Recently on NPR, I heard an interview with Angus Deaton, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Deaton discussed how white people in the United States are experiencing an “epidemic of despair” as evidenced by rates of alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide higher among middle-aged whites than any other population group. Deaton surmised, and the interviewer seemed to concur, that these trends are caused by increasing economic inequality between the rich and the poor, and the fact that middle-aged whites are realizing that they will not be able to build a better life for themselves than the ones their parents had because of economic recession.
While it was interesting to hear an NPR feature admit that American whites are facing hardship and even greater future hardship, Deaton’s interview completely avoided any explanation for this epidemic of despair other than economic inequality. The implication was that the only possible solution to this epidemic would be more Leftist wealth redistribution. Multiculturalism was not mentioned at all. Considering that both redistribution and multiculturalism have failed to improve the American quality of life, this interview was quite frustrating to hear. But this frustration quickly turned to anger when I realized that these policies are not designed to better our lives but to control us.
I must admit that a week ago, I was feeling a great deal of despair myself. I felt I wanted to give up on fighting for what I know to be true and somehow escape from having to think about the evils that are being perpetrated against our people. My despair may have been somewhat different from what Deaton described, for many whites have internalized the messages all around them that they have no distinct identity, nor any right to such an identity. Most are not consciously aware that this is the message they are receiving. For my own part, my despair arose out of pessimism over any prospect that things can change or move in our favor.
My pessimism made me wish that I had never signed up for Become Who We Are, the National Policy Institute’s 2015 conference held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. this weekend. I really wanted to be “free” from the responsibility of acting resolutely to right what is wrong. I wanted to give up the fight and rejoin those oblivious middle-aged whites who choose to eat, drink, and Netflix themselves into extinction. Nevertheless, I went anyway because backing out so close to the event would have been both complicated and wasteful. I feared that I would be afflicted by feelings of hopelessness through the entire weekend, but I quickly found myself inspired and challenged by what I heard from the presenters at the conference.
It is fitting that this conference was held on Halloween, which is often described as the day when the veil is thinnest between the spiritual world and the material world. I have long considered the dilemma facing whites to be a spiritual one, rather than just a question of comfort or even survival. Culture and ethnicity, from which notions of spirituality arise, are formed by the ways in which people encounter the natural world around them and carve out a place for themselves. Our ways of thinking about and understanding reality have been shaped by the long bloodline of our ancestors, which is why race is as much a spiritual concept as it is a biological one. Understanding this will lead us to a moral framework that justifies the cause of White Nationalism. The title of this conference, Become Who We Are, evokes an idea that somehow we are not who we are and that we must become this thing, our identity. Halloween is a day on which people dress in costumes and present themselves as things they are not. But we live in a society that requires us to be what we are not every day of the year, so at this conference the attendees grappled with the question of what we will be once we are free from this society, and how we can be this future self as authentically as possible in the meantime.
Dr. Kevin MacDonald was the first presenter. He spoke on the origins of the white race, with the aim of providing background on the current state of white identity. He explained that the cultures of northern climes created a sense of egalitarian individualism in our people. This perspective has served us well in organizing societies, and it has created a special kind of empathy that may be unique in white people. However, it has led to something of an empathic disorder, in which some individuals ascribe a sense of benevolence to others who may not in fact feel the same way. This leads to pathological altruism in which people act altruistically to a degree that does more harm than good. These tendencies have undermined the aristocratic aspects of our culture by seeking to destroy the natural hierarchies that form when a society is well-ordered.
The second speaker was Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute. His speech, entitled “Political Theology” presented the fundamental question of the conference, what it means to become who we are. As I discussed above, his talk described how a phrase like “become who we are” should not compute. How can we become something that we supposedly already are?
Spencer suggested that the act of being is ongoing, that we are an unfinished project. He described the now common idea of taking the red pill, but pointed out that knowing the truth does not necessarily set us free. Rather, it leads us to a desert of loneliness. There is still the necessity to act in response to the truth. At one time it was easy to remain blue-pilled, to accept the false narrative and live one’s entire life in an illusion. Only those who made the choice to become red-pilled by questioning and seeking truth would have to live with the consequences. Now, however, people are becoming red-pilled by reality. We are seeing the results in this epidemic of despair, which I mentioned above. Something more is needed than just the truth. Spencer suggested that dreams and myths are the answer.
