In this talk, Michael O’Meara defines one of the crucial elements of the metapolitical project of Counter-Currents Publishing and North American New Right. This is the second essay in Dr. O’Meara’s new book Toward the White Republic, available here.
“J’attends les Cosaques et le Saint-Esprit.”
My talk this evening is about what might be called “the power of myth.”
I refer here not to the Bill Moyers’ program of the same name, but rather to the politics of white racial preservation and specifically to what preservation entails at the deepest level of the human psyche, at that level of primordial symbolical activity, which is the realm of myth and epic poetry.
In approaching this subject, let me start with a few words about The Occidental Quarterly, for that’s where the subject begins.
The Quarterly’s project is not about myth per se, but about “metapolitics,” which, though it has a mythic dimension, deals mainly with rationally-examined ideas and values.
What is “metapolitics”?
This is a term you won’t find in the dictionary, and when it enters political discourse its meaning is often unclear.
I understand the term “metapolitics” mainly by analogy. Metapolitics is to politics as metaphysics is to physics.
What, then, is the relationship of metaphysics to physics?
According to my dictionary, physics is “the science of matter and energy and of the interaction between the two.”
“Metaphysics,” by contrast, is about that which is beyond physics—that is, it’s about the ultimate reality (assuming there is one) upon which the world of energy and matter rests.
Metaphysics, then, studies that which is the basis for the study of physics (whatever that may be).
Now if metapolitics is to politics as metaphysics is to physics, then metapolitics might be defined as that which addresses all those things that make politics possible.
Like the broad sense of metaphysics, metapolitics refers to a number of possible subjects. For example: It can refer to ideology, to culture, to the prevailing conceptual paradigms, to the social hegemonies shaping the political field and framing the way we approach them. It can even refer to the irrational and subliminal forces affecting public behavior.
I can’t give you a precise definition of “metapolitics” (I think none exists), but I can explain something of what metapolitics means to The Occidental Quarterly.
The Quarterly’s subtitle is: “Western Perspectives on Man, Culture, and Politics.”
“Western Perspectives” here means “white” or “European-American” perspectives on man, culture, and politics.
Accordingly, the Quarterly’s metapolitical project examines and entertains ideas of man, culture, and politics from the perspective of what they mean for white men—and by implication what they mean in terms of their fitness, suitability, and adaptability to the politics of white racial preservation.
This metapolitical project is important not simply because ideas, as our conservatives tell us, “have consequences.” But also because we live in an age of inversion, where all the traditional ideas, along with all the traditional values and beliefs, have been subverted and turned against whites.
The Quarterly’s metapolitical project, it follows, is about intellectually arming whites so that, at one level, horizontally, they can collectively resist the inverted forces threatening them as a people—and that, vertically, they can affirm and assert those ideas and values which are distinct to the European-American spirit.
Yet, despite all this and despite the fact that its metapolitical project addresses the most elemental aspects of our existence, the Quarterly’s focus on ideas, and sometimes high ideas, is of interest, alas, to but a few.
The “people” as a mass lack any interest in what they see as the unreal, impractical, and often inaccessible realm of ideas.
Whenever they enter the historical arena under the banner of the great social and nationalist movements, they are, for this reason, moved not by ideas, not even by self-interest, but by something else entirely—which has to do with (let’s call it) the mythic core of metapolitics.
Before getting to this, let me just quickly finish what I started to say about The Occidental Quarterly. The writers, activists, and sponsors who support its metapolitical project are not merely interested in understanding and interpreting the inverted world that seeks the destruction of their kind. They want also to change this world.
The Quarterly’s metapolitical project aims, thus, at putting in motion a movement—in thought, to start—that will lead to the eventual founding of a white ethnostate and, with it, a restoration of the white man’s rightful place in the world—and I don’t mean this in any Hollywood Nazi sense, but rather in terms of a people’s national right to retain the ownership and control of their own lands
If history is any guide, the great transformative movements of the past depended on a variety of subjective and objective factors. Objectively, some sort of crisis of regime has usually been a precondition for setting an oppositional movement in motion; this could entail a crisis of legitimacy or a social or economic breakdown.
Such a crisis will not, however, culminate in a revolutionary transformation unless certain subjective forces—in the form of a revolutionary movement—are prepared to exploit the crisis for the movement’s sake. Generally, this entails that a movement possesses both a cadre (capable of leading the movement) and a mass following (that gives the movement’s leadership the social leverage to carry out a revolutionary transformation of the existing system).
