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The Psychology of Apostasy

Il Sodoma, "The Martyrom of Saint Sebastian," c. 1525 [1]

Il Sodoma, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian,” c. 1525

2,671 words

Translations: French [2], Polish [3]

Derek Black’s renunciation of White Nationalism [4] raises questions of wider significance about how people form and reject beliefs. There are two basic kinds of beliefs: those you think are true based on reality and reason vs. those you think are true based on other people’s opinions.

If you base your beliefs on reality and reason, then you will change them as new facts come to light or as better arguments are presented. For example, I used to be a classical liberal, but classical liberalism grants no importance to racial and cultural differences, and when I realized that these were more important than individual freedom and capitalist economics, I rejected classical liberalism as subversive of higher values.

Why I am a White Nationalist

I am a White Nationalist because I believe that the survival of my race is threatened by the present political and economic system, which prizes individualist, capitalist, liberal, multicultural, and multiracial values. I see that these “race blind” and “race neutral” values are incompatible with the preservation and flourishing of my race. Race is real. Racial conflict is real. The other races are not going to trade racial competition for race-blind universalism. And any race that will not take its own side in racial conflict has no future.

I am concerned to preserve my race simply because it is mine, because it is my extended family. I also wish to preserve my race because I believe that it most closely approximates to the aesthetic and moral ideals I hold dear, ideals which may be race-specific but which seem to be universal because they are cherished by other races as well, so far as they are able. Finally, I want to preserve my race because I believe that biology has a huge impact on culture, thus many of my most cherished cultural, political, and scientific values could not have arisen without white people and will not be appreciated or preserved without white people.

Because the survival of my race is threatened by the current political and economic system, I believe that we need a new system that puts race at the center of political priorities—not individual freedom, capitalism, or tolerance and pluralism, which are genuine values, but lesser values than the preservation of the race that creates and sustains them. I believe that each race and each distinct people should have a nation or nations of its own, in which it can live according to its own identity and values and pursue its own destiny, free from the interference of other races and peoples. Finally, I believe that the main enemy of the idea of nationalism for every nation is the organized Jewish community, which promotes race-destroying values for other societies as a tool of ethnic warfare.

The Derek Black Case

It is my understanding that Derek Black more or less believed the same things I do. Because I strive to base my views on reality and reason, I was naturally curious to hear why Derek Black had rejected White Nationalism. Did he have new arguments that I could not answer? Had he discovered hitherto unknown facts about race, the Jewish question, and the present-day political system? With these questions in mind, I eagerly scanned the news reports, only to be disappointed.

Derek Black has apparently rejected White Nationalism not for new truths but for old lies: pure Leftist boilerplate that rejects biology and biological inequality and explains unequal group performance in terms of social injustice, which in America means white injustice, for which whites can atone though affirmative action, non-white immigration, and all other forms of white dispossession and self-abasement.

Many people have speculated about Derek Black’s motives for abandoning White Nationalism for this kind of mush. Is it peer pressure? Rebellion against his parents? Love? Perversion? Blackmail? Insanity? Did he grow tired of alienation and want to be plugged into the Matrix?

I am less interested in Derek Black’s particular motives, or in the Derek Black case in general, than in what would make it possible for anyone to abandon truth for any reason. Two factors strike me as relevant, the first having to do with the basis of belief, the second having to do with strength of character.

Objective Truth vs. Common Opinion

People who base their beliefs on reason and reality generally will change them only if given better facts and better arguments. People who base their beliefs on the opinions of others generally hold the beliefs of the people around them, particularly the most important people around them. When one grows up, one’s beliefs are shaped primarily by one’s parents and other authority figures. As one grows older, one’s beliefs are shaped primarily by one’s peers. Derek Black may simply have adopted White Nationalism because it was the worldview of his father, whom he wished to please. When he went off to college, he found a new, politically-correct peer group and authority figures, and he may have changed his opinions to suit them.

