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Ö. A.: Nationalism, Supranationalism, Connationalism

Megjelent: Út és Cél, 1956. évfolyam.
Megjelent: Út és Cél, 1956. évfolyam.

Political ideas and terms used in political life generally share the fate of their originators and adherents: They succeed or fail together with them. If they succeed and outlive their first announcers, if they are adopted by new generations, political tendencies or different social strata, their substantial meaning will often be changed and transformed. Otherwise, since the success of the democracy of the masses introduced by the French Revolution, the ideas have been subject to a process of wearing down. The masses are thinking, first of all, in words and slogans, not in concepts and conceptual contents. They are inclined to degrade ideas and concepts to the form of bare slogans, and this inclination is encouraged by the „democratic leaders”, who seek their favour. The last one and a half centuries have been the age of rapid decay of ideas, ideals, and moral values. So many used and abused them, and referred to them, that it is not strange that they lost their original meaning, importance and credit. Pitiful and disappointing though this is, there is yet comfort in it — namely that the wearing process is taking place on the surface only, on the level of masses and slogans, while it leaves the substantial meaning of the ideas untouched. It also happens very often that the masses change over the words and slogans only giving new names to old phenomena, turn old contents into new expressions, and surround the age-old prejudices with the armour of new-born arguments. And the result of all this is the insoluble and unblessed conceptual chaos of the modern age, the lack of clarity of thought and the confusion of ideology.

No idea has ever suffered more from this chaos than nationalism. Yesterday it was the creed of millions, today the same people scorn it. They abuse it, but, at the same time, pay homage to it in practice. Nothing could characterise better the common prejudice, reputed to be public opinion, or the inconsequence of masses, than this. If anyone talks of patriotism today, we can be sure that he thinks of nationalism; and if he talks of nationalism, he means chauvinism. The change that the original meaning of these three terms has suffered in public opinion can only be attributed to the fact that Germany, being the loser of the Second World War, had practiced in many cases chauvinistic politics in the name of nationalism. This is also the reason that, on the other hand, the victors of the war would disguise their nationalist or even chauvinistic politics before their own as well as the world’s public by applying the slogan „patriotism” to it.

Nevertheless, had these patriot-nationalists or nationalist patriots inspected more closely the conceptual contents of these two words, they should have realised that they have only too much in common being as it were the two sides of the same coin. Both are based on emotion. The homeland, the patria, in which one has been born and has grown up, the homeland where he is at-home, where he is bound up with all his life interests, experiences and remembrances, naturally is nearer to his heart than other lands, where he went only as a traveller, or to which he may never have been as yet. There is a close connection between man and his environment, „life-space” („Lebensraum”), and if that connection becomes conscious, and turns to a concept of value thereby gaining ideological character and importance, it becomes patriotism. The result of the psychological process of becoming conscious is that man consciously loves his own homeland more than any other country, prefers its development, prosperity and strengthening, and wants to see or tries to make it more eminent than the others. Real patriotism is not the „extra Hungariam non est vita” sort of narrow-minded haughtiness nor is it a product of partiality and prepossession, but rather the view of Stephen Széchenyi[1], who facing the reality of his age began with that „Hungary is a great fallow land”, „a rather ugly homeland”, which it is our first duty to „trim up”. „If there is anything that could elevate this homeland to its own happiness, to the eternal glory of the Lord and to an eminence worthy of Him, it cannot be other than Patriotism and common intelligence.”

From the above sentence of Szechenyi it is evident that homeland and nation are two concepts and two realities, which are inseparable, derived from and presupposed by each other’s existence. This explains the love towards them that becomes conscious as ideology: Patriotism and nationalism can be distinguished or contrasted only by a distorted, unrealistic and unnatural mind. This is exactly what the spokesmen of democracy do today, the „democratic” public opinion copy them and repeat this contradictory and untenable statement as if it were possible to separate the geographical space from the nation that lives in it! Yet the homeland is not any geographical space or unit, but the home of a nation. The homeland is the condition and the product of a nation’s life as a whole. The love of the nation and the development of national consciousness are identical with patriotism. The nation into which we were born, the language that we speak, the cultural treasures by which we were individually benefited, and to which we are bound by historical, spiritual and cultural links is always nearer to our heart than other nations. The mentally realized and ideological form of this emotional bondage is the national feeling and self-consciousness, in another word-nationalism. We are the members of a nation, inheritors and carriers of an organic development of the millenia; we have been born into a political, spiritual and historical fate-community, and the development of the moral, cultural, political and biological power of this community is regarded by us as a personal affair. Nationalism is the ideology of a self-conscious nation, the ideology of its self-preservation, life-will and self-purpose. Without this there is no organized nation, but a primitive community.