The cadre are the active minorities, the militants and intellectuals, who possess the communication and bargaining skills to articulate and define the movement’s cause, who establish the organizations that represent their cause in the real world, and who lay the groundwork that—ideally—will eventually intersect the mobilized masses, whose leadership they aspire to win.
These active minorities are the movement’s brains and hands, for their cultural and organizational activities prepare the way for the movement’s history-changing role.
The Quarterly’s metapolitical project falls within the domain of such activity, which is why it has an important role to play in this period.
But if every great movement is articulated and organized by its active minorities, who constitute, in effect, a potential counter-elite, challenging the ruling elites, its success in the end depends less on the quality of their ideas or even the viability of their organization than on the masses who identify with their struggle and willingly make the sacrifices necessary to realize its goals.
Indeed, without significant mass support, no revolutionary movement has ever reached its end.
As one German nationalist put it: “The history of the world is made by [active] minorities only if they embody the will and aspirations of the majority.”
Given that the heroism and self-sacrifice of the masses have been pivotal to virtually every revolutionary transformation of the modern era—and that these same masses are moved not by ideas or self-interest—how, then, are they to be rallied to the cause of white racial preservation?
One of the great revolutionaries who started us thinking about this question is Georges Sorel, who, not coincidentally, had a major influence on the revolutionary anti-liberal wing of the labor movement, as well as on the revolutionary anti-liberal wing of the nationalist movement (and it’s worth mentioning that the historical synthesis of these two movements—of the revolutionary labor and nationalist movements—in the interwar period [1918–1939] led directly to the emergence of Fascism, National Socialism, and other anti-liberal Third Way tendencies representing the historical high-water mark of revolutionary nationalism).
The motive force behind mass movements, Sorel saw, cannot be explained, as liberals and Marxists do, in terms of rationalist, pragmatic, materialist, or self-interested factors—for the masses making up a social movement do not behave like liberalism’s Economic Man. Sorel, in fact, saw excessive rationalism as both a source and a symptom of contemporary decadence.
The bonds that tie men to reality and compel them to act are rarely based on cold reason or calculation. The human intellect, especially its rationalist mode, is simply part of a larger human consciousness—a consciousness synonymous not just with man’s reasoning mind, but more fundamentally with his life as a social, moral being rooted in families and the tribal affiliations that make his communities resilient. At this level, the consciousness motivating the collective behavior of mass movements is “irrational,” for it is dictated not by self-interest and calculation, but by more elemental passions.
Reason, self-interest, and other such factors may, of course, bring about reform and self-improvement and every modern social system depends on them, but these factors never propel men into battle at the risk of life and limb. They never cause a people to go beyond the bounds of reasonable considerations, to shun their narrow egoism, and take risks that challenge the prevailing state of things.
Something more primordial is always at work whenever the masses enter the historical arena.
For Sorel, a people assumes a historical role only when they are seized by an enthralling myth, whose symbols embody both their conscious and unconscious worldview and accord with their moral and ethical judgments about what’s fair or just. Myth, as such, forms communities of like-minded people and thus a sense of solidarity, just as the heroic sensibility it fosters makes possible the social and moral renewal that’s part of every revolutionary transformation.
“As long as there are no myths accepted by the masses,” Sorel writes, “one may go on talking of revolt indefinitely, without provoking any revolutionary movement.”
In Sorel’s view, myth is that “body of images which, by intuition alone,” is “capable of evoking . . . the sentiments which correspond to the different manifestations” of a people’s distinct spirit, as this people struggles to assert itself as a specific life form. Myth thus translates a people’s hopes and needs into their own idiom and feeds these hopes and needs back to them in ways that render them plausible and attractive.
Myth, in this Sorelian sense, grows out of not just the struggle itself, but the unmediated life of those who come to believe it.
Born, thus, from a people’s sense of itself, myth creates not just a sense of mission, but the courage to act—as a self-conscious, self-asserting force of life.
In this way, it serves as an assertion of a people’s will, the projection or the imagining of an alternative life that appeals to what is best in the spirit of their kind.
The myth can be about the Second Coming of Christ or about the General Strike of the syndicalists. What’s important is that the myth condenses and amalgamates the beliefs of its believers into a single compelling image to overwhelm every category opposing it.
