Between Two Lampshades
Michael Enoch Interviews Greg Johnson, Part 1
What follows is the transcript by V. S. of Michael Enoch’s Between Two Lampshades interview with Greg Johnson on The Right Stuff.
Michael Enoch: Alright. So, I’m here with Greg Johnson. You know him, you love him, hopefully. Of Counter-Currents.com.
We’re just going to have a chat about . . . We’ll just start and see where it goes. We talked a little bit beforehand, and the first question Greg wanted me to ask was, “What do you think of our site? What do you think of TRS and what we’ve been doing?”
Greg Johnson: Well, Mike, thanks for having me on the show. I’ve been a big fan of you guys for a long time. I think TRS is great. I love The Daily Shoah, and I like the Lampshades interviews as well. What I like about you guys is that you are really witty and enjoyable, and I am not the kind of person who likes to tune into talk radio and listen to people like Opie and Anthony shooting the breeze. A friend of mine tried to introduce me to Opie and Anthony when we were driving in a convertible down the Pacific Coast highway, and after a few minutes I wanted to leap to my death on Big Sur, because I couldn’t stand it.
ME: That’s funny because sometimes my partner, Seventh Son, and I talk about how Opie and Anthony is sort of like our spirit animal, if you will.
ME: Because we were both . . . I confess we’re both sort of middle-class guys from the tri-state New York/New Jersey area. We had very similar upbringings growing up. We didn’t meet until recently but we grew up similarly. We were both fans of Opie and Anthony when we were younger and I get why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I think that we actually do get into more intellectual topics. Like they’re mostly just dick jokes.
ME: It’s funny because we just sort of by default adopted that format, but I completely get why it might not be everybody’s thing.
GJ: Well, it’s the ideas that are attractive of course, but it’s your personalities too. I think you guys are really witty, really funny, and it’s just enjoyable to hear you get together and talk.
It’s also important from a metapolitical point of view, because you guys are sort of educating yourselves in public and drawing a lot of really smart people along in your wake. When Bulbasaur was talking about Kevin MacDonald and you guys were talking about him more generally on the show, I think that was really important. I think that a lot of people started reading The Culture of Critique because of that.
ME: They did. I’ve sent out many copies of it just through email to people who requested it. I thought about putting it on our site as a permanent link, but that’s of dubious legality so I won’t do that. But people can still email me and I will send you an e-book copy of it.
GJ: Well, that’s great. I don’t think Kevin MacDonald would mind.
ME: I don’t think he would mind, but there might be somebody that minds.
GJ: I think that he actually owns the copyright to it now. I think the whole thing is on his website now.
ME: Oh, that’s great then. One way or another get your hands on it. Read it.
And you’re right about us sort of educating ourselves in public, because as you know we came out of a libertarian background. And when libertarianism became too retarded, if you will, we all had to kind of shift to something else, and we started playing around in neo-reaction. That didn’t feel quite right. And we started looking at all these questions that were floating around on the Alt-Right, and we are sort of gelling around a narrative, and I think we are getting very close to a coherent narrative now.
Kevin MacDonald was a big influence on me. I know there are other things I need to read, but yeah it continues to develop.
GJ: Yeah, and I think NRx is a really exciting field, frankly. Personally, I came out of libertarianism myself, and I started out when I was in high school really becoming a libertarian. I was always individualist minded, and I was always something of an elitist. My staunch Democrat, union father and I would go around and around about things, and I saw the Milton Friedman Free to Choose program. Part of it, I think, was that it rustled my father a little bit. That was just a bonus, right? I thought that the arguments were really compelling. I read Ayn Rand when I was a senior in high school, and I read Atlas Shrugged when I was a freshman in college, a bunch of her essay collections when I was a freshman. I was a bit of a boy Objectivist, a bit of an asshole, for a couple of years because of that.
