Conversation with a Philosopher:
Greg Johnson Interviewed About the New Right
The following is the transcript of an interview that was conducted between Greg Johnson and a professional philosopher in January 2018. The original audio is here. The transcript was made by Julien Prail.
Interviewer: What is race? How would you define it as a philosopher?
Greg Johnson: Races are natural kinds. I believe that there are natural kinds in the world. I am a metaphysical realist. I think there is an external world, and the external world comes divided up into different kinds of things. Races are sub-species of the broader human race, and they are best described as inbred populations of the larger race that have undergone divergent evolution in particular environments and therefore have certain distinct characteristics that are evenly distributed throughout the group.
So, if a population of our ancestors became isolated in a particular environment, they might have new traits emerge. These may then be selected for. And because members of the population breed with one another, these traits would become uniform throughout the population. Given enough time, enough divergent evolution, these different races can become entirely different species in the sense that they can’t breed with, communicate with, or even live alongside other kin that have diverged from them.
I think of race as a natural kind that has emerged through divergent evolution. As divergent evolution continues to ramify you don’t just get different races but you get radically different groups. There was a time when human beings and lobsters diverged on the great tree of evolution. Obviously we don’t get along too well together. We can’t have amicable human-lobster societies. If we spend too much time together, they end up in pots of boiling water.
I: You actually cleared up quite a few questions I had on that. Let’s imagine that we had a white ethnostate, and let’s imagine it as a single white ethnostate, so we don’t have to get bogged down in national states and all that. Would it be conceivable in such a situation that eventually, a few thousand years down the line, you would have a divergent evolution within the group “white people” such that they can’t live side by side.
GJ: Yes, in fact we have examples of that, because not only is human evolution biological, it’s also cultural. We have layered cultural evolution on top of biological evolution. Culture is a new way that we can grapple with the world, and it undergoes selection pressures in the same way that biological traits do, and it’s much more mutable and replicable; ideas can change and spread much more quickly than genes, whereas genes might take generations to spread through a group.
We do know, for instance, that even white groups that are genetically very similar but have diverged in terms of their cultural evolution cannot get along very well with one another. The Irish and the British, the Serbs and the Croatians, the Czechs and the Slovaks: these peoples are very close to one another genetically, but some things set them apart so that when they live together in the same system, they fight and want to have their own spaces.
I: Would it be fair to say that you are getting your understanding of race from science, or is it something else, such as the metaphysical?
GJ: I don’t think it’s primarily scientific or metaphysical. I think that race first and foremost is an observable phenomenon. We see racial differences, and that means that we are the kind of beings that are capable of seeing racial differences. Science and metaphysics can help us understand that process, but what is most real and ineradicable is the awareness of these differences that exist in the world and the fact that we are equipped to be aware of these differences and the implications of that awareness.
As we look more carefully and deliberately at our awareness of differences, we discover just how deeply ingrained this is, and in fact, it’s ingrained into evolution long before human beings were even close to appearing on this planet. It has a prehuman evolutionary heritage, the awarenesss of kinds, kith and kin. Ants are not big-brained creatures, but their tiny ant brains contain a module that allows them to distinguish between kin and non-kin. The evolutionary explanation for that is that genes seek to propagate themselves through time. They do that by seeking out genetically similar partners as vehicles for their propagation.
There is a whole body of scientific knowledge known as Genetic Similarity Theory that is extremely powerful in explaining things we already know through observation. Philippe Rushton, who was a friend of mine now deceased, a psychologist who wrote Race, Evolution, and Behavior, did a lot of research on Genetic Similarity Theory.
One of the things that he did research on was the question “Do opposites attract?,” and the answer was simply “no.” In fact, the basis of attraction was genetic similarity. He even found that we actually have modules in our brain that allow us to pair up with people who are genetically similar to us in ways that we are not even consciously aware.
One example he gave was histo-compatibility. We actually will find and partner up with people to whom we are histo-compatible (that is to say, we are not allergic to). Even though there is no conscious mechanism that we know of to produce that result. There are things in our brain that allow us to be aware of genetic similarities in other people that do not rise above the threshold of consciousness and that we don’t even know how to explain yet.
