Over the last five years, thanks to the political flailing of Donald Trump, millions of Western people have discovered that the three main pillars of the democratic state religion are fraudulent.
First, they have seen that voting does not work (unless you vote for the agenda of the permanent government). Twice the American people voted for a nationalist, anti-government, anti-leftist agenda. The first time, they got four years of nothing, and the second time their worthless ballots were simply outweighed by fake ones. In practically every way, the cultural revolution has advanced more dramatically than would have been the case under Trump’s leftist opponent.
Second, they have seen that activism does not work (unless you are protesting on behalf of the permanent government). Twice the supporters of Trump staged large-scale public protests in support of his floundering agenda. The first time, they brought Nazi larpers and violent street-fighters, and caused the deaths of others.The second time, they kept out the Nazis and minimised the violence, and suffered deaths on their own side. Both times, they were hunted down as domestic terrorists, while the state applauded pro-government activists for a ‘racial reckoning’ attended by a huge wave of violence.
Third, they have seen that the same applies to agitprop. By this, I don’t mean the persuasion of the masses per se, but the specifically democratic principle of whipping up crude popular emotion and expecting this to change the acts of government. Trump may have got nothing done, but he at least managed to spend four years ranting against the Left from the highest office in the United States, and according to conservative mythology this should have caused the Overton Window to shift to the Right. Well, you can judge for yourself whether that window is moved more decisively by the wind of public opinion or the hand of state power.
To say that millions of people have seen all of this does not mean that they have interpreted it correctly, but the writing is all there on the wall. Westerners live under a totalitarian permanent government, obscured by a quasi-ceremonial election system. This government is not some sort of shadowy conspirational oligarchy, but simply the true face of modern democracy, which is just another tyrannical leftist secular religion like its communist sister. Voting, activism and agitprop are not ‘civic rights’ that exist for the people, but rather civic rites that serve to prop up the state religion of democracy. One way in which they do this is by keeping dissidents invested in its structures, instead of rejecting them – like so many tame Martin Luthers pursuing a futile quest to climb up the Catholic Church hierarchy and try to become Pope.
Is this a ‘blackpill’? Maybe. If so, then all I can say in its defence is that dissidents are ‘blackpilled’ – i.e. absolutely pessimistic – on every other aspect of the democratic religion. Whether it is the project to equalise the races, the quest to make women happy by emasculating men, or the crusade to spread democracy across the world by blockade, war and revolution, our sole strategic recommendation is “for fuck’s sake just stop trying” and we do not care if we are called defeatist or demoralising or worse.
So why stop at the project to achieve rightist ends through a leftist political religion? Redpill or blackpill, surely they are all just emetics to help us spit out the lies that we imbibed with our soy baby formula.
But there’s a difference, isn’t there? ‘Redpills’ puncture the narcissistic fantasies of non-whites, females, progressives, etc., so they are much to the taste of the core dissident demographic. ‘Blackpills’ puncture the narcissistic fantasies of non-progressive white men, so they are bitter and unpopular. All the same, they should be treated as equivalent, because non-progressive white men are not served by narcissistic fantasies – especially those that are supplied by a regime that hates our guts and depend on our supporting it. Truth is the only real weapon that we have ever had in our arsenal, and it will not suffer to be held at arm’s length.
A few months ago – when Trump and QAnon were being forced to show their empty hands – I half-expected most of the Dissident Right to come around to this point of view by default. Surely, after such a monumental betrayal by the con party, dissidents would not go back to holding their noses and voting for it. Surely, after ‘trust the plan’, they would not go back to monitoring the public opinion situation and fiddling with the optics on their activist Nerf guns.
But I was wrong, of course, because cope springs eternal.
In this case, the cope consists of dumping all the blame for the fraud on Trump (who hasn’t exactly benefited from it) and the usual crop of useless and scheming cuckservative politicians. Once you have reduced everything to a question of personal bad faith, you can safely continue believing in the dogmas and structures of democracy, and rest assured that there is no better option than to endlessly support the con party until you finally get a man who he means what he says into office. Well, what are you waiting for? “Go to a local chapter and make yourself useful.”
You might be able to make yourself very useful, because the con party is in a state of transition. Its old brand of conservative libertarian populism has won it many votes over the decades, but unfortunately it has done nothing at all to conserve the liberty of the people. The bait has been rotting on the hook for a long time, and the obvious solution is to switch to a new brand of conservative nationalist populism.
Ultimately, the adoption of this plan depends on the sufferance of the prog party – which may not be collectively wise enough to understand that this ‘nationalist’ windbaggery will do nothing at all for the nation, while doing a great deal for the corporate and military interests that are actually served by the con party. But it depends on something else as well: the willingness of dissidents, whether libertarian or nationalist, to be used by the con party in the misguided belief that they are using it.
Conservatism Must Be Destroyed
The problem is that the right wing of the Left is a lot harder to escape than it looks. Who’d’ve thought that it could make its prolebait out of libertarian theories, devised by people like Murray Rothbard who viewed the state as little more than a mob of bandits? But there are always several degrees of cutting, drying and pressing between dissident radicalism and the conservative rosette. And any set of rightist ideas might undergo them – unless it rejects democratic principles, avoids co-optation through the civic rites, and begins and ends all its business with the maxim conservatism must be destroyed.
We can divide the various ideological groupings on the Right into three categories: high-church conservatism, low-church conservatism, and dissidence.
High-church conservatives, needless to say, are the professional con party politicians, activists and propagandists. And dissidents should require little comment: they are the people who have recognised the high-church cons as fraudulent, separated themselves, and actually seek to oppose the state.
