The subtle but corrosive problem with white nationalism
By Daniel M. Ryan
(Prefatory Note: I'm normally not a fan of so-called trigger warnings, but I do have to advise that I'll be linking to some material that some readers might find aggravating or disturbing. In the early part of this piece, I'll also be discussing said material in a way that some readers might consider blithe. Since I'm not experienced with the art of T-&-C arse-covering, I'll stick with the heretofore and the assumption that you're a self-responsible adult.)
From a certain angle, it's hard to take the White Nationalist movement seriously as a political force. It has both structural and traditional barriers blocking it from becoming a political force – except in one form. That form, and its corrosive consequences, you'll find below. But first, the tour.Alt Smash!
There is a zany side to White Nationalism, to the point where its zany aspect seems intentional. Andrew Anglin, the proprietor of the Daily Stormer which he vaunts as "The world's most visited alt-right site", has latched onto the idea that success is achieved by going over-the-top. Case in point: in a recent article that featured an infographic showing female promiscuity over time, he zooms to the close with these words:
There is really no reason whatsoever to educate women. What purpose does it serve? Yeah, they should learn all the things in school you learn before puberty – reading, writing, basic math – but after that, it is really hard to make an argument they need more formal education. If they're inclined, they can read books to learn more informations. Or they can just do what women like to do and produce and raise babies, decorate the house and gossip with other women about trivial matters.
This is so outlandish, it's tempting to see it as a gag and get with the joke by adding: "just like they do when they become a certain kind of professor and add their yackings to their CVs." If I were a teenager with one of those notoriously not-fully-developed brains, I'd be tempted. I'd certainly look forward to a university course in recent American history wherein the prof delivers a foot-shifting explanation about the dangers incarnate of Pépé the Frog. There's something in the whole alt-right movement which makes it look like one gigantic prank on foolish and humourless elders. Feels good, man!
Mr. Anglin's "A Normie's Guide To The Alt Right" has a whole section on "Troll Culture." The whole article is written with the same flourish of outlandishness. You have to read it carefully to figure out that he's entirely serious.
The face of White Nationalism is Richard B. Spencer Even though he prefers the term Identitarianism, it's pretty clear from his Radix Journal that there's a blur between the two terms. This fellow's views are so outside the Overton Window, he's been temporarily banned from entering twenty-seven countries simply for expressing his opinions. And yet, in the dank neighbourhoods of YouTube, there's more than one parody-producer who think that Mr. Spencer is an empty-suit sell-out. Case in point: "Richard Spencer," which clearly insinuates that he's a Vanilla-Ice-type joke. And over in this corner, we have Goyim Goddess. Diverting from her then-usual fare of blatantly anti-Semitic parodies with side offering of anti-black racism and scolds against cultural degeneracy, she got her Irish up and laid down some beats that rubbish Mr. Spencer and the manosphere part of the alt-right. And of course, she used her professional-quality singing to rubbish Donald Trump on grounds that you've already guessed. (More than once, actually.)
And back in the first corner, we see that Mr. Anglin has declared a "Crusade" against Milo Yiannopolous.
As a rule, any fringe movement lucky enough to garner mainstream notice gets ridden with a lot of infighting. Typically, the individuals favoured by the attention get pasted for being greedy sell-outs. Smelling the new winds, Goyim Goddess has devoted five of her last fifteen videos (as of the time of this writing) to lambasting the part of the alt-right that she can't stand. A recent one, again as of the time of this writing, is a thirty-minute monologue whose main target is none other than Richard Spencer's wife. She does include a segment bashing Lana Lokteff of Red Ice Radio, and of course assures us that her Lana-bashing is in no way a catfight.
