Waking Up from the American Dream
Markus Willinger’s Generation Identity
Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers
London: Arktos Media, 2013
Memo to the American Right: It’s Time to Grow Up
Ideas Have Consequences
The slippery slope is a logical fallacy – except in politics. Ideas are eventually taken to their logical conclusion. More importantly, they are taken to their logical conclusion by people who don’t really understand them. Thus, the Herrenvolk democracy the Founding Fathers set up in the United States of America endlessly devolves into an ever more degenerate nightmare, all because people think “all men are created equal.”
There’s more to it than that of course, but movements, peoples, creeds, and states ultimately depend on the masses internalizing certain core principles, if only at the level of rhetoric. A foundational error in ideology guarantees eventual political defeat.
The American Right – such as it is – is hamstrung by its rhetorical attachment to ideas like “limited government” and “free markets” that lose all relevance or applicability when divorced from demographic, cultural, and moral foundations. Louis Hartz went so far as to claim that liberalism was the only political tradition in America, as we all shadowbox about the legacy of John Locke. Jonah Goldberg defined America itself as the “tribe of liberty” moving toward ever greater individual freedom, with inconsequential debates about the meaning of the country “bequeathed by the American Revolution and the Enlightenment.” The modern conservative movement loves to use the phrase “ideas have consequences,” but they have adopted a shallow and sophomoric system of slogans as a basis for action.
When American conservatives or libertarians do try to take a stand on something other than tax cuts for billionaires, it’s an example of what the late Lawrence Auster called an “unprincipled exception,” an objection to equality and non-discrimination that doesn’t challenge liberalism itself. In fact, they generally fight to claim the term “classical liberals.”
The result is a conservatism that is bound to lose, perhaps even designed to lose. Rather than offering an alternative, it is an indispensable support to the system ensuring that dissenters are reconciled to their dispossession through the illusion of that they have an input into the system. Some self-described conservatives, enthusiastic eunuchs to the end, even defend their ideology precisely because it allows society to implement progressive change “gradually.” America is the center of the world system driving our people to extinction, and rather than seeking to end that system, the American Right – moderate and “extremist” alike – wants to save it in order to preserve their illusions about freedom, and capitalism, and the Constitution.
To the typical man-child of the American Right, 21-year-old Markus Willinger has a critical message – grow up.
Against the New Establishment
Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers is a call to battle from European youth who have grown up in occupied territory. The language is blunt, the prose combative, and the stakes of the battle Marcus wants us to fight could not be higher. This is not a work of political philosophy or detailed policy analysis – it is a kind of catechism, a short book with small chapters designed for students, activists, and wavering supporters who want to know what Generation Identity is all about.
What makes Willinger’s work so important is that it is not just a political document but a spiritual doctrine. He captures the contradictions and confusion of a generation that has been deliberately stripped of their culture, creeds, and countries in the name of a vague multiculturalism. Moreover, unlike simple reactionaries, Willinger has no illusion that history can go backwards. This is no pointless call to return to “traditional moral values” or some idealized past when everything was ok. Willinger doesn’t just tell us to go back to church or wave the flag to bring back patriotism.
Instead, the Declaration of War is a joyful, life-affirming declaration that welcomes even the current decadence if it opens the way for something greater. In its freely admitted lust for combat, conflict, and the destruction of the old order, Marcus Willinger shows what it really means to be a “happy warrior” – not some kosher conservative who accepts his inevitable defeat in good humor, but a political solider who finds meaning in the struggles to come.
The Declaration is a slim volume, broken into no fewer than 41 chapters, some only a page or two long. It is framed as a declaration of war against the “’68ers,” a term that requires some explanation to Americans. In May 1968, wildcat strikes across France initially sparked by student rebellions brought the entire nation of France to a standstill, with President de Gaulle going so far as to flee the country. The slogans of the ’68ers were a classic example of postmodern Marxism, a cry for a life more meaningful than what was possible under capitalist alienation. “A cop sleeps inside each one of us. We must kill him. Drive the cop out of your head.” “It is forbidden to forbid.” “Be realistic, ask the impossible.”