But you know, I was really genuinely interested in philosophy before I read Ayn Rand, and because I was still interested in philosophy, I sort of read my way out the other side of Ayn Rand into other things, and I became more of a conservative, more of a kind of paleo-conservative. Oddly enough, one of the books that really influenced me in that direction was a Black conservative, Thomas Sowell’s book called A Conflict of Visions.
Sowell lays out this distinction between constrained and unconstrained visions of society, and the constrained vision is for him exemplified by Edmund Burke. It’s a sort of anti-rationalist, tradition-minded conservatism, and the unconstrained mentality is William Godwin the anarchist writer. I read that, and I could tell that the Godwin view was false, and the Burke view was closer to the truth.
But damn it, all of my assumptions were very Godwinesque. I was a classical liberal. Very rationalistic. I had been reading Rand. Also in my second year of college I read through all of Human Action, and I thought it was a fantastic book. I read Socialism the same semester. So, I was into the Austrian school. I was into Ayn Rand. When I read Sowell I started getting more interested in Hayek because he had the same kind of evolutionary, skeptical, anti-rationalist sociology and anthropology, but still basically classical liberal political conclusions.
When I got into graduate school I was crashing for a few days with some graduate students while I looked for my own place, and I picked up a copy of The New Criterion, and I thought, “This is a really impressive magazine,” because I was a culture vulture. I was really into classical music. I was really interested in art history. When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist or an art historian. I was just really, really interested in ancient civilizations. I realized it was primarily an interest not so much in digging in kitchen refuse dumps like archaeologists actually do, but the history of civilization, the history of art, the history of the mind, and so forth. That attracted me.
Anyway, I was very interested in culture, and so I got this kind of Right-wing, neo-conish culture magazine. Picked it up and really got into it. Started subscribing to it. Started reading Commentary. I had been a really big fan of Hannah Arendt my last year or two of college. I read her in political philosophy class and got into phenomenology and Heidegger and all these other areas.
I rapidly figured out that there was a strong Jewish slant to neo-conservatism. Commentary is published by the American Jewish Committee.
ME: About what year was this? If you don’t mind revealing that. You don’t have to if you’re not comfortable revealing it.
GJ: I guess I can’t even remember the year, but I was 22 or 23 when I started reading The New Criterion and Commentary.
I liked the quality of the writing. I was somewhat pro-Zionist at the time, but then I started realizing there was a definite Jewish bias to this, and it wasn’t necessarily my bias.
In graduate school, I started reading Leo Strauss and being around Straussian professors. I thought they were really impressive people. I think Strauss is a tremendously impressive writer. And yet again I could see there was a particularly parochially Jewish angle to this.
ME: The only reason I asked the question about the years is because when I started getting into . . . When I started getting out of my Left liberal upbringing, and I started getting interested in other ideas and I was into libertarianism and paleo-conservatism, one of my early influences was antiwar.com. So, it was made clear early in my politicization, if you will, that neo-con was a Jewish conservative outlook. I hesitate to even call it conservatism. What the neo-cons would always say is, “Oh, neo-con is just a code word for Jew,” and antiwar.com was upfront about that. It is and it doesn’t matter.
GJ: Yeah, antiwar.com wasn’t around. The internet wasn’t really around when I started.
ME: Yeah. So, I was aware of the . . . I used to couch it in terms like “Zionist.” Now, I just say Jewish because that’s what it really is. So, I was aware that neo-con was a distinctly Jewish movement early on. But this is like the year 2000.
I feel like I’m old when I’m around TRS people, but I think I’m younger than you.
GJ: This was back in the ’90s. I started getting more and more keyed into the Jewish slant on things. Living around Jews, rubbing elbows with them, I had some Jewish graduate student colleagues, one Jewish professor actually. The real thing that crystallized it, though, was I really started getting into Heidegger, and I really like Heidegger still. He’s one of my favorite philosophers. I was getting a PhD in philosophy, and I actually thought I might write a dissertation on Heidegger.