When we look at the data, it is so powerful, it’s so clear, that there are patterns of affiliation between people based on genetic similarity. It’s going to take generations of scientific study to finally unravel the phenomenon. It explains families and politics; it explains why we have a stronger affiliation with our own kin than with our neighbors or people who are very different genetically speaking. It explains national and regional affiliations and so forth.
I think Genetic Similarity Theory is very important in getting to the causes of things, but again it all comes back to really explaining observable, categorizable historical experiences that we all have.
Therefore my answer to the people who argue that race is a social construct is: “No, it’s not a social construct. There are race-based phenomena that we all observe, and if anything is socially constructed, it is the theories that come after the fact and explain what we are already seeing.” What we are seeing is not socially constructed, however. What we are seeing is naturally provided. It is a given. The process of scientific understanding is a social practice. But that comes later. We can’t completely absorb the fact of race into attempts to interpret and understand race.
I: To say that something is socially constructed doesn’t imply that that thing is fake?
GJ: No, it doesn’t. A society is a social construct, and society is real. The reason people want to argue that race is a social construct is they want to argue that it is mutable and can be changed. We can change our minds. We can change our social constructs. Therefore, social constructivism on race is basically a metaphysical presupposition of the egalitarian project. If we see that there are things that make people unequal, like race, IQ differences, psychological differences, and we construe them as social constructions, they are therefore mutable, and they can be changed over time. We see that social institutions and languages change over time, and that gives egalitarians the hope that race differences can be altered towards the norm of equality.
I: Wouldn’t divergent evolution also imply mutability of race?
GJ: Yes, indeed. There is mutability on the genetic level, but race is not mutable in terms of the conventions we use to talk about it. Now the way that race can be mutated through conventions — and this is how convention feeds back into biology — is by instituting patterned breeding, eugenics or dysgenics. And every society institutes some kind of eugenic or dysgenic regime, whether it intends to or not. Every society based on its institutions, its values, and so forth, will lead certain kinds of traits and people to be prized and reproduce more than other kinds of traits and people. Therefore, culture does influence us on the genetic level by instituting selective breeding.
I: The reason I asked the original question on what is race and how you would define it is because I’ve been speaking to a lot of prominent White Nationalists and “Alt Right” figures, and when I spoke to Richard Spencer specifically he was very clear to me that his conception of race is not derived primarily or even secondarily from science. He actually spoke of race as a mystic might speak of God, if that makes any sense.
GJ: Well, what did he have to say?
I: Well, he said first of all that his conception of race was not drawn from science. I don’t have his actual words in front of me, but he almost defined it negatively, like a negative theology. He was talking about it in terms of what race is not. I guess he also used some vague terminology, and maybe I’m misreading that as mysticism, but it was an interesting definition, and I think I’m seeing a lot of diversity on this very question, with White Nationalists that I’ve spoken to.
GJ: Richard Spencer has his own views on these things, and I can’t really defend or attack them because they seem very vague to me. They seem half-baked. As I said, I would not characterize my view as being based on science. I think it’s based on experience. It’s based on observation. Science is one of those things that comes along behind and tries to explain and deepen our understanding of experience.
Now, metaphysical concepts inevitably come into play as well. I, for instance, am a realist. I believe that there is an objective world and that there really are objective natural kinds. They are not eternal as Aristotle thought objective natural kinds were. They are mutable, but they do exist, and it’s a defensible position.
The first things are observation, experience, and common sense. Then come science and metaphysics to explain what we are seeing, deepen our understanding, and also perhaps give rise to useful predictions and prescriptions about prudent behavior if you’re constructing a better society or a better business. What kind of things can we do to make society more functional, more harmonious, more happy, given the nature of race and given the nature of genetic similarity, genetic ties, genetic enmities, and so forth that exist?
I: Well there does seem to be, I’ve noticed, a sort of animosity towards scientific materialism within the White Nationalist side. Am I misreading something?
GJ: There are people who have an animosity to scientific materialism within our sphere. I’m not one of them. I am ultimately a materialist when it comes to science. Materialism is a metaphysical thesis that all that exists is matter in some sense. I wouldn’t consider myself a materialist in that sense, but I would in the sense that a great deal of our understanding of the observable world around us is going to be in terms of cause and effect that exists on the material plane of existence, and to be dogmatically opposed to that and say, “There is a radical difference between man and nature, a radical difference between body and mind, between culture and biology,” is a kind of obscurantist metaphysical presupposition, usually connected to certain religious beliefs, that actually stands in the way of us understanding how things really work.
