indeed, it could be said I exist in eternity, and always have done.

Colonial nations, like the Americans and Australians, have a much shorter history of ancestry in the lands in which they reside. This must necessarily change their worldview somewhat. The world, necessarily, must seem newer to them - history a more distant thing.

As an example of this, we can look to the Restoration movement of the 19th century Second Great Awakening in the United States. This religious revival emerged, as Wikipedia puts it, paraphrasing C. Leonard Allen and Richard T. Hughes, because,

"To immigrants in the early 19th century, the land in the United States seemed pristine, edenic and undefiled – "the perfect place to recover pure, uncorrupted and original Christianity" – and the tradition-bound European churches seemed out of place in this new setting."

Thus we see how the land itself shapes culture and even religion. All lands are equally ancient - but because America was "new" to the European colonists, this has imbued in American culture a kind of eternal infancy and forward-thinking attitude. I think this is partly why liberalism and other abstract ideas lend themselves to Americans - their country is "new land", an empty "sandbox" that naturally encourages them to enact such experiments. This inherent progressivism will fade as American history grows longer and the American people grow more entrenched in their land. After all, England was once a colonial nation too, when Hengist and Horsa first settled upon our shores.

Additionally, if I were, say, Australian, not only would I lack the same conception of tradition and eternity that is imbued in the citizens of an ancient nation, but I would, in an attempt to reconnect with that tradition, feel a certain spiritual amity and connection to the indigenous peoples that once inhabited my homeland - in the case of Australia, the Australian Aborigines. While I would share no ancestral link to them, I can't help but feel that were I Australian, by virtue of our shared land if not shared blood, in some way the Aboriginals and their history would be a part of me and my own.

These are some quick ramblings on the spiritual differences between colonial and ancient nations. They are broad generalisations and do not apply to every American, or every Englishman, especially in this era of great change. Nevertheless I believe there is broad truth here which we as nationalists are called to contemplate.