Going to AmRen was the most impulsive thing I’ve done in the past seven years. Although I’ve been attending local events, the idea of flying alone, halfway across the country, to an event with a notorious reputation according to my liberal city, is not something a sensible person like me would ever do. But two months before the conference, Greg Johnson persuaded me that I needed to go. I wanted to learn how to organize conferences, and he said I should learn from the best.
My anxieties disappeared almost immediately after meeting my road trip companion in Nashville, Peter Duke. Mr. Duke is famous for taking portraits of controversial figures on the right, including his portrait of Scott Adams , creator of Dilbert, and Charles Johnson,  “the most hated man on the internet.” It turns out Duke’s presence was more of a surprise than mine — Mr. Duke flew on a moment’s notice to photograph the protesters   for his “Cold Civil War” project.  I was lucky I was in the right place at the right time.
As we headed west to the conference, we discussed art and politics. Quoting the late Andrew Breitbart, he said, “Politics is downstream from culture,” citing his desire to encourage freedom of thought and speech. We talked excitedly about Kanye’s recent tweets  and sang along to Taylor Swift’s new cover of “September.”
When we reached the conference center, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was ready to search everyone entering the facility for weapons. Mr. Duke and I held out our arms and allowed the officers to wand us down. There was a robin’s nest directly above the entry, and that’s the image I think of whenever someone asks, “How was the security?” A mother robin feeding her three babies.
To be honest, I didn’t even notice the protesters. They were penned up in the upper parking lot; and although I could see them off in the distance, I never knew they were there until prompted. Even then, they were far away and insignificant.
That evening, after the reception, I met the blogger, Zman. He is just as direct and composed as his writing would suggest. He asked me what I was doing with a notebook with the kind of look that makes you think hard about what you might have possibly done wrong over the last week. After about a minute, I was saved from scrutiny when Greg Johnson and Zman began to discuss how the Right can filter its leaders, selecting for good character.
This would be a recurring theme over the weekend. Over the past year, the Alt Right suffered growing pains, public mistakes and slanted media attention. However, Zman noted, “All great movements in history started as little groups that bubble together.”
Greg Johnson observed multiculturalism is driving people to us, but we are not actively drawing people in. However, the truth is on our side. But we also need to learn how to present the truth persuasively. Greg suggested that movement people join or create Toastmasters-style gatherings to work on public speaking. The cosmopolitan mainstream is afraid of American Renaissance for this reason: it persuasively presents the truth.
Discovering the truth isn’t easy. To self-actualize, to reach your potential, you must explore new ideas and prepare for the possibility of a complete reframing of your reality. On Sunday morning, Greg Johnson described the painful process of the “truth-audit,” of reframing his political ideology from libertarianism to paleo-conservativism, to white nationalism, “it’s like breaking bones and resetting them.”
Whatever you think about Dr. Jordan Peterson, he has a good point when he says that it’s easy to become someone who lives a “life-lie.” These people, “adopt a single axiom: government is bad, immigration is bad, capitalism is bad, patriarchy is bad. Then they filter and screen their experiences and insist ever more narrowly that everything can be explained by that axiom” (p. 211). 
The liberal axioms are “multiculturalism is good.” “Diversity (or as Greg Johnson has put it plainly, “fewer white people”)  is good.” The average person will shut out ideas that oppose these axioms, whether to avoid conflict, or because they’re simply too busy to put the necessary thought in to reconcile their views with reality.
On the more extreme end, they would rather stand outside in clown outfits  and yell than explore new ideas. These people are sheltering themselves.
To boldly face the truth is not easy, but it’s what we millennials would call “adulting.”
There are four truths that stood out to me that weekend:
1. Race is real, and the races are different.
“I grew up in the ghetto. We all knew there were differences between the races . . . I knew that until I went to Berkeley. Then I found out we were all equal!”
Douglas Whitman, professor of Biology at Illinois State University, was the first to speak on Saturday. In his speech titled “Amazing Racial Differences” he described a slew of biological traits that vary vastly from one ethnic group to the next. It was like an abbreviated season of Human Planet, the popular BBC series on how different peoples are adapted to their environments from all around the world. He even mentions the Bajau people whom I remembered from the pilot episode. They are a nomadic, seafaring people. Otherwise known as “sea gypsies,” they developed traits that are advantageous to their environment such as the ability to hold their breath while diving 200 feet, and eyes adapted to increase light refraction for superior underwater vision.