Though de Gaulle was able to defeat the would-be revolution, and his Center-Right party even gained seats in the elections that followed, May ’68 had a huge impact on European society, government, and culture. It heralded the establishment of Cultural Marxism as the default culture of educated Western opinion. The rebellious young figures of the uprising, like the charismatic Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit (aka “Danny the Red”), have gone on to become the boring old bureaucrats of the European Parliament, lecturing the people of Europe on what products they are allowed to use, what they are allowed to say, and what they are allowed to think. Instead of the beginning of a new era of freedom, May ’68 was the beginning of what Keith Preston has called “Totalitarian Humanism.”
A Generation Without Roots
There is nothing decent, worthwhile, or noble that this new establishment has not perverted or destroyed. At the same time, history does not go backwards – just appealing to the past is not enough.
Thus, there is a note of despair when Willinger cries, “You’ve thrown us into this world, uprooted and disoriented, without telling us where to go, or where our path lies. You’ve destroyed every means for us to orient ourselves.” It’s no surprise that the second chapter is entitled, “On Loneliness.”
The frantic search for artificial euphoria in drugs, parties, or extreme experiences conceals an extreme sense of boredom and deracination. The paradox is that the individual, once truly alone, can not fully realize himself. After all, the ’68ers destroyed the individual by warning us “about the dangers of peer pressure and the loss of our individuality. This inner conflict plunges us into yet deeper despair.” Willinger cuts to the bone when he says of his generation, “so we wander through life, half lost and half high.” Even the escapism of video games and entertainment is an attempt to discover values like community, honor, and heroism that our society has no outlet for.
Willinger makes a critical point when he says that the only way many youth can find identity today is through clothing labels or various fashions. Only a casual glance at “goths,” “emo” kids, or the various other petty tribes of the musical scene shows that people are looking for meaning in anything, even marketing fads. Though Willinger doesn’t mention it, it’s worth noting that the British government is now prosecuting attacks against the Leftist-leaning “emos” as “hate crimes,” giving certain musical subcultures (but not others) status as a protected class.
Traditional religion is also not necessarily an answer. As Willinger notes, this generation understandably envies the certainty, commitment and faith of believers, even the militant Muslims. At the same time, the superstition and stupidity of religious dogmas make it impossible to simply just believe, “so we feel ourselves at once superior and inferior to the fanatics” (p. 21). “Our belief is worthless, for we don’t dare to take it seriously. . . . ‘I don’t know’ is our slogan’ and with these words we plunge ourselves into misery.”
The state too is cause for cynicism, as “you have made us loathe the state, rotting as it is from the inside.” While it is a “necessary evil,” we “haven’t cared which parties attempt to exploit us.” Most importantly, Willinger excoriates those who give us pictures of idyllic family life on television, “the exact opposite of the reality you have brought into being.” Of course, if anything Willinger understates the case, as American television openly promotes decadence. Is it odd to think there was a time when the portrayal of family life on The Simpsons was seen as subversive?
Perhaps the most poignant of Willinger’s protests is in his condemnation of the “battle against the sexes.” He cries, “You’ve taken the manliness out of men” and told women “that femininity is outdated and socially constructed,” instead promoting “alliances of queers and transvestites, the union of nothingness.” “We want to do be real men and real women,” says Willinger, it defiance of all the “imbecile theories” that are trying to change the very meaning of what it is to be human. To discover real “love” requires the inner struggle against the “wild animal desire” that “sexual liberation” has forced upon an entire generation. Willinger explains, “It is our highest goal and our greatest happiness to find true love,” something that can lead to something behind the mere gratification of lust (p. 56).
Willinger speaks for all those who know in their bones they have been cheated of their birthright – even if they can’t fully put it into words. Willinger deliberately positions himself as the voice of his generation, contemptuously confronting those who created this nightmare world that they are forced to endure. When he speaks about the nights of regret following a party, or the ennui and despair of an atheist generation which nonetheless cannot make itself believe, or the “cold and empty” world dumped upon European youth by the Generation of ’68, he is speaking for everyone. Though there are still the religious, the morally restrained, the idealistic, and the hopeful, Willinger has the courage to confront and give voice to the dark impulses and experiences within Western youth.
More importantly, these charges are laid at the feet of the Generation of ’68, the leftists who got the chance to build the kind of utopian society they wanted and instead gave us a disaster combining the worst aspects of deracinated capitalism and self-loathing socialism. By framing the struggle as “us versus them” and identifying and acknowledging the powerful psychological impulses behind identitarians, Willinger is able to go beyond just writing a political platform. The political and cultural struggle is a necessary part of the effort to redeem the individual lives rendered meaningless by the Generation of ’68. The war without, the war to save Europe, is part of the effort each person must make to win the war within.