If this is the case, then we can say that it is possible to reject White Nationalism for Political Correctness—truth for falsehood—if one never really thought that White Nationalism was true in the first place—if one never really understood that truth means correspondence with reality, not mere agreement with other people. I don’t believe that it is possible to reject truth for lies if one really believes that truths are based on objective reality and lies are not. But if one merely adopts beliefs to please other people, then truth and falsehood have no objective meaning. They are just different ways that people express approval and disapproval. Then it becomes possible to adopt and discard radically different beliefs at will, based on the audience and aims of the moment.

Of course, there are two kinds of apostasy: one in which one actually changes one’s beliefs, the other in which one merely verbally renounces them under duress without changing one’s inner convictions. The first kind can be explained entirely in terms of a deep-dyed conventionalism, but the latter can’t. Moral factors come into play.

Furthermore, nobody is entirely unconcerned with objective truth. It matters when you balance your check book, or if you are falsely accused of a crime. But when it comes to the moral and political opinions that one has to profess to be considered cool or enlightened or just mainstream, their connection to the real world is nebulous to begin with. For one thing, the worst consequences of multiculturalism lie far into the future. And since at present most liberals occupy reality-free bubbles of prosperity and security—college campuses, college towns, resort communities, wealthy urban and suburban enclaves—they are insulated from the costs of diversity and even positioned to profit from it, financially and in terms of status, by abasing themselves before the black idols of white guilt. Thus for most people, politically correct opinions are entirely divorced from objective reality in terms of their grounds and consequences. Instead, they function as cheap tokens of status, easy ways of seeking social approval.

The closer you are to reality, and the more accountable you are for the objective consequences of your actions, the greater the importance of objective truth in determining your belief system. The further you are from reality and the less accountable you are for the objective consequences of your actions and beliefs, the greater the importance of social approval in selecting one’s opinions.

The Issue of Character

Strength of character comes in as follows. All human beings value truth and the good opinions of their fellows to some extent. But these values often conflict. Strength of character is required to cleave to the greater good. The truth of White Nationalism is, of course, more important than the approval of a decadent society based on lies and hell-bent on destruction. This does not mean that you are a coward if you choose not discuss White Nationalism where it is not socially appropriate (over Thanksgiving dinner) or where it is not likely to produce a positive effect (with your boss, or your congressman, or your Jewish dentist). But if forced to choose publicly between White Nationalism and Political Correctness, the man of character will choose truth over lies.

Of course, many people have good reasons to want to avoid having to make that choice. They require the approval of their families, friends, colleagues, employers, and customers to lead good lives. Some of them wish to burrow into the system, gain as much wealth and influence as possible, and use it to advance our cause. They are secret agents [5]. So they keep their views secret. And the rest of us have to respect that. If the system were able to socially and economically destroy every White Nationalist, it would be stronger and our movement would be weaker.

I have argued that if White Nationalism is to grow as a force, we have to follow two basic rules [6]:

1. Everyone gets to choose his own level of involvement with White Nationalism and explicitness in advocating it.

2. Everybody else has to respect those decisions, while, of course, maintaining that the most admirable position is that of the fully explicit and proud White Nationalist.

In particular, everyone has to respect the anonymity of fellow White Nationalists. Anyone who “outs” fellow White Nationalists to expose them to harm from the system should suffer the social death of shunning. Similarly, any White Nationalist who through lax security measures allows personal information about White Nationalists to fall into the hands of “anti-fa” hackers, or movement kooks with track records of “outing” people, should suffer social death as well.

In exchange for these courtesies from explicit White Nationalists, I have asked implicit White Nationalists to reciprocate as follows.

1. Stop complaining about the eccentric and marginal people who are willing to be explicit White Nationalists. It is easier to be brave when you have less to lose. Courage and principle are also often paired with prickly or eccentric personalities.

2. Stop rehearsing horror stories and gloom and doom scenarios that make it harder for White Nationalists to become or remain explicit.

What If You are Outed?

Another bit of advice for White Nationalists who wish to remain anonymous or silent: If you are outed—whether by yourself, a group like the Southern Poverty Law center, or a turncoat in our own ranks—do not apologize or surrender or go groveling for absolution from our enemies. It doesn’t help you or the cause.

