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On Race Realism & the Dissident Right


Thomas Dixon, Jr.

3,474 words

The other day, the Z-Man did another one of his excellent podcasts, this one entitled “The Dissident Right.” [2] As he described it, the show focused on “what it means to be on the Dissident Right” and offered a brief rundown of the Right from a generic dissident perspective. It is as good an introduction to the Dissident Right as you can get.

In this podcast, Z-Man lets us in on the egalitarian orthodoxy on the Left and mainstream Right and what it means to dissent from that through race and gender realism. He also provides a nice list of literature everyone on the Dissident Right should read. All of this is great, of course. No one can make a red pill go down easier than the Z-Man. He also had the sense to avoid the Jewish Question, which is one of the thornier issues on the Dissident Right and the source of more than a few dangerous fault lines. If I were teaching Dissident Right 101 to college freshmen, I’d probably avoid the JQ as well (sort of like how introductory physics classes typically don’t break out quantum mechanics on the second day).

But the point here is to pick a nit with Z-Man’s treatment of race realism. It’s not so much that what he said was wrong or even his attitude about it is wrong, but that his treatment of the topic, I believe, is incomplete. Z-Man explains himself like so:

To be on the Dissident Right is to reject the blank slate and egalitarianism, and embrace the diversity of man and the causes of that diversity as well as the results of it . . . One group of people is made for their place, the other group of people is made for their place. It’s not about superiority. It’s about difference. And that’s an important thing to understand . . . And that’s what it means to be on the Dissident Right, it’s embracing this diversity, the causes as well as the results.

More Z-Man:

To be on the Dissident Right is to be a race realist. Now this is not the same as being a racist. A race realist simply acknowledges and accepts the differences between the races . . . You can accept that blacks in America, for example, have an average IQ of about 85 while genuinely feeling compassion for the conditions of black people in America. You can even advocate for special programs to help blacks while being realistic about the racial divide between blacks and everyone else. In fact, arguments in favor of special treatment for blacks used to be based in this understanding. You know, they used to accept that blacks needed extra help. If you go back and you read people who were advocating for set-asides and affirmative action and all these different policies going back to the last century they often started with that premise . . . Similarly, you can acknowledge that these biological realities of blacks in America and be indifferent to their plight . . . Now, in contrast, a racist is someone who has contempt for people of another race and the reasons are really immaterial.

The first thing I noticed was although Z-Man brings up race realism as a hallmark of the Right, the only concrete examples he offers (set asides, affirmative action) point to Left-wing race realism. Yes it is true, historically, that many on the Progressive Left were race realists and offered largesse to blacks out of compassion for their organically inferior condition. Socialism is especially geared towards this kind of thinking. But how does this support Z-Man’s claim that race realism is a crucial part of the Right? In his section on egalitarianism and the blank slate, he discusses how those on the Left and in the Middle these days have abandoned race realism and believe their own hype about racial equality. We can extrapolate from this that anyone who accepts the science and reality of race will be pushed to the Right whether they want to go there or not simply by virtue of being rejected by the Left. But this still leaves the open question of how Right-wing race realism differs from Left-wing race realism. If his thesis focuses on what it means to be on the Dissident Right, then it would be important to know what kind of race realism someone on the Right should espouse.

Secondly, I noticed how Z-Man’s example of compassionate race realism contradicts his assertion that race realism shouldn’t be about superiority. In his example, whites offer a hand up to blacks because they essentially feel sorry for them. One does not typically offer charity from an inferior position. It is because of the naturally superior position of whites in his example that this compassion apparatus existed at all. So then how can white race realism not be about superiority?

I’m drilling down this far only because, as Z-Man himself points out, race realism is such an important aspect of the Dissident Right. Maybe it’s the most important aspect. When we red-pill people—or when newly red-pilled people come to us—we have to get it right. And if we can get our stories straight, even when we don’t agree, so much the better. Further, when I discuss race realism from this point on, I am respecting Z-Man’s unstated premise of excluding the JQ. In fact, the race realism I deal with in this essay is more legacy race realism, that is, the kind dealing exclusively with blacks and whites which was dominant in America up until the last couple decades.

