MAGA Mindset: Making YOU and America Great Again
Castalia House, 2016
Donald Trump’s success over the last two years was of a nature bound to foment wonder. From his first speech at the base of Trump Tower to the stunning denouement on election night, Trump gave a master class on unrepentant “winning,” and seemed perpetually five steps ahead of his opponents.
We as identitarians cheered this on, not just for the overlap Trump had with our beliefs, but because we couldn’t help but respect and appreciate the masculine nature with which he dispatched those opponents and fought on against overwhelming odds.
Supporters and adversaries alike were awed by this preternatural success, which seemed both Machiavellian and effortless at different moments. Unsurprisingly, a great amount of debate cropped up attempting to make sense of it, and to make what seemed like an almost unnatural phenomenon explainable.
To my mind the most interesting of these discussions centered on Trump’s use of what has been labelled “persuasion” and “mindset.”
Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, wrote extensively on these overlapping phenomena during the campaign, and those columns achieved a great degree of notoriety. James O’Meara, also writing for Counter-Currents, crafted an excellent analysis of Trump’s connection to Norman Vincent Peale, the man many consider the originator of both concepts. Yet Mike Cernovich is the only individual I know of who has authored an entire book on the subject, and for that reason MAGA Mindset: Making YOU And America Great Again is of particular value to those who – like us – seek to emulate Trump’s success.
There is no doubt that what Cernovich describes as “mindset” has been a huge part of what Trump has achieved in life, and especially during his journey to becoming president. MAGA Mindset is not limited to this focus, however, but in turn uses Trump as a case example to demonstrate the utility of “mindset” to the individual reader. I believe it is successful in this regard, and that an understanding of the subject is of value to us as well, in our own political struggle.
In this vein, this article will not be focused on Trump’s life or campaign specifically, either, or on the question of “mindset” alone, but rather on what we as identitarians can learn and extrapolate from each, and from the book in question.
By identitarians, I should add, I mean those of us who proudly and purposefully identify as Europeans or members of the ethnic-European diaspora, who work towards the preservation or creation of homogenous, culturally distinct homelands, and who (especially) fight against the genocidal destruction being waged against Western Europe. While this is the perspective that I will be evaluating the book from, I am not evaluating it as a representation of such ideas, as to my knowledge neither the book nor its author make claims to that effect. The goals of forging such homelands and achieving Reconquest in Europe share at least some degree of political territory with Cernovich’s book and with Trump’s campaign, but questions regarding the degree of such overlap are not the focus of this article.
MAGA Mindset: Making YOU And America Great Again has 112 pages, and is available in Kindle, hardcover, and paperback. It has attractive cover art that includes an illustration of Trump above a phoenix rising from an ashen America. The book – which Cernovich wrote during the election and published shortly before Trump’s victory – was edited and published by Vox Day through his company, Castalia House.
The text is split up into three sections: “Culture,” “Media,” and “Mindset.” Each delves into a different aspect of Trump’s rise and the significance of his campaign, with the latter of the three attempting to provide lessons to readers on how to apply the same mindset “principles” Trump uses.
The first section contains the book’s description of modern American politics, which is framed as primarily a struggle between nationalists and globalists. Cernovich connects this to what he states are “the four main engines of Trump’s appeal.”
These four “engines” are an outgrowth of Trump’s mindset. The first is the fact that, as Cernovich states, “Trump is not a conservative. Trump is a nationalist.” The second is Trump’s “rejection of the concept of white guilt.” To this end, Cernovich highlights both the anti-white hatred of globalists such as Chris Hayes and Kevin Williamson, as well as the “cuckservatism” of Trump’s erstwhile fellow “conservatives.” Through the lens of the book, one could argue that their cuckoldry is not just wrong, but reflective of a weak “mindset” based in fear and timidity rather than strength and deliberate action. Cernovich describes them thus:
A cuckservative spends massive amounts of time status-signaling and virtue-signaling to the Left.
A cuckservative sells out his allies on the Right by calling them racist as part of his effort to signal his virtue and good thinking to the Left.