From the above definition follows the fact that nationalism, first of all, refers to our own nation, being as it were introvert – turning to itself. Its aim is the exploitation of self-resources as widely and effectively as possible. Chauvinism, on the other hand, tends to be extrovert, and is aggressive in character and tries to find its own happiness at the expense of that of other nations. While nationalism in its „introvert” character has socialism as an accessory, chauvinism has imperialism as a characteristic and never tends to increase its own nation from her unexploited treasures, but from the material and territorial possessions of others. The criterions of chauvinism are partiality toward the own nation, blindness to her faults, unlimited, but at the same time narrow contemptuous haughtiness on the one hand, and unfairness, greed and insulting arrogance on the other.

Chauvinism appears usually disguised in national slogans and ideologies, because, it intends to appear in legitimate and justified form. It can be explained mainly by this circumstance, that nationalism lost its credit, although the two terms should be, and could be distinguished. This can be seen from their above definitions. Their separation is more problematical in practice, but the graver and more apparent form of practical chauvinism can also be recognized without difficulty.

In the years following the Second World War there began an extensive political propaganda campaign in the West under the protection of the victorious liberal democracies „to overcome nationalism”. This campaign originated partly from that traditional internationalism from which international capitalism stremmed on the one hand, and the relativ trends of international Marxism on the other. But the psychological condition for this was prepared by a tremendous shock to the European nations, caused by the spiritual, moral and material misery resulting from the Second World War. In addition to this, there may be mentioned the growing power of Soviet-Russia that threatened to swallow the whole of Eurasia. In the giant shadow of the Bolshevik menace the chauvinist quarrels of the Western countries at once seemed to be an attempt at suicide derived from trifling motives. The situation in European and world politics changed fundamentally. The poles of a political and ideological tension of the age from the various national differences have been transferred into the antagonism of two great blocks of powers to which the nations must adjust their philosophy and politics.

The first attempts in this direction failed, as we can see when we think of „European Union”, „European integration”, „European Defensive Community”, „European United States”, „European Council” and the like, devices and establishments based on similar names, and summarised under the so-called „supranational principle”. Into this European „Unity-flock” comes the „European Coal- and Steelboard” (Montanunion) too, which, as has turned out after the first years of its existence, will hardly serve as an example for further efforts to establish European unity. What was the reason for which all the European and Western attempts at unity have failed so far? Surely, we can say, the wrong start off in principles. Their common mistake was that instead of fighting against chauvinism they fought against nationalism, national principle and consciousness, and tried to mix together all the products of an organic development such as states, economies and cultures into the one-dish of „supranationalism”. It was not the nations they intended to unite, they ignored them, but it was a certain nationless university into which they wanted to dissolve them. Supranationalism wished to ignore the nations and nationalisms. This attempt must have been wrecked through being confronted with human nature and the facts of historical evolution alike, and also with the organic nature of social development. Higher communities can be built up on their elements only; the intermediate grades cannot be omitted. Family, neighbourhood, parish church, club, plants, village, region, people and nation: all these are the different grades of the order of a community from below. Without them several nations cannot be brought under the same roof. Supranationalism failed by ignoring nationalism.

After the subsidence of the „European ecstasy”, today this consideration has grown successfully in wider and wider circles. Characteristic of this disillusionment was the series of articles that Hans Fleig wrote in the first half of November, 1955, in „Die Tat” of Zurich with the title „Europaismus und Nationalismus”. In this series, the many interesting and debatable statements of which we cannot discuss here at length, Fleig declares nationalism as „expression of Europism”. The history of recent centuries can be brought by each European nation to a common denominator: the supranational forms of rule one after the other, had been broken down. Here the author refers to the decay of the Holy Roman Empire, of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and also to the failure of Napoleon and Hitler in their attempt to create a united Europe, then he continues: „The crystallization of the national principle is characteristic of Europe; this is apparent, especially, if we considered that by the diminishing of distances and the technical bridging over of space, it should have brought the opposite kind of development.” According to the author, the postwar efforts for European unity have been derived from heterogeneous sources. In Germany, shocked by defeat, in a new form („Abendland”) there was a revival of the historical principle of the empire above the nations, the idea of a new „salvation-empire” („Heils-reich”), which is rather more of an „Asiatic” origin than European; in contrast to this, in the other Western European countries the movement for integration aimed at holding up Germany in an attempt to hinder the resurrection of the German national state by a supranational development. This anti-German „supranationalism”, therefore, was born from genuine nationalism (Fleig has also mistaken chauvinism for nationalism): „… the existence of postwar European unitymovement was due to a far reaching error.” The solution, as Fleig sees it, would be in the cooperation of the single national states of Europe, since the thinking in terms of national states „conceptually supposes plurality: within the frames of a democratically built state-community with equal rights”. To the cooperation of the national states of Europe „there is no need for a European superstate, and even less is need for an ideologically established European empire”.