Keith Preston, an anarchist, spoke third. His presentation framed the situation of ethnically aware Europeans in the same light as other ethnic groups that are pitted against the destructive force of American imperialism. Preston stated that unlike past imperial models similar to the Roman Empire in which ethnic and cultural identities of conquered peoples were allow to remain intact so long as proper tribute was paid to the empire, in American imperialism there is a quasi-religious perspective in that all who are conquered must convert to the American cultural model, which is actually anti-cultural.
The most relevant aspect of Preston’s talk to the theme of the conference was a description of the three identities allowed to a person under the American imperialist system. First, every individual is a subject of the state. This is non-negotiable. Second, individuals may be workers or professionals who contribute to the economy of the state, in which case their identity is defined by how they contribute. Third, individuals may be consumers of what the state economy provides, in which case their identity is defined by what they consume. Any unique identity that conflicts with these three identities allowed by the state must be eradicated. And this is why any separatist movement, including racial separatism, is viewed as an enemy of the state.
Keith Preston was followed by Sam Dickson, an attorney who is a fixture at National Policy Institute conferences. His presentation was about the destruction of symbols, in particular the move to ban the Confederate Flag from public properties in Southern states. Dickson stated that the opposition to banning the flag through slogans like “Heritage, Not Hate,” was doomed from the start because it accepted the fundamental premises of the American paradigm, the very paradigm that opposed the South a century and a half ago.
According to Dickson, suffering is what forms identity, and the destruction of a cultural symbol like the flag inflicts the kind of suffering that leads to an awakening of identity. Southerners, until now, may have felt that they can be Americans, but as every remnant of their unique identity as Southerners is destroyed by the America they long to be accepted by, they may instead choose an abjuration of the American paradigm. It is the job of white advocates to mentally prepare our people to make this choice.
Roman Bernard, a Frenchman, was the fifth speaker. I’m not entirely clear on Bernard’s credentials. He is a regular writer for the Radix Journal website and he mentioned being involved with political movements in France. Bernard discussed the current state of nationalism in Europe and emphasized the danger of merely being opposed to what is currently in place. Instead, nationalists must provide a vision of an alternative.
One of Bernard’s key points was that the opposition of many nationalists in Europe toward the European Union is wrong. His reasoning is that a pan-European identity is necessary for the long-term goals of Europeans. Presumably white Americans are included in the pan-European identity in this context, although Bernard seemed hesitant to use the term “white” as a descriptor. One of the interesting things he stated in the question and answer session that followed was that the purpose of this conference was to say that mass political parties, like the National Front in France, are useless. The implication in this statement might be that greater metapolitical transformation must occur before any practical nationalist political action can succeed.
Another Frenchman, Guillaume Faye, was the keynote speaker. Faye is a leading figure in the French New Right and the author of numerous books and articles. In introducing him, Richard Spencer stated that no one has better described the ideal of the ethnostate better than Faye. His talk was entitled “Why We Will Win.”
In many ways, he echoed Kevin MacDonald by emphasizing that the cause of mass immigration into Europe is due to a misconception about the non-white, mainly Muslim individuals who are taking advantage of European hospitality. The false assumption made by the Europeans facilitating this migration is that the immigrants are essentially the same as the Europeans and equally benevolent. Faye cautioned that Islam, like many traditional societies, has a long memory and that, to Muslims, this invasion is a continuation of the war waged in the middle ages. It is revenge against Charles Martel for driving them back to their own lands.
Faye proposed several reasons for why we will win. First that the aggression of the invaders will become increasingly obvious to whites whose empathic delusions will soon be shown for what they are. Second, the traitors in our midst, the white leaders who oversee our own destruction, will lose control over their ability to manage the situation and prevent a revolt by whites. Lastly, we will win because we are stronger than our enemies. We have been complicit in our own destruction by allowing these invaders to come into our nations, but as the illusions of the current situation are dispelled we will take back control of our own destinies. And if we don’t, Faye added, then we are doomed.
These six talks made up the bulk of the program. They were followed by a panel discussion, which was characterized as a podcast recorded before a live audience. The panelists included Richard Spencer, Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff from the Red Ice Creations media network, and Mike Enoch from The Right Stuff website. Much of the discussion was focused on the strategies of disseminating the message of white advocacy and responding to its opponents. The consensus was that White Nationalists have been victors in the internet trolling wars, and the reasons for this victory were analyzed.
