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On Selective Subjectivity & the Hijacking of White History

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Everyone has selective memory. It makes sense that people with high opinions of themselves will place greater importance on positive memories than on negative ones. It also makes sense that people with negative opinions of themselves will harp on bad or painful memories at the expense of positive ones. I believe a psychologically healthy individual recognizes both good and bad memories with a sense of honest detachment, but places a moderately greater emphasis on the positive memories. They trend up, so to speak, and add a little subjective zest to their honesty. This may seem self-serving – and make no mistake, it is – but it’s often difficult for a person to be completely objective with himself and still be happy and productive. For example, a purely objective viewpoint could lead a person who is below average in IQ, height, and attractiveness to conclude that he is less deserving of certain privileges or rights than others. Such self-critical objectivity is certainly rare, but it’s not unheard of. But why is it rare? It is rare because it is unnatural; and it is unnatural because it is difficult and it is counter-intuitive as much as it is counter-evolutionary. If taken too far it even defeats the purpose of life. Most people want to live regardless of their objective qualities. Even a cursory glance at Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago will show the appalling levels of pain and deprivation many humans are prepared to endure in order to stay alive.

This points to the premise of all philosophy, the unprovable-yet-undisprovable nut around which all religions and traditions develop: it is better to live than not to live. Yes, sometimes it is preferable to die. This is why a centenarian’s death is often considered a blessing. This is also why we have euthanasia and why we lionize men who have fallen in battle. But all things being equal, living is better than dying. This idea is to philosophy what cell theory is to biology. It is, in short, the beginning, and the reason why we must flavor our objective thinking with at least a modicum of self-serving subjectivity. Life is just better this way.

Such Selective Subjectivity can be applied in the same manner to populations and races. What makes for a healthy individual should also make for healthy populations, that is, a balanced understanding of both good and bad in the group’s collective past, but with a self-serving emphasis on the good. When this popular memory is on the whole positive, then people are more confident, they enjoy a greater sense of belonging, they have a strong sense of identity, they are quick to protect or advance their own interests, they revere their ancestors and respect their traditions, and they are hopeful about the future.

Currently, however, the white race – in Western Europe and in the Anglosphere, mostly – suffers from an unhealthy outlook on its own past. The subjectivity is still there, but it has become negative. It has become self-effacing rather than self-serving. Whites may still remember great things they have done in the past, but these have become a source of embarrassment or shame. Whites now place greater emphasis on the bad things their ancestors may or may not have done throughout history. As a result of this jaundiced understanding of history, educated whites have become less confident in themselves. They feel less connection to their families, communities, and nations, often to the point of mingling and interbreeding with non-whites. They suffer from a lack of identity (or a negative identity). They are loath to protect their own racial and evolutionary interests. They are cut off from their heritage and ancestors and they are nihilistic about their future.

It is from this putrid swamp of pessimism that the Dissident Right has emerged.

The Selective Subjectivity model can help explain more than just the current psychological sickness of white people, however. It can also help explain the cause of this sickness. It we take as our twin axioms Selective Subjectivity and race realism, as professed by the Dissident Right, it follows that when different races occupy a country and share equal political rights, then each will view itself as a nation unto itself. These nations, of course, require the same Selective Subjectivity in their collective memories that individuals do in their personal memories to remain psychologically healthy. Racial friction occurs when one race’s Selective Subjectivity runs afoul of another’s.

For example, few white identitarians will identify with the black experience in the United States unless it directly impacts white life. We all know what happened with O. J. Simpson and Trayvon Martin. We are all well aware of black crime statistics. Such selective memories of black criminality promote two things that all nations require to remain healthy: feelings of moral superiority and feelings of victimhood, with the latter intensifying the need to protect or advance white group interests. Conversely, how much do we really care about the genesis of jazz or the literary output of the Harlem Renaissance? What do the accomplishments of Booker T. Washington or Mark Dean mean to us? Very little, largely because including these in our collective memory would do little to enhance positive images of ourselves.

Instead, white identiarians would prefer to remember the untold glories of our past. We quite naturally take pride in them and use them as a measure to determine our own accomplishments and greatness.

