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Roots Without Soil

American Gothic, by Grant Wood1,249 words

Alexander Dugin’s recent essay, “Some Suggestions for the American People” grapples with the riddle of American identity. While he offers insights on our predicament that warrant consideration, he begins with the same error every Continental Traditionalist makes, namely, he believes the American creation myth presumed and propagated by our coastal elites.

He explains:

[America] is a very individualistic society and a very liberal (in all senses) society. It is strictly coeval to the European Modernity, it was born Modern. That is important. To be born Modern means that the USA never became Modern, it never has been Pre-Modern. It is not relatively Modern. It is absolutely Modern. The USA doesn’t know what it is like to be non-Modern.

[ . . . ]

The only root of North-American society is the Modern concept of the individual. There is no other low level beneath individual. There is no Pre-Modern dimension, no deep roots. All began here in North America too late for roots, for the soil, for the space.

My own Appalachian pioneer forefathers were notoriously clannish, with a mystical Christian worldview and an intimate relationship with the land. Geologically speaking, even the very soil changed little for them, as both the homeland and the fatherland belong to the same Central Pangean mountain range they had inhabited before. In the Deep South, a quasi-feudal culture and economy flourished. Out West, a traditional honor culture thrived on the open plains. Even along the Eastern seaboard, rooted communities with Deep Identity flourished.

Dugin’s America has systematically subjugated and broken all those identities in favor of its Cosmic American anti-identity. While Jews are certainly the quintessential “rootless cosmopolitans” who escaped to America as a refuge from traditional European power and culture, they weren’t alone. The capitalist oligarchs (founding fathers), Transcendentalists, Puritan radicals, and other factions helped. They’ve won so decisively that for the rest of the world, “America” and Modernity are pretty much interchangeable.

Walking backward from the disputed conclusion that America is uniquely devoid of Deep Identity, Dugin explains why: We have no roots, no real connection with the soil . . .

Dasein exists as space, through space. People exists through space. The landscape is the living image of the country and people that dwells there. The soil is sacred for the deep identity as the basic vegetative level of the soul. The soil of Europe is a kind of visual material manifestation of culture. German archaeologist and anthropologist Leo Frobenius used to say: “the culture is the earth manifesting itself through the man.”

This popular romantic notion — call it geographical determinism — that the land determines the character and spirit of a people, is partially true. We, as individuals and communities, are partially molded by our environments. Ignoring genetic factors, and dismissing tangible beliefs and ideals as superficial, we’re left with the impression that human differences are pretty much entirely reflections of the soil beneath our feet. This, frankly, strikes me as an evasion of a deeper, common root of European identity, namely race.

Black Midwesterners are more strangers to me than Australians in the outback, Canadians in the tundra, and South Africans in the savanna. Black Americans and I certainly do share some cultural commonalities derived from the soil, such as a shared love of cornbread, but our racial differences mean that we retain distinct identities in the same habitats. Predictably, North America’s New Right is the only New Right which clearly identifies and openly discusses this vital racial aspect of identity and culture, although we do not reduce identity to race.

For most of recorded history, and during most of the time when people casually conflated “soil” with “environment,” agriculture — working with the soil — was the dominant occupation of the folk. That’s no longer the case, either in Russia, America, or anywhere else outside the Global South. People aren’t literally transformed by the soil, they’re transformed by their habitat, more specifically their niche within that habitat.

We no longer have mountain, valley, delta, and desert men. We have factory, service job, and bureaucracy men. This is the case the world over, with the regrettable leveling of geographical diversity. Russian men no longer awaken to the sunlight to till the soil in the brisk morning air. They wake up to an alarm clock to get to their jobs on the assembly lines or in their cubicles, just like we do. The rhythm of the seasons has been replaced by the time clock, the deep fryer buzzer, and the project deadline.

I don’t like it either. But advances in agribusiness technology categorically preclude reverting to an agricultural economy where people are busy working in the fields. The perennial principles of identity and tradition are as valid as ever, but they can’t be planted in soil that’s no longer there. A novel approach, a “Hydroponic Traditionalism” must be developed and promoted, lest we become delusional antiquarians. “Agrarianism” (Southern and otherwise) is not even wrong. I agree that the agricultural economy had a variety of virtuous effects on individuals and societies, but it’s not economically viable.

