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Spend Yourself, Save the World

AtlasRockefellerCenter [1]1,440 words

Translations: Czech [2]Spanish [3]

Audio version: To listen in a player, click here [4]. To download the mp3, right-click here [4] and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to our podcasts, click here [5].

Sometime in 2003, I was feeling tired and thinking of knocking off work on a movement-related project. It was 2:30 a.m., and I had not been sleeping well for a while. But then a question occurred to me: “What are you saving yourself for?” Did I really need my beauty sleep? Everything we save has to be spent eventually, because death will take it away in the end. And we will not save the world by saving ourselves. We will save it only by spending ourselves.

So I put in another 90 minutes, then slept soundly and got up the next day with renewed energy and eagerness. For I discovered that sometimes when we ask more of ourselves, we find that we have more to give — more than we ever suspected.

A perennial question debated by American Rightists is why does politics continually drift to the Left [6]. An important factor is simply that the Left is morally stronger than the Right, which gives them a systematic advantage.

Moral strength has two dimensions.

First, Leftists are on average more dedicated, idealistic, and altruistic than Rightists. Meaning that they are willing to work harder and sacrifice more to bring about their ideals.

Second, Leftists and mainstream Rightists both share the same basic egalitarian individualist outlook, but Leftists are truer to their ideals, whereas Rightists are more willing to compromise their ideals out of timidity, greed, and inertia. But other things being equal, a principled man is morally stronger than a hypocrite, so the Leftists always wrangle the Right around in the end.

Many racial nationalists reject egalitarian individualism. We think that individualism and equality are not entirely without value. But they are not the highest values of a society. The highest value is the common good: the preservation and flourishing of our people. When equality or individualism conflict with that, the common good must always win out.

But although we reject the moral premises of the Left, destroying one of their moral advantages at the root, we have not yet equaled the Left’s other moral advantage: their superior idealism, commitment, and self-sacrifice. And other things being equal, the team that can muster these to a greater degree will win.

In this area, the main stumbling block of the Right is bourgeois morality. As I define it, the bourgeois ethic holds that the highest good is a long, comfortable, secure life. This is in contradistinction to the aristocratic ethos that holds honor as the highest value, to which the aristocrat is willing to sacrifice both his life and his wealth. (Bourgeois man, by contrast, is all too willing to sacrifice his honor to pursue wealth and extend his life.) The bourgeois ethic is also opposed to the willingness of idealists to die for principles, whether religious, political, or philosophical.

The bourgeois ethos was articulated by early modern philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, and Hume, who heap scorn on the “pride and vainglory” of aristocrats and the “superstition and enthusiasm” of fanatics, for these values make men “contentious and quarrelsome,” which interferes with the peaceful pursuit of happiness by the “industrious and rational.”

In terms of Plato’s tripartition of the soul [7] between reason, spirit (thumos), and desire, the fanatic is ruled by reason since his highest values are matters of principle; the aristocrat is ruled by spirit since his highest value is honor; and the bourgeois man is ruled by desire, since his highest value is a long, peaceful, and prosperous life.

The bourgeois pursuit of happiness basically reduces human motives to greed and fear: greed for more life, more property, more security — and fear of death, insecurity, and material loss. Over time, the very possibility of other motives — idealism and self-sacrifice — have receded from the bourgeois understanding of psychology.

That pretty much sums up the mentality of American bourgeois conservatives, whose entire ethic is devoted to saving themselves and accumulating wealth rather than expending them on higher values. When he encounters people with higher concerns, bourgeois man either argues that they are merely acting out of a disguised form of egoism, or, when this fails, he clucks disapprovingly about the inscrutable wellsprings and evil consequences of human fanaticism.

The Left mobilizes greater dedication, idealism, and self-sacrifice than the Right simply because it disdains bourgeois man’s selfishness and anti-intellectualism. Even Marxism [8], which has an entirely materialistic value system, in effect “backs into” idealism and self-sacrifice merely by negating the bourgeois ethos. White Nationalism desperately needs to do the same.

Unfortunately, the American White Nationalist movement is thoroughly bourgeois. We have a culture of excuse-making and failure, a “can’t do” attitude. I have sat through far too many meetings in which weary old sellouts persuade young idealists to follow the bourgeois path: keep their heads down, keep their mouths shut, pursue their careers, and accumulate money, until . . . Well, that is never made clear. But the answer is: (1) until they die with their fortunes and mainstream reputations intact, without accomplishing a fraction of what they could have done with a different ethic, or (2) until men who don’t take such advice create a movement worth following.

The European movement is far healthier than the North American one, primarily because the United States and Canada are entirely bourgeois societies, whereas Europe still has remnants of a pre-bourgeois ethos. North America was largely peopled by those who preferred the pursuit of economic opportunities over ties to their homeland, whereas those who remained behind faced the same choice and elected to stay. Such preferences continue to matter today.

Even American White Nationalists who reject conservatism still think in entirely bourgeois psychological terms [7] and cannot fathom motives other than greed and fear. But they can’t beat our enemies if they can’t understand them or ourselves.

There are White Nationalists who deny that morality plays any role in politics at all, since people are entirely motivated by greed and fear. They are unaware that this concept of human motivation is itself a moral code, namely the bourgeois one, and that there are other moral codes that disdain such mean motives.

There are White Nationalists who claim that altruism or idealism are merely masks for purely selfish motives. But they do not explain why, if everyone is really just selfish, so many people bother faking a morality that they claim is practiced by nobody at all.

In biological terms, altruism is any act that decreases the fitness of the actor while increasing the fitness of related individuals, which also helps promote the actor’s own genes in those whom he benefits. Parasitism is when an actor works to benefit genetically unrelated individuals, such as when a bird incubates the eggs and feeds the chicks of a brood parasite species.

White dispossession, including white self-destruction or racial suicide, is taking place because our biological altruism has been transformed into biological parasitism. Regardless of who is promoting and benefiting from such behavior, it would not have been possible if whites did not have a predisposition to moral universalism and impartiality, which makes it possible for us to conceive of even dramatically unrelated people as members of a common moral community. It would also not be possible if our sense of high-mindedness did not include a willingness to make moral gestures toward strangers — even at the risk they will not be reciprocated — in the hope of expanding our moral community, and to persist in these gestures again and again, even when they are rebuffed or exploited. A crucial task of White Nationalists is to combat such self-destructive moralism, and to scale our altruism back within biologically functional bounds.

But if the Left is too altruistic, the bourgeois Right is not altruistic enough. Prizing one’s individual life above the race is a silly thing. Higher values are objective and persistent, not subjective and fleeting. The individual dies, but the race can live on — if it finds the right defenders. Bourgeois individualists tend to lose sight of the purpose of wealth and reputation, which only make a difference if spent, not saved, and are wasted if death takes them intact.

As a movement, we need to cultivate idealists who take principles seriously and warriors who are willing to fight and, if necessary, die for our people. Only these people have the moral strength to begin pulling the political spectrum back towards the Right. Our impact on the world is based on what we spend, not what we save. We have to spend ourselves to save the world.