By the same token, blacks on the whole have never identified with white history. For the most part, they ignore it like they ignore all scholarship. But when not ignoring it, they will often try to warp it to suit their own historical agendas. They have been known to recast white history as black, insert fictional blackness into white historical figures, take ludicrous pride in white historical figures who are in small part black, downplay white greatness, and, worst of all, demonize white historical figures. The recent trend of removing or destroying statues of white historical figures in places like America and South Africa is a particularly vivid example of the contempt with which most blacks hold white history.

According to Selective Subjectivity, blacks do this because such anti-white memories skew their collective self-image in a positive direction. Since they have so few actual accomplishments beyond sports, music, and show biz, dragging down whitey makes them look good in comparison. They are well aware of their own criminality and limitations; but since an objective assessment of their qualities can only lead to negative conclusions about themselves, they choose quite naturally not to be objective. This is why they venerate their athletes, entertainers, and activists, while keeping quiet about their low test scores and high crime and illegitimacy rates. This is why they cry rivers over Emmett Till and a handful of other black victims of white murderers, but ignore the thousands of whites – not to mention blacks – that they murder every year. Blacks have a lot of catching up to do if they wish to surpass whites as a civilizational force, and therefore they resort to a lot of subjectivity to make it seem as if they are doing just that. Pretending makes them feel good, you see.

This establishes how cohabiting races use Selective Subjectivity in natural ways to promote positive feelings about themselves. This also demonstrates how Selective Subjectivity can cause friction when one race’s positive history reflects negatively on another’s. But how does it account for the fairly recent about-face among educated whites, who now eschew positive for negative subjectivity?

The answer, of course, like most topics on the Dissident Right, leads us to the Jewish Question.

According to race realism, one of our axioms, Ashkenazi diaspora Jews, for the most part, view themselves as a distinct nation within whatever country they occupy.  According to our other axiom, Selective Subjectivity, they maintain their own self-serving history, which is in many respects distinct from that of their host nation. Like whites and blacks, Jews will subjectively select those memories which will enhance a net positive self-perception among themselves. As a result, diaspora Jews will highlight both Jewish achievement – which has obvious salutary effects – as well as Jewish victimhood, which makes Gentiles look bad, thereby making Jews look good in comparison. Victimhood also reinforces the natural group need to protect or advance its own interests. Rarely will you see diaspora Jews publicly discussing aspects of Jewish history which run counter to this positive Selective Subjectivity. For example, few Jews will relish airing out the following articles of dirty laundry:

  1. The prominent role of Jews in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade
  2. The prominent role of Jews in the October Revolution
  3. The prominent role of Jews in Stalin’s atrocities in the 1920s and 1930s
  4. The prominent role of Jews in radical Left-wing politics
  5. The prominent role of Jews in the white slave trade
  6. The prominent role of Jews in the American mafia
  7. The prominent role of Jews in American pornography
  8. The prominent role of Jews in the open borders lobby

And when forced to discuss such matters, many Jews will either deny, dissemble, or retaliate (this ridiculous Wiki article is a good example). If all else fails, they will play their ace in the hole: the anti-Semitism card. And when this happens, as we all know, Jews can be vicious. The lesson here, of course, is that it takes a lot to separate Jews from their positive Selective Subjectivity, which many of them quite hysterically believe is the key to their survival outside of Israel.

Now, before we get our hackles up over this, let’s keep in mind that positive Selective Subjectivity is perfectly natural. Everyone does it, or if they don’t, they should. Before the twentieth century, white popular memory consisted mainly of legitimate white accomplishment along with examples of barbarism, corruption, or duplicity from the other races. (The Declaration of Independence referring to Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages” is a keen example of this). There was much less dirty white laundry being aired then, since whites had greater self-confidence. (A nice example of an ex post facto airing of dirty white laundry occurs in the first half of the movie Titanic, which exaggerated and mocked white self-confidence while blaming it – and not the unfortuitous iceberg – for the ship’s destruction.)

It’s almost as if we had it coming.

So what happened? Well, put bluntly, Jews, with their high verbal IQ and strong ethnocentric attitudes, became dominant in American public education. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “[i]n the United States, the Jewish contributions to general education in the 20th century have been varied, frequent, and profound.” The JVL goes on to list thirty-four American Jews who were prominent in various education fields, and then avers, “[a]nother powerful force in education was the mostly Jewish United Federation of Teachers in New York with over 140,000 members.” (By the way, the JVL boasts of similar Jewish dominance in the Soviet Union, France, Austria, and other countries.)