Anyway, the controversy around Heidegger’s National Socialism really called forth a lot of rhetorical thuggery, let’s put it that way, on the part of Jewish commentators, and it just didn’t sit well with me.
ME: I know the feeling.
GJ: I remember, actually, having disputes with Jewish graduate students that I would bump into about this stuff. A few years later I read Mein Kampf, and Hitler goes on about his encounters with Jews in Vienna and the formation of his worldview, and he talks about how he would patiently spend hours debating and destroying the arguments of these Jewish socialists, and then the next day he’d hear them trotting out the same arguments.
ME: I know the exact passage you’re talking about. Yes.
GJ: That’s when I knew this guy was telling the truth. That was so powerful. I’d seen that with my own eyes. There was just no gainsaying it. That was something else. It just didn’t sit well with me. I was becoming increasingly sort of paleoconservative-ish.
One of my favorite Heidegger scholars, a guy named Thomas Sheehan, wrote a couple articles that I dug up because I was just going through his bibliography and reading everything he wrote. One was an article about Alain de Benoist and Julius Evola. The other was just about Evola entirely. And I thought, “Wow! This is really interesting stuff!” So, that was my first encounter with the European New Right of Alain de Benoist and then the ideas of Evola. I bumped into an Evola book not long after that. I got Revolt Against the Modern World. I also started getting stuff by Alain de Benoist, and I really found these people quite impressive.
But you know, there was this weird thing going on where, logically, if you asked me, “Are there other people out there who believe these things?” — because clearly there have to be other people out there if these books are being written and published — I would have granted that. But I had this deep inhibition about actually seeking out such people, because I guess I thought they’d all be a bunch of weirdos. I had a couple of conservative friends in graduate school that I would talk about some of this stuff with, and we sort of kept it between us for years, until I bumped into this guy. I was living in Atlanta, and this was 1999, I believe. I was in the Borders Books in Buckhead, and there was this guy in a black t-shirt standing in the philosophy section. He had short hair and a black t-shirt and tattoos on his biceps. And I thought, “Hmm . . . Looks like a bad boy.” I think he picked up Kojève’s Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, and I said, “That’s a really great book.” And we got started talking.
This turned out to be Joshua Buckley who is the editor of the journal TYR now. He was an ex-skinhead and really, really intelligent. Pretty much self-educated. High school drop-out, highly intelligent, self-educated guy, ex-skinhead. And he was the first actual concrete person that I met who was on the Right, aside from myself and some grad student friends of mine. I found it really eye-opening. Not just eye-opening, world-opening. This whole world opened up around me.
ME: Yes, I can also relate to that feeling.
GJ: Yeah. He introduced me to the neofolk music scene and a lot of other stuff that I thought was really fascinating. At that point, I kind of made the plunge into not just privately thinking these ideas but not doing anything more . . . Because, essentially, deep down inside I just felt it was all hopeless anyway, right? It’s like the world’s going to hell, and there’s nothing anybody can do. I actually started thinking, “Well, maybe something can be done.” So, I started educating myself and getting more into this.
I think it was Labor Day of 2000 when I took the next step. I went out to a diner in Buckhead where David Irving was going to talk. There were people there, and some of them seemed a little like seedy haters from Hollywood central casting. But you know, I’m one of these essentially liberal-minded White people. I’m open to “the other.” I carried around National Geographic magazines when I was a kid, to the ridicule of my peers, because I was so fascinated with ethnography, and I was one of those White people Christian Lander talks about who’s always trying to become an expert on somebody else’s culture. That was me. And along with that comes a willingness to take certain social risks.
So, I said, “Fuck it. These people look a little weird, but I’m going to take the risk.”
ME: You know, it’s funny. I’m sorry to interrupt, but it’s funny you say that because I think that for many of the kind of liberal White people, they’re not so liberal on that. I mean, this might be a little bit of a derailment of your story, but . . .