Race and Multiculturalism
Willinger throws in some pro forma denunciations of the Nazis, condemning the “National Socialist reign of terror.” However, he notes, accurately, that everything that the ’68ers have done to dismantle European identity was in response to the Nazis. After defeating the Nazis, the Allies proceeded to defeat themselves, a phenomenon Peter Brimelow of Vdare.com has termed, “Hitler’s Revenge.” Needless to say, Willinger does not confront the Jewish role in Europe’s suicide (or is that murder?), instead focusing on the ’68ers as the enemy.
That said, with figures like Daniel Cohn-Bendit among the leaders of those who killed Europe, this is enough for an introductory text. Though the ritual denunciations are annoying, they are few and Willinger largely succeeds in doing what Greg Johnson advocates for the North American New Right – “stepping over” the Second World War, rather than becoming bogged down in revisionism.
Instead, Willinger gives us one word that can serve as the basis for a new movement and clarify everything that is to follow. “A new political current is sweeping through Europe. It has one goal, one symbol, and one thought: Identity” (p. 14). While talk of “race” and “whites” is largely absent from the text, Willinger is crystal clear – “Europe belongs to the Europeans alone” (p. 38). “Muslims and Africans! Take down your tents and leave this continent. . . . Europe . . . will never belong to you. Europe belongs to us” (p. 88). More importantly, Willinger admits that the question of identity only achieves its true importance when there is a confrontation with the “Other.” It is by seeing the Ausländer that we recognize ourselves.
Willinger defends this through a theory of “ethnopluralism” identical to that proposed by the North American New Right. “Integration” as proposed by conservatives is not just insisting on a “social model that can’t work and [that] immediately plunges societies into chaos wherever it is attempted” (p. 88). It is an insult to the immigrants themselves, for “there is nothing crueler than to demand that one give up his very self” (p. 88). More to the point, “what reason would the members of increasingly powerful communities have to join a decadent and dying European culture?” (p. 88). The flip side of this is a renunciation of imperialism and a rejection of Europe’s role as junior partner in the American government’s grand strategy of world hegemony. Instead, “what Switzerland is to Europe, Europe will be to the world” a continent united, militarily powerful, and armed only in its own defense.
Identity clarifies. Willinger’s writings on abortion, conscription, and other policies are clear and correct because he is speaking only to us. Conscription, Willinger judges, is “socially necessary” even if it is not militarily necessary. Under the existing system, conscription should be fiercely opposed, as creating an army of Third Worlders to defend the interests of hostile corporate elites and alien states is not a patriotic policy. However, given the identitarian ideal, it makes sense. Ending abortion must also be analyzed from the identitarian viewpoint. An identitarian pro-life movement transcends simply increasing European numbers and reorders society with healthier views regarding sex, family, and the bonds between ethnic kinsmen.
Why it Works
Willinger asks us to build something where life is more than “rushing to and fro in the service of the global economy” (p. 78). Of course, to many American conservatives, libertarians, and even liberals, there is nothing wrong with this. As Thomas Friedman put it, “I am not a free trader . . . I am a militant free trader.” What we face is not a debate over efficiency, but an existential conflict over values.
The battle cannot be won trading economic studies, policy recommendations, or abstract political theories based on outdated Enlightenment philosophers. It must be won with a creed that speaks to who we are as human beings and sees politics and culture as aspects of that organic whole. This is what Willinger gives us, and this is what makes this work invaluable.
Nonetheless, some readers might find a problem with the book’s form. After all, as the text says, it is not a “manifesto, but a declaration of war.” There is no logical flow to the argument – in fact, there’s not really a coherent argument per se. The short chapters and quick departures from subjects as varied as “on the end of the world” to “on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire” might antagonize some readers looking for a closely reasoned case.
However, this actually is a strength for two reasons. First, it is a book ideally suited for the Internet age. Short passages on important topics that are brief but engrossing is form of writing that young people are used to. If this book was an article on the popular website “Cracked,” it would be titled “41 reasons why the Generation of ’68 Screwed Us” – and people would read it.
