You Asked for It: Selected Interviews, Volume One
San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017
You Asked for It: Selected Interviews, vol. 1 is a handsome book. It has an attractive matte cover and a pleasant neutral smell. The paper stock takes a standard Faber-Castell HB pencil nicely and accepts a rubber eraser without pilling. There is ample room for marginalia, and line spacing that accommodates triple underlining, if required. The pages are also resistant to some of the more common environmental contaminants as evidenced by exposure to a selection of unbookworthy substances. But with bookmarks removed and cover smoothed over, even this well-read paperback copy has been restored, at least on the outside, to a more dignified state.
Inside this perfectly lovely book is a selection of interview transcripts brought together in what will be the first, we hope, of many volumes. It consists of twelve interviews Greg Johnson has given, over a period of six years from 2012, to individuals who are, with one exception, sympathetic to the White Nationalist or New Right movements. The case for White Nationalism is made clearly and frequently, as one might expect, but Greg also provides illuminating discussion on a number of other topics of concern to the New Right. This review will focus on two chapters in particular, and be framed in light of the issues that these raise. These two interviews are with Laura Raim, “The Alternative Right,” and Robert Stark, “Eco-Fascism,” which together represent an intellectual journey for the reader from introductory ideas to quite extreme conclusions.
As noted, the interviewers share an ethnonationalist, identitarian, or Rightish perspective and discussion flows quite comfortably between the participants. The one exception is the interview with Laura Raim, a French socialist journalist. This interview is one of the three that are available as audio on the Counter-Currents site and after listening to the conversation, it is apparent that Laura is enduring the content rather than engaging with it. This conversation was the basis of an article for the French-language print journal Revue du Crieur the availability of which is limited, but which would provide an interesting companion piece. Here, Greg tracks the history of the Alternative Right, and makes a quite persuasive case for White Nationalism, so much so that one might almost expect the interviewer to have a sudden change of heart.
At one point Laura expresses concern that should the interview be released, she might be criticised for not challenging Greg’s ideas with sufficient vigor, notwithstanding that this was an interview not a debate. It appears that the only significant disagreement, albeit one that carries enormous weight, is the tricky issue of ethnonationalism. As far as a critique of globalization and capitalism goes and the downstream effects of these, there is commonality, however, with such an allegedly abhorrent ideology like white racial advocacy, what agreement there is has been tainted. It is easy to imagine a French Marxist reader regarding with horror the concurrence between the philosophies, and it is nice to think that they might never exorcise that association from their minds.
This interview is of particular interest for the very reason that it requires the White Nationalist premise be presented to a hostile audience, in contrast to the remaining discussions in which disagreements are largely just a matter of detail. As Greg mentions again in other interviews, the fundamental principle of White Nationalism is that there be homelands for white peoples, and that the economic and social framework can be negotiated once we have secured this. The priority is racial homogeneity and all else will follow, and this is a useful reminder for those wading around trying to make sense of the more arcane theoretical elements.
Throughout the interviews Greg elaborates on his vision for a white society. And while some of these ideas may seem a little weirdly specific, they are adequately justified. It is worth noting that he did not make a case for fat farms (interview with Mike Enoch, “Forced to be Free”) and welfare for the low IQ underclass (interview with Robert Stark, “Populism, Elitism, & Economics”) to Laura, although had he done so, it would have been with the same warmth and sincerity that is evident throughout the book.
Something that invites comment, but upon which I hesitate to linger, is the inclusion of a female interviewer. Not being familiar with Laura Raim’s political allegiance, this seemed at first unusual. There is a notable absence of women in the movement, something which some may consider a hindrance if greater penetration into cultural discourse is required, although it would take a more generous person than me to defend this stance. This is evidently not a deterrent to those women who are readers and contributors, but it does suggest that they are uncharacteristic of their sex. So it was ruefully noted that this female voice was, of course, socialist.
The interview with Robert Stark, “Eco-Fascism,” is important because it implies ecology is both a preconditon and consequence of ethnonationalism: the stewardship of our natural world is predicated upon the existence of an environment in which to place our homelands. This is defended philosophically, rather than pragmatically, which again is characteristic of these interviews.
Eco-fascism is necessarily a critique of modernity and Greg draws upon Savitri Devi and Martin Heidegger to explain how anthropocentrism is at the root of environmental crisis. But it also raises another, more radical, question of what will happen once we have sorted for race/ethnicity and achieved homogeneous societies. This isn’t addressed directly in the interview but it seems to be the point at which comfy ethnonationalism fails: who is going to police non-white countries if the consequence of their self-governance results in environmental catastrophe? We cannot relinquish the common good of the planet for the right of other peoples to self-actualise, in much the same way as we have to balance the common good of white societies against individual liberty. Our stewardship must then extend beyond our own environments, which presupposes a superiority over other races.
Whites will eventually have to exert this in order to prevent the rest of the world from using our technology to destroy it. Once we have addressed our own ecological shortcomings it will be incumbent upon us to intervene to ensure global environmental security.
This interview also reveals how compelling this collection is. While there is an enchanting warmth to the dialogue, and an intimacy that arises from conversation between two people that share similar convictions, there are dangerous ideas contained within. If my intellectual path is at all indicative of that traveled by others, there will be some startling acceleration through the various stages of White Nationalism inspired by these discussions. It is a given that You Asked for It will be a valuable primer for newcomers who will find the informal presentation an accessible and personable introduction to the New Right, while for long-time supporters it provides a record of interviews largely unavailable in other media, and illuminates the rather charming personality of one of the movement’s leading figures.