To address the term “superior:” Whitman stressed the major theme of his talk, “Each human race tends to be superior in the place where they evolved.” When asked about how to organize society, he explained, “We must base our society on reality, not fantasy. Hire a Tibetan Sherpa if you want to climb Mount Everest. If you want to win a lawsuit, hire a Jewish lawyer.” He concludes, “Let’s just admit race exists and move forward from there.
2. The demographic makeup of our nation is changing, and the new majority will be hostile to whites.
I only found out about the genocide of the Boer people in South Africa during the Trump campaign cycle. It was truly jarring to find out that the rainbow nation was brutally murdering its white farmers. When I brought this news up to a good friend of mine, she shrugged and told me, “It’s not a white world anymore. Now you’ll know what it’s like to be a minority.” I will never forget that conversation. Simon Roche predicted in his speech Saturday evening that the US may be facing a similar crisis if we don’t “arise” to stop it. Mr. Roche spoke as a representative of the Suidlanders , founded by Gustav Muller, a civil defense organization to protect non-combatants caught in conflict in South Africa.
“We stand on the cusp of a cataclysm,” he warns. “The time is now for you, white man, arise! Get up off that couch.” If we remain seated, “we have been accomplices to the infanticide of our children.” This is not an exaggeration. 
As Mr. Roche suggested, white South Africans are not the only white peoples facing extinction. Dr. Serge Trifovic, internationally known commentator on foreign affairs and author of Sword of the Prophet, delivered a speech titled “Migratory Jihad and the Crisis of Europe.” He observed, “Rich gulf monarchies have accepted no refugees from Syria while encouraging their westward movement.” Yet, the west seems to feel a unique moral obligation to take in millions of Islamic migrants. Dr. Trifovic warned that migration, or “hijrah” is a tool of jihad and that the current migrant crisis is the third Islamic invasion of Europe. Only this time, our “decline may be rapid and terminal.”
He believes that western societies project their values on Muslims, that we fail to recognize that Muslim immigrants “actually despise us because we are supine.” The see us only as outsiders to their religion, and politics is a means of establishing Allah’s sovereignty.
The picture for Europe is bleak. Trifovic compared the population decline of whites to suffering a similar ratio of loss to the black death. This time however, there will be no return to steady increase. White people under 30 will count for only 16% of Europe. Muslims under 30 will account for 70%.
According to our gracious host, Jared Taylor, the new majority will be hostile to whites. In his speech titled “Irreconcilable Differences: We Need a Divorce,” he quoted Rudy Martinez referring to white people, “Your DNA is an abomination, ” and Ekow Yankah “Can my children be friends with white people?” 
Reflecting on these statements, he commented, “Have you ever heard a non-white person say, ‘I actually really quite like white people?’ We get this spiteful talk about us while we are still the majority.”
It is clear this crazy attempt at multiculturalism has “so profoundly produced mental illness in white people” that Taylor gives this phenomenon a name: “Race Induced Cognitive Disorder . . . unique to white people . . . When it comes to race, perfectly intelligent people turn into morons.”
Sam Dickson also touched on this observation of insanity, quoting Alice in Wonderland. Alice says, “One can’t believe in impossible things.” The Queen contradicts her saying, “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Mr. Dickson gives two examples. One, race doesn’t exist — that the law of genetics applies to all living things except for human beings. And two, “You must believe that Israel deserves a wall and America should pay for it. But it’s racist and immoral for us to have one.”
3. Our culture and values are disappearing along with our people.
Jared Taylor outlined the tragic consequences of this attempt at multiculturalism: A vast number of non-whites hate us. As referenced before, it “drives people literally insane.” Lastly, “bit by bit,” we are “dismantling the way we run our societies.”
As an example, Mr. Taylor observed that fare beating was decriminalized because 80% of perpetrators were nonwhite.  Many are familiar with how Obama and Eric Holden concluded the only reason for disparate rates in school discipline between whites and blacks must be racism. Even the New York Post noticed  how this made schools more dangerous. And of course, Taylor reminds us, “the Minority Mortgage Meltdown of 2008 is studiously ignored.”