For instance, there are a lot of people with the strong conviction that there is something called freedom of the will. I think that people make choices, but I do not think choices happen in accordance with what people call free will. The more I learn about genetics, the more I find that genetic determinism, which is a kind of materialism, is incredibly fine-grained. Most convincing are ample studies done with twins, identical twins and fraternal twins. The identical twin studies are the most exciting ones.
Twins who are raised apart, sometimes in very different households, end up having similarities in their tastes, in their life courses, even fine-grained similarities like the kind of cars that they drive, the kind of careers they have, the kinds of names that they give their children. It is really uncanny. When I first started reading this literature, it was kind of chilling.
You think there are things that are me, that are truly me, and this is my identity — things like my favorite foods and colors, my tastes, the kind of music I like — all of that is uniquely me. And it is uniquely you, if you’re the only one with that genome in existence. But if there’s another person with that identical genome, then lo and behold, he’s going to like Mozart too.
The amount of similarity between people who are genetically identical is enormous, and it can’t be explained with random luck, obviously. You also find that identical twins who live together and know one another, or even ones that meet when they are adults, have an amazing rapport; they understand one another’s thoughts; they can complete one another’s sentences; there is a kind of harmony that exists between these people that is really remarkable.
To me, one of the great problems of politics is creating a harmonious society: a society where people feel at home, where they can understand one another, communicate with one another, work together, accomplish things, where they don’t fight, where they don’t feel alienated. The ideal society in a way, the one that would be most harmonious, would be a society of identical twins. If we could all be cloned (of course it would have to be a male clone set and a female clone set), in the next generation all the kids in that second generation would as related to one another as brothers and sisters, and all the parents in that older generation would be as related to them as their own parents. It’s a weird thought experiment, but that kind of society would be more harmonious based only on overwhelming genetic similarity than societies that are more genetically heterogeneous.
Now, if that is the case, then we have a model, a kind of platonic circle or form, of a group of people who can get along the best. Getting along may not be the only social virtue, but it’s certainly one of the things that societies strive for. Even if people are unsociable, we want them to be unsociable in a social way, with Faustian strivings and all of that. We want that to be containable so it doesn’t ruin society.
That is why diversity is a bad idea. If the most harmonious relationships between people are among those who are genetically identical, then with each increase in genetic diversity, there’s going to be less harmony, less understanding, more propensity to fight, less propensity to cooperate, to accomplish great things, and eventually you’re going to get so much diversity that there’s simply no real community in the sense of people having something in common.
The only thing people might have in common in a maximally diverse society is that they trade with one another. It would be a community of people who have nothing in common. That’s what the marketplace is, and it’s the least common denominator way of people getting along. Even there, we’ve got to have common things like credit cards that work, a monetary system. So even there, we’ve got to have some things in common.
Although I think that’s a rather dystopian picture of reality, because it’s a world without any kind of sense of belonging; it’s a world without any ability to work together to create glorious things, which are expressions of a particular people and their sense of destiny and identity. It’s a world without a lot of things that we would recognize as high culture, adventure, progress, and so forth. That’s a dystopian view.
The ethnostate is basically the idea of society where people enjoy the benefits of close genetic similarities, as well as a common language and a common culture. Therefore they can understand each other and work together and so forth. If you have a society like that — and they still exist in some places in the world today — they’re worth keeping. They are worth improving upon. And they are worth creating. We want to share that blessing: the blessing of harmony and genetic and cultural homogeneity with as many different groups as possible. That’s the whole project of ethnonationalism.
We want homelands for all distinct peoples. And once we create homelands for all distinct peoples and give them maximum autonomy to pursue life as they see fit, then we will see, I hope, peaceful divergent evolution in culture, and even in race, and the world will be a beautiful place. It is kind of a “Garden of Eden” in which the maximum variety of races and cultures coexist, each in their own place. It might not be a world where there’s complete peace, because there’s always going to be stuff to fight about, but it’s going to be a world without civil wars, we hope, and it’s going to be a world without empire building and a lot of the causes of quarrel that exist today.
I: You don’t think there would be an increase in warfare between states at that point?