This problem isn’t merely America’s problem. It’s the world’s problem. We were merely the first ones to arrive at the problem. Russians will need to cope with it, too. Fortunately, beliefs and ideals can, in time, result in genuine “Deep Identity” as reliably as the soil did for our ancestors. America’s Amish communities are an instructive example, with heritage and soil indistinguishable from what the rest of us White Americans have, yet with a culture and rhythm of life alien and distinct from our own.

Western civilization is entering the mature stage of its mercantile age. I believe that transient occupations and fluid social classes are beginning to crystallize into insular and endogamous castes specialized for their specific niches within the overarching civilizational habitat. We can no longer expect or demand geographical boundaries to protect our identities or for our customs and traditions to emerge spontaneously from the soil.

I’m skeptical that Dugin’s own country’s identity can survive despite their own removal from the soil and their traditional lifestyles, without a similar embrace of a willful and deliberate ideal- and ideology-driven Russian vision. For their sake, I certainly hope they’re not too complacent about the security of their own identity against the twin challenges of modernity and automation.

The obvious and immediate death of the American “identity” presents us with the challenge and opportunity of forging entirely new communities and cultures around perennial principles. Surely enough, with time and the passing of generations, our efforts to embody and advance our “ideologies” will give rise to distinct concrete communities, just as a German Anabaptist quibble over subtle theological points resulted in the panorama of unique communities we know today as “Amish.”

What would it or could it look like? There probably won’t be one monolithic North American identity. Different currents and cultures within the White Nationalist and Traditionalist communities will choose different paths. White Southerners may create a socially conservative Southern nation. Greg Johnson’s “West Coast White Nationalists” would likely take things in an entirely different direction. Traditionalist Catholics, Orthodox, Mormons, and all the other religious groups could form their own distinct communities.

But once the United States dissolves into distinct tribes and nations, what is to prevent them from falling into the fatal errors of warring with whites and blending with non-whites? Only an awareness of shared roots that run deeper than the religions, nations, small “t” traditions, languages, and landscapes that divide us. The deepest of those roots is race.



  1. Lew
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Excellent as always, with vital closing points.

    Predictably, North America’s New Right is the only New Right which clearly identifies and openly discusses this vital racial aspect of identity and culture, although we do not reduce identity to race

    My impression is that a great many people see American WNsm as reductionist in this respect and standing for the idea only race matters for identity. It’s a common criticism. I’ve often wondered if this fact reflects widespread confusion among people of what WNsm is about, or the impact of relentless distortion and straw man attacks on WNsm by the enemy. or a combination. I don’t know of anyone important in American WNst circles dead or alive who has ever said only race matters for identity.

    When I see objections to WNsm that strike me as misunderstandings or distortions, my question is always “show me with textual evidence who of any importance ever said it.” On this point, perhaps some of the confusion comes from the name itself- -race equals nationhood–but if that’s where people are getting the idea, they have a pretty shallow way of looking at it. At any rate, I’m now including in my discourse explicit statements that no one says only race matters.

  2. Posted April 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Dugin has no understanding of the deep roots of the various American colonies and hence America in general. I would have thought at least a passing knowledge of the American experience of the Seven Years War (or the French and Indian War as it was called here) and most especially our War Between the States would have helped him avoid the mistake of claiming the United States has no pre-Modern history. My own home town was ruled by seven different Kings of England for instance.

    He would do well to expand his reading of American history. I would suggest David Hackett’s Albion’s Seed and Kevin Phillip’s The Cousin’s Wars to start. Some knowledge of the sugar plantation culture of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico instituted by the Spanish, French, English, and Dutch might give him some insights into the cultural roots of the American Deep South too.