GJ: Oh no, exactly. Because White people have this weird dual consciousness. One the one hand, the liberal-minded White person is extremely . . . I’m visiting Seattle right now. It’s just über-Nordic culturally, and still the population is very Nordic. In Seattle, they have the biggest Norwegian independence day parade outside of Norway, for instance.
ME: I’ve been to the Syttende Mai parade in New York City, and it actually exists, and it’s not that small although it’s been probably 20 years since then. Maybe a little less than that since I went. But I have Norwegian ancestry. My mother’s house is completely decked out in Norwegian stuff. But yeah, there’s actually one in New York City, and it’s fairly large. It’s probably not as big as the one in Seattle though.
GJ: Yeah, but it’s a very Nordic place. One of the things about Seattlites, and one of these things about Pacific Northwest people — and I’m one of them — is if a stranger comes up to you, somebody from out of town, they’re speaking English a little oddly, they ask directions, and you’re just like, “Oh, yes! It’s over here.” And everybody’s super welcoming to strangers. But on the other hand if they sense that one of their own people is not on board with being super welcoming to strangers, they come down on them like a ton of bricks.
ME: Well, this is the sort of paradox of the high trust society. Kevin MacDonald talks about this when he talks about . . . I don’t want to call it the weakness of White people, but it’s the trait, it’s the character that is able to be exploited by other elements and Jewish philosophers and media critics and things like that in particular, I would say, because they are very skilled verbally. This high trust notion that we have high trust amongst each other, and one of the ways we maintain it is through monitoring. It sounds kind of creepy when you put it that way, but it’s not really. It’s like we all sort of look at the behavior of others in the community and make sure they’re on board with the norms, but when those norms become perverted then problems happen, if you get what I’m saying.
GJ: Oh yeah, I totally agree with this analysis. One of the reasons why European societies and especially Northern European societies were so capable of creating highly functional scalable institutions that allowed people to cooperate to do great things is because we are essentially very individualistic and we are prone to trust, and we also have enough conscience as individuals to not betray that trust. So, we are constantly taking social risks with strangers, and we are constantly goaded by our own conscientiousness to keep our promises with those strangers and that makes it possible for us to create great civilizations. Whereas people who are not as willing or capable of trusting strangers and not as willing or capable of keeping promises to strangers or people who are outside your closely defined ethnic in-group, those societies are brittle, and they cannot create and sustain large-scale institutions. The ones that they do create tend to be, if you peel the veneer off, simply ethnic mafias, family mafias or tribal mafias. But those are weak institutions because if you are constrained by nepotism you cannot put the best person in the job. So, they are corrupt, they’re nepotistic, and they are consequently brittle under pressure, and they have very, very marked strong – how to put it – limits on their ability to scale up because you can’t just bring in anybody to your ethnic mafia. They’ve got to be your 4th cousin or something, and if you run out of 4th cousins, well, you run out of people you can trust, and that means that your government or your business or your tribe, whatever it is, is going to be limited in its capacity.
ME: Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Curt Doolittle. Do you know about Curt Doolittle?
GJ: I listened to his interview. I thought he was really interesting.
ME: Yeah, because the things you guys are saying using slightly different language and terms are basically the same narrative here. He has developed highly specific terms for things like this. White people, Northern European White people particularly, are high trust. Absolute nuclear family centered. Create commons. Because of this high trust, etc.
And that’s basically what you were talking about. He calls the strong institutions commons because it’s not simply the property owners of the institutions but the whole society that benefits. One of his lines is like, “White people, particularly Northern Europeans, consider telling the truth as paying a tax into the commons, and we willingly do it because we understand that everyone’s better off when we do it.” And that’s a trait that’s specific to our people, our ethnic group.
I’m mostly Northern European, some Southern European and some Slavic, but mostly Northern European, and this touches something deeply inside of me if you can relate to what I’m saying.
GJ: Totally. One of the philosophers that I’ve studied the most is Immanuel Kant. He has this formulation of the categorical imperative where he says that the only moral maxims you should follow are those you could will to be universal laws. Now, that is a very peculiar idea.
