Sailer vs. Taylor, Round II —"Citizenism" vs. White Nationalism

I first came to admire Jared Taylor's talents over 20 years ago, during the dawn of the personal computer age, when he ranked with Jerry Pournelle as the most brilliant PC journalist.

That was the last time there was anything PC about Taylor. He's now the editor of American Renaissance, a newsletter that applies Bell Curve-type concepts to current social problems in a way that the Mainstream Media should be doing but doesn't, because it's been frightened off.

He's also emerged as a sort of white nationalist, explicitly defending the interests of whites (who, of course, would have been described as "Americans" before the federal government began electing a new people with the 1965 Immigration Act.)

Taylor is a man of commanding voice and mien, Central Casting's dream of a U.S. Senator. But, needless to say, he will never become a Senator—because he long ago chose to sacrifice popularity for his principles.

Taylor has responded to my critique of his position that I offered in the course of reviewing his organization's new survey of un-PC facts about race and criminality, The Color Of Crime. He has objected to my calling myself a "citizenist", arguing:

"'Citizenism' assumes that race can be made not to matter, and that citizens will set aside parochial ethnic interests for the good of all…. What course of action would he propose for white people?

"Continue to preach 'citizenism' when no one else practices it?

"Continue to fill the country with people who do not hesitate to advance their interests—material, cultural, and biological—at the expense of whites?"

Yet, as the swordsman Inigo Montoya tells the villain Vizzini in the movie The Princess Bride, "I do not think that word means what you think it means."

I sense (or perhaps merely hope) that millions of Americans feel as I do, in an unarticulated fashion.

But at the moment, Google suggests that I am just about the only person in the country calling himself a "citizenist." So I think I have a certain right to suggest what the word means.

By "citizenism," I mean that I believe Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners.

Let me describe citizenism using a business analogy. When I was getting an MBA many years ago, I was the favorite of an acerbic old Corporate Finance professor because I could be counted on to blurt out in class all the stupid misconceptions to which students are prone.

One day he asked: "If you were running a publicly traded company, would it be acceptable for you to create new stock and sell it for less than it was worth?"

"Sure," I confidently announced. "Our duty is to maximize our stockholders' wealth, and while selling the stock for less than its worth would harm our current shareholders, it would benefit our new shareholders who buy the underpriced stock, so it all comes out in the wash. Right?"

"Wrong!" He thundered. "Your obligation is to your current stockholders, not to somebody who might buy the stock in the future."

That same logic applies to the valuable right of being an American citizen and living in America.

Just as the managers of a public company have a fiduciary duty to the current stockholders not to diminish the value of their shares by selling new ones too cheaply to outsiders, our leaders have a duty to the current citizens and their descendents.

That implies the opposite of what Taylor claims. In reality, citizenism entails focusing on the central issue for the future of our country: limiting immigration.

While citizenism is compatible with a realistic appreciation of racial differences, it opposes wasting political capital and energy on expressions of hostility toward our fellow citizens who are African-Americans—energy that could far more profitably be devoted to rallying broad support for preserving the value of our citizenship.

Blacks should be ashamed of the level of crime found in their community, but anti-black sentiment is self-defeating.

Indeed, much of current white conservative support for illegal immigration is a covert way of sticking it to African-Americans and their liberal supporters by importing harder-working Hispanics to drive blacks out of the workforce.

Of course, no matter how satisfying this may seem psychologically to many whites, it's self-defeating. Depriving African-Americans of the discipline of work just worsens their behavior. Admitting vast numbers of Latinos, many of whom will end up in the underclass, just exacerbates America's social problems.

A huge number of Americans grasp that we are lucky to be American citizens and they want to pass on their good fortune to their posterity undiluted. But the political class has no conceptual vocabulary as of yet for expressing these normal human feelings. So I'm not enormously optimistic that these commonsensical principles will become popular enough among the Establishment to stave off the troubles headed our way.

But like Enoch Powell, I believe that "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils." America has been, on the whole, much less plagued by evils than most countries. Our leadership's first duty (although generally last priority) is to keep it that way.

But the odds seem a whole lot better that "citizenism" will prove more effective at defending America from harm than that the White Nationalism advocated by Jared Taylor will do so.

I don't doubt that immigration will work to make white nationalism more popular in decades to come.

Yet the only scenario likely to make white nationalism effective as an electoral force within, say, three decades would be the utter failure of our current attempts to limit immigration.

Moreover, making immigration restriction into a white nationalist crusade would wreck the chances of immigration reform passing.

As Talleyrand might have said, "White Nationalism is worse than a crime, it's a mistake."

Besides such obvious difficulties as that the growing number of interracial marriages means that an increasing number of whites have a nephew or sister-in-law who is part or all nonwhite, there are two surprising, but fundamental, practical problems with Taylor's movement as a movement.

Paradoxically, Taylor is 1) both insufficiently idealistic about white Americans and 2) insufficiently cynical about them, too.

1)    Taylor isn't pro-white enough. American whites are too idealistic, too self-sacrificing for explicit white ethnocentrism to appeal to them broadly enough to succeed.