Low-church conservatives are caught in the unhappy medium between these two extremes. They are divided into a mass of sects that all dissent from high-church conservatism, but do not go far enough in purging themselves of its democratic ideology. It has become expedient for the con party to let them go their own way in obscurity for a time – until they build up solid theory and popular appeal, at which point they can be re-appropriated by cucks and sellouts. They are like fruits falling off a rotting tree, and spawning new healthy saplings, which are then pruned down and grafted back onto the main trunk in order to keep it alive.
At the peak of the Alt-Right, this threefold division was viewed as follows. The high-church cons were cuckservatives – generally identified by the stench of neocon grease and corporate swill mixed with the cold sweat of cowardice. The low-church cons were in the Alt-Lite, which was mainly a libertarian and civic nationalist movement. And the dissidents were in the Alt-Right, which was (by 2016 at least) an essentially white nationalist movement with some internal disagreements over strategy and relations with the Alt-Lite.
At this time, I disliked this narrowing of the Alt-Right to white nationalism, on the grounds that it weakened the movement. But I accepted that white nationalism was about as ‘dissident’ an ideology as you could get.
After all, isn’t it completely taboo? Toxic to high-church conservatism? Devoted to breaking up the American heartland and/or the wider Western empire? And, last but not least, descended from the fascist movements of the early twentieth century? Those movements may not set a good example in the present day, but they were at least something distinct from the failed democratic conservative tradition.
But what sort of real-world political behaviour is induced by belief in white nationalist ideology? The pitiable death throes of the Alt-Right since it was wooed back to politics by Trump has told us the answer. Endless, one-sided, masochistic courtship of the con party. Endless performative activism that entraps young dissidents and buttresses the cause of the Left. And endless, invincible faith in the potential of agitprop to wake up the people at the last moment – which serves to absolve white nationalists of any responsibility to come up with better ideas.
As far as I know (and admittedly, I stopped following most of it some time ago), the Movement’s activists are now divided into conservative-signalling ‘amnats’ and fascist-signalling ‘wignats’. Neither side, it seems, can ever appear reasonable except in comparison with the other. The wignats destroyed the original Alt-Right by adopting the failed strategy of Rockwell, and are now engaged in pointless third-position electioneering. The amnats are tainted by the fraudulence of Trump and QAnon, which must spell certain death for people who think that all things rotten can be polished clean by ‘good optics’.
Then there are the ‘metapolitical’ white-nats, who devote themselves to intellectual work, and are detached enough from activism to avoid the lows of MAGA cope and the heights of Nazi lunacy. Examples include Counter-Currents, Occidental Dissent, Occidental Observer, and Amren. Many writers on these sites are doing good work, documenting the course of anti-white policy in minute detail, and persuading open-minded white people that the regime despises them and that the feeling ought to be mutual.
It’s also hard to argue when they say that there are future opportunities in store for them. The anti-white racism of the democratic regime becomes more vicious by the day, and will surely stoke anger in ordinary white people. The question is whether all that anger will end up launching a real dissident movement, or else be contained by the regime and diverted towards puffing up more fraudulent conservative windbags. We need have no doubt that the cutting, drying and pressing techniques will work just as well on white nationalist talking points as they did on libertarian ones.
It’s high time we made a distinction between white racial feeling and white nationalist ideology. The feeling, on its own, is a powerful motive force that naturally impels us towards dissidence. The ideology, as I’ll show, is an framework of democratic delusions that compels us instead to support conservatism. The only thing that conservatism conserves is democracy – and democracy, with all due respect to those who say that its true benign form has never been tried, is both the theoretical basis and the practical mechanism for the state-sponsored displacement of whites.
The Sacred White Elephant of the Dissident Right
Somehow, I can’t imagine that the majority of white nationalists will be at all receptive to such an argument. They live in a very simple world: white nationalism is pro-white, ergo, you who dare to criticise must be anti-white. You must hate your own race, or maybe you are an antifa concern troll, or a Jew on the Mossad payroll, etc.. (I wish this were a strawman, but as I’ve witnessed at first hand, this is how most white-nats actually talk to people who criticise them even on relatively minor points.)
White nationalism has an effective, though unoriginal, mechanism of self-defence: a double standard. It presumes to judge all other ideologies – as well as religions, philosophies, moral codes, etc. – by a ruthless litmus test, namely “does it promote white survival?” And if you can insinuate that the answer is ‘no’, or even just ‘maybe’, you can build a case for discarding the thing and substituting more white nationalism. But try telling a white-nat that white nationalism itself cannot possibly pass its own test, and you may as well be trying to tell a democrat that democracy is bad for the people.
Be that as it may, why should dissidents owe eternal fealty to an ideology that has accomplished nothing of significance – and done nothing to retard the advance of the Left – since the defeat of Adolf Hitler almost eighty years ago?
Speaking of Herr Hitler, I wish that white nationalists would spend less time debating his modern-day reputation (irredeemable, of course) and his status as a forerunner of their ideology (unassailable, of course), and spend more time asking why he managed to get something like white nationalism into power when every subsequent attempt has ended in laughable failure.
One reason is that Weimar Germany had been recently and imperfectly converted to liberal democracy. Much of its government was still in the hands of ‘conservative elites’ – by modern Western standards, undemocratic or semi-democratic reactionaries, a very different species from the right-wing leftists who wear the name ‘conservative’ today.
Some of these elites were in the judiciary, and let fascist street-fighters off lightly when they brawled with communist thugs. Others were in politics, and were responsible for first suspending parliamentary government, and then appointing Hitler to the high government office from which he manouevred into permanent power. Still others were in the military, and would go on to command the German armies that conquered Europe and pre-emptively invaded the USSR.