GJ: He also talks about acting as if you were a citizen of a Kingdom of Ends, a particular kind of order where people are rational agents who are ends in themselves, and you have non-exploitative relationships with them. It’s basically talking about free individuals. There’s an idealism there because the fact of the matter is you don’t live in a Kingdom of Ends, but what you’re doing is not acting according to the real world you’re living in; you’re acting according to the world you’d like to live in. In so doing, you are incurring risks in this world. But we feel very high-mindedly committed to the idea that we should still take these actions because we are creating a better world.
ME: That’s true across Left and Right for White people.
GJ: Oh yeah. Totally. And this is why it’s very, very difficult to convince them to change their course because in a certain way the fact that it might not be working out right now, the fact that they might be being exploited or subverted in some ways because of their idealistic course of action . . . If you bring that up they’re going to say, essentially the reaction is going to be, “Well, look, you’re just being small-minded, petty, and selfish. If we persevere in this course we will overcome this, and we will create utopia.” It’s only mean, petty people who give up at this stage of the way.
The trouble is that this is not a functional attitude anymore. That particular kind of high-mindedness. We actual measure the sublimity of our actions by the difficulties that it creates for us personally.
GJ: And we can’t do that forever because we are locked in a struggle now with people who are evolutionarily and culturally calibrated to exploit those characteristics as weaknesses.
ME: Yes, completely. And the thing I like to say, or other people have said to me and I have now adopted, “If it’s not reciprocated, you’re not really living by the principle.”
ME: It’s not being reciprocated.
GJ: Yeah, exactly. It’s not being reciprocated. But the idea is, “Well, yes, it’s not being reciprocated now, but eventually if we can just show them our good will and show them how wonderful we are . . .” Because White people really do believe that we are wonderful, that the way that we live is the best possible way, and that literally everybody would want to live this way.
Go to some über-White place like Stockholm or something like that and you see how beautiful everything is, how everything works really well, how kind people are. Why wouldn’t you believe that the whole world wants that?
ME: I want it.
GJ: I want it. Everybody else must want it too! We have the assumption that everybody’s just like us, and they’re not. We’ve finally encountered people that we cannot assimilate to our in-group. One of the things that’s most beneficial about this openness to strangers, and Kevin MacDonald talks about this as evolving with hunter-gatherers in the Ice Age of the north, is that if you’re a small group of people and you encounter another group of people that you can actually trust and cooperate with then your chances of surviving that long winter have gone up.
GJ: Because we have been open to strangers, and the strangers we’ve been open to have basically been the same kind of people as us who will reciprocate in kind, we have been able to build a great civilization. But that civilization has gone out all over the world, and we’ve encountered people who are not like us and who look upon us as basically marks.
Jews basically come to our societies like hackers — this is something Matt Parrott used, and I think it’s really good — they come to our societies like hackers come to a website. They probe it for its weaknesses.
ME: They find the exploit. That’s hacker terminology for you.
GJ: Yeah, and that’s what they’re doing. The goy is always friendly with strangers; he’s willing to give strangers the benefit of the doubt, and they will exploit that over and over again. Even when it doesn’t work out in their favor they will still keep doing it because their high-mindedness is so pegged to the idea that if they can just show they’re big . . . They’re big, you know? We’re big. We can take it, and if we just persist in this liberal, open course we will convert these people into being part of us and we’ll have utopia.
It’s destroying us, and we need to make ourselves conscious of this dynamic so we can inhibit it when it is no longer functional for us. It helped us create a great civilization when we encountered people like us. Now that we’re not encountering people like us it’s a weakness that’s leading to our downfall.
ME: Yeah and I think part of it is also – the thing that makes it difficult – in some sense when the people who aren’t like us are Africans, that’s one thing. The differences there are so obvious there actually was racism and exclusion and in South Africa they formed territories, “Here’s for Whites, here’s for Blacks,” and even in the American South because the differences were so obvious and apparent that they couldn’t work out.
