With the passing of Rush Limbaugh, this feels like the right moment to reflect on the legacy of talk-radio conservatism—an “alternative right” which preceded us—and to consider how we might succeed where they failed. In their bones, millions of right-leaning Americans know that the time of ‘standing-up for America as founded’ has passed. Our job is to prevail upon them that now is time for White America to stand-up as Whites, and stop fighting with half-their-brains-tied-behind-their-back.
But if we are going to fare any better than populist conservatism at bringing the necessary intellectual leadership to our people, we must be clear on our purpose—the ethnostate. We, as English-speaking Whites, view ourselves, rightly, as a nation. And as any other, our nation has a moral right to a state of a size commensurate to accommodate its numbers. This must be our message, stated just so plainly. Along with our ideal, we need a basic outline of how we can go from here to the ethnostate in a fashion morally acceptable to reasonable people. Otherwise, we are just wasting ours and everyone else’s time. Make America White Again is just as ridiculous as Make America Great Again. The fundamental flaws were (1) ideological misdirection/incoherence and (2) overestimating numbers and potential numbers. We should not make the same mistakes.
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I’m not here to bash Rush; he was a supremely talented American original who faced his impending end admirably. I was never a dittohead, but I certainly get why so many were. A lot of other people did what he did, and he was a lot better at it than any of them. And there are many more nice things that may be said of the man, but I cannot be uncritical. It must be said that superior political insight—the ostensible purpose of his program—was not among Rush’s gifts. Though he spent his entire career railing against it, “the big voice on the Right” never did quite comprehend the magnitude of what we face, and even if he had, it’s not like he had any great ideological vision to counter it anyway.
He was just an American-style conservative, along with all the nonsense and futility that that entails.At the end of the day, his worldview amounted to a cruder version of that of the National Review. Plus, the Dems are the real racists. This, combined with his inimitable style,won him millions of loyal fans, and hundreds of millions of dollars, but it made not a dent in the Left’s relentless advance in the “culture war.” In the year Rush’s show went into national syndication, the GOP won the presidency for the fifth time of the last six elections (winning at least 40 states four times, and 49 states twice). Since then, the Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential contests. “They used to get away with it.” Then Rush came along, and they still get away with it, but then, they’re the majority now anyway.
Their City is Gone
The contradiction at the heart of talk-radio conservatism has always been an exaggerated love of “America” combined with a deep-seated opposition to all of America’s major institutions. It sounds ridiculous to us now, but forty-odd years ago, when Rush was a young man, it would have had some surface plausibility. In 1980, the country was still 80% White, down a bit from what it had been at mid-century, but the same as it had been when the first census was taken in 1790. Demographic changes were surely noticed around the edges, but it still looked like home. To the average low-information conservative, everything was fine until the pampered boomers came along. Then we got soft, and let the hippies and the bleeding-hearts infiltrate positions of power. Luckily, the ‘silent majority’ had reacted strongly against the excesses of 60s counter-culture. And then Ronaldus Magnus came along and warmed the cockles of their little hearts. Maybe we had learned our lesson. We just had to be more vigilant about “leftist wackos” going forward.
Well, we see how that worked out. During the “racial justice uprising” of this past summer, we received a particularly vivid illustration of how well that’s worked out. (Take note, an uprising is totally not the same as an insurrection, even if said uprising involved attempting to storm the White House, resulting in the evacuation of the president to an underground bunker. It is a false equivalency to compare storming the White House with storming the Capitol, and is just the sort of disinformation that we must get a handle on if we are to protect our democracy.) While many conservatives were aghast over the summer that Trump did not invoke the Insurrection Act to quell the “mostly peaceful” racial reckoning, Rush speculated that Trump worried about losing face, because the military leadership might well have refused to follow such an order. My friends, when it’s come to this, we can no longer speak in terms of our institutions being compromised. At such a point, there is no longer any “we” to speak of; there is only an us and a them.
The silver-lining, for us, in the contradictory talk-radio conservative worldview is how definitively it draws a friend-enemy distinction between the Left and the Right. Rush in particular never tired of expounding on why there can be no compromising with Leftism. Not only did Rush paint the Left as the implacable enemies of liberty and the American way, he went further, characterizing the psychology of Leftism in essentially the same terms as Edward Dutton does. The Left, Rush would explain, are not like you and me. Every aspect of life is political to them, they insert ideology into everything. And they are never happy, always resentful. We might take pity on them if not for the fact that their resentfulness fuels a relentless hostility toward us. They are always on the attack. In other words, they are spiteful mutants. Amidst all his silly denunciations of “environmentalist wackos” and “feminazis,” this hard friend-enemy distinction was the true essence of the Rush phenomenon. Whether he pushed that way in the interest of securing audience engagement/investment or out of genuine conviction (I think both), is of no concern to us. What matters to us is that he did push that line, and in so doing, molded the entire populist wing of conservatism into that mindset.
