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On Gottfried, Zmirak And White Nationalism
[See also Egalitarian Orthodoxy: "Noble Fiction"—Or Noxious Poison?, by Jared Taylor]
There has been a long and interesting discussion over at Takimag.com on what is being called "white nationalism". The first to raise the subject was Paul Gottfried, who made many subtle and interesting points to be found here. He noted that although "white nationalists," among whom he included me by name, are bravely leading the attack on egalitarianism, they "lack a civilization" and are therefore "not likely to carry our society toward a new vision of order."
I will say, first of all, that I greatly admire Prof. Gottfried. I have five of his books on my bookshelf and have read and profited greatly from all of them. That puts him in select company, along with Richard Lynn, Dickens, Conrad, Trollope and only a few others. It therefore pains me to have to say that despite the respectful interest he takes in what I would prefer to call "race realism," he does not seem entirely to understand it.
It is flattering, to be sure, but Prof. Gottfried sets for "white nationalism" a far grander task than it ever set for itself: creating or defining a civilization.
At its most basic, racial consciousness has as its goal the preservation of a certain people. Its aim is to rekindle among whites what every previous generation until recently so took for granted they did not even give it a name: an instinctive preference for their own people and culture, and a strong desire that they should prosper.
I note that every other racial group acts on this healthy instinct and desire. Race realism therefore has no theory of religion, the family, art, or the role of government, except in the very general sense that it expects whites to love, first and foremost, the infinite riches created by European man.
I am glad Prof. Gottfried evoked our mutual friend Sam Francis, and I will do the same. As long ago as 1994 Sam wrote: "The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted to a different people." [Why Race Matters, American Renaissance, September 1994]
Sam often said he could not understand any conservatism that did not fight, first of all, to conserve its own biological basis. He saw racial consciousness as a precondition, a form of anterior conservatism, without which nothing from our civilization could be conserved, much less advanced. He believed that only the biological heirs to the creators of a civilization would cherish it and carry it forward.
What race realists find most infuriating about the liberalism of the last half century is not just that it has lost its instinctive appreciation for the culture and people of the West but actively, viciously attacks them. Whites are doing something no other people has ever done in human history. Our rulers and elites welcome replacement by aliens, they vilify our ancestors and their own, they sacrifice our interests to those of favored minorities, and they treat the entire history of the West as if it were a global plague of rapine and exploitation. This is a disease that is killing us, and we must fight it head on.
Race realists have well-considered ideas about all the ingredients Prof. Gottfried would include in "civilization," but they claim no special authority to define or limit them. Ensuring our survival as a distinct people comes first. Once we have freed ourselves of the unwanted embrace of others, our civilization will unfold in accordance with our own destiny and genius. If our homelands fill up with people unlike ourselves our civilization will be smothered.
We do not, therefore, propose a civilization; we work to bring about the only conditions in which our civilization can survive and flourish.
I am curious why Prof. Gottfried pays "white nationalists" the high compliment of expecting them to provide a civilization in the first place. Would he require that libertarians or Catholics, for example, offer us a civilization? No single group or movement can do that. Civilizations arise organically from the collective efforts of an entire people or nation.
Finally, I salute Prof. Gottfried's desire to save "what remains of our Anglo-American traditions of ordered liberty," but does he not see the implied race-consciousness in the very phrase he uses? I'm all for Anglo-American traditions, too. I just don't see any evidence that large numbers of Mexicans or Haitians or Guatemalans or Vietnamese or Filipinos or Chinese or Nigerians or Pakistanis or Cambodians can be taught even to think in terms of Anglo-American traditions, much less help us save them.
In the case of John Zmirak's contribution The Sad Sorority of Skin, I fall back on my custom of praising people for the things they are willing to say while refraining from criticizing them for what they are not willing to say.