One useful way to look at race realism on the Right would be to erect an Overton Window between the perspectives of two famous race realist American authors from over a century ago: Thomas Dixon and Thomas Nelson Page. I believe that these two still embody the extremes of much of the polite discourse about race realism on the American Right. On the right end, we have Dixon as he presented things in his famous 1905 novel The Clansman (which in 1915 was adapted into the even more famous D. W. Griffith film The Birth of a Nation). The basic storyline is well-known: after the Civil War, Austin Stoneman, a vengeful and powerful Northern politician, seeks to subjugate the South through black rule during Reconstruction. After a series of abuses and atrocities from the blacks, South Carolinian Ben Cameron, who has fallen in love with Stoneman’s daughter Elsie, leads the heroic Ku Klux Klan to wrest control from the blacks and reestablish white dominance in the defeated South.

Setting aside the dated prose, the syrupy sentimentality, and the over-the-top romance (The Clansman is by no means a great novel), we have some astute political themes and a powerful depiction of white suffering during Reconstruction. All of this evinces a clear race realism on the part of Dixon. In Dixon’s world, a black population which takes power over whites results in “barbarism strangling civilisation.” He sees blacks as easily-corrupted and violent savages who need only to be brought to heel. And the mulattos are even worse, given that their partial white pedigree gives them more tools with which to dismantle white civilization for their own nefarious ends.

When Stoneman debates the fate of the South with Abraham Lincoln, he quotes the Bible (Acts of the Apostles 17:26), saying “God hath made of one blood all races.” Lincoln wisely responds:

Yes—but finish the sentence—“and fixed the bounds of their habitation.” God never meant that the Negro should leave his habitat or the white man invade his home. Our violation of this law is written in two centuries of shame and blood. And the tragedy will not be closed until the black man is restored to his home.

When Ben Cameron’s father Richard, one of the novel’s many impeccable and sympathetic white characters, appeals to Stoneman to end Negro rule in the South, he says:

Black hordes of former slaves, with the intelligence of children and the instincts of savages, armed with modern rifles, parade daily in front of their unarmed former masters. A white man has no right a negro need respect. The children of the breed of men who speak the tongue of Burns and Shakespeare, Drake and Raleigh, have been disarmed and made subject to the black spawn of an African jungle! Can human flesh endure it?

When Stoneman asks if whites can train blacks, Cameron responds:

To a point, yes, and then sink to his level if you walk as his equal in physical contact with him. His race is not an infant; it is a degenerate—older than yours in time. At last we are face to face with the man whom slavery concealed with its rags.

When Stoneman crashes President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial, Dixon has this to say:

Suddenly through the dense mass appeared the forms of two gigantic negroes carrying an old man. His grim face, white and rigid, and his big club foot hanging pathetically from those black arms, could not be mistaken. A thrill of excitement swept the floor and galleries, and a faint cheer rippled the surface, quickly suppressed by the gavel.

The negroes placed him in an arm-chair facing the semi-circle of Senators, and crouched down on their haunches beside him. Their kinky heads, black skin, thick lips, white teeth, and flat noses made for the moment a curious symbolic frame for the chalk-white passion of the old Commoner’s face.

No sculptor ever dreamed a more sinister emblem of the corruption of a race of empire-builders than this group. Its black figures, wrapped in the night of four thousand years of barbarism, squatted there the “equal” of their master, grinning at his forms of Justice, the evolution of forty centuries of Aryan genius. To their brute strength the white fanatic in the madness of his hate had appealed, and for their hire he had bartered the birthright of a mighty race of freemen.

Dixon describes Silas Lynch, Stoneman’s majestic mulatto protégé, thusly:

On his left sat a negro of perhaps forty years, a man of charming features for a mulatto, who had evidently inherited the full physical characteristics of the Aryan race, while his dark yellowish eyes beneath his heavy brows glowed with the brightness of the African jungle. It was impossible to look at his superb face, with its large, finely chiselled lips and massive nose, his big neck and broad shoulders, and watch his eyes gleam beneath the projecting forehead, without seeing pictures of the primeval forest. “The head of a Caesar and the eyes of the jungle” was the phrase coined by an artist who painted his portrait.