  3. rhondda
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who believes Dugin’s caricature of Americans is just looking for ego strokes. No wonder the left love him. I have a distinct revulsion for those who try to divide and conquer. It may very well be that western elites are corrupted and out of touch, but his letter does not put us (as North American whites) in cahoots with him. That is the same trigger the Brits used to get us to go fight their war. In Canada the government is trying to promote the commonwealth. Well, a lot of see how well that is working in Britain. It also comes as quite a shock to may Christians when their altruistic attitudes backfire on them when these people refuse to assimilate and take over their churches. It is a quiet revolution, but sooner or later the other shoe drops and one realizes that yes race does matter. Then a whole series of attitude changes happen. Little things count, such as if someone says something nasty about Germans, I will say something good. The look on their face is priceless. They expect agreement. Same about French Canadians. If you dislike French Canadians why are you putting your kids in French immersion? North America is unique. Perhaps not exceptional, but there definitely is something unique about it. It’s the white people stupid. The only lesson I ever drew from Ayn Rand was that if you withdraw your support from something, the void is exposed. She may not have meant that, but none the less, it is what I got. I was thinking as I pulled weeds that really all politicians should be required to take intelligence tests. The fear of it alone would eliminate a lot of them.

  4. Franklin Ryckaert
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    “…all politicians should be required to take intelligence tests…”

    They should also be required to take (moral) integrity tests, that would weed out the 90% among them who are corrupt…

  5. Razvan
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    In fact Dugin has no incentive to understand European history at all.

    He’s minimizing everybody and everything European while aggrandizing his criminal Empire. This is a necessity for this Empire, and a constant of their propaganda since eighteen century. Every moment of their imperial history is a proof of that.

    Otherwise they should solve their own problems, especially the poverty in one of the richest countries on Earth, and stop make war. Their propaganda is an instrument of war.

    There are countless theories, genuine or imported, to prove the necessity of the Empire and the fact that the identity of everyone else is sick, wrong, beastly, whatever. Piles of money have been paid in history to people like Dugin, in order to erase or subvert other peoples identities.

    They currently say that no people has any trace of Tradition, Culture, Identity. He is in fact considerate toward the American people, because the peoples in the near vicinity do not really exist, they are Russianiy but don’t know yet; don’t know yet because of modernity, fascism, Nazism, racism, capitalism, tradition, religion – whatever convenient for the moment.

    Dugin makes no confusion here. He is doing what every imperial propagandist does. Everything about Europe or any European people, (including white American people) just stinks. Everything pales compared with the splendor of his Empire, so everybody should submit right now.

  6. Jaego
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    And now if we could ever attain our own Nation, why should we accept the agribusiness model? As C.S Lewis said, sometimes the way forward is backwards – back to where you lost the trail. To go “forward” is merely to get more lost.

    • Stronza
      Posted April 30, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Matt Parrott: “Fortunately, beliefs and ideals can, in time, result in genuine “Deep Identity” as reliably as the soil did for our ancestors. America’s Amish communities are an instructive example, with heritage and soil indistinguishable from what the rest of us White Americans have, yet with a culture and rhythm of life alien and distinct from our own.”

      You are correct, Jaego. Beliefs and ideals have an ancient biological base. No way can we remain white in attitude while existing in a bizarre “nation” consisting of meglopolises, where the overwhelming majority of folks will continue with their grossly anti-nature lives. Asians and semites seem to be able to retain their outlook and values whether living in rural villages over there or giant cities over here. But we are not built that way. Indeed, for us, loss of habitat = loss of our old standards and convictions.

  7. Raedwald
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    That video of that Republican Q&A was surreal, none of them even attempted to answer Mr Taylor’s question, not in any way, and I’m surprised he didn’t call them out on it, if anything just because it was so blatant a non-answer, his question was in relation to why hispanics are happily allowed to celebrate their coming majority whilst whites are meant to accept and not lament their coming minority status, not one member of that panel’s replies had anything to do with that question, not a single thing.

    Whilst not an American, from what I can see, the Republican Party is a thing of the past, I just can’t see any future elections with them winning, not that it would be good for whites either way really, but the air has changed in the past few years, probably since 08, and the Democratic Party has, or nearly has, cemented it’s voting basis with liberal whites, blacks and mestizos, as well as the having seen the reduction of the Republican Party as no longer a legitimate political party that it was 10 years ago, but now a fringe, unelectable, part of racists, and I can’t see them pulling out of that at all, least of all with their pathetic attempts at pandering to a demographic that will never vote for them and who’s very existence ensures they will do everything to vote for the opposite party.

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