GJ: I think that if we can create an ethos that recognizes the value of ethnic self-determination for all peoples, that is a better way of getting rid of warfare than the idea of trying to put everybody together under some kind of global government, which is the idea pushed by the League of Nations, the United Nations, the EU, and all of the globalist institutions. They’ve explicitly said that if we have continental government in Europe that’ll end wars in Europe. Global government will end global wars. I don’t think that’s true. Experience shows that the more distinct peoples that have to exist under common government, the more ethnic conflict and hatred there is.
When you talk about global government you are talking about imperial government. You are talking about empire. And it will inevitably be the case that some groups — because they have greater will to power, greater competence in government — will end up ruling over others. A ruling caste will emerge that will be ethnically homogeneous to some extent. That is going to be a source of a great deal of unnecessary conflict and hatred. Right now the EU is a de facto German empire. It’s what Hitler almost created. Germany calls the shots in the EU, and a lot of countries don’t like that. The French don’t like this strange situation, because they thought they would be joining the EU to be the ones calling the shots.
It’s not a perfect solution, but I think ethnonationalism, by giving each group its homeland, and also by guarding against the encroachment of one country on another, is the way to go. There would be a kind of ethnonationalist world order. There would be another version of the UN. It would be there to help keep people separate, and to keep everything flowing along in the most amicable way possible.
Also, we need institutions to deal with global problems, because there really are global problems. If things like global warming were a reality, it would be a global problem. In that case I would be all for global solutions. One thing that certainly is a global problem is planetary defense. Look up the Shoemaker-Levy comet. It was a comet that hit the surface of Jupiter. If it had hit the Earth, it would have been an extinction event. If the dinosaurs had had a global government, global science, and global defense against comets, then we might not be having this conversation either. There might be lizards debating the virtue of the ethnostate rather than mammals.
I: You know, some would say that that’s the case already.
GJ: Ah yes, the lizard people. I find that very amusing. I do think that world peace is a great thing. I think that there will never be global government, because there’s always going to be differences between people. The idea that we can live without enemies doesn’t really work, because globalists have enemies too. They have enemies like me. Anybody with a bit of ethnic identity and pride is the enemy of the globalist regime, and since ethnic identity and pride will not cease unless there’s genocide against all groups by mixing, the globalist utopia is not going to happen.
The globalists tip their hands when they say “The future global citizen will be a homogeneous beige person.” Isn’t that tantamount to saying that diversity is a problem? Isn’t that admitting that diversity is a bad thing? If you are going to have global government, you will need a homogeneous global citizen. Well, that basically is a genocidal project against all the existing peoples of the world.
And instead of declaring your intention to commit racial and cultural genocide against the whole planet in the name of peace, maybe we should just figure out how to make do with the cultural and racial differences that we’ve got today, so we can actually preserve our differences and live together. I think the route towards that is ethnonationalism for everyone.
I: There are a few ways that you can divide humanity up. You can do it by family if you were satisfied with these super-small microstates. You could also do it geographically, by taste in music, or political affiliation. My question is: Why race in particular? What benefits does an ethnic or racial arrangement provides over other ways of shaping society? Why are racial distinctions more salient than other ones?
GJ: Racial distinctions are more salient because they’re more real, and that’s the bottom line. There are people who say things like: “I’m a Whovian, and I want to hang out with other Dr Who fans. That’s my identity.” I chuckle at that. That’s not a real identity. That’s a fake identity that’s been foisted upon you by capitalism, by the entertainment business, and you want to embrace this identity because you feel like no one is going to give you any flak for being a Whovian or a Trekkie.
You know you’re going to get flak if you say that you are a proud American or a proud white person. For a lot of people, pop culture fandom is just a way of having tribes that are essentially fake, of satisfying a need for identity that’s deeply real with fake, politically correct, and non-threatening forms of identity. Non-threatening to whom? To the people who run our societies. They love things like sports: people rooting for their home team. Even if their home team consists of people who aren’t from their home, who might be from other continents, they still want to root for their home team.
There’s still a desire to have real identity. Real identity is rooted in things that we don’t choose. So it’s rooted in your biology. It’s rooted in the culture that you were born into. We don’t choose that kind of stuff. It’s rooted in what sex you are. It’s rooted in class and other things that you don’t choose and that affect you before you are ever self-conscious enough to choose them. You learn language before you are self-conscious and rational enough to wonder if it is the language you would have preferred to learn.