What he ultimately sowed with this is something close to the opposite of his purported intent. His stated aim was to save America from liberalism, to not rest until every American agreed with him. What he actually accomplished was the division of America into separate nations. He so thoroughly alienated his audience, and much of the populist Right, from the rest of America that they have become a sort of amorphous proto-nation. It turns out he really was on the cutting-edge of societal evolution.
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To me one of the most extraordinary developments which I have not seen remarked upon elsewhere is the emergence of the Trump 2020 flag. At the rallies, on cars, and hoisted up residential flagpoles, Trump partisans have a flag for their cause. As far as I can recall in my lifetime, this is a first in American politics. Supporters of American political campaigns have bumper stickers, yard signs, and campaign pins. They wave signs at campaign rallies. They don’t have flags. Nations have flags. The populist Right in America is already at least sub-consciously aware of itself as a separate nation. What defines them as a nation, and what they want for their nation, that they do not yet know. Their leadership has utterly failed them in that regard. In the grand scheme, all the wacky conspiracy theories that float around the mainstream populist Right are testament to Conservatism Inc’s failure of leadership. The stupid, and frankly sad, conspiracy theories of the Right are a direct result of conservative leadership being too weak and stupid to unequivocally rebut the conspiracy theories of the Left.
We live in a country in which every major institution has explicitly favored non-Whites over Whites for the better part of three generations, a country in which reducing Whites’ share of the population has long been official policy. And yet, the Left, and its mainstream media, is able to push the conspiracy theories of “White privilege” and “systemic racism” virtually unchallenged by mainstream conservatives. Sure, they will argue that the Left goes too far. Some of them will say that the leftist racial narrative is wrong altogether. But never do they give it the serious attention it deserves. Either they don’t comprehend the depths of the issue, or they just don’t care.
The concept of “White privilege” is not just one of many eccentric narratives floating around the leftist blogosphere. It is the Left’s very reason-for-being. They, and well-nigh the entire American establishment, stand on opposition to Whiteness as the foundation of their legitimacy. And it is a racial blood-libel, one that is for all intents directed squarely at the Right’s voter base, and aims at delegitimizing their cause at the root. And still, conservatives can hardly be bothered to address it.
Talk-radio is right when it tells conservatives that they are under-attack, but the attack is primarily against them as Whites. And the conservative establishment will not defend them on that ground, nor advance their interests on that ground. This is where we come in. We are the ones to defend them as Whites, we are the ones to advance their interests as Whites. We need to tell that, if they so choose, they, as English-speaking North American Whites, are a nation. Our job is to provide (1) the moral justification for why they ought to see themselves as a nation, (2) the moral vocabulary for them to assert their right to be a nation, and (3) explain the moral means by which we might have a state for our nation. In other words, our job is to fill the leadership void on the American Right.
Naturally, weening them off of Americanness is a prerequisite to their embracing Whiteness as their nation. In the long run, this should not be too difficult. The America of their dreams is utterly implausible. The reality of America moves further away from their vision of America everyday. The very existence of talk radio is implicitly based on this fact of American life. The other side’s numbers grow every year, your side has won the popular vote for president once in the last eight cycles; do the math. Virginia and Colorado are deep-blue states. Even if you can cobble together a majority, do you really want to live in a country where a substantial share of the population bases its politics around hating you and everything you stand for? Your country should feel like home; you shouldn’t need to live on knife’s-edge every election cycle.
Meanwhile, this negative message is twined with our positive message for the ethnostate. You and yours were White long before they were American. The White race has been our peoples’ nation since before we had even conceived what a nation was. As an individual, race is your foundational group identity. Your ancestral membership in this group goes further back than any other group identity that separates you as distinct from others. It is your true nation not because its members share common values or tastes with you, but because it simply is you, you at scale.
You may have been mislead to think that collective identity necessarily imposes on individual liberty, especially if it is an inherent identity such as race. With other collective identities, that may be true, but not with race. The fact that race is inherent, the fact that you did not chose it, is precisely what makes it so conducive to individual liberty. If race is the basis on which your nation-state defines itself as a nation state, then there is no inherent need for the state to coerce you into conformity. You conform with the nation-state by your very existence. You are free to do whatever you like with your life, and it will not change the fact that you will conform to the nation’s definition of itself from the second you were born until the second you die.
If you still want something else, whether that be Americanism or whatever, so be it. Unlike the Left, I do not wish to force you into ideological conformity. You are right that nationalism should be based on ideas. But it is not the nation that hands the idea down to the individual. That would truly constitute a harmful collectivism. Rather, it should be the individual who makes his idea into a nation. As a good, freedom-loving American, I believe every individual has an inalienable right to the nation of his choice. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are a dead letter if the tyranny of the majority can suppress the nationalism of the individual.
To most ethnonationalists, this all looks very unrealistic at first glance, but think deeper, and outlandish idealism of this kind is the only realistic path. Our “nation” is scattered all across the fruited plain, everywhere a minority, yet all together we are several millions. There is certainly potential for us to grow our numbers, but it is pretty safe to assume that we will always be a minority. Not least because barely more than half the country is even White, and that share is going down all the time.