Taylor, in fact, is a striking example of this: a man who could have made a fortune in the computer business or been a success in mainstream politics, but chose to sacrifice everything to pursue his unfashionable ideals. 

In his recent suppressed law review article, Professor Andrew Fraser outlined some of the possible roots of this white tendency toward idealism—stemming from the individualism and nuclear family-orientation that replaced clannishness in northwestern Europe.

This heritage makes white Americans among the world's best at working together in corporations with strangers who aren't their relatives.

But it also means that American whites tend to see tribalism as beneath them.

The GOP, for example, has run a successful political strategy in the South by advocating the colorblind policies that whites approve of: law and order, private enterprise, low taxes, and the like.

One striking side effect is that outside of Democratic-run New Orleans and a few other sore spots in the South, this strategy has been good for blacks, too. That's why Republican-dominated Georgia consistently attracts the biggest influx of middle class blacks of any state, most of them fleeing liberal states in the Northeast and West.

Of course, it doesn't mean blacks will vote for GOP candidates in the South. But the Republicans attract such a high fraction of the white vote, that doesn't matter.

The point is that in the South, a white nationalist appeal would be an election loser.

Any political philosophy aimed at whites today has to be phrased in high-minded terms because mud-wrestling with Al Sharpton over the racial spoils system simply strikes many whites as too demeaning to bother with.

And at least African-Americans generate large personalities, like Sharpton. When you get to Hispanics, most whites can barely remember the names of more than a few Latinos. There's that singer with the dresses that almost fall off and that home run hitter on steroids and that Democratic governor down in Arizona or somewhere with the ultra-white name, Biff Robertson or something like that.

As a film critic, I hang around a little on the far, far fringes of notoriously liberal Hollywood. Yet, even though there are many millions of Hispanics in Southern California, Latinos simply do not register at all on the awareness of the entertainment industry, except as servants. They don't get invited to screenings and they are only seen at industry parties parking cars.

They are absolutely no threat to take away the job of anybody who is anybody in Hollywood, so nobody notices them.

And that brings me to the second problem Taylor faces.

2)    As the recent hatefest over Bill Bennett's abortion-crime remarks pointed out, much (although not all) of this white moralism over race merely consists of white Americans jockeying to claim status as morally superior to their rivals—who are, overwhelmingly, other white Americans.

Lots of prominent white people dishonestly smeared Bennett with the charge of racism because they want to be seen as more virtuous than the author of The Book of Virtues.

For example, Slate.com's national correspondent William Saletan, who is not generally a fool or charlatan, wrote a demagogic screed implying that Bennett got the idea that the popular abortion-cuts-crime theory had a racial aspect (blacks have three times more abortions and commit seven times more murders than whites) from me rather than from its author, Steven D. Levitt.

Yet in his personal life, Saletan has notably failed to put his money where his mouth is and invest in the possibility that, as he claims, "the next generation of blacks might differ" in having a lower relative crime rate.

The Washington D.C. area where Saletan works has no shortage of predominantly black neighborhoods—such as Prince George's County, where the late Dr. Sam Francis lived happily, despite his white nationalism. Yet in 2000 Saletan chose to move to a D.C. suburb that is only 2.7% black!

In fact, Saletan's suburb has 18 times more residents who possess graduate or professional degrees than are black.

The American 200,000,000 whites are too numerous, too wealthy, too talented, and too self-absorbed to feel much solidarity with each other.

White Americans would rather strive against each other for prestige than against nonwhites because (although they will denounce anyone who suggests this), they generally don't see many nonwhites as credible rivals.

It would be like NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant deciding to patch up their feud so they can fight off the threat to the NBA's domination of American basketball from the ladies of the WNBA.

Let me point out an analogy from international relations. Americans spend a lot of time hating the French. Objectively, the French are not our enemies. As the mordant scientist Gregory Cochran has pointed out, if the French were out to get us, they would have told us to occupy Iraq.

Lots of Americans hate Arabs, but only a limited number spend much time thinking up more reasons to hate Arabs, because, well, Arabs are mostly backward and boring, and thus not terribly interesting to hate.

No, Americans like to hate the French because, deep down, we see them as worthy rivals.

  • We make more money! But they seem less likely to spend their money on junk…

 

 

  • We're right and they're wrong! But they seem to argue their wrong ideas at least as cleverly as we argue our right ideas…

Now, just because most "minority spokesmen" like Sharpton are tedious and/or tawdry doesn't mean they aren't important. But their deleterious impact is felt mostly by the working class, not the chattering class.

As white America has gotten more meritocratic, the working class has been stripped of its articulate voices by upward mobility. So the Establishment pays no attention to its travails. For instance, it has become a journalistic cliché that keeping down working class wages through illegal immigration is "good for the economy"—as if the American economy exists for its own sake as opposed to existing for the good of American citizens.

Yet, while the travails of working class men and women are no longer of any interest to elites, they remain our fellow American citizens. They deserve our support.

I'm not sure that we'll ever be able to persuade the elites to strive honestly for the welfare of their fellow American citizens.

But White Nationalism won't get the job done at all.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog.]