Okay, so subtlety wasn’t exactly in Dixon’s wheelhouse, but at least we know where he stands. Not only is his race realism on display here. So is his contempt. As far as racial matters are concerned, Dixon must be counted as a man of the Right. His Bible reference indicates a belief in a transcendental order; his rejection of the training of blacks is equally a rejection of egalitarianism; he clearly believes in societal classes; and he is very tribal and possessive about the accomplishments of his people. What more does one need to be on the Right? Anything further to the Right of Dixon tempts Hobbes’ primeval state of “warre of every man against every man,” wherein all distinctions between Right, Left, and Center become moot. After all, there are no moderates in a war.

And then you have Thomas Nelson Page, who, for my money, was as far Left as you could get and still be on the Right and a race realist. He grew up on a Virginia plantation in the 1850s and inherited a deeply conservative and religious outlook from his parents. As a child, he developed an honest respect for blacks, having lived close to them and watched them perform their duties on the field and in the home. He also appreciated how the majority of the black slaves remained faithful to their masters throughout the Civil War. Some even joined them as pages on the battlefield. Where Dixon had one sympathetic black character in The Clansman, Page’s body of work is filled with them. His 1884 short story Marse Chan, a narrative told by a former black slave, is a thing of beauty. His In Ole Virginia collection has a number of stories featuring sympathetic black main characters. Same for his magnum opus, the 1898 bestseller Red Rock, which I reviewed for Counter-Currents here [3].

From my review:

Page’s treatment of the honest, hardworking, and—most importantly—loyal Negroes in his story could not be more compassionate. By the time Red Rock was published, Page had already been known for immortalizing the “good old darkie” stereotype of cheerful slaves who worked hard and loved their masters. This can be seen clearly in his In Ole Virginia collection. However, in Red Rock, the sheer competence and indispensability of Negroes comes to the fore. Old Gideon is an example whose keen skill with horses and unflinching devotion at one point saved Dr.Cary’s wife Bessie from great injury.

Despite this, Page never let his compassion trump the truth about race. In his essay “Social Life in Old Virginia Before the War” Page credits Southern whites who

Christianized the negro race in a little over two centuries, impressed upon it regard for order, and gave it the only civilization it has ever possessed since the dawn of history.

In his 1904 essay collection entitled The Negro: The Southerner’s Problem, he writes:

All who know the Negro recognize, however, that the chief and overpowering element in his make-up is an imperious sexual impulse which, aroused at the slightest incentive, sweeps aside all restraints in the pursuit of physical gratification. We may say now that this element of the Negro character constitutes the main incitement to degeneracy of the race and is the chief hindrance to its social uplifting.

And, my favorite quote from this collection:

We have educated him [the Negro]; we have aided him; we have sustained him in all the right directions. We are ready to continue our aid; but we will not be dominated by him.

So there you have it. Contempt on one extreme, paternalism on the other. Anything to the Left of Page leads to the kind of munificence mentioned by Z-Man intended to uplift blacks to the level of whites (or, more insidiously, to recruit them in the Left’s political contentions with the Right). Where today race realism on the Dissident Right remains explicit, on the Left and on the mainstream Right it has become taboo. Verboten, even. But it cannot be denied that white-on-black race realism as it existed in the past and as it exists now cannot do without a clear understanding of the superiority of white over black.

Now, this is a vulgar thing to say. It’s also a bit dangerous since feelings of superiority could lead to contempt which then could lead to arrogance. And arrogance is bad and could lead to a host of awful outcomes if we’re not careful. So when the Z-Man says race realism “is not about superiority” and lacks the contempt found in racism, I think I understand. He leans towards the Thomas Nelson Page extreme in the above dichotomy. Despite his rock solid race realism, he refuses to relinquish his empathy for fellow humans.