Secondly, and more important, the Declaration of War makes it clear that it is their system, their order, their culture. We are not the reactionaries defending the corpse of a dead order and we are not priests of a dead god wistfully bemoaning that the world will never see our like again. We are the vanguard of a new revolution welcoming this struggle. We have no stake in the order our parents and grandparents made and we want to see it destroyed. Let them defend this ramshackle filth – for us, what is falling must also be pushed.
The Unbreakable Core
Marketers used to say that every product or idea should have an “elevator speech,” or an argument that can be made in 10 seconds or less. In our age, 10 seconds is far too long. It should just be a word. For the modern West, the word is “equality,” and all of our misfortunes come from the various permutations and conclusions derived from that one mistaken principle. For the American Right, the word is “liberty,” and after all the arguments, all the books, and all the movements that derive from it, it eventually ends in making sure Michael Bloomberg doesn’t have to pay taxes.
Willinger gives us a new word – identity. This says all that needs to be said once properly analyzed and provides sufficient basis for a new order. As Willinger states, “We’ll free our planet from the deathly grip of capitalism and create a society in which the economy serves culture, and not the reverse” (p. 96). With the core objective of defending our continuity and survival as a people, we actually can give society a coherent direction, a basis for present policy and a goal for the future. The Scriptures state, “Without vision, the people perish.” Without identity, the people don’t exist in the first place.
More to the point, an identitarian struggle requires Europeans to remake themselves into something great if they are merely to survive. Willinger recognizes this as freedom to as opposed the classical liberal freedom from. He writes, “Your question, ‘free from what’ was wrong from the very beginning. But we ask, ‘free for what?’ And our answer is, “Free to find our way back to ourselves” (p. 70). This is the acceptance of duty, the willingness to suffer in order to be reforged into something greater. In his words, “As we search for our identity, we want to become hard again. We don’t want to be soft and posh anymore” (p. 68). Willinger gives us a perfect reversal of John Adams’s oft-cited quotation that he must reluctantly study politics and war so someday his sons could bask in more luxurious pursuits.
The American Role
To this reviewer, and to his American readers, Willinger and his cohorts could have several objections. To use the punch line of a popular American joke – “What you mean we, kemosabe?” European identitarians and nationalists of various stripes are often savagely anti-American, though for good reasons. They recognize that it is the United States which has opposed this anti-European order on them, which enforces it through the global institutions it sustains (like NATO), and which essentially drafts Europeans to die in our own “American crusades.”
Europeans face many obstacles that Americans do not. Americans enjoy free speech (of a sort), the right to bear arms, and a great deal of freedom to form and sustain voluntary associations. In many European nations, especially occupied Germany, one can see and even feel the mailed government fist behind the velvet clove of the multicultural order as you walk the streets. Nonetheless, Europeans have a sense of themselves, even if it is skewed and perverted. Americans genuinely lack this, and American rightists in particular truly believe their own propaganda about the propositional nation.
Despite the vast numbers of American conservatives and their relative militancy compared to their European Center-Right compatriots, Americans face a more fundamental struggle to change the very soul of their people. It may not be possible to remain “Americans” as such, with all the egalitarian baggage that implies. It may be necessary to forge an entirely new identity, or return to more local, fundamental sources of cultural loyalty. If the egalitarian disease in Europe has spread wider, in America it is a more severe strain, penetrating through the body to the brain. It may be that all Americans can do is prevent their government from intervening to destroy Europe’s awakening.
However, Americans must at least try to take what useful sources of indigenous tradition we can and build a North American New Right worthy of our European heritage. To that end, Willinger’s book is a useful introduction, a stiff tonic, and a clarion call. A folk attempting to rise to a nation must begin with identity as the question, and as the goal. It remains for us to provide the answers, to define ourselves against the other, and to accept the challenge of history and rage against the dark night of extinction. Though intended for his people and his unique situation, Willinger has given us a place to begin, and deserves our gratitude.
It is no small thing to build a new world. Yet we have no choice. White Americans and Europeans alike, our inheritance was squandered, our birthright stolen, and our very right to existence spat upon. We must tear down the pillars of this system, even if it collapses upon our heads. Those who survive the cataclysm can build something greater upon the ruins that belongs solely to us. “For we are Generation Identity.”