We have identities thrust upon us that are real, and race is the one that is the most real because it’s literally the warp and woof of our physical being. The same is true of sex. Our second nature is culture, language, those conventions learned before we are self-conscious that are the foundation for any later conscious life and activities. All the “free choices” that we exercise come much later, after we have grown up in a particular culture.
Those two things, biological identity and cultural identity, are real and can’t be shrugged off. The only choice we have vis-à-vis these things is to be real or fake, to be authentic or inauthentic, to own up to what’s been made of us, to be who we are. Or to flee into fake and superficial identities.
People aren’t happy in this sort of existence, and that’s really the great test. You can’t really be happy if you have a superficial and fake existence. It is a matter of being honest and honorable to own up to what you are, to be grateful for what’s been given you, to augment it, and to pass it on to the next generation. That’s the whole ethical and existential situation that I think we’re in. The ethic of liberalism and consumerism and constructing your own identity and so forth, is inauthentic hogwash, and it’s no way to run a society.
There are lots of people I know who think that the best way to run a society is like a college team. The college spelling bee team. What do you do? You try to find the best person for every team. Or in a business, what do you do? You try to find the best person for every position. Yes, you will find there is racial and ethnic diversity in such enterprises. There might be certain groups that aren’t really good at software, but you can find one or two outliers for your software company. That gives a lot of people the illusion that diversity actually is a great model for society, this is one of the great problems with liberalism and progressivism.
Leo Strauss has an essay called “Progress or Return?” One of the problems he deals with in that essay is the whole foundation of the liberal progressivist interpretation of history, which is science. Look at how science works. It’s an enterprise in which it doesn’t matter what country you’re from as long as you speak the language of mathematics. People contribute to this unfolding, progressive enterprise that goes on into the future and accumulates knowledge and power. The trouble is that’s not really a model for society as a whole. The model for society as a whole cannot be a meritocratic enterprise.
A model of society that is closer to the truth is a family group. If you told your son, “Johnny, I’m not going to contribute the money for your college fund, because the neighbor’s kid is a standard deviation smarter than you are, and I’ll be contributing to his college fund instead” — you’d be a monster! In a society based on ties of blood, you are going to have a bell curve, and you are going to have a few oddball outliers on either end. You’re going to have a crazy maiden aunt. You’re going to have someone who’s a little slower than others. But they are your flesh and blood, and you want to take care of them.
The meritocratic enterprise model, which comes out of business and science and academia, is very tempting, and it sits in the back of the minds of the people who believe that diversity can actually work. It can only work in Silicon Valley, where you are recruiting outliers of various groups in a highly meritocratic process. And face it, they’re all subjected to a lot of totalitarian social engineering, as we now know from these Google leaks and lawsuits, because we know it is still an unnatural form of association.
I: With as much of an emphasis as you have been placing on biology so far, I wanted to ask you a hypothetical question. Let’s say that your twin society is the pinnacle of social harmony. Couldn’t we further divide society up by gender, or even, if we advanced further into the future, reproduce via cloning, and that way you can almost literally have something akin to that twin society that you described. Would it not then be advantageous to also divide society up by gender as well and leave procreation up to the cloning people?
GJ: People would rebel against that because it’s more fun to create children the old-fashioned way. You’re right, though. Shulamith Firestone, who died a couple of years ago, was a radical feminist who talked about how technology would make it possible to have a society without men. That’s true. It can also make it possible to have a society without women. And there might be people, most of them homosexuals, who would be drawn to something like that.
However, it’s a strange construct, and it wouldn’t really work, because men like women and women like men. Every man today is born of a mother. He often has sisters and female cousins. And yes, there’s conflict between the sexes because they are different, but they are also complementary. One of the reasons that people would even consider completely sex-segregated societies is because in modern liberal society there’s such confusion about sex, about biologically based sex roles. I don’t even use the term gender. Gender is a term from grammar. There’s sex, and it’s biologically determined. We have a lot of people who are confused about these things, and they’re being confused by our culture. There might be oddballs and outliers, biologically speaking, but we’re also being fed a whole lot of nonsense about choosing genders. How many genders does Google or Facebook have now? 256 genders?