Perhaps Fleig never heard of the connationalist concept of Ferenc Szalasi , though, he arrives at some results which remind us of connationalism. Probably, on hearing that, he would be glad to seize the opportunity and accept this concept which so pregnantly expresses his own views. His series of articles proves that the ideological mist with all its partialities, prejudices and blindness that befogged the postwar European brains, slowly rises and the sharply evoling truth and facts allow gradually the inquiry into a correct political philosophy. What is the real meaning of the concept „connationalism”, and what are the contents of its ideology?

The concept itself means the ensemble of nationalisms and their reconciliability; it signifies not only the undisturbed side-by-side existence of the nationalism of individual nations, first for the own nation’s sake, but, indirectly, also for the benefit of the whole community of nations. The principle of connationalism can be derived logically from the afore-mentioned definition of nationalism. It maintains or even emphasises national self-interest; it continues to see nation as a magnificent concept of value; but also considers that in the worldwide ideological wars of the 20th century on modern technical conditions it is in the categorical interest of a nation to cooperate with the others in order to develop its spiritual, moral and material capacity to the maximum. The connationalist community of nations is, therefore, not aimed at itself; its final purpose is a national one. It will ensure that the member nations will not be nationalists at the expense of the others, but to their own benefit. Chauvinism, by all means, would dissolve this community, or even would prevent its creation and, among present historical circumstances, would cause damage also to the own nation. The antipole, internationalism, is a destructive, false doctrine, incapable of forming communities, and not transplantable into practice, because, it cuts out and evades nations, and thereby removes the subjects of a union. An international community can be formed only by nations; multitudes of individuals, social classes or other collectives inferior to the nation are unable to perform this task. How could just the nation be omitted, that body which alone possesses the ability of forming a state? It is, therefore, a Utopian idea or a foolish illusion at the best, to dream of an „international” or „supranational” state.

In the connationalist principle Ferenc Szalasi established more than two decades ago the concept of the joining and cooperation, or, if you like, the „integration” of nations in the only form that can be realised and transplanted into practice. The historical and political circumstances did not allow him to work practically on the realization of connationalism among the nations. It is the task of his adherents and followers, who survived the catastrophe of the Second World War, and the period that followed, to take care not only of his ideological and political bequest, but to continue its development, build it up, widen and concrete it on the basis laid down by ets creator. That ideology can live only which is capable of development!

Due to the fact that we are homeless, exiled Hungarists, our work is certainly limited in many an aspect. Nevertheless, this cannot be an obstacle to our drawing the theoretical and practical consequences from the successes and failures of present efforts at ‘integration”, and to incorporate them in the Hungarist connationalist system of Ferenc Szalasi. Since he died a martyr’s death the world has changed greatly: Political science, sociology and economy, public law and international law have developed further; the use of atom-energy for strategical and peaceful purposes, and also the introduction of „automation” revolutionised modern life, and human society began to change in structure; the constellation of world-political and ideological forces entirely changed. All these we have to elaborate ideologically, and further enhance the Hungarist system of ideas bequeathed on us, and the political norms, in every aspect.

In connationalism Ferenc Szalasi doubtlessly meant the order of a community of nations. Order means „being regulated”; on the other hand, the order of a community of nations means the international regulation, reconciliation and harmony derived from the nationalism of each participating nation. The preliminary condition for success here is undoubtedly that the nations taking part should stand on the same platform from the viewpoint of principle, ideology and public philosophy. An international economical life that embraced the whole globe in the past century, could have developed only, because it had its common basis in the ideology of liberalcapitalism. If this preliminary condition is given, then can be laid down „the rules of the game” for the practical operation and institutional safeguarding of the community of nations. To this effect, it will not be satisfactory in many cases to come to an international agreement with the maintenance of unlimited sovereignty of national states since the order of the community of nations could be renounced arbitrarily by any of the states on egotistical grounds, and this could not be prevented. More than likely that this would take place when the order of community ought to stand its crucial probe. The connationalist idea can be identified with an organization of the community of nations in which the national states those taking part in the community, would transfer a part of their sovereignty to certain common organs or institutions. The task of these organs of the community would be to guarantee the endurance and obligatory nature of the order as well as the assertion of equal chances for every nation within the order. Connationalist community cannot be realised without the reconciliation of law and economic, monetary as well as financial policy of the participating nations. All these problems can be solved on a common ideological basis.