All the struggles Hitler wrote about in Mein Kampf – the propaganda, the activism, the street fights against communists, etc. – amounted only to the populist wing of a reactionary political modus operandi, that also depended upon patronage dispensed from existing positions in the power structure. From the perspective of reactionary elites, the elevation of popular seducers and ideologues was not necessarily desirable, but it was a price that had to be paid to keep state power out of communist hands in an era of mass politics.
This Faustian bargain ended in tragedy, and all that has followed on its heels is farce.
In the modern West, reactionary elites have been purged or reduced to powerlessness, and political division within the ruling class has become a lovers’ spat between liberal democratic factions. And both sides agree that ‘fascists’ are to be ostracised at all costs. So the populist wing of the early 20th-century reactionary strategy must go it alone – and while it can still vote, march and shout, it cannot get anywhere by these methods, because it has no patrons in government. (That is, unless you count the democratic media, which is happy to publicise neo-fascist larping for its own hostile purposes.)
What this should have taught us – at least after decades upon decades of trying and failing! – is that the ‘sovereign people’ were never really in charge, and that voters in democracy are more like a mass of peasant recruits for ritual civil wars between elite factions. That insight, coupled with the observation that the majority of the white voting pool has been entirely reduced to fighting on the defensive, would get most whites to dissidence pretty quickly.
But most white nationalists respond to failure by doubling down on the most democratic elements of fascist ideology. They more they fail to make any headway in the here and now, the more they retreat into the deus ex machina fantasy of a White Awakening – a spontaneous mass conversion, that will be triggered when white people lose hard enough, and will either topple the state from below or instantly ‘flip’ most white elites.
Any delusion that is proven wrong in the present can find a safe refuge in the future, and the delusion of democracy as a state ultimately controlled by its people is no exception.
This democratic copium addiction has brought about a deeper ideological degeneration. Hitler believed that the state is just a vessel for the biological substance of the people. But in his day, this sort of racial dogmatism had to coexist with the state-centred doctrine of fascism, as well as the existing reactionary heritage of pre-conquest Germany. The resulting Nazi ideology didn’t make much sense, but it at least managed to run a state (into the ground) for twelve years, partly on the basis of hierarchical principles that cannot be derived from any amount of racial theorising.
But modern white nationalists are entirely obsessed with racism, perhaps because is one of the more democratic elements of fascist ideology (which is why it also takes pride of place in mainstream democratic ideology, albeit under the Orwellian name of ‘anti-racism’). Race is an important reality of life, but to build an entire worldview upon it – to the exclusion or minimisation of everything else – can only lead to the sort of casuistry engaged in by Marxists obsessed with reducing everything to class.
This casuistry conjures up a simplified fantasy world in which white nationalism is actually viable. Opposition to white solidarity comes from Jews, non-whites, and an assortment of paid shills and ‘ethnomasochists’ – not the majority of white elites, and a much larger population of status-seekers, who have every interest in creating victim groups. Whites are suffering a generic mass genocide, which would soon push them into self-defence if they only knew about it – not a racialised anti-kulak campaign that encourages them to escape censure by disowning their own kind. And so on.
The democratic ‘culture war’ divides everyone in the West into two warring factions, which overlap with race, sex, class and several other social categories. It is a fundamental religious conflict between the partisans of the state and the people, which will not be laid to rest until our government is no longer run on the basis of ritual civil war. Yet some white nationalists seriously expect to elevate white racial solidarity over the Left-Right divide. You may as well try to unite mediaeval Guelphs and Ghibellines around the banner of ‘Italianness’, or teach modern-day Israelis and Palestinians to call themselves ‘Semites’ and not eat pigs together.
Another ‘improvement’ over the fascist past is the rejection of imperialism. Some postwar fascist writers, such as Mosley and Yockey, criticised the Axis powers for having been too limited by petty nationalism. Modern white nationalists are more likely to criticise them for having tried to conquer territories beyond the living spaces of their own peoples.
To my knowledge, all white nationalists agree on the principle of disowning political control of non-white people. (That is to say, if a given territory has any significant number of them, then either they or that territory should be jettisoned). Some go further, and insist on a separate country for every single white ethnic group in Europe. And the most common plan of action in the heartland of the American empire is to create an independent white ethnostate (e.g. the Northwest Republic), where whites can defend themselves against the multi-racial hordes surrounding them on all sides.
In this, white nationalism shows its true conservative identity. Conservatism is the delusional ethos of retreating from the progressive advance, drawing magic lines in the sand, and trusting the enemy to respect those lines in spite of his notorious taste for psychotic crusading aggression. In this case, the magic line is a national border, which is simply assumed to grant independent sovereignty by default.
As I argued in this long post on nationalism, that assumption doesn’t hold true nowadays, because the West has been consolidated into a worldwide empire centred on the United States. Most ‘sovereign nation-states’ are satrapies of this empire, and those that are truly and consistently independent – i.e. Russia and China – are runner-up empires masquerading as nation-states.
In that post, I compared this change to the establishment of empire in the ancient Chinese culture-area, which permanently abolished the petty-state order that preceded it. What I may not have mentioned is that there was a brief attempt to restore the old petty-state order in ancient China, led by one of the rebel warlords who orchestrated the collapse of the short-lived first empire. It ended when another warlord swiftly conquered the petty states, and reunited them into a four-hundred-year-long empire that set the benchmark for all subsequent Chinese dynasties.
Any outbreak of civil war in the heartlands of the modern Western empire is likely to develop in a similar way: division followed by reconquest. Those who would win such a conflict, and end up defining the political order that follows it, will be those who do not hamper themselves with too many conservative scruples about conquering territory beyond ‘natural’ boundaries. Of course, there’s a corollary to this: in the event that power struggles weaken central authority, it might be possible to carve out local enclaves and quietly take back some power. But white nationalism is the worst possible mixture of the offensive and defensive approach. It is ideologically committed to starting a war for territory that it has no intention of ending on its own terms.
