Moral SeriousnessGreg Johnson
This essay is excerpted from my book New Right vs. Old Right, available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle and Nook Ebook formats.
“This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco.
This ain’t no foolin’ around.”
—Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”
I have been involved with the White Nationalist scene since the year 2000. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but not entirely so. The hardest thing to take has not been the crooks and crazies, but the pervasive lack of moral seriousness, even among the best-informed and most principled White Nationalists. I know people who sincerely believe that our race is being subjected to an intentional policy of genocide engineered by the organized Jewish community. Yet when faced with a horror of this magnitude, they lead lives of consummate vanity, silliness, and self-indulgence.
I am convinced that more people will get involved with our cause if we follow two rules: (1) each person gets to determine his own level of explicitness and involvement, and (2) the rest of us have to respect those decisions. But our cause will never move forward unless we can also persuade people to (1) do everything they can within their own individually determined comfort zones, and (2) expand their comfort zones, so they are willing to take greater risks for the cause. But to do that, we need to grapple with the issue of moral seriousness.
I know White Nationalists who would run down the street in broad daylight shouting “thief!” at the top of their lungs if their car were being stolen. But when confronted with the theft of our whole civilization and the very future of our race, they merely mutter euphemisms in the shadows.
I know White Nationalists who are fully apprised of the gravity of the Jewish problem, who have seen the Jewish takeover and subversion of one Right-wing institution after another, and yet still think that they can somehow “use” Jews.
I know White Nationalists who are fully aware of the corruption of the political establishment yet still get caught up in election campaigns. I know outright National Socialists who have donated far more to Republicans than they have to the movement.
I know White Nationalists who spend $50,000 a year on drinks and lap dances—or $30,000 a year dining out—or $25,000 a year on their wardrobes—or $100,000 on a wedding, yet bitterly complain about the lack of progress in the movement.
I know White Nationalists who tithe significant portions of their income to churches which pursue anti-white policies, yet never consider regular donations to the pro-white cause.
I know people with convictions to the right of Hitler who argue that we should never claim that we are fighting for the white race or against Jewish power, but who still think that somehow our people will want to follow us rather than 10,000 other race-blind, Jew-friendly conservative groups.
I know White Nationalists who believe that our race is being exterminated, yet insist that our enemies “know not what they do,” that they are deceiving themselves, that they are fundamentally people of good will, and that this is all some sort of ghastly misunderstanding.
I know White Nationalists who would never admit to hating anyone or anything, even the vulture gnawing at their entrails.
None of them are being forced to behave this way. All of them are operating within their self-defined comfort zones. All of them could do more, even within their comfort zones. So why do they fail to comport themselves with the urgency and moral seriousness called for by the destruction of everything we hold dear?
I want to suggest two explanations. First, deep in their hearts, they don’t believe that we can win, so they aren’t really trying. Second, and more importantly, they are still wedded to the bourgeois model of life.
People display their true priorities when facing death.
The true intellectual values truth more than life itself. Socrates is a hero to intellectuals because when forced to choose between giving up philosophy or death, he chose death. Most intellectuals do not face that choice, but if they do, they hope they are capable of heroism too, for nothing reveals fidelity to truth more clearly than a martyr’s death.
The true warrior values honor more than life itself. Leonidas and the 300 are heroes to warriors because when faced with death or dishonor, they preferred death. Again, not every warrior faces the choice so starkly, but if he does, he hopes he will choose a glorious death, for nothing reveals fidelity to honor more clearly than a heroic death.
Bourgeois man values nothing higher than life itself. He fears nothing more than a violent death. Therefore, there is no form of heroic death that demonstrates true fidelity to bourgeois values. The true intellectual dies a martyr. The true warrior dies on the battlefield. The true bourgeois looks forward to a comfortable retirement and dying in bed.
Yes, countless American soldiers have died fighting for “freedom,” “democracy,” and college money. But they have been suckered out of their lives by men who think there is nothing worth dying for, so that the bourgeoisie can make money, play golf, and die in bed.