I: I think it’s over fifty at this point.
GJ: It’s over fifty. It’s like going to Baskin Robbins. That’s nuts. There’s a lot of confusion. I think feminism has created a great deal of unnecessary conflict, as has sexual liberation in general. People don’t know how to relate to one another. There are all kinds of risks in relationships, and some people want to flee from that, and some will flee into these technological solutions, like sex dolls, or God forbid, cloning, so you can reproduce without the opposite sex. But I think that’s all an indication of how messed up modern society is.
White Nationalism is founded on trying to recover and protect the biological integrity of different racial and sub-racial groups. That necessarily entails a return to biologically-based and tradition-hallowed sexual norms. Once we go back to sanity, we can have a bit of tolerance for the outliers, because we know about the bell curve and so forth. As long as we can uphold the norms and institutions that make it possible for people to do what comes naturally, then I think that the pressures that lead people to those radical solutions will just disappear.
I: I wanted to run an experiment by you because I was thinking of this the other day. Imagine that we’re in the year 2050. All the ethnostates have been established, and there’s no more work to be done on that. Then one day we read in the newspaper that a brilliant and famous surgeon has been transplanting African brains into the bodies of healthy white newborns. Surgical techniques have become so advanced by this time that there are no scars from him doing this, and by all appearances nothing has actually happened to the white newborns. My question to you is: How would the authorities go about finding all the living victims of his experiments?
GJ: I’m just salivating to say something outrageously racist. Play some funky music or toss them a basketball or something like that. Well, you would find the population of likely victims, and you would give them a battery of tests. You would give them Raven’s Matrices and other IQ tests. You’d also give them the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. You could give them a whole range of standardized tests, and you would get a pretty good idea who has the African brains, because they would perform, on average, like African brains when they take these tests. The IQs, the levels of sociopathic personality traits, the levels of empathy or lack thereof. There are lots of objective measures by which races can be distinguished.
I: How would you distinguish between them and outliers?
GJ: You would give them a battery of different tests, and therefore the chances of someone being an outlier on all of them would be very, very low. The thing is, I wouldn’t be all that worried about it to begin with. Let’s say I was a part of the senate of the ethnostate, and I read about this in the newspaper. I’m not going to lose my shit. I’d be glad that the scientist has been stopped. This is Dr. Mengele stuff. What did he do with the white baby brains? We might have a crimewave on our hands if we don’t find these people, but even if you find them, what are you going to do? You aren’t going to kill them.
I: You could move them to their respective ethnostates.
GJ: But they wouldn’t belong there. What I would do is keep an eye on these people, knowing that if they have kids, their kids aren’t going to have black genes. It’s a problem that would eliminate itself, and it would probably be something I would keep a secret. I’d like to find out who the victims are, and it would be interesting to track them and have their school and criminal records. Follow their life courses. Chances are their life courses will more similar to blacks than whites. It’s a problem that eliminates itself biologically with no trace if you leave it alone.
My view of how to get to a white ethnostate is very slow, steady, and patient. If we had the right government by the right principles, time would be on our side. My attitude for people who are of different racial groups who are old and retired is simply to let them live out their lives in retirement. There’s a biological solution to that. What I would like to do for the younger ones that are having kids is create incentives to pursue their lives elsewhere. Simply by instituting pro-white incentives and sticking to them you can slowly create a homogeneously white society.
I think that approach is preferable to other more sudden and violent options because I respect human rights. I do believe that all people have rights. Simply meaning there are moral limits on what we can do to others. I believe in animal rights, so I have to believe in human rights, even the rights of other groups that are not compatible with white society. I feel sympathy for them and respect them as living beings. I don’t want to harm a hair on their heads, but I do want to create institutions and incentives that over time will slowly create homogeneously white societies.
I want to do it without war, chaos, bloodshed, and catastrophe — the kind of race war scenarios that you find in William Pierce and Harold Covington novels. I think those scenarios are completely unnecessary and frankly just scare the normies. We want to get as many people as possible on board with the idea that ethnonationalism is not only good in theory, but it’s also something that can be accomplished with a minimum amount of unpleasantness. In fact, it is actually a way of saving ourselves from a great deal of unpleasantness. The current path that we are on is not going to end well, so the sooner that we get onto the path that respects the rights and the differences of all the peoples of the world, the better.
