This essay is excerpted from my book New Right vs. Old Right, available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle and Nook Ebook formats.
“This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco.
This ain’t no foolin’ around.”
—Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”
I have been involved with the White Nationalist scene since the year 2000. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but not entirely so. The hardest thing to take has not been the crooks and crazies, but the pervasive lack of moral seriousness, even among the best-informed and most principled White Nationalists. I know people who sincerely believe that our race is being subjected to an intentional policy of genocide engineered by the organized Jewish community. Yet when faced with a horror of this magnitude, they lead lives of consummate vanity, silliness, and self-indulgence.
I am convinced that more people will get involved with our cause if we follow two rules: (1) each person gets to determine his own level of explicitness and involvement, and (2) the rest of us have to respect those decisions. But our cause will never move forward unless we can also persuade people to (1) do everything they can within their own individually determined comfort zones, and (2) expand their comfort zones, so they are willing to take greater risks for the cause. But to do that, we need to grapple with the issue of moral seriousness.
I know White Nationalists who would run down the street in broad daylight shouting “thief!” at the top of their lungs if their car were being stolen. But when confronted with the theft of our whole civilization and the very future of our race, they merely mutter euphemisms in the shadows.
I know White Nationalists who are fully apprised of the gravity of the Jewish problem, who have seen the Jewish takeover and subversion of one Right-wing institution after another, and yet still think that they can somehow “use” Jews.
I know White Nationalists who are fully aware of the corruption of the political establishment yet still get caught up in election campaigns. I know outright National Socialists who have donated far more to Republicans than they have to the movement.
I know White Nationalists who spend $50,000 a year on drinks and lap dances—or $30,000 a year dining out—or $25,000 a year on their wardrobes—or $100,000 on a wedding, yet bitterly complain about the lack of progress in the movement.
I know White Nationalists who tithe significant portions of their income to churches which pursue anti-white policies, yet never consider regular donations to the pro-white cause.
I know people with convictions to the right of Hitler who argue that we should never claim that we are fighting for the white race or against Jewish power, but who still think that somehow our people will want to follow us rather than 10,000 other race-blind, Jew-friendly conservative groups.
I know White Nationalists who believe that our race is being exterminated, yet insist that our enemies “know not what they do,” that they are deceiving themselves, that they are fundamentally people of good will, and that this is all some sort of ghastly misunderstanding.
I know White Nationalists who would never admit to hating anyone or anything, even the vulture gnawing at their entrails.
None of them are being forced to behave this way. All of them are operating within their self-defined comfort zones. All of them could do more, even within their comfort zones. So why do they fail to comport themselves with the urgency and moral seriousness called for by the destruction of everything we hold dear?
I want to suggest two explanations. First, deep in their hearts, they don’t believe that we can win, so they aren’t really trying. Second, and more importantly, they are still wedded to the bourgeois model of life.
People display their true priorities when facing death.
The true intellectual values truth more than life itself. Socrates is a hero to intellectuals because when forced to choose between giving up philosophy or death, he chose death. Most intellectuals do not face that choice, but if they do, they hope they are capable of heroism too, for nothing reveals fidelity to truth more clearly than a martyr’s death.
The true warrior values honor more than life itself. Leonidas and the 300 are heroes to warriors because when faced with death or dishonor, they preferred death. Again, not every warrior faces the choice so starkly, but if he does, he hopes he will choose a glorious death, for nothing reveals fidelity to honor more clearly than a heroic death.
Bourgeois man values nothing higher than life itself. He fears nothing more than a violent death. Therefore, there is no form of heroic death that demonstrates true fidelity to bourgeois values. The true intellectual dies a martyr. The true warrior dies on the battlefield. The true bourgeois looks forward to a comfortable retirement and dying in bed.
Yes, countless American soldiers have died fighting for “freedom,” “democracy,” and college money. But they have been suckered out of their lives by men who think there is nothing worth dying for, so that the bourgeoisie can make money, play golf, and die in bed.
You only have one death. Thus even people who would glory in heroic martyrdom have to choose their battles wisely and make their deaths count. Yes, you have to pace yourself. Yes, you have to save yourself. Yes, you can’t live as if every day were your last.
But these truisms easily serve as rationalizations for cowardice. Because, at a certain point, you have to ask what you are saving yourself for. You can’t take it with you. And ultimately, accomplishments do not come from saving ourselves but from spending ourselves. What we do not give, will be taken by death in the end.
Yet the whole bourgeois dream is premised on evading this simple, grim reality. Bourgeois man seeks eternal springtime and perpetual peace, a “happily ever after” on sunlit putting greens, free of tragic choices and tragic grandeur, free of ideals that can pierce his heart and shed his blood.
But you can’t overthrow a system you are invested in. You can’t challenge the rulers of this world and count on reaching retirement age. You can’t do battle with Sauron while playing it safe. In the face of world-annihilating evil, we can no longer afford to be such men.