Politics, Metapolitics, & HegemonyGreg Johnson
“. . . the U.S. Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government.” — Joseph Sobran
In my essay “Whitopia,” I defended the reluctance of White Nationalists to offer detailed blueprints of how ethnostates will be organized politically and economically. Indeed, to offer such accounts plays into the objection that White Nationalism is an abstract, utopian ideology. The best response to the charge of utopianism is simply to point to de facto and de jure ethnostates around the world, both in the present and the past. Moreover, all of the laws and policies necessary to turn the United States into an ethnostate have actually existed within the last century. Thus, in answer to those who want specifics, we need not offer abstract speculations, but concrete, historical examples of ethnonationalism in action. We know White Nationalism is possible, because it has already been actual.
The desire for constitutions also ascribes too much importance to written documents. The US Constitution is a masterpiece of political thought, but is it actually the foundation of the American political system? No, not really. The best way to appreciate this is to compare America and England, which are quite similar in their cultures, laws, and political institutions. Yet England has no written constitution at all. By contrast, the Constitution of Liberia that was effect from 1847 to 1980 was based closely on the US Constitution, but Liberia hardly resembles the United States in its culture and government.
The foundation of the English system of government is not a piece of paper, but a people and its traditions. The American system is similar to the English because it is an offshoot of the same people and tradition. The US Constitution is less the foundation of the American system than an attempt to articulate and summarize important features of the English political tradition and its nearly two centuries of divergent evolution in the American colonies. This tradition, and the people who created and sustained it, are the true foundations of the American system of government.
This truth has been obscured by the idea that the Constitution is the foundation of our political system, although even the most strict constitutionalists admit that the Constitution cannot be interpreted without reference to the intention of the framers and the culture of the time. Moreover, the example of Liberia shows that there is no civilizing magic in the Constitution alone. The US Constitution could never be successfully grafted onto a radically different people, with radically different traditions of government.
The relative powerlessness of constitutions — both written and unwritten — is underscored by the fact that virtually every European government today has adopted policies of race-replacement immigration, a course of action so perverse that the wisest of legislators could not have foreseen and forbidden it. Indeed, they would have been mocked as insane if they had even suggested the possibility. Moreover, white genocide has become policy without fundamentally altering the written or unwritten constitutions of European societies. Time-hallowed parchments and institutions did not stop the rise of anti-white regimes. But, by the same token, they cannot stop the return of pro-white regimes either. But for pro-white regimes to return, we have to understand the true foundation of political power.
Political constitutions are no better than the people who interpret and apply them. Political institutions are no better than the people who staff them. Thus politics depends on something that lies outside of politics. The term “metapolitics” refers to the non-political and extra-political conditions that make politics possible. These conditions fall into two categories: (1) ideas and (2) extra-political institutions, networks, and communities.
Basic metapolitical ideas include questions of identity (who are we, and who isn’t us?), morality (what are our duties to ourselves, our nations, our race, and other nations and races?), and practicality (how can we actually create white homelands?). Any institutions and communities that exercise influence over the political realm are metapolitical. These include political parties and movements, educational and religious institutions, the news and entertainment media, organized ethnic and economic lobbies, and secret, unaccountable cabals now loosely referred to as “deep states.”
To understand how metapolitics shapes politics, we must make a distinction between “hard power” and “soft power.” Hard power is political power, which is ultimately backed by force. Soft power is metapolitical power, which influences politics in two ways. Metapolitical ideas shape people’s beliefs about what is politically possible and desirable. Metapolitical organizations shape political policies while remaining outside the political realm.
If political power ultimately comes from the barrel of a gun, metapolitics determines who aims the gun, at whom it is aimed, and why. If political power is “hard” power, because it ultimately reduces to force, metapolitical hegemony is “soft” power that ultimately reduces to persuasion. Persuasion, of course, is not just rational arguments but also emotional manipulation and economic carrots and sticks, including simple bribery and blackmail.
One of the crucial distinctions between hard and soft power centers on the idea of accountability. Hard political power is, at least in theory, accountable to the people. Political accountability ultimately means that the people who make political decisions are known to the public and can be punished for betraying the public trust. But the exercise of soft power has no such transparency or accountability. Soft power allows the destinies of nations to be shaped by individuals whose identities and agendas are obscure and who are essentially unaccountable for the consequences of their actions. Indeed, they are often foreigners, with no ties and loyalties to the nations they manipulate.