I: My next question concerns a subject that you have written a bit less about but it really caught my eye, especially when I was reading New Right vs. Old Right. In New Right vs. Old Right you say that we want to free ourselves of both Jews and Muslims. Let us assume that Judaism is an ethnicity, at least in part. What about Islam though? What if you had a white Muslim. There’s nothing impossible about a Dutch Muslim or a Belgian Muslim, etc. Would a white ethnostate prohibit Islam, and equally importantly, how would it do so?
GJ: Islam is a problem because it is an inherently political religion. It promulgates a new regime, a new order of society. It’s a law code. As such, therefore, when it exists in a white society or in the proximity of a white society, it is on a collision course. It has to replace that society with its law code and institutions, which were ultimately created in Arabia a long time ago. Therefore, the people who carry this memetic virus, which I consider Islam to be, might be white, but they are like plague rats. They are carrying a memetic plague that will destroy white societies and create societies that are foreign to, and unpleasant for, white people, and therefore they can’t be permitted.
Now, what would I do with people who decide to become Muslims? First of all, I would have to make some distinctions here. There are some people who become Muslims because they are interested in philosophy and mysticism and think, “I’ll become a Sufi.” They’re practically not real Muslims, because I don’t even think Sufism is real Islam. Sufists were Greco-Roman-Persian pagans who took on Islamic garb because in the Dark Ages it was the only way they could survive. Things like that, I’m okay with, I suppose. Although if you made an exception for Sufis, every Salafist and Wahabi would suddenly declare himself a Sufi. Because deceiving infidels is one of the laws of Islam.
Generally, what I would say to people who believe in Islam is: “You have joined the Islamic community, and we urge you to live according to Islamic law in the Islamic world.” I would even give them first-class passage to an Islamic country of their choice. I suspect that some would take me up on that, but most wouldn’t.
Again, in present-day society, people convert to Islam for all kinds of reasons. For one, it’s just a manifestation of the artificially created alienation and rootlessness of modern liberal society. Just as there are lots of people who are attracted to Asian thought, or Japanese culture. Why are they so attracted to Japanese culture? It is because it is so integral; it’s so exotic; it’s exotic because it’s integral. There’s no reason why more integral Western societies that are proud of themselves wouldn’t be as satisfying to these weebs as Japan is today. They want to flee a rootless, fake society into things that seem more authentic. Of course, to do so is in itself inauthentic, but that’s one of the conditions that we have.
The desire of people to become Muslims would disappear if we had healthier white identities and societies. But if people choose to become Muslims, I would say yes to first-class tickets to the Ummah, all their property sent with them. They would have to realize that they would be killed by their Muslim brothers if they try to become apostates and want to return. It’s a one-way trip. The roaches check in, but they don’t check out. I would feel sorry for them. But I think honestly that if we drained the swamp of liberal rootlessness and fakery there would be a lot less of that kind of stuff.
I: You consider yourself a Heideggerian, right?
GJ: In many ways, yes.
I: With that thought in mind, what did you think of Dugin’s take on Heidegger. I know you’re not generally a fan of him.
GJ: I wrote a review of the Dugin book on Heidegger.  I didn’t think much of it. A lot of it struck me as maximally metaphysical misreadings of Heidegger. It’s not an uncommon thing. What he picks out in Heidegger is most consistent with his own messianic Russian nationalism. That’s what I find the least appealing about Heidegger, so I’m just not crazy about his book.
I do think that when Dugin talks about Dasein and the Fourth Political Theory he is consistent with Heidegger’s critique of German National Socialism. Heidegger believed that the primary identity he wanted to defend, namely being German, was not simply reducible to race. Heidegger said that it was mistaking a necessary condition of Germanness, namely being white, for a sufficient one. There was more to being German than being white. When you start treating whiteness as the most important category you start thinking you can just assimilate lots of different people into the German population. The trouble is that this destroys their ethnicities as well as the German one. It would change the Germans as well as the Ukrainians. It would not create the homogeneous beige man but the homogeneous blond man. Heidegger was not too happy with that kind of vision. He wanted the different peoples of Europe to maintain their differences and to figure out a way of differing peacefully with one another, and that I think totally consistent with the New Right as I conceive it, and ethnonationalism as I conceive it.
