Robert S. Griffin
The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce
Bloomington, Ind.: 1stBooks Library, 2001
The cause of white resurgence around the world in the post-war years has deserved better leaders than it has had—at least in many countries and for much of the time. In the United States, just as here in Britain, all too few men of genuine ability, character, and commitment have come forward to assume the responsibilities in our struggle that the struggle demands. This, much more than nit-picking issues concerning imagery and tactics, is what has held us back.
This is why it was such a major tragedy that Dr. William L. Pierce was taken away from us by cancer in 2002, ahead of his time and when there was so much of his work still to be done. I began following Dr. Pierce’s political career quite soon after it began in the early 1960s, and traced his development thereafter.
“Career” would in fact not be an appropriate word to describe this process. It smacks too much of the self-seeking opportunism that we have come to expect of our elected representatives within the system laughably called “democracy.” William Pierce’s political life was a vocation and a mission, for which he received little personal reward. Of course he never sought such things, for he personified the true revolutionary who battles onward against the spirit of his times, moved by a vision not understood by the majority of his contemporaries. One day he will be given his place in the pantheon of white heroes, but he was doomed not to live to see it.
Dr. Robert Griffin is an American academic of uncertain ideological leanings, who became aware of William Pierce a few years ago and was immediately fascinated by him. He decided to write a book about the man who by this time was leader of the National Alliance, which organization he ran from a remote mountainside in West Virginia. Not a man to do things by halves, Dr. Griffin took himself to the Alliance headquarters and spent several weeks there, talking to his subject in the evenings and, between times, observing the general goings-on and getting to know some of Pierce’s chief colleagues.
The result of Griffin’s labors is a book running to over 400 pages which does not once give any hint of either a sympathetic, or hostile attitude towards its central character and his activities and beliefs. In a way this is what a biography ideally should be, though it seldom is in the real world. As a portrait the book is refreshingly objective: it neither eulogizes the man being studied nor suggests that he is without personal faults, a few of which are highlighted but without any attempt at point-scoring.
It does point out one very important fact: that William Pierce did not come to racial nationalist politics by way of being a nobody or a loser. By the time he was thirty he was well on the way to a successful and well-paid career as a professor of physics, having graduated as such from Rice University, Texas, in 1955. He was married and had begun to build a family. He had much more to lose by giving his life to an unconventional cause than do the majority who take that path.
The chapters of the book throw the spotlight on the various individuals from whom Pierce drew inspiration. One of the earlier ones was George Bernard Shaw, who in Man and Superman got him thinking about the necessity of a quest for human improvement and of courage in facing unpopular truths. A little later Pierce was profoundly affected by the atmosphere in the United States accompanying the Vietnam War. Seeing the baying mobs demonstrating in support of the regime that was then, rightly or wrongly, the country’s enemy, he wondered how America could tolerate this treason. Would such things have been tolerated at the height of World War II? This provided much to ponder on.
In the following chapter the book focuses on Pierce’s newly awakened interest in Hitler. In declaring this to the author of a book intended for mass-circulation in a country like the United States, Pierce was of course breaking familiar taboos; but he was never a man to give a damn what the ordinary herd of people thought. In reading Mein Kampf Pierce found an echo of the opinions he had been forming on race, the Jewish question, democracy and much else.
However, at that time he decided to satisfy his inclination towards political action by joining something much more conventional and “respectable.” In 1962 he enlisted in the John Birch Society, a conservative body founded by a candy tycoon, Robert Welch. It soon became clear that the Birchers, as they were known, wanted to skate around the issues that Pierce regarded as crucially important, and like many others he suffered disillusionment.
