I just read your new essay, “Why I am Not a White Nationalist,” and it really deserves a reply. I appreciate your kind words about me, and I think of this as a continuation of our cordial and collegial conversations on White Nationalism. I have decided to make this an “open letter,” since a public statement deserves a public reply, and there is nothing here that I would not say in public anyway.
I have always held that our movement should follow what I call the Fight Club rule: everyone gets to determine his own level of involvement and explicitness, and the rest of us have to respect whatever course is chosen. I want as many people as possible to feel as comfortable as possible contributing to our movement — or not — in any way they please. So regardless of the outcome of this discussion, I will respect your decision. But it is also my role as a White Nationalist to try to persuade people to expand their comfort zones, perhaps all the way into the ambit of explicit White Nationalism.
I have, however, long maintained that you are a valuable ally precisely because you never claimed to be a White Nationalist, but you still stuck up publicly for White Nationalists, wrote for our publications, and spoke at our events. Having people who are not White Nationalists openly associate with us gives us social validation and builds bridges to the mainstream. But these good deeds were, of course, punished with a great deal of grief — not from the SPLC, the ADL, or Antifa, mind you — but from the very people you were helping.
As I read it, the valid core of your critique is simply this: White Nationalists were among the first people to enthusiastically read, review, and promote your work. But there are a lot of losers, assholes, and freaks in the White Nationalist world in particular, and in white America more generally. So you don’t exactly feel at home here. I get it. The best and the worst people I have ever met are White Nationalists. I try not to let the assholes get me down. I tell myself that this will all pass and that the only thing that matters is whether our race exists on this planet 200 years from now.
Moreover, your writings on masculinity, modernity, and tribalism have now found a much wider audience than White Nationalists and white Americans. Naturally, you prefer to communicate, associate, and identify with people who are receptive to you and your ideas. That is your mission as a writer. Again, I get it. We just have different missions. I identify as a White Nationalist because, perhaps somewhat grandiosely, my mission is to save the white race.
So you wrote this essay to clarify your position. It is an exercise in brand and label management, like my essays contrasting the New Right and the Old Right (here, here, here, and here). I understand it, and I am completely fine with it. But along the way, you make some comments that I would like to dispute.
First, I disagree with your characterization of America. It is fashionable on the Right and Left to deride America as a country that passed from barbarism to decadence without an intervening stage of civilization. Americans, you say, are not a people. We are just a collection of deracinated Euro-mutts with no culture but the junk we buy and sell.
I challenge you, though, to walk through the American galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., or to take a walking tour of the great architecture of those cities, from colonial to neoclassical to art deco, or to read the greats of 19th-century American literature like Melville and Whitman, and then to tell me that these are not the products of a confident, coherent high culture sprung from Europe — and the British Isles in particular — but mutated and refined in the New World into something unique and truly magnificent.
America was not, as you put it, always a “culture of inclusion.” White Nationalism is not “un-American.” White Nationalism and White Supremacism were encoded in our immigration and nationalization laws up until 1965.
There really is an American culture and an American ethnic identity. It was weakened by its own Anglo individualism, commercialism, and rootlessness, then infected and sickened by a hostile Jewish elite, and is now caked with filth and decadence. But it is still there, within you and me and all Americans. We just need to scrape away the ignorance and inauthenticity that blind us to who we really are. Once we do that, a lot of the infighting that you rightly deplore within the American White Nationalist scene will abate. Because the various forms of ideological factionalism that pit us against each other are not alternatives to rootlessness, but symptoms of it.
Second, you characterize White Nationalism as something that makes sense only to deracinated Euro-mutts who have no ethnic identity. But I have argued that there is no such thing as generic white people, even in the colonies. Americans, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders are different peoples. They may have similar origins and blended European stocks, but they have evolved distinct ethnic identities.
Thus, White Nationalism is not just something for the colonies. White Nationalism means separate homogeneous homelands for all white peoples who long for sovereignty. It means Germany for the Germans, France for the French, Australia for the Australians, and America for the Americans. It might even mean Brittany for the Bretons, Flanders for the Flemish, and Dixie for the Southrons.