Just in case the annals of remote foreign histories don’t convince you of this verdict, let’s look at modern examples of leftist totalitarian states. In France under the Thermidorians and Napoleon, in Russia under Stalin and his successors, and in China under Deng Xiaoping, we see a common pattern of transition from revolutionary chaos to big-state nationalist order caused by a takeover of central power. And the Vendeans in France, the Tambov Greens in Russia, and the Tibetans in China show us another common pattern: regional rebels and secessionists failing miserably, getting themselves killed, and bringing down the wrath of Hell upon their kith and kin.
That last clause is worth pondering for anyone who truly wants to do right by ordinary whites. Leaders who can start a civil war, but cannot end it on their own terms, condemn their people to the hardships of endless fighting or brutal reconquest and suppression. No wonder it is so hard to get even sympathetic whites interested in the ‘myth of the white ethnostate’. Maybe their racial survival instincts are not so defective after all.
Every naive, self-defeating, and counterproductive plan dreamed up by quixotic conservatives is ultimately dictated by their chivalric fidelity to democracy. Democracy might just stop short of scapegoating ordinary whites as kulaks, and raising up Jews, non-whites etc. to lord it over them, as long as there are no immigrant votebanks to be mobilised by the usual leftist suspects. In the same way, untreated AIDS might just stop short of killing you, as long as you can be 100% sure of permanently quarantining yourself against every other type of disease.
The gerrymander ethnostate model – proposed by John “Yggdrasil” Gardner, whose old writings are still worth a read – never got memed, but it is valuable because it gets to the heart of what white-nats want to achieve by the ethnostate strategy. “Deny votes to immigrants, and the internal constituency for encouraging their arrival pretty much disappears.” Yes, but extending that principle to everyone else means destroying every other leftist constituency as well, until you end up with a state that has no incentive to cannibalise its most productive and socially-stable subjects.
Other white nationalists profess to despise democracy (perhaps out of fashy nostalgia, perhaps on the principle that crisis requires leadership). But the underlying logic of their ideas seems to be consistent with the morbid conservative attachment to it. They simply cannot imagine a Western state that has no use for leftist votebanks, and that stands to the Europeans as the Russian empire stood to the Russians or the Chinese empire to the Han Chinese. They take the state of racial relations in democracy – most of which looked very different a few hundred years ago – and trace it back to evolutionary patterns dating to the last Ice Age, although this is much less parsimonious than simply abandoning the myth that democratic state policy is driven by any sort of mass popular tendency.
And so, having failed to free their minds from the state religion, they hobble their own attempts to come up with a resistance strategy. If the only choices are to repeat the American Civil War as farce, to witch-hunt every racially-impure individual and repatriate them at public expense, or to attempt the defence of a gerrymandered state against the Alinskyite devilry of progressives, then most people are just going to throw up their hands and resign themselves to the existing multi-racial anti-white mess.
The Unmoving Movement
Perhaps, then, it’s all for the best that white nationalism is too chronically dysfunctional to start a civil war in a sandpit.
I don’t want to dwell on the actions of individuals, but we all know the general state of the Movement. Super secret fraternal organisations charging up to $10,000 for membership. Leaders who talk about racial loyalty, but can’t keep their hands off the wives and girlfriends of their right-hand comrades. Fanatical, witch-hunting anti-Semites who turn out to be married to Jews. So much backstabbing, doxing, baseless accusation, and real pathological behaviour that no-one in the Movement seems to trust anyone else at all. What an auspicious start for a new racially-harmonious ruling elite that will never again screw over its own people once they have brought it to power.
I can’t vouch for all of its claims (several of which are disputed), but a look at the Brief History of the White Nationalist Movement should suffice to show that most of these patterns of dysfunction date back to its very beginnings. As one despairing white-nat activist wrote some twenty years ago, “every attempt we make to create a resistance movement ends, without fail, in catastrophe, shame, grotesque slapstick and madness.”
In the early days of the Alt-Right, all of this seemed rather muted (although much of it was still going on behind the scenes), and it looked as if a new generation of white-nat leaders had learned from all those decades of failure. But the main innovation of Alt-Right leaders was to suppress the dogmas of white nationalism – while retaining the motive force of white self-defence – and build alliances with other groups, like libertarians and paleoconservatives, who would normally be dismissed by white-nats in the most viciously uncharitable terms.
Once the rise of Trump lulled them into the delusion that the White Awakening was at hand, the white-nats decided to drop the taqiyyah and ‘become who they are’. This meant re-embracing most of the ‘WN 1.0’ strategic playbook, and either driving away the other ideologies or reducing them to satellites around their own suncross. And so, “catastrophe, shame, grotesque slapstick and madness” came roaring back to the fore, and did much of the work of destroying the Alt-Right before state repression even got started.
But the Movement has its own explanations for failure, which all involve blaming individuals while salvaging ideological dogmas. Bad optics! Low human quality! Traitors, informants, saboteurs! Lord knows I’ve trumpeted some of these slogans just as loud as anyone else, but the coping has to stop.
“Traitors, informants and saboteurs” has some reality behind it, as everyone knows that white-nat organisations are heavily infiltrated. But we might flip this on its head, and say that as this infiltration has been present since the beginning, any one of the dogmas and tactics built up by the Movement over the last seventy years could be some sort of bad-faith psyop. This isn’t my own position, as I’m more inclined to blame sincere ideological delusion. But either way, the white-nat strategic playbook more or less functions as a black ops entrapment manual: those who follow it will actively seek out legal trouble, ring up the media every time they so much as organise a treehouse club, etc. etc.