She's worth a mention in this capacity because she's borne the brunt of a lot of infighting long before Hillary Clinton gave the whole neighbourhood their ticket in. She's been accused of being a "mudshark," of being secretly Jewish, of being a meth addict, of being dragged to a mental institution - all before she started waving the shillelagh at other members of the alt-right. One wonders what Jared Taylor makes of all of this. He's the fellow who's credited or blamed, mostly the latter, for making White Nationalism apparently respectable by means of his high-status voice and normally reasonable tone. He's gotten into the song-parody gig as well; his turn in (the pro-Trump) "We Didn't Start The Movement" features him playing his saxophone and singing a version of the chorus that shows he's reached his doting age. It could be that he's just shrugging the infighting off.
A more in-depth search through the White-Nationalist neck of the Internet will reveal more doozies.Temptations…
I admit: it's tempting to stand aside from these characters and let White Nationalism run its course. One point of temptation is to see it as karmic. One of the most favourite jokes in the alt-rightosphere is: "'I'm proud to be black' said the black man. 'I'm proud to be Asian,' said the Asian. 'I'm proud to be Hispanic,' said the Hispanic. 'I'm proud to be a woman,' said the woman. 'I'm proud to be a white male', said the racist."
It is tempting to adopt the opinion that White Nationalism is the politically correcters' just deserts. Serves 'em right for throwing away the old-fashioned liberalism and shoving identity politics down our throats. It's what they deserve for sowing ethnic division while blaming the likes of us for "divisiveness." The SJWs' cunningly-constructed get-out-of-hypocrite-free card – "Minorities cannot be racists, as racism requires power and only white have power" – has proven to be too cunning by half. It only bamboozles logical thinkers raised in comfortable homes. Outside of the folks that have benefitted most from cognitive stratification, that card doesn't work its magick. A natural empiric, a fellow who relies on common sense, will unconsciously relate it to what he sees around him. Namely: who gets the kid-gloves treatment, who gets dumped on; who gets swift action when they complain, who has to yell like Alex Jones to no avail; whose yelling gets a sympathetic journalist cooing, whose yelling only gets a journalist's disdain; and so on. In so doing, he'll see right through it in a way that a high-I.Q., high-achieving logical guy won't. Moreso if said empiric grew up in a blue-collar neighbourhood, or one more rough.
The political-correct'ers' strategy is strikingly like the corrupt courtiers of old. They direct their blandishments at the rulers and tailor the mind-tricks accordingly. Now as then, Joe Ordinary find it a lot easier to see through those tricks than the rulers themselves. Once again, we're living in the Age of the Emperors' New Clothes – only this time, the crafty tailor has bamboozled the King's men as well as the King. "You're right: the threads you're using are of the finest cloth. Funny that I didn't deduce it myself."
With this in mind, it's tempting to stand aside and wait for the King and his retinue to wake up.
In addition to "the SJWs made this mess", add plain sympathy for the disadvantaged. It doesn't take much digging through Stormfront to find that the most obstreperous racists are folks who grew up in rough neighbourhoods. They saw a certain side of lower-class blacks. We fortunate folks would likely be oblivious to it had it not been for the work of Colin Flaherty.
The White-Nationalist folks claim to be fighting cultural degeneracy, but they can be adduced as a symptom of it. The anti-Semitism therein certainly can. It's hard to think of a more Sisyphean cause than one which pushes Adolf Hitler as an emulable hero. As every American patriot knows in his guts, there are three wars that have been foundational to the growth of America: the War of Independence, the Civil War and World War 2. Except in the environs where the likes of Howard Zinn are lionized, all three are proclaimed as wars wherein Good vanquished Evil. There has been some revisionism, but the core meaning of these wars hasn't been budged by it. Think of the rivers of revisionist ink consumed for the "Lost Cause," and what little effect they've had outside of essentially fringey areas. The cause of restoring the Confederacy is so politically impotent, activists would have a better chance at getting the American people to hand over part of it to Babu Omowale. If a chum of Calypso Louie has a better chance, and the current political augurs all say so, then the Cause is definitely Lost. If I had to make the Hobson's choice, I'd join a bunch of loonies who are pushing for the U.S. government to officially say that the Revolution was a mistake. Pushing for a Constitutional amendment to make America a monarchy, and put a descendant of George III on the throne, has the thin tailwind of the Special Relationship going for it. So, it's far less impossible than a program which implies that The Good War was a monumental mistake and its #1 villain was a misunderstood good guy.