And this is great. But equivocation on the issue of white superiority is just as dangerous as contempt for black inferiority. If this superiority does not remain explicit in our national dialogue, if whites lack the self-confidence to utter what is so obviously true, and if they actually retreat from the great accomplishments of their ancestors, then they will seem weak in the eyes of the egalitarian Left. As we all know, the Left enforces universal equality as its modus operandi. Of course, this results not so much in actual uplift of the humble, but rather the violent overthrow of one group of rulers by a less deserving one. Therefore, the Left feeds off the weakness of the superior classes. This happened with the Russian aristocracy during the October Revolution in 1917, it happened with the defeated Germans in East Germany after World War II, it happened with the Batista regime in Cuba, and it will happen again in a racial context in North America and Europe if whites continue to be weak in the face of the blacks and browns who continue to invade their shores.

So saying that race realism is not about superiority is a good check against potential white arrogance and is better than no race realism at all, but does little to combat the modern Left which demonizes race realism in its attempt to crush the Right. Pumping the breaks on white arrogance would be most useful after the Dissident Right wins the culture wars, not before.

I think much of the issue here centers around the identity of the Dissident Right. Are we White Nationalists or white advocates? Are we Dixonites, promoting a general expulsion of blacks from white society as a way of defending it against barbarism? Or are we Pagists, promoting a limited integration of the races governed by a firm, paternalistic race realism? A Pax Caucasica, if you will. Z-Man seems to fall in the latter camp along with other prominent figures on the Dissident Right such as Jared Taylor and John Derbyshire. I believe this is a legitimate position, one that can still be vindicated. But here is what would have to occur to achieve this vindication:

  1. Enough whites would have to defect from the Left and become red-pilled on race to make an unbeatable demographic in 2024. This demographic would then have to replace President Trump with someone who is explicitly race realist and at least moderately pro-white.
  2. They would have to put into place explicitly pro-white policies and abolish all anti-white ones, in effect, returning whites to the first-class citizenship they once enjoyed.
  3. They would have to end all non-white immigration, deport all non-white criminals and non-white non-citizens, and create policies encouraging most non-whites, including Jews, to self-deport.
  4. They would have to outlaw miscegenation, ban abortions of white babies, and no longer encourage homosexual behavior.
  5. They would have to ruthlessly crack down on the Left if it tries to resist these changes.
  6. They would have to do all of this within the next ten-to-twelve years.

I hope to God this happens. Yes, minus the forcible deportation of nearly 100 million people, this prescription would likely increase the white majority only to about eighty percent. It would not achieve the vaunted white ethnostate, but it will improve things to the point where the ethnostate simply won’t be necessary. The majority of whites will be content enough to not seriously entertain the dirty work required to build a white ethnostate. I believe that most people would rather get eighty percent of what they want without a war than ninety-five percent of what they want with a war.

As opposed to the Z-Man, however, I fall into the Dixonite/White Nationalist camp not because I have contempt for non-whites but because I just don’t see the above changes happening. Too much has to occur in too short of a time frame. Millions of white people would have to make a 180 degree turn in their thinking and behavior during a time when a good amount of the inveterately liberal baby boomers are still going to be alive. How is this possibly going to happen? Will the EU stand in our way? Will China use its economic clout to stop us? Will Mexico foment the revolution and chaos on our southern border? Will the Jews declare economic war on us like they did against Nazi Germany in the 1930s? Will Muslims initiate more terrorist attacks on our soil?

Despite a number of pleasant surprises from the Trump administration, there’s just too much standing in the way for me to optimistic that white advocacy today won’t lead to White Nationalism tomorrow. White Nationalism is the last, best defense white people have against the rising tide of color. The closer whites get pushed to the demographic cliff, which is now well within sight, the more likely we are going to resort to it. If we embrace it now and risk having the contempt of other races Z-Man warns us about, we’ll have an excellent chance of initiating a peaceful change since we still the muscle to do so. But if we wait until, say, 2040 or 2050, when whites will have less power and will be forced to turn to ethno-nationalism purely out of self-preservation, then we risk either total war or total subjugation to the non-whites.

In either case we’ll see what real contempt looks like.

Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You [4].