Nicholas Fuentes spoke at length on the phenomenon of whites ignoring the cultural shift and decline of our societies. Fuentes is exactly as Zman describes him — a slight man — but he certainly took command of the room when he spoke. Being the youngest speaker ever to grace the stage of AmRen, it seemed appropriate that he would deliver a speech titled, “Generation Z: The Answer to the Boomer Problem.” Even with the disclaimer, “You guys are cool,” I was a little nervous at how his speech would be received when about half the audience consisted of “boomers.” However, it was a huge relief when, at the end, the boomer to my left leaned over to say, “That was a real barn-burner!”
According to Fuentes, while not busy eating tide pods , more than 40% of Generation Z is going to church. He compared this figure to 23% of the boomers. Fuentes stuck up for the traditionalist fervor of Generation Z, noting that, although Christina Hoff Sommers “may tell us to chill out, our society has been completely unmoored from the normative religious values that establish community identity.”
Although admittedly, the boomer generation is subject like any other to the natural pendulum swing of history, he insisted that boomers “fell asleep at the wheel” and failed in their duty as “custodians of the nation” during turning points such as the 1965 immigration bill. He referred to Robert Putnam’s studies in the book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, when describing the deterioration of social clubs.
Fuentes claimed that boomers are “accomplices” to the “deterioration of the spirit.” The social revolutions of the boomer generation were, as Fuentes sees them, “a rebellion against community identity,” and inspired “self-centered degeneracy” that he considers responsible for high divorce rates. Fuentes made the sobering point, “A society is only as strong as its families.”
Adrian Davies, a British barrister known for his defense of free speech, explained that “people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s cannot comprehend what is happening.” He referred again to the blind shock of the boomer generation, “the unimaginable is coming to pass in our daily lives.” We, as a society were not prepared to act in our own interest. Davies cautioned, we must figure out how to work in our own interest. Because, “If you can’t act in your collective interest, very, very bad things happen to you.” According to Davies, we face a kind of totalitarianism. “Cosmopolitan liberalism is a type of soft totalitarianism which, in the long term, is arguably more effective.”
Sam Dickson also commented on this social pressure, “There is no pretext anymore for censorship.” I witnessed this a week or so ago when I’d attended a panel discussion in Seattle. The subject was “What to do with White Nationalists.” One of the panelists, Dr. Laurie Mauhaufer, stated, “In all other countries, this kind of speech would be banned; but now is a really bad time to change the free speech laws.” The other panelists nodded gravely, all except, oddly enough, David Lewis,  whose eyes widened, making him resemble one of those dried-up puffer fish tourists buy at the beach. I’ll never know for sure; but it looked, in that moment, as if a light turned on somewhere.
Unfortunately, many people will not have this light-bulb moment. When confronted with the truth, as Davies puts it, many people will simply “go right into an emotional spasm.”
4. White Identity Politics is a moral imperative and necessary for survival.
Monday, October 30, 2017, is the date of Black Monday, a successful action conducted by the Suidlanders in honor of the South African farmers murdered. While whites make up only 8% of the population in South Africa, they effectively shut down the country for an entire day.
“Our people have been changing the world for thousands of years,” Simon Roche said standing in front of a photo of flying buttresses. “We designed all the satellites, with a little help from the Germans.” He told the story of the ballpoint pen, “It took China 129 years, two months and one week for a country of 1,400 million people to successfully imitate the ballpoint pen.”
“This is not about white supremacy,” he clarified, but it is “the reminder that we have the capacity to stand against an onslaught.” We must “volunteer to set aside your differences, find a common denominator, and act in steel unity.”
Adrian Davies suggested that, in the alt right, the stage we are in is like “the hangover after the party,” remembering the excitement after Trump’s election. We’d “expected the world to change, and it didn’t.” He noted it’s “time to engage in a little reflection.” It is time for “the besetting of faults.”
First, we need to evaluate our structural problems. We must “look at how we run our campaigns to make them attractive to the most attractive people — not the worst.” Instead of taking in anyone and everyone, we must be discerning. Otherwise, we’ll just be putting out free propaganda for the SPLC. 
“We say we want the best of people, but we make excuses for the people who are unqualified — people with defective characters.” Davies observed that people will accept lower standards from their leaders than they will put on themselves. “Surprise!” Davies warned, “If you have defective leaders, you will have defective people.”
Davies, of course, was referencing the events at Charlottesville the prior year and observed that the rally was posed to “attract the worst, most violent and deranged political opponents .” Unfortunately, even at a tame college campus talk, you might get garroted anyway .