When you see a group of people push a program that's blindingly infeasible, you do begin to wonder about them. They're so far into the ozone, you're sure to be branded a cuck by them simply by showing that you have some knowledge of how the political world works. When you encounter a group who are so oblivious to the gut beliefs of ordinary Americans, it's tempting to let them off the hook on the grounds that they're politically harmless. If some of them commit crimes, the justice system will take care of it. So will the Castle Doctrine.
There are White Nationalists who (for lack of a better term) are Overton-sane, like this fellow. But those people are intellectuals of the sort that can be found all over the Internet. The bloke I just cited places his White-Nationalist hopes for America, in part, on a program that looks a lot like a reparations scheme – only to qualify for the payout, the lucky payee has to permanently renounce his or her American citizenship and move to another country (presumably, an African one.) This part of his wish list is the only part that's remotely feasible, which he seems to realize.
The less politically loony these folks are, the less they count on politics and the more they count on "metapolitics." In practice, metapolitics means writing well-read stuff on the Internet, distributing leaflets, attending a thinly-populated demonstration for the Cause, and getting a grasp on how politics works from afar. We've had characters like this for decades; they never get anywhere. The only exception to the foregoing has been the New Left, and you already know they've had lots of patrons and tons of aid. Even today, the irritating SJWs in the universities are the cocks of the walk. White Nationalists do not have this decisive advantage, nor will they.
Add to the above the fact that many of them have career prospects that can be flatly described as awful. Not unlike Ann Barnhardt, RamZPaul is broke, jobless in Budapest and cut off from a normal existence. He ain't the only one. I've picked up signs that there's a rolling crackdown on youngsters who achieve notoriety by preaching anti-Semitism. There's some truth to the stereotype that the alt-right is composed of failures stuck in their parents' basement, and there is more than one way to interpret that generalization.Mischief…
Tying these all together, it's tempting to let the White Nationalists skate on these grounds:
Yep: there are good reasons to emulate the Youtube sage Sargon of Akkad and give 'em a fair shake, as he himself did in this video. Let 'em skate, just like a lot of the Greatest Generation let the New Left skate. They're similar to the hippies who believed "If It Feels Good, Do It" meant nothing more than cutting loose from the job world and taking up the art of drug-taking and navel-gazing. They'll come around.…And Trouble
As foreshadowed just above, the subtle problem is not the ones that the "Oh Noes!" liberals shriek about. We can interpret all those White-Nationalists' pixels devoted to complaining about "ZOG" as an unconscious recognition that their wish lists have no chance. Many of them have not figured out that a folkish political movement sorta requires identifying with and respecting the folk.[PDF] When you start off pegging the American volk as Burgerland Bear, it's kinda hard to get your völkische politics off the ground.
No, the peril does not lie in their mostly LARPy wish-list. Instead, the danger in White Nationalism comes from their questionable anthropology and consequent collectivism. It's a danger that's largely hidden, because - as Richard Spencer himself said - White Nationalists are positionally similar to the New Left. The movement is dominated, at the moment, by intellectuals: ones with a comprehensive critique of America that starts off by agreeing with liberals. Like the liberal who fancies himself a Jeffersonian, White Nationalists believe that America is a proposition nation. But instead of celebrating it, they deplore it.
Their critiques of America are ground in Nietzsche à là Ortega y Gasset. Propositional America is the home of the Last Man: lovers of convenience, cheap goods, a trouble-free life, and shallow pleasures, all wrapped up in a banal but comfortable existence. Because of their Nietzsche streak, they're not like New Lefties aching to "organize" a working class that doesn't have much use for them. In meme-speak, they're more prone to think of Burger Bear as a sap whose fate is to be gulled because he always comes back for more.