As for “low human quality” and “bad optics”, they are two sides of the same coin: the Movement consistently looks bad, thus it attracts bad people, so good people are pushed out, hence it ends up looking even worse, and so on and so on. What is never explained is why dissidents should stoop to the tricks of salesmanship to polish this dung and pass it off as gold to unsuspecting ‘high-quality’ buyers. Sometimes we need to extract gold from dung – i.e. media propaganda, dissident autistry, etc. – but this should not require the sheer level of cognitive dissidence that it takes to pretend that seven decades of white nationalist failure and pathology represents some sort of teething trouble.
Here’s why the real problem is one of substance. White nationalism is nothing more or less than an ideology of tribal solidarity – which it locates in biological race, and to which it is willing to sacrifice or subordinate everything else in life. And yet, all of its pathologies result from its total inability to generate more than a trace amount of tribal solidarity from race. Racial feeling may drive people into white nationalism, but it cannot bind them together once they get there.
Hence the need to rely for unity on leader-worship, signal-spiralling, echo-chambering, witch-hunting, grifting, power-lust, slick salesmanship, and a mix of dogmatic credulity and personal paranoia – in short, all the standard trade-tricks of a cult, in this case a democratic activist cult. The unsightly dynamics of this cult are thinly overlaid by the language of the racial tribe (so that, for example, those who question its dogmas and leaders are accused of being ‘Jews’ instead of ‘splitters’), lest too many people start wondering whether the whole thing has anything to do with racial survival at all.
No-one can fault WN for having failed to take off and seize power like some leftist astroturf movement. But it has had more than enough time to create some sort of embryonic form of its ideal organic racial community. And if every attempt to do so has not only failed, but ended up producing the social equivalent of toxic waste, then why keep blaming the ingredients and the presentation instead of the recipe?
It’s not too much to ask self-appointed physicians to heal themselves before handing them a hospital full of patients. For example, when Jordan Peterson tells outright lies in public and then ends up in rehab for his happy-pill addiction, we can reasonably conclude that his ‘maps of meaning’ and ‘rules for life’ cannot tell us how to live in truth or conquer depression. What is missing from white nationalist maps of meaning and rules for life?
The Glorious Brown Banner of Keithist-Salterist Theory
To answer this question, we must go to the core principle of white nationalist ideology. It may surprise you to learn that this principle has nothing to do with IQ tests, Aryan superiority, the Faustian spirit, etc. In theory, it would stand intact even if white Europeans were proved to be the dullest and most defective branch of humanity.
It is simply this: all races function as extended families, and thou shalt treat thy race as thy extended family.
When the full implications of this idea are extended into society, culture, history, etc., it begins to look like a sort of ‘racial Marxism’ in which the theme of class struggle is replaced by the struggle of races to further their extended kinship interests. But one difference is that most white nationalists, unlike Marxists, do not like to make a big song and dance about the thinkers who hit upon their doctrine. It is supposed to be ‘natural’ to everyone – albeit relatively weak in Europeans, due to our evolved psychology – and to carve it in holy writ would, I suspect, open it up to too much questioning.
All the same, some have tried. Gardner/Yggdrasil evidently thought the Movement needed its Marx, and traced the core idea behind it to the Scottish anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith. Keith belonged to the group-evolutionist branch of Darwinism, and the main theme of his Evolution and Ethics is the ‘dual code’ by which a tribe maintains a moral double standard: friendship, honesty and altruism for the ingroup, and enmity, deception and self-interest to the outgroup.
But just as white nationalism only gets halfway to the dual code, Keith only gets halfway to the white nationalist concept of race. He speaks of the tribe or nation as a “corporate body”, armed with its “stock of genes”, protecting them against dissipation by practicing enmity against other tribes. But he seems to make little distinction between the tribe and the state that leads it (e.g. “in a tribal organisation…service to tribe or state predominates over all self-seeking”), and he accepts the role of state power in the forging of a tribe (e.g. “the methods employed by the Nazi leaders to secure tribal unity in Germany [were] brutal compulsion, bloody force, and the concentration camp”).
Keith was writing almost a hundred years ago, during the era of nationalist war. Unlike him, modern white-nats must make sense of a world in which the state has turned against the nation. Like other conservatives (e.g. George Gilder on marriage and feminism) they take their stand on an appeal to human nature, which can be blocked or twisted by state power but does not depend on it. They seek to prove that the tribal bond and the dual code are created spontaneously – out of pure biological kinship – and then build up a superstructure of state power and religious culture on the terms of the tribe (albeit sometimes by recycling foreign material).
For this sort of thing, we can go to Frank Salter’s book On Genetic Interests. Although Salter is a ‘universal nationalist’, not a white nationalist, his theory supplies the other half of the white-nat theoretical kernel.
The basic idea is that the ultimate end of life is not self-interest, but genetic interest, i.e. the self-propagation of distinct genes according to natural selection. Because the alleles, i.e. gene variants, possessed by (possessing?) an individual are also found to some degree in his brothers, sisters, parents, cousins etc., genetic interest can rationalise altruism and self-sacrifice for the sake of immediate kin. It can also justify wider altruism and self-sacrifice, towards strangers, but only those who are relatively closely related in genetic terms. Thus we arrive at the concept of ethnic genetic interest – a form of dual-code tribalism that does not, at least in principle, depend on the hand of state power.
Salter tramps back and forth over the line between explanation of real human behaviour, and abstract calculation of theoretically ‘adaptive’ behaviours from a genetic point of view. Some of what he says about close-family altruism is not exactly realistic (e.g., quoting W.D. Hamilton, “it is adaptive to give one’s life for two siblings or eight cousins, but not for fewer”), and much of what he says about ethnic altruism comes across as downright ridiculous (e.g. “it would appear to be more adaptive for an Englishman to risk life or property resisting the immigration of two Bantu immigrants to England than his taking the same risk to rescue one of his own children from drowning”).