Given our two axioms, it’s not too much of a leap to conclude that in the twentieth century, Jews and their goy followers began teaching white gentiles what was in effect self-serving Jewish-American history. Sure, there was a lot of overlap, but, over time, what had been positive Selective Subjectivity for whites was replaced with positive Selective Subjectivity for Jews. These, of course, are not the same thing, and, as a result, millions of twentieth-century American whites became inculcated with notions of Jewish moral superiority and Jewish victimhood. They say that the hand that rocks the cradle can rule the world. Well, that’s essentially what happened.

This of course says nothing of the Jewish influence in the universities, which, if anything, was even greater than their influence in secondary education. Kevin MacDonald has done great research on this topic, and I have no intention of adding substantially to it. I will say, however, that if MacDonald had wished to expand his classic Culture of Critique, he could have done a lot worse if he had penned a chapter about the Jewish historian Howard Zinn, who was to history what Franz Boas was to anthropology. Zinn is well-known on the Right as a Communist sympathizer and anti-American who helped create curricula which preached “contempt for the ideals and past of the United States and Western Civilization,” in the words of No Campus for White Men author Scott Greer. Conservative writer Daniel Flynn describes Zinn’s bestselling A People’s History of the United States as an attempt to “depict America in the worst possible light.”

Of course, they’re both not wrong. However, the Dissident Right is more likely to describe Zinn as a Jew who was Jewishly motivated to slander white gentiles and the nations and cultures they created. Selective Subjectivity explains why and how. Why? To bolster a healthy Jewish self-confidence regarding their collective memory. How? By painting the Jews’ closest competitors, white gentiles, in an evil and mercenary light – even when they were doing something admirable like fighting to end slavery – while deliberately not smearing Jews and others in a similar way. The result? Jews and non-whites are made to look morally superior to whites. Also, by emphasizing non-white victimhood and downplaying white victimhood, Zinn encouraged non-whites (including Jews) to continue pecking away at the racial interests of whites.

This is, by the way, a neat trick of Jewish scholars. Where blacks will complain about victimhood and Hispanics about their own victimhood, and so on, only the Jews are clever enough to complain about all non-white victimhood. In so doing, Jews have orchestrated a vast, people-of-color constituency which uses many of the same tactics to bully and hector white people from all directions.

Here’s Benjamin Ginsburg describing this cynical alliance in his invaluable The Fatal Embrace (emphasis mine):

[T]he importance of African Americans as a source of justification and legitimacy for social service institutions and domestic social expenditures in the United States places limits upon the capacity of liberal white Democrats, Jews in particular, to respond to anti-Semitic activities on the part of blacks. All liberal Democrats, but Jews especially, have a substantial stake in the American welfare state. Jews played major roles in its creation and continue to play important parts in its administration . . .

Given this stake, Jews cannot afford to engage in or tolerate political tactics or public rhetoric that seriously threaten to discredit blacks. This is one of the major reasons that Jewish racism, often expressed privately, seldom manifests itself publicly. African Americans are simply too important to the legitimacy of the American domestic state. If Jews engage in attacks on blacks, or permit doubts to be raised about the merits of their political claims, then Jews are, in effect, undermining a major moral prop supporting the institutions from which they, themselves, derive enormous benefits and through which they exercise considerable power.

You could practically bibliomance your way through A People’s History of the United States and find ripe examples of white-bashing. Flynn provides a great rundown of the book’s biases here. My favorite, however, appears in Chapter Nine. In it, while lambasting post-bellum Southern whites for taking sensible precautions against Negro crime, corruption, and oppression (which they experienced to the hilt during Reconstruction), Zinn maliciously condemns white identitarian and race-realist author Thomas Nelson Page for saying mean things about a black character in his 1898 novel Red Rock (Counter-Currents review here). Of course, having an anti-white axe to grind, Zinn fails to mention that this character, named Moses, is a thug, murderer, and a would-be rapist. Zinn also does not mention the choice words Page had for his white villains in that novel. Nor does he mention the plethora of sympathetic blacks throughout Page’s fiction, especially in his beautiful short story “Marse Chan,” which is told from the perspective of a former slave. No, such a realistic (and therefore sympathetic) portrait of this conservative, race realist, well-meaning, patriotic white man would run counter to Zinn’s anti-white, pro-Jewish agenda. He’d rather slip a shiv between the old Goy’s ribs and move on.