You only have one death. Thus even people who would glory in heroic martyrdom have to choose their battles wisely and make their deaths count. Yes, you have to pace yourself. Yes, you have to save yourself. Yes, you can’t live as if every day were your last.
But these truisms easily serve as rationalizations for cowardice. Because, at a certain point, you have to ask what you are saving yourself for. You can’t take it with you. And ultimately, accomplishments do not come from saving ourselves but from spending ourselves. What we do not give, will be taken by death in the end.
Yet the whole bourgeois dream is premised on evading this simple, grim reality. Bourgeois man seeks eternal springtime and perpetual peace, a “happily ever after” on sunlit putting greens, free of tragic choices and tragic grandeur, free of ideals that can pierce his heart and shed his blood.
But you can’t overthrow a system you are invested in. You can’t challenge the rulers of this world and count on reaching retirement age. You can’t do battle with Sauron while playing it safe. In the face of world-annihilating evil, we can no longer afford to be such men.
Nueva Derecha vs. Vieja Derecha Capítulo 2: Hegemonía
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 535 Ask Me Anything
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 534 Interview with Alexander Adams
Notes on Strauss & Husserl
The Honorable Cause: A Review
Remembering Oswald Spengler (May 29, 1880-May 8, 1936)
Remembering Louis-Ferdinand Céline (May 27, 1894–July 1, 1961)
Úryvky z Finis Germania Rolfa Petera Sieferleho, část 2: „Věčný nacista“
I’m literally clapping. Those are some sharp words that will wound deeply the heart of the WN that are stucked. I hope this makes them move.
</i I know White Nationalists who spend $50,000 a year on drinks and lap dances—or $30,000 a year dining out—or $25,000 a year on their wardrobes—or $100,000 on a wedding, yet bitterly complain about the lack of progress in the movement.</i
An old priest I once knew would have said that these men believe but are not yet converted. Or as Mackenzie said, "knowledge is said to be power and it is power in the same sense that wood is fuel. Wood on fire is fuel. Knowledge on fire is power.
I can never understand why WN/Nationalists/Far Right would ever spend money on cable TV, McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.
Frankly, I think they see the future as a losing situation. So they have the “edgy” political beliefs in private while enjoying the surface level prosperity of Liberalism.
And with this, I decide to make a recurring monthly donation to Counter-Currents. Well said, Mr. Johnson, well said. I cannot help but think of myself in my lazier, weaker moments in this essay, and thank you for the quick slap on the cheek to wake me up.
You mentioned the two goals of having people do what they can within their comfort zone and also expanding those comfort zones. One idea I have that has no doubt been mentioned before is establishing awards for those who distinguish themselves in advancing our cause. published a piece late last year decrying the man who more than anyone set whites back. Isn’t it time we celebrate those who are doing the most for us and our posterity?
I myself am in my mid-20s and don’t think I have the stature in White Nationalist circles as of yet to create an annual award or the like. It would be fantastic however if someone who did would read this and go on to start one, and in the process, foster moral legitimacy for our movement that would help push people outside of their comfort zones.
One critique, though: I don’t believe this essay is actually in New Right versus Old Right.
Thanks for your kind words and for your financial support.
I have been thinking about the award idea for some time now. We do need to create an alternative society with its own ways of conferring status.
The essay is the last section of “The Moral Factor.”
“…Ness discovers him and Malone asks, “What are you prepared to do?”…”
That’s from James J. O’Meara’s review of Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables, one of the essays that got me interested in Counter Currents. O’Meara’s analysis of the Mannerbund was brilliant and hit upon a central truth. Malone’s question can be alternatively stated, “What are you prepared to let go of?”
Let me give an example (bear with me even if you do not agree with the political goal in the following):
Years ago I knew an activist working to legalize marijuana. One day he took a vow that he would not light up a joint again until it was legal to do so. Given the war on drugs, his friends thought he was going to be abstaining for a very, very long time, if not forever. Yet here we are in 2014 and several states have decriminalized marijuana in various ways (notably for “medical” use). I have no idea what happened to that activist, but I’d venture to say he is lighting up in some state of the Homeland.
I have also known cannabis activists who have given up their careers, been railroaded on sting operations, gone to jail, even been killed, in the pursuit of legalization. Why do they do it?