A cuckservative believes that Israel’s border must be protected at all costs, but that even suggesting America has a border to protect is racist.
The third engine of Trump’s appeal as laid out by the book is his unapologetic masculinity, and the fourth are his purposeful attacks on political correctness. Each represents a symptom of Trump’s underlying strength of purpose. While less sure and less tenacious conservatives have often been knocked off course by the establishment’s attacks, Trump’s self-assurance was too great, and they failed to derail him despite repeated and constant attempts.
The second section of the book, “Media,” focuses on that institution’s treatment of Trump and Trump’s masterful outmaneuvering of them. In it, Cernovich outlines the utter dishonestly and duplicity of the “mainstream media,” their increasing irrelevance as a result of social media, and the lessons learned from the campaign about the modern state of information politics.
The third section, “Mindset,” is the primary focus of this article. This section overlaps with O’Meara’s article at Counter-Currents, as both discuss Dr. Norman Vincent Peale – considered by many the father of the “purpose-driven life” MAGA Mindset describes – and his connection with Donald Trump. As MAGA Mindset recounts:
Trump’s Mindset training began at an early age, as he grew up in the Presbyterian Church during the positive thinking movement led by Peale. In a speech during the Iowa primary campaign, Trump told the audience: “I went to Sunday school. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking, was my pastor. To this day one of the greatest speakers I’ve seen. You hated to leave Church. You hated when the sermon was over. That’s how great he was at Marble Collegiate Church.
A general introduction to Peale’s ideas comes from this quote from him, which states:
Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.
As both O’Meara and Cernovich explain, a vast body of mindset and self-improvement literature emerged from the ideas Peale pioneered. Trump’s career has almost perfectly coincided with this rise, and he himself has used such practices throughout his life, and he also wrote about them in The Art of the Deal.
This should be noted as being significant. While past presidents may have been semi-conscious of such ideas, and perhaps unintentionally influenced by them, Trump is the first “Mindset President,” as Cernovich calls him. This is a large part of who he is, and while it may not inform his policy positions in the same manner, it is surely as much a part of his decision-making process as George W. Bush’s Evangelicism was in his.
Cernovich breaks down this focus into what he calls the “Ten Principles of the Trump Mindset.” We will discuss Trump’s use of them below, but they include various concepts and ideas that will be familiar to those with an interest in self-improvement. These range from affirmations and visualizations, to deliberate energy cultivation, to Grant Cardone-style “goal multiplication.” Many are simple, such as “Maintain Your Momentum” and “Think Positive,” but when one digs deeper, their value becomes clear and indeed traceable to timeless principles found in evolutionary psychology and biology.
In my opinion, the most fascinating one in terms of Trump’s application is “Visualization,” which manifested in the shared, collective visualization of “Make America Great Again.” This phrase was of an immediately perceptible power. It contained both a clear evocation of strength and unity as well as strategic ambiguity that allowed people to fill in the blanks in their mind as to what a “Great America” would look like. Critics might argue that it was just another political slogan, but comparing it with Hillary Clinton’s impotent, boring, and rather confusing catchphrase of “I’m With Her” illustrates just what a monumental difference such underlying “Persuasion” can have.
“MAGA” became a meme in the truest sense of the word, and as people invested more and more hope and emotion into it, the phrase took on additional power. As a shared, robust vision, it also represented exactly what conservatives had been failing to offer for decades prior. Commentators like Rush Limbaugh had spent that time making a living reacting to the excesses of liberalism, explaining to their listeners just how crazy and destructive the Democrats were, yet failing to offer any competing vision of society or the future. They were impotent and reactive, and liberals gained massive ground in the culture wars during that time as a result. MAGA finally broke this spell, and offered normal Americans the strong, positive, shared collective vision they had been waiting for, and they responded to it with a passionate abandon every bit as intense as their response to “low energy” conservatives like Jeb Bush and John McCain had been tepid. Ultimately, MAGA represented a shared mindset and goal-pursuit for millions of Americans, catapulting Trump into the White House.