On a personal note, I’d like to think of myself as a fairly well-read, well-educated guy. But it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I became aware of most of the items in the “prominent role of Jews” list above. Very little of this stuff had been taught to me. I did learn about the Jewish makeup of the Bolsheviks in college, and I was aware of the sixth item because I had seen The Godfather. On the other hand, by my mid-twenties I could name three or four Nazi concentration camps, and most of the top Nazis in the Third Reich. I had seen various movies about the Holocaust, including Schindler’s List and Au Revoir Les Enfants. I had read Maus, The Chosen, and similar books. I had also studied African-American, Native American, and South African history in college, all of which often demonized whites. Much of the pro-white narrative that my parents had learned when they were young had been left behind by the time I got to college. In fact, I am still learning tidbits of our history that should have been spoon-fed to me growing up. For example, thanks to a Counter-Currents article by C. F. Robinson, “Welfare Terrorists,” I now know that the United States in the 1860s – after they had fought wars of “annihilation” and “genocide” against the Native Americans, according to Zinn – was actually subsidizing Indian survival on reservations during the winters while it was fighting the Civil War. Yes, white men were actually paying Indians welfare to keep them alive while whites were dying by the hundreds of thousands to rid their nation of slavery. Further, some of these Indians showed their gratitude by carrying out violent raids upon Americans during the summers. Yet the welfare kept coming.

Two questions: first, had the Indians ever been so generous to their defeated enemies during their frequent wars of annihilation and genocide in pre-Columbian times? And second, why wasn’t this, and similar aspects of pro-white history, taught to my generation in school? I believe that answering both questions honestly would leave white people smelling a little too much like a rose, and would complicate the anti-white narratives that Jews, blacks, and other non-whites need to instill into their own populations. For the health of any nation, Selective Subjectivity must always come before objective truth.

As with the evolutionary analysis found in Culture of Critique, Selective Subjectivity helps us think about races and nations in a zoomed-out macro sense rather than on a micro level. People of all stripes have been known to violate Selective Subjectivity, either through an objective analysis of their own history or by assuming the Selective Subjectivity of other nations. Benjamin Ginsburg is Jewish, yet he offers an admirably objective view of Jewish history in The Fatal Embrace. Mary Lefkowitz is also Jewish, and her Not Out of Africa offers an objective and unflattering look at black history and modern black attempts at rewriting white history. In so doing, Lefkowitz, in Ginsburg’s words, permits “doubts to be raised about the merits of [blacks’] political claims.” She essentially undermines black and Jewish Selective Subjectivity since, as Ginsburg points out, Jews have formed a critical alliance with blacks against their white host-enemies. In America, their stars indeed rise and fall together.

The most striking example of Selective Subjectivity violation I can think of, however, occurred in 2012 when black conservative Allen West was speaking at a press conference, and a Muslim started haranguing him about how Western nations had brought war against Muslims. West responded by accusing Islam of initiating war against the West (or, “us,” as he referred to it). He then brought up a slew of historical examples, including Charles Martel in the eighth century. I was amazed. Here was a black man – and not a light-skinned one – actually identifying with whites and taking on pro-white Selective Subjectivity when viewing history.

Although I appreciate West’s allegiance to Western Civilization, the embarrassing paucity of blacks like him who strive for objectivity only shows how prevalent Selective Subjectivity really is. Most people and most nations are not objective about themselves, and don’t want to be – for good reason.

Since Selective Subjectivity is perfectly natural and healthy in moderation, it further allows us to look at the Jewish Question without rancor or hatred. When thinking from a racial perspective, whites can view the current state of education in history and conclude that Jews are doing what whites should have been doing all along. Further, it’s partially our fault for letting them do it at our expense. Whites in America and throughout the West must realize that many of our Jewish educators have sold us a bill of goods as far as our own history is concerned. They have used their Selective Subjectivity to minimize white feelings of moral superiority and victimhood, notions that all healthy nations must possess. It would be the same if thousands of white Gentile educators were to immigrate to Israel and pretend to be “Israelis” in order to browbeat Israeli schoolchildren regarding the most despicable aspects of Jewish history. Would the Israelis stand for that? If not, then why should we?