Several HBD writers (and one heretical white-nat splitter, who was swiftly ousted from the cult) have argued that Salter is wrong, mostly on the grounds that the rationale for kin-based altruism drops off a cliff once you get beyond first cousins. To agree with them, at least on this point, is simple common sense. ‘Adaptiveness’ be damned, a sane Englishman does not leave his child to drown in order to prevent a boatful of Bantus from landing on an island of eighty thousand square miles, unless perhaps a Salterist ideologue is standing on the shore with a rifle levelled at his head.
But once this point is taken on board, I don’t see any need to deny the basic proposition that a race is a type of extended family, and that tribalism and nationalism are states of mind in which the analogy of family and race is consciously acted upon.
The most obvious objection to Salter is that there are more things in kinship than are theorised in his philosophy. Families would lack all cohesion without shared living arrangements and some degree of parental authority over children. In the same way, tribes and nations cannot function without shared language, common living space, cultural heritage, etc., as well as some sort of higher authority to hold them together.
But white nationalists are happy to admit this. They tend to view racial identity as a kernel of biological kinship, surrounded by a protective shell of cultural commonalities. That is why they do not (in theory) want to disown the more racially-admixed parts of southern Europe, or embrace non-Western peoples who may be biologically related to whites. And as for the higher authority that is needed to make collective decisions, they believe that the Movement is just such an authority-in-waiting, growing up out of the racial core to crack open a desiccated state that has lost its vital connection to the nation.
This means that the white nationalist concept of extended kinship can stand up to most of the knocks that would pulverise the pure Salterist theory. All very well. But what I want to know is why this kinship principle has never managed to bind Europeans together against a state that is displacing them in favour of aliens.
The answer should be obvious.
Salter’s calculations notwithstanding, the motive force of family-feeling becomes weaker and weaker the further it extends beyond the immediate kin group. Perhaps it can motivate ethnic altruism if it is allowed (or, more likely, encouraged) to radiate out to it without encountering too many obstructions. But no-one truly motivated by family-feeling will defend the extended kin group when this is likely to bring about the harassment of parents, the impoverishment of children, the straining of relations with siblings, and the hobbling of one’s ability to find a partner and reproduce.
Under the conditions that prevail in the modern West (which are hardly the worst heights of totalitarian repression), extended kinship is not just driven underground. It is turned back on itself, as loyalty to immediate family interests now motivates the disownment of the extended kinship group.
This, I think, is the ultimate reason why the Movement never gets moving. The social force that is supposed to drive it in theory cannot really do so in practice, yet it is shackled to it by its own dogma and incapable of straying too far towards anything else. When the umpteenth failure takes place, the reason is (correctly) identified as a lack of true faith in the dogma, and so the shackles are tightened up. The situation is comparable to that of conservatives who expect ‘market forces’ to promote libertarian ethics, bourgeois morality, etc., yet fail to see that the profit motive has been harmonised with big government and so constantly end up being played for suckers by Woke Capital.
It would be easy enough for a white nationalist to get rid of this problem in theory – although certainly not in practice – by shoehorning it back into a Salterist framework. He might say, for instance, that the modern anti-white imperial state is an unnatural abomination, which only exists because Jewish or non-white ethnic genetic interests have hijacked the natural organic nationalist state. The advantage of this approach is that it opens up a whole new can of worms, which can distract us from the sheer weakness and vulnerability of extended kinship as a motive force.
But when we stay on this topic, we begin to see the narrowness of a worldview in which this motive force is the sole essential component of a nation. No doubt a sense of kinship (based on biology, but also culture, language, etc.) is one essential component. But if there were no others, then why would any nation ever revolt against foreign rule, unless backed against the wall by genocide? All that is needed to dam up and turn back the nepotistic motive is a system of reward and punishment that can thrust down some families, and raise up others, according to whether they defend or disown the extended kin group.
In other words, all that is needed is state power. White nationalists tend to reduce the state to a tool of competing racial interests, just as Marxists reduce it to a tool of competing class interests. Note that both of these rival theories take a democratic line, in which the state is nothing but a hollow vessel to be filled by this or that social substance. Modern Westerners who have watched the permanent state grow ever larger, always for the sake of some temporary social need, should have learned to discard this reasoning and admit that state power has its own autonomous agenda.
That’s not to say that social forces are irrelevant to it. The book Nations by Azar Gat piles up countless historical examples of ‘political ethnicity’ – i.e. the tendency of most states, including universalist empires, to promote the dominance of a core ethnic group. This shows the importance of extended kinship to the maintenance of state power.
On the other hand, what are we to make of the perennial love affair between the state and the infidel janissary, the foreign mercenary, the court Jew – all favoured by power precisely because they are alien to the core ethnic group? Or the phenomenon of stranger-kingship, in which the authorities in a community voluntarily turn over their government to a foreign dynasty? Or, most importantly, the ‘High-Low alliance against the Middle’ – theorised by Bertrand de Jouvenel in On Power – in which, for example, a French monarch might scheme to raise up the lower classes against the aristocracy, despite the fact that his extended kin-group interests would presumably stand with the latter?
Quite clearly, state power overlaps with extended kinship, but cannot be reduced to it as per Hitler’s analogy of the ‘vessel’ and its ‘contents’. Rulers are after power, order, loyalty, etc., and extended kinship is just one more tool to be used to these ends. Like any social force, its malleability has definite limits, but it tends to be the subordinate partner in any alliance with the state. For example, during the era of nationalist wars, the state championed the nation but hardly furthered its genetic interests by herding the flower of its youth to slaughter.