Our Own Struggle
Our question, then, is how to apply these same principles to identitarianism and our own goals in that regard. As Trump is quoted as saying in the book, “Your belief generates the power, the skill, the energy to succeed at achieving your goals.” What, then, are our beliefs about ourselves and our future that will carry us forward to victory? I will suggest some possibilities below, grouped around the various principles of mindset as described in the book.
Reframing in this context refers to how one views negative events and obstacles, and processes them in one’s mind. Do you internalize such setbacks as bad luck to be suffered through, or an opportunity to overcome and learn from?
In the case of Trump and the campaign, one could argue it was something external as well. In large part, the entire two-year process consisted of Trump’s opponents attempting to define him negatively and point out his missteps, and Trump’s constant “reframing” of such attacks and missteps into positives.
This is relevant for us in both regards. Massive difficulties and huge obstacles will inevitably arise for us. It is how we view them that matters, however. The book quotes Trump as saying, “See problems as a mind exercise. Enjoy the challenge – and remember to keep focused on your goals.” We should emulate this, both individually and collectively.
One reason I like to write for Counter-Currents is that I feel that it is solution-focused rather than reactive. When big events occur, whether good, neutral, or bad, Greg’s columns usually contain a sort of Gandalfian wisdom centered on drawing out the positives. This is important, since in a movement that is violently opposed by most of Western society’s power brokers, setbacks are bound to occur. We could let these sow discord and weariness, but if we instead view them as “mind exercises” in how best to combat those opponents, which allows us to draw power from them rather than ceding it.
The book details Trump’s constant cultivation of bigger and bigger dreams. It quotes him as saying, “You are what you think you are. Most people tend to think too little of themselves and devalue their own abilities.”
This is of particular relevance, as far as I am concerned. As a nascent, organic force, identitarianism has no pre-defined scope or goals, and the question of just what it represents, and just how significant it is, is therefore open to debate.
Is it one small facet of Right-wing thought, a hobby-horse, akin to libertarianism? Is it a “niche” that becomes uncool once it’s too mainstream? Is it a twenty-sided die and Dungeon Master Guide? A way to feel superior to degenerate normies? Is it a small-to-medium-sized political movement, that can drag the Republican Party moderately Rightward? Is it an inevitable byproduct of identity politics, which will become dominant among White voters as they lose majority status and power?
I would reject all of these labels in exchange for far greater ones. I would say, rather, that identitarianism is the triumphant return to those principles that carried our ancestors forward for thousands of years, and that it is a force and movement destined to save all of European civilization. This is a moment in time in which new forces of light – meaning us – defeat a malignant evil which has overtaken our ancestral lands, eject the invaders defiling them, and institute a grand rebirth that will usher in a new thousand-year era of prosperity for our people. Given the challenges facing Western Europe today – which are unparalleled in its history – I don’t think such ideas are hyperbole, and believe it is our duty to embrace them at the expense of lesser visions.
Keep Pushing/Don’t Take No for an Answer
In the book, Cernovich discusses Trump’s relentlessness, and states, “The difference is that winners keep going and they find new challenges in life until they find success. That’s why winning or losing is less of a discrete life outcome and more of a mindset. When you refuse to accept defeat by pushing forward and moving on instead of giving up, you make yourself into a winner.”
This relentless, tenacious pursuit of victory is equally applicable to our own movement, to my mind, because I believe we are predestined to “win” just as surely as Trump won. We have the moral high ground in this battle. Modern Western society has become sick, degenerate, and ensnared in a fundamentalist religion of “negationism,” or Cultural Marxism. The evidence is omnipresent that it is not sustainable. As long as we stay true to our principles and do not give up, as long as we keep fighting, society will eventually come around to our side.