But when you have a very small group like the Jews, and they’re very high in their verbal IQ, and they are able to present as us, and then they can kind of hack this narrative as we’ve said. They can hack the high trust mechanisms that we use to have created our civilizations. It’s very damaging. And then what Kevin MacDonald calls the culture of the holocaust where this idea that we have to constantly be atoning and we can out signal each other.
Signaling is a term that we’ve hit on. It’s one of our TRS terms that we’ve hit on. Increasingly, we’ve been calling people out for their signaling. Moral signaling is a fundamental communication strategy that we have, but it also has been hacked. I agree with you, it’s been hacked. So, the moral signaling is that we have to atone. We have to never let this happen again. It’s because of our fundamental barbarity that we can never let it happen again, that this horrible thing in the past happened and any kind of prejudice that’s shown will lead directly to this. So, now White people compete with each other. It’s really a very competitive thing to be the one who out morally signals the next. And it’s unhealthy. We have to stop.
GJ: We have to stop that. And the idea that another holocaust is going to happen is the most ludicrous idea in the world. Jews have their own country now which has a mountain of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. There will never be another holocaust. Get it through your heads. Stop this emotional blackmail. I’m so fucking sick of this whining and emotional blackmail from the most powerful people on the planet.
GJ: But still, even though they’re the most powerful people on the planet, and would have no hesitation in destroying the planet if they felt their own existence were threatened, these people still have the psychology of cornered rats who think that every issue is existentially threatening to them.
ME: Yes. Even what we’re saying now would be considered some sort of existential threat. And I’m like, “Look, there’s a country. You could go there. I don’t see what the issue is.”
GJ: Yep. Exactly. Even in the privacy of our own skulls if we have thoughts against them they consider that to be an existential threat.
Let’s just call them what they are. They’re a race of paranoid lunatics. One of the things we talked about before we started recording is this strange oscillation in people who suffer from mania between grandiosity, where they feel that they are God, or God is in them, or that everybody’s God and they have this ebullient grandiosity where they literally feel like they’re the whole universe; they are God. Then what happens is when people don’t respond to you appropriately when you say that you’re God, you start feeling that they are evil in some way. You start getting the touchy, paranoid, hateful side. The side that feels victimized and persecuted.
Well, that basically just sounds like Jews to me, because they have the grandiose notion that they are God’s chosen people, that they’re a light unto the nations, they’ve given the world all these wonderful things. And when people don’t treat them in ways that coincide with their grandiose self-image they assume always that these people have some problem, that these people are evil, malicious, they’re plotting against them, they’re trying to destroy them. It sounds like a nation where insanity is basically the norm. We need to send them to their nuthouse in the Middle East. Preferably disarming them of all their nuclear weapons at the same time, because you don’t give a gun to a child or a person who’s in a psychotic episode.
We’ve given control of our societies, submarines, nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons to people who are basically insane, and it’s really got to stop.
Anyway, you guys are doing a great job in getting people aware of this and giving people permission to think about this, to laugh about it, and I just think it’s a tremendous service that you’re doing. Because nothing is more important, I think, than getting the organized Jewish community off our back and disempowering these people and sending them away so we can finally live and breathe and have our own countries again. Anyway, TRS is doing great work in that area.
ME: Yeah, and I think that laughter really is — it’s a cliché, but — the best medicine. It’s a way to disarm the issue and it’s funny because we’ve all been psychologized into this mentality where “bigotry is bad,” “thinking bad things about out-groups is bad,” and particularly any bad thoughts you might have about Jewish people. “Bad, bad, bad.” This has been drummed into our heads by the media and the school system. The two biggest influences other than your family in your life, schools and media, are consistently hitting you with this narrative, and if your family is hitting you with it too it becomes particularly hard. I even sometimes start to think . . . I don’t really any more, but I did for a long time. Now it’s like: just make it a joke.
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