Mike Enoch explained it best by saying that humor disarms the enemy, and that because mocking people is a fundamental part of humor, we have the advantage. The political correctness of our enemies makes them seem rigid and lifeless in comparison. There is something attractive about a dissident who stands defiant against a set of rules that seem meaningless and false to most people, and for this reason we are gaining ground, particularly among young people. This conference was, if anything, evidence that young people are drawn to our message. It was the largest and youngest group I’ve ever seen at any gathering like this.
After the panel discussion was over, there was a break before the conference resumed in another room at Press Club with a bar attached. Dinner consisted of light hors d’oeuvres. When the food was gone, Jack Donovan, the author of The Way of Men and A Sky Without Eagles, arose to speak. In this new room there were very few chairs so most people were standing, basically surrounding Donovan as he bellowed out his points in a carefully measured cadence. It had a much different feeling than the previous presentations. There was more energy, and a lot of cheering and calling out. People seemed to feel involved with what was happening.
Donovan’s talk was on the ways to become a barbarian. It was a similar theme to his previous talk at the NPI conference in 2013. He offered several rules for barbarians. By this time, I had abandoned taking notes, but I can remember a few of his rules. The first was: No tears for strangers. Donovan stated that the media wants to manufacture scenarios with strangers for us to cry over in order to manipulate and disarm us. We have to realize that if we want to be tribal then there is an Us and a Them, and not to waste our energy on Them. Another rule was: Loot and plunder. Donovan pointed out that many of the accusations about white men are true. We have been violent. We have conquered. We have taken from others. We have essentially done what every society does, but we have done it better and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Another rule was: No apologies, no arguments, no explanations. His point here is that we can never win against an enemy who wants to enslave or destroy us by reasoning with them. We should reserve these activities—apologies, arguments, and explanations—only for those who we care about and consider to be part of Us—not for Them.
The official events of the evening were concluded with a talk and musical set by Robert Taylor from the neofolk band Changes. Taylor first spoke about his experiences with joining the Minutemen in the 1960s and his efforts to mount a resistance against the U.S. government, which eventually fell apart. Then he described how he transitioned into the arts, specifically as a musician, and also became a practitioner of the Teutonic spirituality of our Indo-European ancestors.
I felt that Taylor’s talk was an important one, in particular because I’m a proponent of understanding the pre-Christian European spiritual mindset, but I also noticed that much of the crowd became distracted by this point. It had been a long day and many people were eager to do more socializing and less listening to speeches, so much of what Taylor said was not heard. Likewise, the musical set mainly served as background to other conversations. Still, I appreciate that the conference organizers had thought to introduce this unorthodox element into the schedule. I was singing along to the songs I recognized, as were a few other people. Whenever people come together and sing something they believe, it creates a bond.
We left the National Press Club en masse as a way to protect ourselves from the antifa protesters outside. There had been rumors of a scuffle or two between conferees and the antifa, although I’m not sure of the details. As we walked out in a line they were standing there, apparently blocked by security guards, wearing black masks on their faces and holding up camera phones taking photos or videos of us, apparently in the hope of finding ways to intimidate us or ruin our careers. The people I know made it safely to their destinations without incident.
In the aftermath, I found myself at a party in a hotel room with a dozen or so other people. Someone played guitar as we drank beer and bourbon and continued the discussions begun earlier in the day. In many ways these informal and unplanned gatherings are the best part of a pro-white conference. It’s where you recognize that you are not alone. For me, my entire attitude had reversed from earlier in the day. The cure for despair was a healthy dose of reflection upon the deeper possibilities of identity, followed by a session of putting those possibilities into practice.
I found myself primarily conversing with two guys who were the sole participants in an odd and amusing contest to win a free ticket to the conference. The rules of the contest as laid out by Mike Enoch on his podcast, The Daily Shoah, were that each contestant cut his hair to look like Richard Spencer’s (an undercut style often associated with the Hitlerjugend), and then Spencer would vote on who was the winner. Only two men entered the contest, and only one of them won the free ticket, but the other decided to purchase a ticket anyway. They are both great guys. Around 1:00 in the morning the three of us went looking for food and ended up at a Five Guys restaurant. We sat at a table eating burgers and fries, as drunken partiers in Halloween costumes surrounded us on all sides. But we were without costumes. We were ourselves. We were becoming who we are.
1. See “Nobel Prize winning economist Angus Deaton; then the impact of poverty on children” (2015, October, 21). http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2015/10/21/nobel-prize-winning-economist-angus-deaton-then-the-impact-of-poverty-on-children/#sthash.wStQVejo.dpuf