Their Nietzschean roots show in another way: they do not see professional conservatives as manipulative overlords. Instead, they believe, Beltway conservatives are self-deluded wannabes clinging blindly to their monographs and their Reagan. They're like a naïve fellow who buys a French, Italian or German title of nobility only to find out that it's little more than a fancy name. Or, they're like the legal heir to one of those titles who wonders why no-one of importance pays attention to him.
White-Nationalist intellectuals also say that the American Way is essentially vacuous. Just like an anti-democrat who observes that no-one will mount a barricade for the cause of getting the potholes fixed, they state that the propositional nation's credo of "You Have the Right to Do What You Please" is too vague to be a rallying cry. This vagueness creates a colours vacuum that has been filled by the flag of Equality, which offers a never-ending rationale for complaints and demands. The folks in the suits of armor are none other than Progressives. Those worthies, like the overlords of old (and rich Mexicans), are alienists. They despise the commonfolk who don't plead or yell for their protection; the ones who do are treated like indulged pets. Unlike Conservatives, White Nationalists believe that the current time of troubles is propositional-America's fulfillment: it was inevitable. A new America has to be grounded in something tangible instead of abstract.
They being largely intellectuals, their remedy is a White-Nationalist ethno-state that's carved out from a part of America. Since they're convinced that the proposition nation is destined to become a failed state, they don't worry that much about the Constitution, et. al. There's only one politician among them, though they might inspire politicians in the future.
And this is where the inner problem becomes evident. Despite their self-identification as Rightists, the politically potent parts of their writings are essentially left-wing. They push three hot buttons that are typically pushed by the Left:
In doddering-old-wreck land, it's easy to see how a practical politician would meet these complaints with an Overton-compatible wish list:
In other words, as is obvious to use drooling old folks who know how politicians put together their schemes, the Overton-compatible method is adapting the usual post-modern victim-politics template to assuage a pressure group that successfully plays victim politics. Never mind the Treasury, here's the White pistols.
We can have some momentary merriment by looking at the claque and guessing which of the "crusaders" will become Whitey McWhite's answer to Jesse Jackson, but the "White Genocide" victim politics is profoundly unfunny. Despite SJW bamboozling, the real buttress for the affirmative-action Tammany Hall is sympathy for poor folks. If you're not disadvantaged in that way, you have to cultivate a beggar's stump that suggests you are. That's the reason for the karmic tragedy of affluent blacks – and their kids – acting as if they were lower class. Victim politics necessitates the victim class chaining themselves to their lowers. In the black community, as we all know, this entails being chained to a cohort of lowers who are violent. In this sad Hobbesian world bequeathed us by big-government Leviathan, outright aggression is politically potent.Yes, It's The Culture
The potency of violence as an indirect political weapon unearths the real trouble that White Nationalism is capable of causing. Mostso because their pseudo-anthropology makes the claim that white folks are more co-operative and less violent than other breeds because of their genes.
This conceit will not survive an examination of the medieval period. Recently, a study published in Nature concluded that we human beings – generic humans, encompassing prehistorical as well as historical periods – have about a 2% chance of dying through violence inflicted by our fellow humans. This study is billed as "controversial," but it seems to be controversial in the same way that a lot of new findings are. The part of the study that deals with medieval Eurasia shows rates of violent death as high as 12%. Whitey is not exempt.
To see why, we need to turn back to Colin Flaherty. While working on his first book, Mr. Flaherty met retired prison psychologist Marlin Newburn. In law-enforcement areas, it's generally recognized that there are two behavioral traits exhibited by the type of people at risk for becoming criminals: poor impulse control and blame externalization. Someone exhibiting these traits is not necessarily a criminal, but the bulk of criminals exhibit both. Part and parcel of this toxic bundle – something that tends to come as a shock to a sheltered person – is that they lie easily.