I would furthermore argue that this tenacity is not just about not giving up, but about fighting back on an ever-increasing number of fronts. Just as Trump’s campaign “didn’t take no for an answer” and became a runaway train with no brakes, our best-case scenario is an ever-expanding, all-encompassing push for identitarianism across the culture. The more among us who push for this and create identitarian media of any and all forms, the sooner the broader society will realize the truth of our positions. To wit, while the music of Walt Bismarck red-pills nostalgic, unsuspecting Disney-lovers, the poems of Leo Yankevich do the same for disaffected White male poetry lovers. While the identitarian-based weightlifting videos of The Golden One are reaching driven young men across the Occident, Anonymous Conservative’s r/K theory is changing the politics of some biology grad in a Master’s program.
Such examples demonstrate the fact that it is not by modulating our views or “cucking” that we red-pill the proverbial normie, but by maximizing those avenues through which they can (often unwittingly) be exposed to the truths we rigorously present.
Each of us has a unique skillset and passion through which we can wage this sacred battle, and each of us must focus our mindset to such a purpose.
One of the best sections of the book follows from this principle, and is where Cernovich challenges the reader to envision their “perfect day.” He is explaining the effectiveness of mindset, and attempts to encourage the identification of goals and dreams, and show the power of visualization – which we already discussed in terms of Trump’s use of MAGA.
I believe this “perfect day” exercise is highly relevant to our struggle. With the omnipresent and shocking excesses of progressivism on constant display around us, it is very easy to unintentionally slip into the aforementioned Rush Limbaugh territory, and merely react to them and forget to act. Having a clear vision of the future we seek is both a remedy against this danger and a highly powerful tool of recruitment.
Our beliefs are not merely conservative in scope, they are revolutionary in that they represent an overthrow of the current system and the creation of societies that – while similar to those of the past – are also new and better. We don’t just want Reconquest in Europe for the sake of the status quo, but to create new worlds where we and our descendants can reach the fullest heights of our potential.
I don’t pretend that my visualizations of “the perfect day” for our people will match those of everyone reading this, but I believe they are at least similar. Because when I attempt to cultivate such an image, I see a proud and healthy people spread across a beautiful country. I see small, semi-rural villages that are in tune with nature, and yet complemented by technology. I see vast tracts of hills and forest, not shopping malls and asphalt. I see happy, two-parent families, each with several children. I see men who are their own masters, small business owners, and craftsmen. I see women who are mothers, loved and cherished as homemakers. I see children learning excitedly, freed from jail-like classrooms. I see other villages in the distance, full of people like the ones in mine. I see a homogenous nation that is advanced and free, yet built upon order and tradition. I don’t see “hate” or “violence,” but I see brave men who can defend themselves and who haven’t forgotten the threats of the outside world. I see good relationships with other nations, since “good fences make good neighbors.” I see a country that is distinct in all ways from countries half a world away, yet holds as sacred those other countries’ right to their own distinct culture and heritage.
I think such a vision would be attractive to a wide swath of our fellow Occidentals. The more we paint such pictures and discuss the end result or collective vision we are fighting for, the more people will visualize it as well, and like MAGA, bring it to fruition.
Right now, such dreams may seem far away and difficult to imagine, yet the last year should show us just how quickly things can change. Trump’s victory was stunning, exhilarating even. Yet it arose because he invested enormous amounts of time, energy, and sacrifice into getting there. We should not let his positivity make us underestimate just what kind of hell his opponents put him through, and how hard he had to fight to win. I think MAGA Mindset powerfully demonstrates the purposeful and deliberate nature of that fight.
The book is worth reading by those who wish to replicate the same type of success. I was familiar with the ideas within it beforehand, but still came away with a new appreciation for the depth of Trump’s self-mastery, and inspiration in terms of how I view my own life and purpose.
The “perfect day” I alluded to above relates to the world we dream of after our struggle is over, a dream at once timeless and revolutionary. And yet equally important is the perfect day we envision while working towards its creation, that perfect day of striving and hard work through whatever means each of us as individuals can best contribute to it. With 2017 looking to be even more fluid and momentous than last year, it is a perfect time to focus on such visions and on purposefully meeting our fullest potential, both individually and collectively.
Julian Langness is the author of Fistfights with Muslims in Europe: One Man’s Journey through Modernity, as well an as-yet untitled book coming out in June 2017. He is also the Editor of the Website European Civil War.