As an unconscious but compelling force, myth as such justifies a people, it explains why they differ from other people, it affirms them in their right to assert themselves as who they are, it defines them and their friends, just as it distinguishes them from their enemies. One might even follow Schelling in believing that myth is what founds a people as a community of consciousness.
Because it arises from a people’s conviction and experience (some of which go back to Homer), it has nothing to do with Utopian or ideological plans for what should be or can be.
Myth is indeed not a description of things or a rational alternative to the present, but an expression of a determination to act.
To use a religious term (though it is not necessarily about religion), myth has an eschatological role to play, for it refers to the Final Days, to “ultimate and last things,” to that coming catastrophic collision between the forces of good and evil. This makes it a matter of faith—the faith of those who believe that no matter how grim or disappointing the present may be, their cause and their kind are bound to triumph once the moment of decision strikes—because their cause and their kind await a higher destiny than the negative one their enemies would have them follow.
This faith is what imbues the myth’s believers with the willingness to make great sacrifices, even to die, for their beliefs—these same people who would normally never go out of their way for an idea, a political project, or a theory.
Those in the grip of a great myth—Irish nationalists in communion with Pearse’s Blood Sacrifice, 16th-century Calvinists convinced of their Predestination—such peoples, through the force that myth exerts on their character, acquire the power to make history.
But lacking such a captivating myth, there can be no history-changing movement.
In this context, The Occidental Quarterly may play a role in educating active minorities in the tradition they inherit, which is crucial to any future organization or tendency representing the white nationalist movement, but without a myth that grips the white masses and instills in them a sense of historical meaning, there will be no National Revolution.
At this point, the question inevitably arises: What myth could possibly capture the imagination of the white masses and instill in them the enthusiasm for a white homeland?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know. A myth cannot be rationally constructed and imposed on a people.
It cannot even become self-conscious, for once it is seen as a myth it ceases to work.
By nature, a myth grows out of a people’s life, speaks to the sense they have of themselves, and becomes their movement’s rationale.
But after saying this, I nevertheless think it’s safe to claim that the white nationalist myth will have little to do with IQ scores, black crime rates, Jewish malfeasance, or the superiority of European culture (though it will likely have much to do with the anti-white practices that have come with the colored invasion of the white homelands). To the degree any of these issues have the capacity to move the white masses, I suspect it will be in conjunction with whatever myth ends up capturing their imagination. For however important, these things in themselves are not the stuff of myth.
No one can predict, then, what the founding myth of a white nationalist movement will be.
But speaking personally, I know that I myself am already in the grips of a powerful myth—the myth of what I call the White Republic.
Other possible myths probably exist or will come to exist.
But for me it’s the White Republic that evokes the total captivating image of what we are about as a movement.
I recently wrote: “The prospect of an independent white homeland in North America, free of the Jew-ridden US government, with its colored multitudes and parasitic institutions: This one image says everything, explains everything, promises everything.”
Why? Because the myth of a White Republic means secession from the United States. As such, it implies an all-white national community, which, in turn, would mean a total rejection of the existing blood-sucking system of cultural-racial chaos that shames us and causes us to hate the world in which we have to live.
At the same time, the myth of a White Republic implies an end to miscegenation, to affirmative action, to the rising tide of color. But above all, the image of the White Republic implies a regeneration of our people, reborn from principles of self-assertion, self-interest, self-determination, and sovereignty.
I believe all these implications, which the image of a White Republic awakens in us, are the stuff of myth, for, in my mind at least, its image says everything, explains everything, promises everything.
The Occidental Quarterly will, of course, continue to validate the demonstrated truths that inspire the white nationalist project, the truths whose criterion is life, not bloodless reason. But what we white nationalists await most impatiently is the moment when our people begin to take inspiration from their own myths.
For if the white man should ever believe in his myths, in his self, again, then, at that point, all the diseased and contemptible human offshoots of late 20th-century American degradation, whose culminating abomination is the existing System, will at last be forced, as the wheel of history turns, to flee the wrath of the reborn people.
It’s images of this sort, I believe, that will shape the white nationalist myth.
The text of a talk delivered on June 19, 2009 at a TOQ Editor’s Dinner in San Francisco.
TOQ Online, June 20, 2009