The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America’s Scapegoats
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998)
Jim Goad is the “Last Hipster,” a man whose ironic detachment, contrarian disposition, and yearning to “discover” authenticity in the alien other has come full-circle–cannibalizing the very subculture and mindset from which he emerged. While lesser hipsters are content to posture against the impotent and irrelevant phantom menaces of puritanism and racism, Goad dives an additional inception level down to identify and rebel against America’s insecure White Elites, exposing their guilt, hypocrisy, and shallowness relative to their redneck relatives. His first book, The Redneck Manifesto, eviscerates SWPLdom with a devastating fusion of his notorious wit and an unexpected mastery of the facts and figures supporting his thesis.
His thesis is encapsulated in the subtitle: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America’s Scapegoats. The guilt for which the scapegoating is necessary is of a decidedly Leftist nature, which is what makes this book so subversive. Racism, slavery, imperialism, and economic exploitation are taken for granted as pathologies for which Whites are to be held accountable, but Goad asserts very convincingly that the wrong Whites are being held accountable. While he revels in his disdain for political correctness throughout the book, he only does so on a superficial level which could only offend the most hysterical enforcers of multicultural orthodoxy. He is, in his own ironic and self-conscious hipster way, politically correct.
Goad struggles at times to adapt his manic and poetic style of writing into the more sober and measured form appropriate for a book. It’s undeniably fun, but if any man can be faulted for cramming in so much wit that it becomes an overwhelming distraction, it would be him. Brace yourself for over 200 pages of prose which can feel like it was written by an angry auctioneer on XTC: “The serf was bound to the turf. So let’s talk about the serf . . . and turf. The peasant was a piss-ant. A peon was somebody to pee on. Life for the peasant was unpleasant. The serf was poor and uncouth, having no manners and no manors.” Those clever turns of phrase weren’t merely selected from throughout the book–they were one immediately after the other in rapid-fire succession. This machine gun delivery is what makes his blog posts at TakiMag so addictive, but it might serve him well to arrive at a pace more befitting this medium. When writing “I struggle to wake up” will do, “I rip myself from sleep like a fetus aborting itself” is an indulgence at the expense of the reader.
To the thoughtful reader who’s not frightened away by chapter titles like “White Niggers Have Feelings, Too,” it’s clear that he’s actually embracing and extending the logic of contemporary cultural Marxism. He redeems America’s White underclass–achieving (perhaps unwittingly) an Alinskyite objective of defeating the enemy by holding him to his own rule book. Jim Goad is a Leftist, even a paleo-Marxist, whose essentially Marxist perspective departs from contemporary Marxism in rejecting the Frankfurt School’s transition from dwelling on class conflict to dwelling on racial conflict. “For most of America’s history, they [White Elites] worked at getting the rednecks to blame the niggers. For the past thirty years or so, they’ve encouraged the niggers to blame the rednecks.”
It’s not that he scoffs at the notion of White Privilege; it’s that he scoffs at how the concept has been effectively exploited by the people who possess the privilege in question to transfer blame to those who quite obviously don’t: “They speak of white trash and white privilege as if the terms are interchangeable. Because most corporate executives are white males, they mistakenly conclude that most white males are corporate executives. They simultaneously depict white trash to be as dumb as oak sap, yet able to pull of an intercontinental conspiracy that enslaved most of the melanin-rich world.” It’s important to note here that he doesn’t reject the notion of an intercontinental conspiracy to enslave the melanin-rich world . . . he merely quibbles over who possesses White Privilege and who deserves White Guilt.
The Redneck Manifesto may be the most focused, flamboyant, and effective exposition of this dissenting perspective to date, but many Blacks have long recognized and objected to the outrageous bait-and-switch at the heart of the establishment’s self-serving brand of anti-racism. In a New York Times review of the blockbuster film adaptation of the bestselling Civil Rights novel The Help, Black intellectual Patricia A. Turner ruins the afterglow of moral superiority the privileged White author intended to bestow on her privileged White readers:
This movie deploys the standard formula. With one possible exception, the white women are remarkably unlikable, and not just because of their racism. Like the housewives portrayed in reality television shows, the housewives of Jackson treat each other, their parents and their husbands with total callousness. In short, they are bad people, therefore they are racists.