Let’s say we nationalists, as 15-20% of the population (we are likely not half that, but that is probably about what we need to be for anyone to pay attention to us), identify as a separate nation, and request the right to go our own way. To that end we ask for a viable area of some 3-5% of the country’s territory, home to an even smaller share of the country’s population, for ourselves. And as recompense we announce our willingness to pay the U.S. an x-amount share of our GDP for an x-number of years, as well as pledging to remain in military alliance with them. Most Americans, eventually,will support our cause, provided we are loud and visible enough.
In principle, most people have no moral objection to the notion of an ethnostate. If some number of people want to go and live that way, fine. The only moral problem they have with it is, but how? What about the people already there? It’s all well and good to talk of “raising consciousness,” but public consciousness never becomes public acceptance until we answer this question. Besides, answering the question of how is in effect an aspect of our moral argument ,and thus is of a piece with raising public consciousness.
There really is no good argument against us, other than, “But we hate you, and you deserve nothing.”
What about the people who already live there, and want to stay in America? The other 95+% of America is still there for them. If moving 100 miles down-the-road is too great an inconvenience, then it must not be that important to them after all. You can help them with their moving costs with the money we’re already paying you. What’s really inconvenient is not having your own country at all. What about the non-White population there? Same goes. And if they live inland that would become part of the ethnostate, then the odds are they already live around a bunch of White people anyways. What’s a few more?
Yes, majority support is not the same as elite support. The establishment is unlikely to be moved by the righteousness of our cause. Opposition to our cause is their cause. So we have that going against us. But things can change.
Having majority support is not everything, but it gets the ball rolling, it builds consciousness. If it is the right majority, it becomes difficult to ignore. If we are 15-20%, and 70% in total support our cause, including a large chunk of the organized non-White and far-Leftist base who just want the racists out, meanwhile increasing numbers of the Right are joining with us, then pressure starts to build in our favor.
Combine that with where our politics appear headed over the next decade. The federal government has run-up an enormous deficit over the past year. The Democrats’ base is impatient for even more spending, for an ever wider and deeper social safety net. To those in the beltway, $50-100 billion a year is not worth losing a France-size chunk of territory over, but activists may well see it as leaving money on the table that could go to social programs. Meanwhile, the conservatives have been making their own murmurs about the possibility of a national divorce. No less than Rush himself hedged in that direction recently. Conservative Inc’s first instinct would be to suppress us as hard as they can, but the base is likely to continue entertaining their own ideas of national divorce. Suddenly there’s a lot of moving parts in play, and maybe, eventually, the establishment decides a state for us is their least worst option. They can decapitate red state secessionism, and pacify the proles with some gibs in one move.
Maybe our message never breaks through here, but what about Canada or Australia? Like the US, those countries have run up huge deficits during the pandemic. Unlike the US, their currencies are are not the global reserve currencies. They may be in for some lean economic times. Canada also is planning to increase their already outlandish immigration totals for the coming years. You never know who’s going to rally to your flag until you unfurl it.
If you want to sit around, all coming up with reasons why the elite will never permit us an ethnostate, that’s your affair. Okay, maybe the ethnostate doesn’t have much to offer the establishment. That is all the more reason why we must appeal to the moral sympathies of the people. The morality of our cause is the only card we have to play
This sounds pie-in-the-sky, but our ideal is already pie-in-the-sky. Embracing that is our most realistic option. “More realistic” people on our side claim the path to our salvation is infiltrating the GOP/conservative movement, or boycotting the electoral process, or attaching White identity to an economic populist program.
Infiltrate the GOP? People have been attempting this for years, and it’s gotten nowhere. Hell, conservatives have been at that game for even longer.
As for boycotting the electoral process, would anyone even notice? If every one of us had sat out the last election, voter turnout still would have been higher than it was in the 90s. Rather than delegitimizing the establishment, lower voter turnout might just as easily be interpreted as a sign of relative social content. And while economic populism may well be useful as a cudgel for bludgeoning the GOP, it is certainly not going to Make America White Again. And if your ultimate aim is a separate ethnostate, then economic populism is a dishonest line. The ethnostate is not going to be in a position to provide a lavish social welfare system. If it’s gibs you’re after, best to stick with Team America.
But whatever the merits of these or any other strategies, they would “put the cart before the horse.” The self-styled realpolitik tacticians of our side who would sneer at my naïveté betray their own misapprehensions of how power works. They fundamentally misunderstand our position. Strategies are for actors, and we are not an actor, we are an ideology.
States, sports teams, chess players; these are actors. They have strategies. They are actors because they already went through the ideological part. They already know who they are. We are not like them. We are a still-forming idea. It is a still-forming idea because, even if we here know who we are, 90% of the members of our would-be nation do not know who we are. Many Whites are ethnonationalists ‘who just don’t know it yet.’ Subliminal entryism is not going to get them there. The first step is to define to our people what we want, and why we should have it. Otherwise there is no “we” in the first place.
Sorry folks, just saw the word count, and I’m long here, but we’ll be back before you know it.
Ryan Andrews is the author of the forthcoming book The Elective Nation.