Third, I was a bit disappointed — not mad, just disappointed — to see you unironically repeating the Leftist and libertarian canard that “only inbred rednecks identify as ‘White Supremacists,’” and “white pride” is for losers who have nothing else going for them but their skin color. The false premise here is that we only have the right to feel proud of our own achievements, not the achievements of others. So if I feel proud to belong to the race that produced Plato, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Wagner, that’s obviously a sign of an inferiority complex.
In fact, however, we do have the right to things that we do not earn. They are called gifts. We did not earn our genes. They were given to us. We did not earn our cultural heritage. It was given to us. We do not earn the pride we feel in our families. It is their gift to us. But the best of us do not simply rest on the laurels of others or consume the capital of civilization. Instead, we take our heritage as a challenge to pursue individual excellence and contribute something to the common store of civilization. And wasn’t this precisely the attitude of our forebearers — including the Germanic pagans you revere — toward their received heritage?
Fourth, I agree with your feelings of disdain for the present fallen state of white Americans, but I differ with your chosen path. As a White Nationalist, I regard the fate of white people as my problem and my responsibility. I want to save them from a political system that dishonors and degrades us, and has set us on the road to extinction. My goal is not just to save our biological stock, but to liberate our people from today’s corrupting and inauthentic junk culture, and to put us back in touch with both American folk culture and Western high culture.
You have chosen a different path, which you describe as follows.
What happens to “white people” is not my problem or my responsibility. I want to be surrounded with people who share not only my vague common ancestry, but my values and beliefs. Anyone who read Becoming a Barbarian knows I don’t care about “the politics of the Empire.” I want to leave it all behind. I just want to hang out in the woods with my friends and build something beautiful — I want to build a new culture. I want to invest in the people I know personally and my family and the people I am oathed to — my tribe, The Wolves of Vinland.
I’m not a White Nationalist, I’m a Wolves Nationalist.
From my perspective, tribal community-building exercises like the Wolves of Vinland are a useful part of White Nationalist metapolitics. But not all communities are equally conducive to political change. Frankly, if I ran the present corrupt system, I would be delighted to see dissidents turn their backs on their people and hang out in the woods with their friends. Why? Because such people are little threat to the existing system.
But in all candor, we too are turning our backs on some of our people. Our aim is to save all of them, but some of them would prefer to die than think or exercise the slightest act of moral courage. Thus it is inescapable that White Nationalists will eventually become a new people. We are the white people with a future.
But to realize that destiny, White Nationalists need to choose our model of community carefully. Personally, I think we should aim to become a market-dominant, culture-creating minority like the Jews, to maximize our access to education, high culture, wealth, power, and influence.
My goal is to save white civilization. Yours is to replace it with a new and vital barbarism that is somehow not racialist. I don’t think your path is sustainable for two reasons. First, if our multiracial civilization collapsed into barbarism, it would fragment on racial lines, and at that point White Nationalism would in effect be thrust upon you. Second, if American civilization collapsed, it would not be barbarians who started the world anew. It would be other civilizations that would march in and seize control of the ruins.
You wish to turn away from white America and choose your own tribe. But is a tribe something that you can really choose? From my perspective, choice does not exist in this matter. You are born to a tribe. You and are I are white Americans. Unfortunately, that includes an unhealthy dose of libertarian individualism and devil-take-the-hindmost meritocracy that blinds us to our tribal nature and weakens the community from which we spring. To my eyes, the Wolves seem like a paganized version of the perennial American Calvinist impulse to shake off the losers and build a purified new community on the frontier. It is just another gated community. But a tribe you choose is not a real tribe, although — paradoxically — a penchant for this kind of thing is very much a genuine part of our tribe. You are an American despite yourself, Jack.
White Nationalism emerges when whites realize that we share a common destiny and that it is impossible to drop out of a system that wants to destroy us.
In closing, I want to emphasize that I am pledged to respect whatever decision you make on this matter. Naturally, I would like you to become a White Nationalist. But I was perfectly content when you were just an ally, and at the very least, I hope I may have persuaded you to think a bit better of us.