Another collective force that overlaps more closely with state power is religious authority – in modern parlance, ‘ideological hegemony’, not to be confused with popular culture. Again, religious doctrines usually propagate themselves through tribes and nations, but only by a great deal of hand-waving can the one thing be reduced to the other. (The Movement runs a cottage industry in fake religions devised for racial purposes – e.g. Cosmotheism, Creativity, and now Apollonism – but the fact that none of them have proved more inspiring than Salter’s boring evo-psych wonkery should have taught it to take the religious quest for truth a bit more seriously.)
Ideally, all three of these collective forces – state power, religious authority, and extended kinship – should go into the making of the ‘tribal’ consciousness that binds a ruling elite to its people. In practice, we might say (as a vague rule of thumb) that it might be done by any two in combination, but not by any one in isolation.
That is to say: power and kinship might carve out a nation under a universalist religious authority; religion and kinship might hold a nation together in a hostile or indifferent state; and a state backed up by a religion might forge a new nation out of distinct kinship groups. But the ramshackle imperium is the product of state power alone; the deracinated cult, the product of religious authority alone; and the unconscious biological race, the product of extended kinship alone.
And this brings us back to the futility of the Movement’s quest to rally the European race against its enemies.
White-nats know that this race has hitched itself to some strange wagons in the past: the universalist religion of Christianity, the world-conquering projects of imperialism, and the democratic religion that has lately turned against it. They want to smooth the path to a future harmony of race, religion and power, by exalting the race as paramount, and demanding a religion and a state that depend on its substance and exist to serve its will.
But they are just throwing up impassable barriers. In an era of civilisational empires, no power worth the name will commit suicide by confining itself to the defence of an ethnic hobbit-shire. Nor will any religion worth the name throw away its claims to universal truth, and become a degraded mouthpiece for the ‘Aryan’ or ‘Faustian’ mindset.
So the race is left to fend for itself. Worse – it remains locked in the dungeon of its enemy. The reason why the Movement misunderstands religious authority and political power is that it can only look at these things through the prism of democratic belief. It recycles all its core ideals from democracy, shapes them around voting, activism and agitprop, and seeks to realise them in a type of small and limited state that is no longer viable except as a satrapy of the democratic empire.
This is what makes it a low-church conservative ideology, not a truly dissident one. And if Europeans never manage to get rid of the democratic religion that hates them, the conservatives will be to blame. As long as the Dissident Right remains predominantly white nationalist, it will be ‘dissident’ in name only, and all the fruits of its toil will be harvested by the hostile powers of conservatism and democracy.
White Nationalism as a Degenerate Fertility Cult
But before it reduced itself to an illicit annex of the con party, the Alt-Right was in the larpy and haphazard beginnings of a project to recover a non-democratic worldview. This involved reading prewar European reactionary authors – such as Oswald Spengler and Julius Evola – who were basically sympathetic to the fascist cause, but warned against its contamination by democratic ideology. No-one familiar with that line of thought will find anything surprising in my own views on the Movement.
For a good look across the gap between Spengler and Salter, you can read this classic essay by Greg Johnson. On this occasion, Evola has a bit more relevance. Here’s his negative verdict on the equation of state and people in Men Among The Ruins:
“[E]very true political unity appears as the embodiment of an idea and a power, thus distinguishing itself from every naturalistic association or ‘natural right’, and also from every societal aggregation determined by mere social, economic, biological, utilitarian, or eudemonistic factors.
“The State is not the expression of ‘society’. The…’social’ or ‘communal’ view of the state is the index of a regression and naturalistic involution. … The political domain is characterised by hierarchical, heroic, ideal, anti-hedonistic, and to a degree, even anti-eudemonistic values that set it apart from the order of naturalistic and vegetative life. … Authentic political ends are mostly autonomous ones (i.e. not derived from something else): they are connected to ideas and interests different from those of peaceful living, pure economics, and physical well-being, pointing to a higher dimension of life and a separate order of dignity.
The problem with this sort of thing is that it expresses the pre-democratic viewpoint in the most quixotic language imaginable. Evola’s view of the state seems to have no relevance at all to modern politics, and relates only at an ideal level to the politics of premodern states.
What rings true in Evola is his uncompromising view that democracy and activism are degenerate. But what’s the alternative? To wear the monocle of the Magic Baron, meditating on mountaintops while the West sinks into the abyss, because we are too pure to rally around anything less than the second coming of Barbarossa? Surely any sensible person will be a white nationalist today, and perhaps aim to build a world in which the ‘higher dimension of life’ actually means something to most people – but only after the pressing political battles have been won by any means necessary.
A hundred years ago, this intuition was probably right (although it still didn’t turn out well). Today, when fascism is much more degenerate and conservative and much less likely to gain power, it is a red herring. If anything, the white-nat activist is more impractical than the worst sort of Evolian fantasist, who can at least say that his larping does not actively reinforce the regime he professes to despise.
Instead of speaking in value judgements, and harking back to ideals, we might say that state power is dominant and active while popular forces are subordinate and passive. That is to say: the state is ‘higher’ than the people not necessarily because it is nobler, more sublime, more dignified, etc., but simply in the sense that the state tells the people what to do. And religious authority, for its part, tells both the state and the people what to think. This still holds true in the modern West, under an ‘idea and a power’ that worships the people while controlling and conditioning them more than ever.
To say that the people are subordinate and passive does not mean that they have no powers of resistance, that they can do nothing without higher direction, etc. But we should disillusion ourselves on what we can and cannot expect from them in a regime like the present one, in which no true rival power centre or religious locus exists.
