The Nationalist Doctrine, 1922

excerpts In 1840, and to a much greater extent with the modernization of the country, constitutionally speaking, and after the [1859] unification [of Moldavia and Wallachia], we had a state founded by our educated class, mainly the young boyars, following the advice and example of a faction of the old boyars, with support from the Western public opinion, and with diplomatic and military help from Europe. This is how our modern state was founded. The old state had much deeper, more solid roots; thus it was able to endure harder times and successfully withstand a secular experience. In contrast, the modern state was founded by idealists, by ideologists educated abroad, lacking a thorough knowledge of their nation, who, upon their return from studies, did not seek to know their nation in depth. They were confident that certain constitutional forms could provide a people with all the means necessary to support itself. Born in the Romanian lands to Romanian parents, they were raised in foreign houses, educated abroad, nurtured in chiefly foreign libraries, while living in cities that no longer had any Romanian character, and hesitating to step into a Romanian house in the countryside. Thus, the state was created on the basis of beautiful abstract ideas, of praiseworthy tendencies, of liberal theories developed in the West after the great Revolution, whose purpose was to last in countries where the great Revolution was a decisive factor, and where the traditions of the parties that had supported freedom during the great Revolution were still powerful. But we did not have a great Revolution, nor a civil war similar to the one that ravaged France. Is this a disadvantage or an advantage? Obviously, it is an advantage: if one can achieve by national solidarity what others did through a painful rupture of national solidarity, it is a great advantage; if one can achieve with organic elements what others do with abstract elements is again a great advantage, because what is abstract must turn into organic if it is to attain any value; if one doesn't need to go through the abstract stage, but can take straight from the organic life of the people the constituent elements of a state, so much the better: one can leave it to political philosophers to philosophize on the results. Nation is a natural, organic being; anything in it cannot be separated, but contributes to its life. In a nation, the most interesting organization is the one that functions with greater power. In normal circumstances, this is what the nation turns to in the first place. That is why this nationalism is democratic. We shall not sacrifice the peasantry to the whims of automobile owners, before or after the war. In unusual circumstances, one thinks, perhaps, not of the class that means more, but of the class that suffers more. More exactly: we thought of the peasants in the context of the agrarian reform, because they are the fundamental class, and the one that suffered most to boot. However, we must admit that, today, the peasant does not suffer so much any more, that he sometimes makes money, earns his living as a carter in the city, and waits for us to take up the plow and prepare next year's food. Thus, supporting – based on national solidarity – the peasant class was a duty yesterday; cultivating the peasant class in accordance with its mission and role is a duty today; but helping the unfortunate class of those unable to do business and unaccustomed to tilling the soil, who represent, nevertheless, the culture of this people, is the foremost duty today. Nationalist Democrat Party, right now you are facing the destitution of the poor elements from the cities, undoubtedly the unhappiest of all. You see, this conception gives us an elasticity unseen in a class party. If you belong to the Peasant Party and talk to the clerks, they may tell you: go to your circle! If you are a Socialist, they'll tell you: go to your factory! Whereas a party that conceives society as an organic whole and is guided by the principle I have stated, i.e. that those who mean the most come first, but still above them are those who suffer most, and whose suffering may damage to a higher degree the organism they belong to – such a party is always ready to respond to the organic requirements of the nation. I have imparted this conception, without polemical bite, to a category of inhabitants of this country that must be brought to better understand its duties to the country it was born in and to the predominant nation in this country, but which can by no means be considered the natural enemy of a people that wishes for no natural enemy – and if it does have one, it wants it outside its political body. Thus, the Nationalist Party awakens the underclass to culture, shaking the upper class to the depths of its conscience; it urges the elements which are not blood-related to Romanians to realize that this is not just any land, but the domain of a people, and there is no room for collaboration with just anybody, but with the rightful owners of this land. We will never give up this conception, no matter how loudly even balanced journals of the Transylvanian Saxons claim that "Rumänien ist kein Nationalstaat." There is no such national state without any citizens of other nationalities. Germany herself did not have such a national state. Yet this does not prevent us from being a national state beyond any doubt.

by Nicolae Iorga (1871-1940)