Okay, look: on this blog, I’ve been critical of the alt-right, and I stand by what I’ve said. In my salad days, I even visciously battered a couple of neo-Nazis, and that was back when “neo-Nazi” meant something. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a white nationalist. But…. But but but.
Today, no thinking person (a narrowing demographic, I’ll admit) needs to be told that organic social relations are under assault from the techno-feudal powers that be. White nationalism is a perfectly legitimate (if low grade and one-dimensional) reaction in these circumstances. So while I am not a white nationalist in the sense of subscribing to a party program, I wouldn’t disavow the label.
The most common argument from those on the far right who want to avoid that label is to deride the alt-right as inorganic (i.e., merely an internet phenomenon), its followers as largely mouth-breathing, autistic, and pathetic; and to argue that race is an inadequate criteria to judge people by, because it’s too inclusive, rather than local and pragmatic. Jack Donovan’s variation on this argument, in a 2017 essay entitled “Why I am not a White Nationalist,” is one of the most widely read that I’ve seen.
Why would anyone who might otherwise be associated with white nationalism want to distance himself from it? Having used Richard Spencer’s conferences to promote himself, Jack Donovan now has a pinky toe in the mainstream; there’s nothing mysterious about such a disavowal, whatever the rationale may be. But what about those who have less visibility, and less concern for the opinions of the multitude, with all its potential customers? In my case, as a not self-hating half-Hebrew, my criticisms have tended to focus on bad arguments from anti-semites. But that’s just me personally, and as I said, I wouldn’t disavow the WN label if it was hurled at me. So what about those whites who would, even as they sympathize with alt-right ideas? Clearly, all this demonstrates is the desire to remain neutral on a moving train. Civic nationalists and/or philosophical ultraconservatives who have misgivings about fascism or populism (even the Jewish ones) are nevertheless going to have to stop beating around the bush and acknowledge, sooner or later, that whiteness is an unavoidable distinguishing factor in their views and interests. It may not be the only one, but it’s not the smallest, and if saying so gets me labelled a white nationalist, then turning around and projecting that label on ol’ Neckbeard McJergens, like Donovan does, is bad faith (not to mention collusion with those doing the labelling.)
Look: I’m not a joiner. I readily acknowledge the pathos and hysteria inherent in online discourse. I’m well aware of how feckless and dysgenic white people have become; that they’ve always had distasteful peculiarities; that they’ve always been fighting each other anyway; that you can’t dominate the world forever, and that collectively, the Great Race is in many regards dropping trow voluntarily. I don’t deny the holocaust, or that slavery, colonialism and Jim Crow were cruel. In fact, if I were a baby boomer I’d probably have accepted the logic of all the liberal reforms that occurred over the second half of the 20th century, each of which appeared relatively benign at its inception. I don’t imagine there’ll be a political solution to the problems those changes precipitated—I see all the purity spiraling, and the barking without bite, and I’m well aware of the extent to which alt-right genealogical naval-gazing distracts from dire topics like technocracy and finance. In fact, as a broad category, “white people” is largely comprised of types I don’t like, or wouldn’t like. I dislike most people. But….. But but but.
There are times when our choices narrow down to either/or, and that time is now. The issue isn’t necessarily political, or global. It’s a question of what mindset to confront the future with. White genocide can only be denied by the blind, even if that monicker sounds hysterical; the unconscionable results of sexual liberation follow from logic that appeared benign a generation ago, and still does to most people; and the assault on teleology cannot be effectively opposed by classical liberalism. White nationalism, on its own, may also be inadequate to oppose it, but to suggest that white nationalists are solely concerned with race is a straw man. In his essay, Donovan draws a distinction between white nationalism as the global, mostly online phenomenon he rejects, and the local, “tribal” networking and self-defense regimen he advocates. But it’s a distinction without a difference: white vigilantism and other symptoms of backlash in communities blighted by capitalism and forced multiculturalism, whether in Europe or the States, is white nationalism.
Mencius Moldbug’s 2007 essay on the subject (like Donovan’s, entitled “Why I am not a White Nationalist”) argues from the class-not-race angle (as if class and race are mutually exclusive considerations), and that white nationalism is inherently ineffective, due to its taboo radioactivity in the mainstream. At the risk of forfeiting all nuance and aloofness, this line of argument avoids the issue.
If someone could surveil my every move, they’d see me pick my nose, and sometimes eat cake at midnight, and hear me make declarations that my actions contradicted. Ultimately, we’re all pathetic creatures, and if the internet amplifies this, so be it. That’s how ideas are being circulated nowadays. Moldbug’s rarified contrarianism doesn’t wash in this environment, it’s a pose; yet living as locally and tribally as Jack Donovan advocates blurs the line between pragmatism and romanticism. As much as I admire the concept of the Wolves of Vinland, I’d be surprised if their collective solipsism doesn’t close in around its individual members and implode the group ethos within a generation. It’s scarcely more tenable in the grand scheme than it would be to form an ethnostate with a bunch of beta anons from 4Chan. Necessity, not principle, is the mother of that kind of invention, and at this point it’s all still just Instagram fodder and selfie-sticking the Kali Yuga.
But we can all see the writing on the wall. So if whiteness and white people per se don’t mean anything to you, then wait and see how you like it when there is no more whiteness to mean anything.