As I discuss at greater length elsewhere, another term for metapolitical soft power is “hegemony.” The Greek word hegemonia means leadership, domination, or rule exercised at a distance. Hegemony is remote control. Specifically, for the ancient Greeks, hegemony referred to imperial or federal leadership, in which the hegemon rules over other states with regard to foreign and military affairs but leaves domestic matters in their hands. For the man in the street, therefore, hegemony appears as a distant, indirect, mediated, “soft” form of power.
Hegemony can also take an intellectual and cultural form, ruling over the political realm by shaping the values and ideas that set the parameters and goals of political debate and activity. For instance, the hegemony of anti-white, pro-multicultural ideas in American politics today means that it really does not matter which party holds power, since their power will be used against white interests. But the converse is also possible: if White Nationalist ideas attain cultural hegemony, it will not matter which party holds political power, since all of them will treat white interests as sacrosanct.
The concepts of metapolitics and hegemony are the keys to understanding the differences between the Old Left and the New Left — and the Old Right and the New Right. By the Old Left, I mean Bolshevism. By the Old Right, I mean interwar National Socialism, Fascism, and similar regimes. The Old Right emerged as reaction to the Old Left. The Old Left sought to impose Communism through one-party politics and the totalitarian state, using terrorism and genocide as tools of policy. Just as one takes a knife to a knife fight and a gun to a gunfight, the Old Right used the Old Left’s chosen weapons to resist it. The Old Right fought violence with violence, hard political power with hard political power.
The New Left — the best example being the Frankfurt School — replaced politics with metapolitics, the hard totalitarianism of the Old Left with the soft-totalitarianism of Leftist cultural hegemony. The New Left realized that Leftist values could be imposed without a violent revolution and a totalitarian, one-party state, simply by taking control of education and culture. One can have total social hegemony while maintaining the illusion of freedom and pluralism by ensuring that all competing cultural currents and political parties adopt the same Leftist values, differing only on inessential matters.
The New Left was wildly successful. Today we live in a Left-wing, soft totalitarian society, which Jonathan Bowden characterized as a “Left-wing oligarchy,” a system of vast economic and political inequities in which everyone piously mouths Left-wing slogans.
Just as the Old Right took guns to a gunfight, the New Right must take ideas to a battle of ideas. We must deconstruct the hegemony of anti-white ideas and replace them with a counter-hegemony of pro-white ideas. We must create our own metapolitical organizations — new media, new educational institutions, and new forms of community — that can combat and replace those in anti-white hands. We must fight bad ideas with better ideas — institutional subversion with institutional renewal.
A metapolitical approach also plays to our strengths. The moral, scientific, and historical case for White Nationalism has never been stronger, even though we lack money, organization, and political power. The enemy, by contrast, has never been richer, better organized, or more politically powerful. But they have never been weaker on moral, scientific, and historical grounds. And as human beings, they have never been more corrupt, decadent, and ridiculous.
Two political models that have wide appeal in the broader White Nationalist community are useless in this metapolitical struggle: libertarianism and the Old Right-style White Nationalist organizations, which are now referred to as White Nationalism 1.0. Both approaches tend to view politics as solely a matter of hard power. They also tend to overlook or underestimate the role of soft power.
Libertarians oppose the exercise of hard power by the state, which is in principle accountable to the common good, but they have absolutely no problem with unaccountable soft power as long as it is exercised by private actors. Libertarians oppose government censorship but have no problem with corporate censorship promoted by private organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which draw up politically correct terms of service and employment to be adopted by institutions and compile lists of dissidents to be silenced by social media, fundraising platforms, web hosting providers, and financial services companies. The only objection a libertarian could have to total Jewish media domination is if the checks bounce. Otherwise, it’s all “voluntary.” Libertarians can, however, be counted on to oppose any government regulations to stop corporate censorship and deplatforming. Thus libertarianism not only blinds people to the workings of soft power, it opposes on principle any use of government force to curb it.