One modern example of racial self-preservation by the people is the ‘white flight’ from communities colonised by non-white votebanks. Although this is often forced by violence, it sometimes seems to involve a sort of herd instinct, by which whites collectively sense the impending fall of a neighbourhood and leave before they are driven out. With the help of euphemisms about ‘good schools’, ‘nice areas’, etc., devised spontaneously and perhaps unconsciously, they find their way to other communities full of people like them where they can raise their children in peace.
The problem is that most people in these communities remain true-believing multiculturalists. “If only we could awaken their unconscious racial survival instincts,” say the white nationalists, “we could get them to fight.” But those instincts are working just fine. They cannot fight and win against the state, so they naturally choose to avoid the sharp end of its power, while chanting (and consciously believing) the mantras of its religion. And another thing that benefits their survival is their willingness to ruthlessly ostracise any crowd of Nazi idiots that turns up on their doorsteps.
It is in such ways that the extended kinship group preserves itself in hard times: by keeping its head down, turning in on itself, paying lip service while quietly getting on with life, and generally flowing like water around the edifice of the hostile state (and, perhaps, gradually eroding it). If your first thought is to condemn this behaviour as cowardly, myopic, unnatural, then perhaps we need to go back to Evola:
“The State is under the masculine aegis, while ‘society’ and by extension the people…are under the feminine aegis. The…gap between the political idea of State and the physical idea of ‘society’ is found again in the opposition that exists between State and nation. The notions of nation, fatherland and people, despite their romantic and idealistic halo, essentially belong to the naturalistic and biological plane and not the political one; they lead back to the ‘maternal’ and physical dimension of a given collectivity. … Thus, it has rightfully been suggested…that ‘men’ uphold the idea of State, while feminine natures, which are spiritually matriarchal, side instead with ‘fatherland’, ‘nation’ and ‘people’.”
Again, it looks like a bushel of Jungian nonsense, but there’s a light of practical truth underneath it. No less an activist than Hitler said that “the people in their overwhelming majority” are “feminine by nature and attitude”. If the Movement truly understood this, it would stop marching around the formless white herd and barking orders like some demented old army major, only to end up reviling it when it fails to snap to attention and fight as a racial army.
It is also helpful to know that white nationalism – far more than fascism – is predominantly feminine in spirit, though overwhelmingly masculine in body. Above all it is a fertility cult, and when it tries to express its highest ideals, it turns to matriarchal imagery (e.g. “we must preserve the existence of our people and a future for white children, because the beauty of the white Aryan woman must not perish from the earth”). Its reduction of nationhood to an outgrowth of genetics is just an extension of the democratic attitude to immediate family, in which female-centred biology takes precedence over male-centred concepts like wedlock, legitimacy, and patriarchy.
Now, feminine in this sense does not mean ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘ghey’, or ‘irrelevant to men’, but it’s always best to avoid confusing it with masculine. A viable power struggle, and the establishment of an independent state, could produce ambition, loyalty, and heroism. An absolute commitment to truth and virtue could produce asceticism, martyrdom, and culture-creation. But we cannot expect any amount of agitprop based on ‘kinship’, ‘survival’, and ‘self-interest’ to produce political or religious results. Anyone truly motivated by those things is probably keeping his head down, making money, and raising a brood of kids while blending in with the beliefs and customs of his neighbours.
The fact that some people are deluded as to their own motivations doesn’t contradict this at all. White-nats certainly try to build great inspiring myths out of the dreary, relativistic, amoral and irrationalist sludge of Keithist-Salterist theory. But I suspect that those who devote their lives to the Movement are either (a) taking a doomed gamble on power, (b) trying to squeeze a commitment to truth through a low and narrow aperture, or (c) misdirecting their desire for a kin group onto the Movement in much the same way that a wanker faps to images on a porn site.
All of these types – the political schemers, the metapoliticians, and the rank-and-file activists – would do better to move on from the Movement, and stop suffering its dogmas to drag down their efforts towards gaining power, seeking the truth, and living successful lives. This would also make it easier for the Movement to become what it really is – a sub-political, aesthetically-based racial fertility cult, aimed at selling a vision of hearth, home, and tow-headed children to twentysomething white women while playing cat and mouse with the democratic state religion.
Obviously, such a fertility cult could never win a war of imperialist states and universalist religions. And there’s no guarantee that the men who move beyond it would be able to come up with anything else that can. But if the short, promising, tragic history of the early Alt-Right has taught us anything, it’s that Western dissidence thrives as a hundred distinct flowers, and dies when it is calficied into the dogmatic and obsessive Movement based on its lowest common denominator.
Let’s give the devil his due, though. The Movement may have failed to take power. It may contributed nothing at all to the survival and flourishing of whites. But when we judge it by the ordinary criteria of a cult – self-propagation and self-preservation – it looks about as successful as anything on the fringes can be. It took over the Alt-Right, it continues to dominate the Dissident Right, and it may well end up galvanising the zombie of high-church conservatism for another twenty or thirty years. Brett Stevens’ long rambling critique didn’t warn off its followers ten years ago and doubtless nor will mine.
What’s the secret of its appeal? Surely not the romantic glamour of a worldview in which all politics, religion and culture are reduced to the blind strivings of the racial will-to-life. And probably not just a desperate reaction to the non-white colonisation of the West, given that the Movement has never done anything to stop this.
The truth is that white nationalism has what might be called a memetic evolutionary strategy. This allows it to propagate its dogmas negatively – i.e. by pushing them as an explanation for enemy behaviour – without having to convert people to a positive statement of the Keithist-Salterist worldview. The smartest way to sell hokey cult voodoo is not on its own merits, but as an antidote to someone else’s hokey cult voodoo.
White nationalism may be a weak ideology, but this frame around it is so strong and semi-truthful that it demands a whole post to itself. And the specific details, which have gone undiscussed in this post, will have to wait until that one. Let’s just say in advance that it has something to do with the Jews.