Because they have a vision of an end state, a sort of Grail, which superseded bourgeois concerns if you like. Yeah, a lot of it’s tied up with 1960s psychadelia, expand your mind, groovy. But that is what keeps them going, the vision of something transcendental.
Now here’s the question I’d raise: what exactly is the vision for white nationalists? What future is being offered that transcends the wasteland that the Western world is becoming? And which justifies the sacrifices to be made?
Ness’ transformation in the movie is in breaking self-imposed bonds. He creates a band of men who achieve a higher purpose. That is something that white men and women have done for thousands of year, culminating in landing on the Moon.
I don’t have an easy answer here. But it’s something which needs to be thrown open for discussion.
The world we want 200 years from now is, minimally, one in which the white race and all the wonderful stuff that that implies, still exists and prospers. Imagine the most beautiful white place you have ever seen, populated with the most beautiful people you have seen, and imagine the warm feeling of being a part of that community, and now imagine it 200 years from now — as opposed to a global Detroit or Chinatown where everything and everyone that makes you feel at home and happy has been obliterated. Its as simple as that.
It is shameful to contemplate that White Nationalism cannot inspire one millionth of the idealism and self-sacrifice of pot legalizers and animal rights advocates for something that is far more important.
This essay – tragically – describes me. Just one thing though:
“He fears nothing more than a violent death.”
That’s just not true. Me – and many with me – are not physical cowards. Most would describe me even as physically reckless. The fear I have is more subtle: It’s the fear of my parents shame and displeasure, the fear of being the failure in my peer group and compared to my siblings, the fear of shunning and loneliness.
You’ve talked about the difference between belief and conversions before, and how conversions are a social process. I’m a believer – but I haven’t embraced my faith. I haven’t made the leap because I fear the abyss.
In a way I’m jealous at the Islamists. They have Syria – the place young men from Rotterdam or London or Hamburg go to reinvent themselves, to strip their life of their old identities and re-emerge as part of a new, self-contained social reality. We have nothing like that, no land of jihad nor a movement vast and rich enough to approximate it, and so we can’t really escape the risk of ostracism.
You might despise me for it, but I don’t think I will ever make the leap unless I either become prosperous enough to care, or the situation on the ground changes dramatically to the better. Untill then I will keep my edgy opinions to myself and to my non-professional friends and occasionally to an online message board like this.
Most definitely you are not to be despised. My advice would be to take it slowly. Be content to be an observer of the White Nationalist movement. The movement certainly needs millions of informed, knowledgeable followers. And the abyss that you talk about and fear: it is certainly there, but one can learn, over time, how to manoeuvre around it. Best of Luck.
“I know White Nationalists who would run down the street in broad daylight shouting “thief!” at the top of their lungs if their car were being stolen. But when confronted with the theft of our whole civilization and the very future of our race, they merely mutter euphemisms in the shadows.”
It shows that our behavior is inspired by social conformism more than by logic. People are tricked by the government and the media into ignoring the race-replacement disaster. Most people stay impassive. Some of them, brainwashed by the government and the media, are ready to shout “racist!” is anyone breaks the politically correct silence.
Some of us may have moments of panic when we realize that we have to take action urgently. But we don’t know what to do exactly. We see other people doing nothing. It helps us to fall back into apathy, and we congratulate ourselves on how we managed to beat our stress. Then we renounce to speak up about race-replacement and the Jews, and we congratulate ourselves for our moderation, when we are actually yielding to intimidation. And so on. In fact, the anti-white lobby is interfering with our minds. That is why there is no general reaction to the present crisis.
Even when a disaster strikes, people remain lemmings and wait for other lemmings to take the initiative. For example, it is interesting to see what people do when a fire alarm starts ringing :
I think the fire prevention literature could help us elaborate good ways to wake people up. With a few modifications (instead of fighting panic, we must encourage it), maybe it could be turned into a manifest for the salvation of the White race.
People might be more willing to donate money if they could do it non-electronically, say by anonymous cash donations to a P.O. box.
PO Box 22638
San Francisco, CA 94122
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