Since the nations are taking part in the connationalist community as units and are, as a result of their nationalism, ambitious to expand their force, abilities and specific talents, neither the organs of community nor the reconciliation of the national policies should hinder this ambition. On the contrary, they should create the conditions for a more vigorous development on the largest possible scale with equal chances for each member. The task for the organs of the community, therefore, cannot be the government of, or the interference in the life of the member nations, but in the long run, the establishment of the „rules of the game” or the „conditions of the competition”. Connationalism does not preclude, but encourages competition between the member nations of the community, and secures the fairness of its operation.

This task is essentially the same as the one, which should be solved by the single nations in their economic life, if they want to realize a market order of perfect competition, or at least to come near to it. (See the article „The Great Competition” in ÚT és CÉL, June-July, 1956).) Just as in an economic system of perfect competition it is to be safeguarded by the state’s economic policy that each plant and household should compete in accordance with the existing rules and that the formation of monopolies, cartels, and other concentrations of power be prevented, so must the organs of the community see to it that the competition among the member nations should take place according to the rules of connationalism. They must not interfere directly with the life of the single nations: their activity may be compared with the regulation of a river, which prevents floods, but never changes the quantity of running water.

Direct interference as an attempt to have a direct influence on the life of the member nations is not only not to be permitted, but also is impossible in practice. It would lead to the destruction of the community of nations, because interference is possible for the benefit of one group of nations only, and at the cost of others. Even if the organization of nations were imbued with a humanly unattainable sence of justice, impartiality and objectivity, some of the partner nations certainly would see in the intervention unjustified hindrance from their own point of view. All would strive for the favour of the organ of the community of nations to secure its intervention for the own nation’s advantage; the former tensions among the nations thereby would be transplanted into the community’s organs and would bring about their inevitable destruction. This is the reason why the institutions and organs of the community had to confine themselves to maintaining the order of the connationalist system and to guaranteeing the validity of its rules. Furthermore, they had to refrain from direct interference and let the member nations prosper according to their specific talents, efficiency, mental and biological vitality. Is is needless to emphasise that this established and also correct order of competition for higher achievements would stimulate every member nation to display to the maximum its energy and efficiency and it would also enable them to develop more rapidly than those outside the community. On such grounds our old Europe could compete successfully with America and Russia.

The connationalist competitive order is not only similar to order of economic competition but its economic system cannot be carried out in any other way. It becomes evident at this point that the community of nations’ political order cannot be realized in isolation from other factors, but in close connection with the state, social, legal, etc. order of the single member nations. If the political order of the community of the nations is of a competitive nature then its economic order cannot be different; and likewise, if the economic order of the community of nations is an order of competition, then the single member nations cannot carry on, for example, a centrally controlled economic policy, but only a policy of economic competition based on identical principles. The specific order in all other fields of national life should be adjusted to this one. After the basic decision in principle and once been made, it should prevail in every field and not in a few only. This requirement is called the organic interdependence of order among several sectors of a community: They ought to complement each other, the subordinate sectors the superior ones, and the coordinate ones each other; their relationship among each other is that of „complementarity”.

If we stand on connationalist grounds, and the expression of our point of view is not just an empty verbosity or sentimental hanging on to the traditions of our Movement, we shall deal with intensity with the theoretical and practical problems of the order of the community of nations. After the liberation of our country we shall inevitably be confronted with this problem. All those, who while in exile were already willing to deal with it in a concrete form will indeed prepare for the rehabilitation of Hungary. „In a concrete form”, that is to say, it is not only the theoretical, ideological and political side that should be dealt with, but also the economic, administrative and cultural sides as well as the side of private, constitutional and international law this problem is concerned with. The transplantation of the principles into the details of individual sectors means that the realization of these principles has theoretically been solved and that the plan for their practice has been prepared. Ferenc Szalasi intended to use order of the community of nations as a frame for the Hungarist national order: — the two together will form an arganic unit based on the same principle. Among the present historical circumstances nationalism can be accomplished on the principles of connationalism only, and vice versa: the combination and cooperation of free nations depends on the nationalism of each nation.

[1] Hungarian statesman and reformer (1791-1860) who from his greatful nation got the epithet „the greatest Hungarian”.

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