It’s a fair question, yes?

In light of Selective Subjectivity and what it is capable of, whites should harden their hearts and arm themselves with some distrust of their Jewish educators. After all, the Howard Zinns of the world far outnumber the Ginsburgs and Lefkowitzes. If anything, Selective Subjectivity demonstrates why strife is inevitable in free, multi-racial societies. Nations within nations will always compete with one another as long as they possess equal political rights. Yes, in an ideal world, it wouldn’t be right for whites to hate Jews for being such good competitors. In an ideal world, it also wouldn’t be right for Jews and their non-white allies to relish the destruction of white history. But in the real world that’s exactly what’s happening. Since Jews and their non-white allies are showing no remorse on their end, how long do they expect whites to not get a little ticked off on theirs?

And the part about not having rancor or hatred? That’s only the case at present, while white history still exists, if in a somewhat degraded form. If things keep going the way they are now, however, and statues keep falling and our history keeps getting manhandled by people who are not us and who care little for us, then the majority of whites will be justified in their rancor and hatred of their enemies. Because once a nation’s history goes, so does its future.

Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You.

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8 Comments

  1. Synchronistic Child
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    So much good stuff here. This passage alone keeps coming back to my mind throughout the day since I read it. It’s one of those statements that seem so obvious, and yet are so insightful: 

    This points to the premise of all philosophy, the unprovable-yet-undisprovable nut around which all religions and traditions develop: it is better to live than not to live.

    Regarding the denial of the whiteness of important historical figures, an interesting recent example is the Chavista government’s “reconstruction” of the face of Venezuelan independence hero Simón Bolívar, which clearly intends to portray him as a mestizo. 

    Hollywood, of course, seems to be sympathetic to the Chavista revision. I’m not sure if Venezuelan star Edgar Ramírez is 100% white, but in his role as Bolívar in The Liberator he certainly looks less white than in other roles he’s played. 

    The huge irony of this is, of course, that there’s considerable evidence that Bolívar died in bitterness, his liberal dreams of a vibrant, diverse Gran Colombia crushed not only by petty factional quarrelling, but also by the crude reality of indomitable inter-racial hatred. The stark race realism he shows in his famous message to the Congress of Angostura is particularly striking in this regard.

  2. Posted July 31, 2018 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    This is the best article I’ve read in a while, thanks.

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted July 31, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Ben G. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. I really worked hard on it.

  3. Jud Jackson
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Another extremely insightful article Mr. Quinn,

    I have one very minor quibble. I have made this point before in a comment on another article (I don’t think it was yours) but I will make it again here.

    You write

    “Yes, white men were actually paying Indians welfare to keep them alive while whites were dying by the hundreds of thousands to rid their nation of slavery.”

    Tom DiLorenzo in his books “The Real Lincoln” and “Lincoln Unmasked” makes the point that the war really was not about Slavery at all, but from the Yankee perspective, keeping the South in the Union so that the protective tariff could be collected and used to fund infrastructure in the North. Many, such as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain may have thought they were fighting to end Slavery but that was not the real goal.

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted July 31, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Hi Jud,

      I’m glad you found the article insightful. As for your quibble, yes and no. I agree that there were many reasons for the war. But from my reading of history, the northern states always had a Christian discomfort with slavery, which is why they insisted on limiting the influence of Southern states in the House through the 3/5 compromise and limited or outlawed slavery in many of their own states. According to John Calhoun, the South’s ‘pekuliar institution’ was the source of the troubles between the states. Yes, there were other sources of the troubles (eg ethnic, regional, economic) but without the great divide that slavery created, I’m not certain we would have taken up arms against each like we did. Also, it’s possible that the political purpose of the Civil War was multifaceted, but from the perspective of the soldiers themselves, many did see themselves of fighting to end slavery. Hence they included John Brown’s name in the Battle Hymn of the Republic during the war:

      ‘By the time the Civil War began in 1861, the John Brown version of the song had spread throughout the Union army. Soldiers added new verses as they marched through the South, including one that promised to hang Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, from a tree. Meanwhile, Confederate soldiers answered back with their own version, in which John Brown was hanging from a tree.’