Newburn fills in an important gap in the above. In this Hangout video with Mr. Flaherty, he starts off with a distillation of the mentality of the typical inner-city criminal."[E]verything's immediate gratification…if it feels good, do it…" (Let this one sink in for a moment.)
"[I]f anyone gets in my way, I have to beat them up; I have to harm them….[I]n the street, fighting is primary: the more sadistic, the more brutal, the bigger dude you are and the better you are." The 'Hodd criminal has the emotional maturity of a prepubescent boy: he's the psychological age of Trayvon Martin in his mother-supplied picture.
Prof. Newburn explains the type of perverse parenting that encourages that attitude: "you keep bailing them out, then you keep making excuses for them, and then you keep rescuing them and removing personal responsibility, there's no incentive or neurological growth to grow up!" Now, there are many kids who are spoiled in this way but do not turn out to be criminals. That's because they were taught right from wrong. If that training is not done, or is substituted with training in blame externalization, then the above complex is a fairly good predictor of criminal behavior.
That toxic parenting, rooted in perverse protectiveness, shows up in conflicts with legitimate authority. For example, an unruly kid is sent to the principal's office and a parent is called in. In normal families, the parent at least considers the principal's side of the matter. "What did Aubery do? Did he do wrong?" If the answer is yes, the parent sides with the principal. In a school system that hasn't gone bonkers, the answer is usually yes. So the parent co-operates with the principal, and the child learns that behaving badly has consequences.
Perversely-protective parents do the opposite. They come in with the attitude, "my kid right or wrong." In many cases, it's "my kid is right; the authority just has it in for him." That there institutional racism is keepin' the black folks down. So, a perversely-protective parent will fight the authority figure regardless of how badly the kid behaved as a way of standin' up for black. As well as for the kid, who's often in the room seeing Mommy or Daddy badgering the authority figure instead of judging his own behavior. It all good.
The kid learns that the only legitimate judge of his behavior is his parent: typically, his mother. When he hits puberty or thereabouts, it becomes the peer group. If outside authorities judge him or punish him for bad conduct, it's just another instance of Whitey keepin' the black man down.
When asked what he'd think if he faced a parent like that when the kid was sixteen or seventeen, Newburn replied: "That's a guarantee he will be a repeat offender. I guarantee you. I will bet you a year's pay….[W]hen parents do that, they: want to be in there when you're evaluating [the perp]… 'I want to be here!'" He also noted that the parent tends to be civil when alone with him, but "as soon as they bring the child in there, they turn into – demons! The parent does. 'How dare you! You should be understanding and caring!'" He then makes the very noteworthy point that race-hustling politicians, the bulk of the liberal media - and of course the bulk of the professoriate outside of his and related fields -all act as enablers. A child who's raised to think that it's the principal's fault that he was sent to the office, regardless of his own behavior, will grow up to think that that the police are at fault – regardless of his own behavior.
There are two subtle but vital points to remember. First of all, the above maladaptive behavior is not a "black thing." I'm sure that a large majority of black parents are not perversely protective. If otherwise, one of the standard theories about crime – that a small minority of bad apples cause most of the trouble – would fail to work. Objectively, this criminality is not a black thing. It's a lower-class thing: "lower-class" in the European sense of the term.
The second point, which is subtle because it apparently contradicts the first, is the fact that inner-city thugs have taken to racial collectivism to excuse their criminality. For them, it works appallingly well.