There’s a problem, though, with that message. To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not.
Jim Crow segregation survived long into the 20th century because it was kept alive by white Southerners with value systems and personalities we would applaud. It’s the fallacy of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a movie that never fails to move me but that advances a troubling falsehood: the notion that well-educated Christian whites were somehow victimized by white trash and forced to live within a social system that exploited and denigrated its black citizens, and that the privileged white upper class was somehow held hostage to these struggling individuals.
In Goad’s analysis, “If the niggers and the rednecks ever joined forces, they’d be unbeatable.” He doesn’t see a race war in America’s future, but rather a class war: “America’s next large-scale ethnic skirmish may be intraracial: white trash vs. white cash.” He accurately notes that “. . . It’s blasphemous to exclude someone from your neighborhood based on any color but green,” but his own cosmopolitan hipster disposition is on display. While he’s insightful enough to recognize that White culture is indeed as valid and authentic as non-White culture, his worldview is essentially modern, which is to say that it’s economically reductionist. When he validates and embraces the hillbilly’s foibles and effects, he perceives them as merely accessories to be embraced as a fashion statement rather than outward manifestations of an integral folk identity. One can imagine him donning a pair of overalls in the same self-conscious and superficial way that a lesser hipster might don a Palestinian’s keffiyeh.
By definition, the hipster lacks a coherent identity and obsesses over wealth and social status. When he perceives social and political events, he’s as dismissive of the racial, ethnic, and cultural identities of his subjects as he is of his own racial, ethnic, and cultural identity: “Racial struggles are never purely racial. In fact, they aren’t even fundamentally racial. More often, race is merely an excuse to mask what is actually a battle over land or the booty perched upon it.”
While I disagree with his monetary meta-analysis, his position is a thoughtful one which is well-argued. Unfortunately, he is guilty at times of bending the facts to fit them into his framework. For instance, he asserts “Most Southern whites had been pauperized and ostracized by the slave economy, so it’s nonsensical to allege they’d sacrifice their lives for a slaveowning class they deeply resented.” It’s only nonsensical if you perceive humans in strictly economic rather than tribal terms. Despite offering up a wealth of research and snippets which are sympathetic to and useful to us, he’s emphatically not a racialist. He even asserts (without irony, and convincingly) that he’s pro-black. Supposedly, he’s “. . . taken a number of shots from white people over the years for not swimming with the strictly cream-colored gene pool.” I would appreciate having that elaborated on, as I seriously doubt that he’s experienced any consequential pressure to refrain from socially integrating with Blacks.
Goad’s not a White Nationalist, and is content to ironically and sarcastically opine on the hypocrisies and inconsistencies of the elites subjecting our people to a systematic process of dispossession, displacement, and soft genocide. He doesn’t care whether there are any White people left in a few centuries, as long as the green is distributed equitably among the irreligious and alienated aliens. It’s easy to get excited about a popular and persuasive writer publishing a defensive of working class Whites, but it’s troubling when understood in the context of the overarching phenomenon it belongs to. Individuals and institutions across the political spectrum are arriving at positions and perspectives we alone have held for decades, while leaving out the only truly indispensable position.
Over thirty years ago, David Duke and Don Black drove down to the border to patrol it against the invasion. What was once a Klansman’s crank position is now mainstream GOP boilerplate. Ten years ago, we insisted that America’s foreign policy is controlled by Israeli warmongers and its currency is controlled by international bankers. Today’s political prediction market is betting that the winner of the Iowa caucus will be a man who wishes to end the Federal Reserve, cut off all foreign aid to Israel, and cease all Middle Eastern military engagements. The Redneck Manifesto takes our frustration with our traitorous White elites and repackages it in Marxist and anti-racist language for mass publication.
Just about the only important position we hold which remains entirely outside the scope of mainstream discussion is that our people have a right to exist and determine our own sovereign destiny. I look forward to the day when hipsters have adopted this most heretical of challenges to the established order. On that fine day, I’ll be able to forward them to my old Counter-Currents articles, proving I was a White Nationalist before it was cool!
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