Davies stressed the importance of using quality actions and quality leaders in attracting quality people. Davies concluded, “If people don’t like me because of what I say, that’s fine if I’m part of an organization where I can hold my head up high. If people don’t like me because I’m involved in these [questionable groups], that’s my problem.”
Sam Dickson reminded us after the tragic crash of the Alt Right with Heilgate and Charlottesvile, it’s time to regroup and begin building in earnest. In his speech, “A Benediction for Heretics,” Dickson commented that he departs from Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow of VDare in the sense that he does not believe change is open to us through the established political channels. Instead, he says, “We need to transcend . . . You cannot build a skyscraper on the third floor.”
He said frankly, “White Southerners have a retarded understanding of politics.” According to Dickson, they “think it’s something that happens only once every two years . . . We, as an island race, were shielded from the instructive history of being occupied as the Russians by the Mongolian empire — or Spain by Islam . . . We have a superficial view of government. There has not been a revolution in Britain since 1669 . . . 1066 was the last time we were invaded from the Conquista down to Trump.”
He warned, “We will be ruled by a government that is antagonistic to us.” As we’ve learned with the recent bombing of Syria among other events , “the change of the presidency changes nothing. We need to transcend.”
Although Mr. Dickson was in part referring to political structure, another example of “transcendence” is Identity Evropa . Patrick Casey described IE’s politics as “identitarian” because the term “transcends all those disagreements we have in the movement” that doesn’t have the baggage of “nationalism.”
Identity Evropa is an organization looks for “quality of character” and accepts members only though a highly selective interview process. Casey has observed there are good reasons and there are bad reasons people will join an organization. Some people just “want to create an edgy identity.” These people “will only do what they find personally gratifying, glamorous or exciting.” However, “We need winners.” 
Casey describes his members as people with “duty, responsibility . . . the desire to create a better world.” I was reminded of what Mr. Davies said the day before, “you have to get your propaganda right.”  Casey’s organization does just this through “professionalism and good optics.”
Casey told us people would contact him after a flyering, saying “they thought they were alone.” He also observed, with a slight smile, at UC Berkeley, “just the appearance of flyers makes [the SJWs] go apoplectic.”
Another core tenet of IE’s action is community service.  Casey’s philosophy is, “we have to first prove that we are worthy of wielding power by making the lives of our people better . . . We have to prove we are capable of taking care of the poor.”
The hope for Casey and others, is that through changing the mindset of white peoples, inspiring love of one’s heritage, we can influence politics and save our people.
Others elaborated in more detail about specific steps we can take. For example, Serge Trifkovic explained a detailed list of things Europe can do to stop the third Muslim invasion. “Build the wall,” he suggested, “It works for Israel and Hungary.”
Second, we need to “deny entry to Muslims by treating Islam as a violent ideology inimical to America’s founding principles.” Legislation of this kind has been considered before in the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act.
Third, we must supervise Muslim centers and Mosques. According to Trifkovic, “they spread an inherently seditious message antithetical to the law of the land and are a threat to national security.” This would be similar in essence to the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950. Europe must maintain the authority to “refuse and rescind citizenship to Islamic activists.”
Lastly, we must “reintroduce profiling,” and “deny security clearance for all practicing Muslims.” Trifkovic observed, “A Muslim is seven million times more likely to commit a terrorist attack than even a Syrian Arab Christian.” According to Trifkovic, these actions are imperative if Europe is to “hold on to life, beauty and truth.”
Jared Taylor’s solution is peaceful separation — a divorce. In regards to the minorities who claim white people “ruin basically everything  . . . It’s pretty clear there is nothing we can do to make them happy.” Again, he states, “If they had any integrity, they would be asking for a divorce. Why aren’t they?” Separatism is, “for them, the only solution for their ever-growing list of grievances. For us, separatism is survival.”
Again, the core issue is not supremacy, but peace. “We want nothing for ourselves that we would not happily give to others.” Taylor concluded, “We want people of all races to be the best they can be with their own culture and community.” He reminded us of our responsibility to our posterity, “It is our duty to ensure we have a future as bright and prosperous as our past. This is our struggle. This is your opportunity to serve our people.”
On the individual level, Marcus Follin, otherwise known as, “The Glorious Lion,” or “The Golden One,” social commentator, bodybuilder, alt-right Fabio, spoke on the importance of being the best you can be. “The renaissance begins with you,” he began.