      When I referred to white men fighting to end slavery, I was taking a historical perspective, because regardless of the what the particular leaders wanted out of the war, that was what, in effect, they did…among the other things you mention, of course.

      https://loc.gov/teachers/lyrical/songs/john_brown.html

      • AngloBilly
        Posted July 31, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        You’re right, Mr. Quinn, that there were multiple, complex reasons for the Civil War, and that slavery was an integral part. Constitutions created by Confederate states were explicit about protecting slavery. And while some Union soldiers didn’t consider themselves to be fighting in order to free blacks, a very large number of soldiers and northern civilians hated slavery and hoped for its end. This was for multiple reasons also. Not only did many Yankees consider it morally wrong to hold people in bondage as was done in the South, but they also believed it was an unfair economic system which had national repercussions. It had ill effects on non-slave-holding white southerners, as well as northern workers. And as I believe Thomas Jefferson recognized, it had a corrupting effect on the slaveholders.

        I subscribe to the view that many historians such as J. G. Randall expressed, that radicals both north and south were to blame for the Civil War. Before war broke out, radical abolitionists threw gasoline on the smoldering fire, encouraging violence on behalf of slaves, and southern Fire Eaters fanned the flames. Up until Ft. Sumter, there were many men on both sides who worked hard to reach a compromise, but passions grew too hot.

        I agree with others that your essay here is a great one. I’m old enough to remember when American public education was pretty reasonable regarding history. Before PC, school history was often much more fair-minded and nuanced than today, although the SJW’s scream the opposite. And while it tended to be fair-minded, it also included that healthy Selective Subjectivity which you describe so well.

        When I first read Zinn’s book in the 80’s, I was shocked by its combination of what was either howling incompetence or dishonesty, and its extreme bias, even though I was a liberal-leftist at the time. Yet his book became ubiquitous in schools, bookstores and credulous but widespread media commentary. And I observed first-hand what a huge, baneful influence it was having on students.

        • TJ Bone
          Posted August 1, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          What I find interesting is why would whites go fight a war against other whites on the behalf of blacks?

          Slavery may be morally wrong but whats it got to do with me? NOTHING. Think about it. You are going to kill your white brethren on the behalf of abolishing slavery? Someone had to sell the anti-slavery agenda it to the public be it via churches, politicians, etc…

          The north may have not liked slavery but having grown up in the northeast there is no love of blacks among whites here. And it goes way back to when my family came to the US. So they arent loved and you are going to go fight a war for them?

          If you think about the same thing worked during WW2 – why would you go kill other whites on behalf of others? The media sold it to the public as the Germans were going to invade the US. There is tons of propaganda about this. The agenda was really about the Jews and there is other material about how the real agenda for the war had to be hidden from the public. Lots of rabbis have commented about it as well as politicians.

          The same thing is going on right now via the demonizing of Russia. What does Russia have to do with me? NOTHING.

          Here is the reality, the media is manipulated for their agenda. Just like they manipulate history to deracinate whites.

          • AngloBilly
            Posted August 2, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            I agree with you about Russia, media manipulation, etc.

            Regarding the Civil War, the vast majority of Union soldiers, especially early in the war, signed up and fought mostly for reasons of basic patriotism. This is clear from their letters, reminiscences and other sources. They believed it was their duty to answer the call to join up, and they believed in preserving the Union. Most of them weren’t fighting specifically to free blacks or to uplift blacks, although a small minority of soldiers did believe in those things.

            Events before the war did increase anti-slavery sentiment and resentment towards the South among Northerners: the publication of Uncle Tom’s cabin, the statements of Fire Eaters, the Dred Scott decision, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Southerners coming north to recapture escaped slaves, etc. Like Lincoln, most Northerners weren’t radical abolitionists, but events and rhetoric encouraged them to view the South more negatively, rightly or wrongly.

            Many Unionists resented slavery, not just because of the effects it had on blacks, but on how it effected themselves, directly or indirectly. A lot of Southerners disliked slavery also because of its variety of effects, but they were very loyal to their states. When the states seceded, many Southerners such as Robert E. Lee felt that their duty was to defend their states, regardless of how they felt about slavery. This was also true of Southerners of more modest means, who might not have had any special liking of slavery. And other Southerners saw the protection of slavery to be vital to their own economic and cultural system.

            Unlike some other events, our Civil War does deserve to be called a great tragedy. It through a lot of people of good will into a terrible struggle with each other. As you suggest, that was also true of the World Wars and other conflicts.

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