As noted above, the racial spoils system exploits our sympathy for the disadvantaged in the common-sense meaning of the term. In order to do so, the ones more affluent have to chain themselves to their lowers. They can call themselves "bogie" all they want, but we can see the effects of this chaining. Whenever you see a successful black person acting like a spoiled wonder after being stopped by the police – acting a lot like a posh character from days of yore that was "Driving While Taxpayer" - you're seeing that chaining. Poor impulse control…
As also noted above, the conceit that white folks are less prone to these toxic behaviors will not survive an examination of the medieval period. Back in the days of aristocracy, aristocrats and gentryfolk were fond of sayings like "the common people lie", "all peasants are thieves," "they're permanent children," and so on. Like virtually all moderns who've read of these, I had chalked them up to nothing more than class snobbery. But the information from that Hangout, plus the Nature study of human violence, suggests a different interpretation. The medieval period was notoriously for tolerating "The Devil made me do it." Like most sheltered book-boys, I though this meant nothing more than entertaining ludicrous conspiracy theories. But given that record of violence from the times, it's clear that "The Devil Made Me Do It" was an accepted or tolerated form of blame externalization. A prisoner that Newburn interviewed when he was a prison psychologist – a convicted murderer – said to the psychologist that he didn't know why God had permitted him to murder. He didn't blame God; he was just mystified. His words are eerily close to "The Devil Made Me Do It."
Compared to today, even to the time of troubles in the 1970s and '80s, the European murder rates before the 19th centuries were shockingly high. The same goes for American homicide rates, as seen in the second graph on this page. The decline in both is much too recent for there to be any Darwinian explanation. It's not a white thing. It's a cultural thing; more specifically, a statecraft thing. The two reasons for the modern decline in violent crime are:
With this history in mind, the potential problem of White Nationalism becomes clear.
Corrosion Never Sleeps
As discussed above, the most likely political effect of White Nationalism will be to make a place at the spoils-system table for certain white folks. Then, the folks invited in will get handed the menu of preferments and get served. As per the norm for affirmative-action programs, the bulk of the spoils will go to advantaged members of the disadvantaged group. We don't need to speculate what the effect will be: we already see it in the black place at the spoils-system table. If White Nationalists get hooked into the nation-scale Tammany Hall, at least one of their number will become a professional race hustler. And, all the prosperous members getting the gravy will use the same trick to make it appear that the preferments are going to the poor and helpless. They too will bond with their lowers.
In this sad Hobbesian age, grown by big-government Leviathan, it's the favourite-odds bet that they'll chain themselves to an increasingly violent White underclass. (We wearily know how well aggression works in politics.) They'll also "do our part" to excuse, condone and enable that criminality. As we learned from the above survey of the aulden days, Whitey McEurope is genetically capable of a lot of violence. What holds it back is the learned, cultural norms that go with democracy and policing.
To some, the idea that Whitey McWhite will encourage a violent White underclass is fantastical. From what I've seen, White Nationalists are intellectuals at heart; they're bookish. So extensively so, it could be argued that the flare-up of White Nationalism and anti-Semitism is nothing more than a bunch of youngsters who've glommed onto a way to make bookworming edgy, cool and dankly glamorous. They're just rebellious teenagers, plus overgrown teenagers, who found out that they too can be the cocks of the walk. Shut out from the massive institutional support that constitutes SJW privilege, the heart of which is a politically compromised university system, they compensate with outlandishness.
In sober fact, they come across as polite and well-behaved as the early hippies and New Lefties circa 1965. How is it possible that a well-behaved group could cause so much trouble?
Unlike the Greatest Generation, who had to find out the hard way, we know the answer all-too-well.
Thankfully, Donald Trump's Civic Nationalism provides a way to co-opt and take down this movement without setting up a new branch office for the racial spoils system. Granted: there are reasons to complain about his big-government Republicanism. But it does have the advantage of helping out disadvantaged whites without dogging the United States with yet another grievance industry. We know all too well what trouble has been caused by the extent grievance-mongers; the last thing we need are more of them. The more a Trump Administration solves the problem of Rust-Belt dispossession, even if his means are questionable on other grounds, the smaller the axe that the White Nationalists grind will be. That would be a mixed blessing, admittedly, but also a real blessing.
Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.