Our political opponents want to portray us as young, uneducated men angry at the world for being unsuccessful. According to Follin, by being successful, looking good, dressing well, we armor ourselves against their stigmatization. He uses the accomplished Mr. Taylor as an example, “Jared Taylor is the exact opposite of what they [the left] want: confident, well spoken, well dressed . . .” Again, I heard him echo Breitbart’s quote, “Politics is downstream from culture.” If we want to change politics, “we must change the way we think about ourselves.”
Follin laid out clear instructions to “dress well, appropriate to the social situation.” “Be physically fit and well trained.” A healthy body is a precursor for a healthy mind. “Always be well-spoken . . . We need to uphold our honor as gentlemen, maintain reasonable rhetoric, and we must not stoop to racial slurs.”
He reminded us to “reject degeneracy.” “The first step is not to participate in it.” Follin distains porn as “the easiest drug.” One must also distinguish between drink and drunkenness. “A moment of weakness can ruin your entire career.”
The application of humor is extremely effective. Follin smiled as he noted that, while he would rather “reach people on a deep, intellectual level,” memes reach a wide audience . More importantly, “we must set a good high standard for ourselves and our comrades . . . If you don’t compromise with yourself, you won’t compromise with your leaders.” And finally, network: “the more people you have in your network, the stronger you will be no matter what happens.”
When asked if he had any suggestions specific to the women in the audience, Follin said, “For a woman to be a good role model, generally some rules apply. She must be well spoken, soft spoken. Well dressed. If a woman is interesting to listen to and look at, and presents completely reasonable views, it would be really hard for the left to portray her the way they want.”
The conference concluded with a few “reports from the field.”
John Derbyshire read a letter from Lydia Brimelow reporting on the suppression of VDare and other dissident right voices. Mrs. Brimelow reported that it is time for us to “enter the legal fray,” referencing VDare’s lawsuit against PayPal along with others such as Jared Taylor who is currently in a suit against Twitter.
She encouraged the right to “use our critical mass to get past shadow banning,” and announced that, despite repeated efforts to get it shut down, the VDare conference will go on.
Greg Johnson followed with a report of his own, but first commenting that this was “the 5th and best AmRen conference” that he attended. He took a poll of the audience which revealed that about half the audience was attending their first AmRen. Three quarters of those who raised their hands were at their very first in-person event.
According to Dr. Johnson, Identity Politics is “the only option” in the face of extinction. We need to defend the “moral permissibility” indeed the moral obligatoriness of love of one’s own if we are to survive.
The Left likes to promote “fake psychological” principles like “You can’t impose your ideology on your children . . . they will simply rebel.” This never deters Leftists, however, from brainwashing your children. They want you to stop teaching them your values so it will be easier to indoctrinate them in Leftist values. We are also told that we should never spare our children from making mistakes. But all of civilization is the product of painful trials and costly errors. The purpose of education is to save people from having the re-invent the wheel. The purpose of Counter-Currents is to spare its readers Dr. Johnson’s own long and difficult search for the truth.
There was a positive atmosphere of comradery among attendees, illustrated by standing ovations for many speakers. Most of those I had spoken to who had attended prior conferences were pleased with the turnout, especially of professional, well-adjusted young people.
When I began planning my trip to Tennessee, I’d just heard Sam Dickson’s speech from the Identity Evropa conference . So, I determined that, on the way home, I must see the replica Parthenon in Nashville, to see if I felt any loyalty. Although we only had a few spare moments before catching our flights home, my road trip companion and I gazed across the lawn at the monument. I’m pretty sure we felt some loyalty, but maybe it was residual from the conference.
In the end, I’m deeply glad I went. I returned to reading Peterson’s book on the plane and couldn’t help but think of AmRen when I read this passage, “. . . so much of what you could be will never be forced by necessity to come forward . . . When you explore boldly, when you voluntarily confront the unknown, you gather information and build your renewed self out of that information.” We must learn, grow and act on our convictions. As Dickson gave his benediction, “We are pilgrims for all we love and all that gives meaning to life. Here we stand. We can do no other.”
  Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Toronto: Random House, 2018), pp. 210-212
  Disclaimer: The link just goes to my favorite of the “butthurt losers” series. Those people weren’t at AmRen.