All or Nothing
Pierce was up to this time still career-orientated and regarded politics as just a spare-time pursuit. All this was to change when he met and, for a time, joined forces with George Lincoln Rockwell, head of what became known as the American Nazi Party. Pierce came to like and respect Rockwell personally, but to regard his organization as over-theatrical and not geared to the practicalities of American politics of the period. However, the short experience of involvement in this group changed his life. He decided that the cause he had found demanded an all-or-nothing approach from him, and he abandoned his physics career to become a full-time revolutionary activist—a sacrifice which many around the western world pursuing lucrative occupations know in their hearts they should make, but which very few are prepared to make. Hence the landscape littered with the wreckage of well-meant political enterprises undertaken by others much less able and qualified but who have assumed leadership by the default of their social and intellectual “superiors.” If a fraction of the really talented men of the West took the plunge that William Pierce took, we would today be a long way nearer political success and power.
The Rockwell organization virtually folded with the assassination of its founder by a deranged follower in 1967. Pierce, learning all the time, looked for a new avenue and found it in a group called the National Youth Alliance, which he soon took over and changed into the National Alliance. This was to be the organization to which the remainder of his life was consecrated.
Building an Elite
Having become contemptuous of mass politics, Pierce set out to make the Alliance an elite type of movement, seeking only the best material for recruitment. Progress was slow and, at times, almost in reverse. He found an office close to Washington DC and spent enormously long hours there, performing himself chores that it should have taken several people to do. He got into the habit of sleeping in the building during the week and only returning home at weekends to his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was there that I visited and stayed with him when touring the United States in 1979. The lifestyle took its inevitable toll on his marriage—an area where he was doomed never to enjoy contentment for long. Five wives attempted to adjust to his life as a political heretic and none really succeeded. Griffin gives an account of this in his book, more in the manner of regret than of condemnation.
Later, Pierce left the Washington area and moved to the rural wilderness where he was to spend the remainder of his days.
The book proceeds with reference to other individuals and episodes forming part of the fascinating Pierce story. There was his acquaintance with Professor Revilo Oliver, the famed classical scholar and perhaps the leading racial nationalist intellectual in the English-speaking world of his time; his interest in the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who impressed him as a model of courage and determination but with whom he parted company on a number of issues, particularly religion; not least, his close relationship with William Gayley Simpson, the author of Which Way Western Man?, an update on the doctrines of Friedrich Nietzsche, to whose teachings he (Simpson) graduated from being a Franciscan missionary.
Venture Into Fiction
The book recounts Pierce’s venture into the writing of fiction with two novels, The Turner Diaries and Hunter, each of which pictures people resorting to extra-legal methods, including assassination, in doomsday scenarios in a future America. These books, particularly the former, have enjoyed huge sales; but it is my opinion that they were the products of moments when personal frustration got the better of the writer’s pre-eminent virtue as ideologist and political strategist.
Perhaps the most interesting of all are the final chapters, which explore in fair detail Dr. Pierce’s views on the major issues of his time. Race and the Jewish question are, predictably, foremost. However, Pierce had a lot to say that is worth hearing on education and the relationship between the sexes. The evil of “feminism” (a word that I tend to use in inverted commas because the concept is the polar opposite of femininity) was always a big issue with William Pierce—and with good reason: so much of the pathology of white surrender that is endemic in 20th and 21st century liberalism stems from the loss in the European and Euro-American elite of the masculine virtues. The masculine-feminine balance in society and racial culture is important in areas far beyond mere questions of individual “rights” and arguments about job-selection and the like. Pierce fully recognized this, and what he wrote on the subject should be diligently studied.
In essence, Pierce understood that white nations have been in decline because they have become feminized. That is to say that feminine responses to issues, instead of existing in healthy balance with male ones, have come to predominate over everything and have reduced white society to one gigantic nursery in which care, nurture, and safety have become the dominating priorities as opposed to hardness, boldness, risk, and the super-personal judgments essential in statesmanship.
It is ironic that Dr. Griffin’s choice of title for the book, taken from an old Norse poem, was made (presumably) with no premonition that it was about to represent the literal truth shortly after publication. William Pierce did not survive to see the book, nor the proper fruits of his labors; but then he worked always for posterity. In that sense he was everything that a modern politician is not.
Source: Spearhead, no. 437, July 2005, pp. 18–19