As for the Old Right’s contemporary imitators, they spend their time imagining race war scenarios in which armed revolutionary parties defeat the United States government, as outlined in the novels of William Pierce and Harold Covington — and the more impatient and anti-social types occasionally go on shooting rampages. When Communists and anarchists LARP as Bolsheviks, the Old Right shows up with helmets and shields to LARP as Nazis. Although the intellectual and moral case for White Nationalism has never been stronger, and the intellectual and moral case for multiculturalism has never been weaker, White Nationalists cannot defeat the armies, police, or even the mall cops of modern societies in armed struggle. It is the height of strategic folly to abandon our greatest strengths and refuse to attack the enemy where he is weakest, and instead attack the enemy on the plane of hard power, where he is strongest and we are weakest.
This is not to say that there is no room for street activism today, but it has to be understood as a metapolitical activity, a form of propaganda, not as a battle to control the streets. Actual politics comes later, once we have laid the metapolitical groundwork.
To conceive of White Nationalism as politics without metapolitics — as simply a struggle for political power, regardless of whether the people sympathize with us or not — is basically to put ourselves in the position of an invading army or an unpopular revolutionary party, which seeks to conquer the state and impose its will on the people. This is the trap of the Old Right model.
The opposite extreme is metapolitics without politics, but this approach actually has a chance of working. If White Nationalists attain complete hegemony in the metapolitical realm, that means that white interests will be sacrosanct, and anti-white ideas will be anathema. In such a situation, White Nationalists need not organize as a political party to capture the state, because we will have captured the minds of the public, and all the existing political parties will be de facto White Nationalist parties, because they will serve white interests. In such a society, we would still be arguing about abortion and taxes, but it would be an argument between white people alone. There would be no possibility of allying with non-whites to gain short-term political advantage over our own flesh and blood, and the degradation and destruction of our race would simply be outside the realm of political possibility.
Frankly, this would be “whitopia” enough for me.
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Greg, thanks for the article. These ideas can’t be restated enough. I do have an ideological question that’s been on my mind:
Having been steeped in Evola and taking his ideas to heart, I find myself wondering whether a Nationalism based on race (in the classic, non-Evolian sense) as the binding unit for a State is enough without also conquering democratic-liberalism. While we may gain (quite) a few steps culturally, isn’t the inherent decadence of consumerism/atomization still a mountain of a problem to tackle? In other words, can you explain (or direct me to articles/arguments) how a white ethnostate is the preferable ends rather than an anti-liberal state? Is that perhaps thinking too far ahead, in that the possibility of overthrowing the shackles of economic and individualist decadence is most probable in a white ethnostate?
If we gain an inch in the US, we gain a foot in Europe, a yard in Eastern Europe and a mile in Russia.
A very helpful essay. Distinguishes soft power vs hard power clearly in a way that I can share with others.
As much as I enjoyed the Covington novels, the proposed mechanism of achieving an ethno-state is at the present time a recipe for failure. Yet physical courage, beyond the loss of friends and livelihood might still be required. One of the best lines from the Covington novels, (I think it is in the Brigade), is where one of the characters says something to the effect, “white men can have incredible courage, as long as they have people behind them who will sing their praise.” Something to that effect.
Preparing a meta-political base will hopefully change the current course of events. If it does not it will help provide the needed encouragement for brave men. Even now, because of your work and others I am braver than six months ago. That bravery is in speaking out and risking loss of friends and ridicule. I am not alone.
If White people aren’t at the war front, perhaps it’s because their enemies have them tied up on the home front.
Tied up at the home front. Consumerism and feminism, all media driven. It takes two incomes now to secure a nominal middle class life, with both husband and wife frazzled by long commutes and the social need to appear respectable.
I was actually thinking of the home front in a more generic sense when I posted my previous comment. I think Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn touched upon what I’m trying to get at when he wrote: “To strike out boldly, a person has to feel that his rear is defended, that he has support on both his flanks, that there is solid earth beneath his feet.” How well are these conditions met among White people in general, and White nationalists in particular?
Very incisive essay. I don’t think you will have the time to make this sea change in the culture, unfortunately. The Enemy is very near his goal. When the political police begin rounding up the whites, or when the breakdown comes and civil war begins to rage, what then? I think the whites need real organization, sooner than later. Grass-roots political organizing can and should forge a synergy with meta-politics.
Such clarity of ideas, goal and means to reach the goal is rarely seen on the right. The White Nationalist Lenin.
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