Mr. Zmirak gets high marks. Close the border, he says. Excellent! The reason, he adds, is that diversity is a weakness, not a strength, and a country needs a clear majority. Even better! Abolish all anti-discrimination laws, he says. Very daring!
In fact, Mr. Zmirak seems to have stumbled onto the only two policy recommendations American Renaissance has ever made, and these two proposals alone are enough to ban him from respectable society. So just where do we differ?
It sounds to me almost a matter of tactics. Mr. Zmirak seems to be saying that if only those race realists would stop actually saying they prefer the company and society of whites, and just quietly lived in all-white neighborhoods the way liberals do, we could repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If only those pesky race realists would never mention race or IQ, and concentrated only on the potentially divisive impact of Mexican or Muslim immigration, we could close the borders.
I assume he is joking.
In fact, Mr. Zmirak and Prof. Gottfried both place far too much emphasis on IQ. IQ has nothing to do with the desire to see one's people survive and flourish. The North American Indians never got out of the Stone Age until the white man came along, but they want their people and traditions to continue. They hope their descendants will dance the snake dance and purify themselves in sweat lodges for ever, and God bless them for it.
My view is no different. It doesn't matter if immigrants are smarter, better-behaved, better-looking, and superior to us in every way; I still don't want to be replaced by them. I love the traditions of the West, not necessarily because they are superior but because they are mine, just as I love my children because they are mine, not because they have high IQs.
I agree with Mr. Zmirak that talk of race and IQ is uncivil. "Comparisons are odious," my Southern ancestors used to say, and would never have dreamed of denigrating their servants.
But as I have explained many times, we are forced to talk about IQ in self-defense. We are reproached and punished for the failures of others—especially blacks—and have no choice but to point out the true cause of their failures. We are also filling our country with Third-Worlders who have made wrecks of their own countries. Must we remain silent when we are told that in a generation they will all be fit heirs of the Jeffersonian tradition, and that if they are not, this, too, is our fault?
Mr. Zmirak is afraid that the very fact of IQ leads to brutality. Flunk an IQ test, get your tubes tied. He seems to have forgotten that Greeks and Romans exposed defective newborns and advised their sons to choose their wives as carefully as they bred their livestock. Every language has words for "smart," and "stupid," and people recognized retardation long before anyone thought of mental tests. People will or will not cull the herd for reasons that have nothing to do with whether their measures of mental traits are rough or fine.
I couldn't help laughing at Mr. Zmirak's characterization of racial consciousness as "rootless." In American history perhaps only Christianity is a way of thinking that has roots a little deeper and thicker. If racial consciousness had foliage to match its roots it would be an unstoppable force. Show me just about any prominent (or ordinary) American of any time up do about 1940 and I will show you someone whose assumptions about race are likely to be very similar to mine.
I am baffled by Mr. Zmirak's suspicion that "white nats" somehow want to invade the conservative movement, take it over, and stifle dissent. What is his evidence for that? It is my sad experience that people who impute low motives to others are themselves tempted by those same motives. In this respect I will point out only that Mr. Zmirak seems to want to snuff out discussions of IQ not because race realists are wrong but because what they say is inconvenient.
Finally, Mr. Zmirak finds it unconscionable that Michael Levin, writing in American Renaissance, should find that black behavior is sufficiently different from that of whites to justify whites' avoiding them. But what is the point of resurrecting freedom of association if we are not to have the right to choose our associates, in Richard Epstein's classic phrase, "for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all."
Prof. Levin, unlike most whites who hide out in the suburbs, has stated his reasons. If they are not good enough for Mr. Zmirak, he should explain why. I suspect he doesn't exactly fill his life with black people either. Why not?
Despite Mr. Zmirak's protestations, I think our views have much in common. If, as a matter of tactics, he find it necessary to huff and puff about "rootless white nats"—well, we live in evil times in which a man can lose his job for saying something he knows to be true.
Jared Taylor (email him) is editor of American Renaissance and the author of Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. (For Peter Brimelow's review, click here.)