Don’t focus on how being exposed as a White Nationalist will ruin your credibility. Instead, try to control the damage. Try to maintain your credibility and moral stature by not apologizing and not backing down. Then, think of how you can lend some of your dignity and credibility to our ideas.

Don’t count the “friends” you are losing. They’re gone anyway. Surrender and groveling will not win them back. That will merely disgust and dishearten movement people who would otherwise be sympathetic to your plight. So instead count the friends that you will be gaining by not backing down.

Don’t let the online kooks fool you. The White Nationalist community is filled with highly intelligent, accomplished, morally upright, and neurologically normal people. Many of the finest people I have met are White Nationalists. You should be proud to count them as friends and ashamed to dishonor them with your apostasy. Furthermore, outside the movement, there are still people who admire moral character, even in people with whom they disagree.

It is easy to understand and even forgive a Galileo, who paid lip-service to the church’s dogmas when threatened with torture and death. But White Nationalists today are being threatened with nothing worse than social disapproval and employment discrimination. Furthermore, the church had the power to force Galileo into apostasy in part because of a long litany of Christian martyrs who chose differently: they preferred death before apostasy, or even mere lip-service to ideas they considered false. All things being equal, the side that is willing to fight the hardest and give up the most—even life itself—will win.

Ultimately, White Nationalism will not win until we can inspire people to prefer death to dishonor—until we can inspire people to martyr themselves for our racial survival. People who will suffer dishonor to preserve their economic status and the good opinion of complete strangers are natural slaves. The system can easily control them. But it cannot control people who would rather die than submit. It fears them, because a man who has conquered the fear of death has conquered all lesser fears, and he may inspire others to do so as well.

Thus White Nationalists must give the highest honors to explicit White Nationalists who demonstrate that they are willing to give everything to the cause by living a warrior’s life and dying a martyr’s death.

High honors are also due explicit White Nationalists who fight for our cause but never face the ultimate defining choice of martyrdom.

White Nationalists like Charles Krafft [7], who stand their ground when the system outs them and targets them for economic and social destruction, also deserve high honors.

Explicit White Nationalists need, in turn, to respect those who choose to remain secret agents within the system, particularly those who give active support to explicit White Nationalists.

Teach Your Children Well

With the apostasy of Derek Black—and the somewhat similar case of Lynx and Lamb Gaede of Prussian Blue—there is a significant mitigating factor. They were brought into public roles in White Nationalism as children. They were not allowed to determine their own level of explicitness and involvement. Their parents played a large role as well. Thus it was perfectly natural, when they grew up, to decide for themselves how involved they wanted to be, and to revise matters accordingly. One may quarrel with how they went about it, particularly in the case of Derek Black. But, in principle, I think they have the right to decide to leave the movement and lead private lives, as far as that is possible.

I think it is unethical for parents to involve their children publicly in White Nationalism, just as it is unethical to involve them in child-acting, child-modeling, and child-beauty pageants. These scenes are psychologically stressful for even the strongest adults. For children, whose characters and tastes are still developing, they can be psychologically crushing. The whole thing smacks of another scarring decision foisted upon children by parents: infant circumcision [8]. In both cases, part of a child—be it only his innocence, his privacy, his childhood—is snipped off and discarded by his parents to consecrate him to their idols.

I do not, however, subscribe to the common view that it is a waste of time to try to pass one’s values on to one’s children because they will only “rebel.” Empirical studies confirm that the single most powerful influence on a child’s values and worldview are those of his parents. Why, then, is the lie that it is futile to teach one’s children values so widely circulated? So that children are delivered to the schools and popular culture as blank slates for politically-correct brainwashing, which has never been deterred by the argument that it is futile and will only lead to rebellion.

* * *

The model White Nationalist is a person whose convictions are founded on reason and reality and who has the strength of character to stand up for the truth and work for the salvation of our race despite social and economic pressures, threats of torture and imprisonment, and even a martyr’s or a warrior’s death. This is a heroic ideal, by which we can measure ourselves and which we can strive to emulate. The great problem of our movement is to find or form men who put truth before opinion and death before dishonor—men who are hard enough to shatter this system, not weaklings who will crawl through the mud before its idols to protect their credit ratings.