To some extent, Dugin is right to talk about Dasein as opposed to race. For Heidegger, German Dasein is white, but it’s different from Czech Dasein and Danish Dasein, even though they’re very similar genetically. It’s a different culture and different language, and therefore a different world of meaning, a different way of life. That’s something worth preserving, which is at the core of identitarian thought.
I: In my reading, I still haven’t been able to figure out why Dugin has legs among many on the Alt Right or among White Nationalists. Do you have any theories about why that is the case?
GJ: Gee, no. I’ve read a couple of his books. I’m not all that impressed. Put it this way, I think if I sat down with him and talked about ideas he would be a very engaging and interesting person, because he reads widely. We can talk about Bataille and Guénon and Evola and Benoist. We’ve read a lot of the same books. We really might end up being fast friends. He’s an admirable person, and I would want more people to traverse his literature. However, I think that too much of what he does is hinged upon apologetics for Russian imperial revanchism, to which I can’t be sympathetic.
I: You took the words right out of my mouth with that one, which is why it’s so weird to me to see this phenomenon amongst White Nationalists, but maybe it’s confined to the few people who I’ve spoken to about this.
GJ: Right, it’s a small thing in the English-speaking world. I don’t think he has a lot of followers in the English-speaking world, and I think there are a lot of people who are curious about him. I admire people who are curious about him, and I hope that his books continue to be read. It’s still infinitely superior to the shelves groaning with books by Foucault and Derrida. I wish him well, but I think that at his heart he is opposed to ethnonationalism. He is for Russian imperialism, and I am not for that. I sympathize with the Estonians and Latvians and Lithuanians. I think that Russia itself would be better off if it gave up this deep-seated mentality that is so similar to the mentality of Americans. It is a messianic nationalism, a sense of messianic destiny.
The trouble with that sort of nationalism is that it is an engine of miscegenation and erasure of identity. At Counter-Currents, check out Jarosław Ostrogniew’s four-part review of Alexiey Shiropayev’s Prison of the Nation about how the Russian imperialist machine has been at war with the Russian nation from the very beginning.
This was true of Rome and Byzantium. Rome became a machine that liquidated the founding population of Rome and kept bringing in new peoples and liquidating them, creating a kind of imperial man, and it did so at the expense of the distinct groups who founded it. Byzantium did the same thing. By the sixth century or so there were no more Romans in Byzantium. They had been replaced with people from all over the empire. It had destroyed its own founding stock.
The Third Rome did the same thing. The first nonwhite to rule Russia was Boris Godunov, who was mostly Tatar in his ancestry, and this was at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The machine treated anyone who swore allegiance to the Tsar, spoke Russian, and followed the Orthodox church as a Russian. This included many powerful Tatars, who found themselves under Muscovite rule when the Golden Horde collapsed after the great standoff with Ivan III. These Tatars could become Russians simply by changing their religious and political allegiances. And they immediately had higher status than the vast majority of ethnic Russians, who were little more than slaves.
Muscovy was a machine that melded together Byzantium and Mongol/Oriental Despotism, and it’s been profoundly destructive of the ethnic genetic interests of anyone who has fallen into its clutches. Which is not to say that the Nazi idea that all Russians are miscegenated with Mongols is entirely true. But it’s partly true. And it is true that the Russian imperial mentality has been very destructive of the ethnic differences of the various peoples in that empire.
Today, under Putin, Moscow has a giant mosque. He thinks that having all these Muslims in the Caucasus under his control makes Moscow more powerful. If you are critical of Muslims in Russia you are frowned upon. To keep the powerful Russian machine going, Putin is willing to stamp down on the ethnocentrism of the native Russian population. That’s not a good system. It is similar to the system we have in America today. We are ruled by people who are opposed to the ethnic genetic interests of the founding stock of the country. Eventually we got a nonwhite ruler, Obama, but this came a long time later than what happened in Russia with Boris Godunov.
I: You’ve voiced a partiality to certain forms of pluralism, religious pluralism being one of them. In the very introduction to New Right vs. Old Right you go so far as to say that the North American New Right is an inherently pluralistic movement. When I read that, the philosopher in me started scratching his head. Why is pluralism vis-à-vis religion or certain approaches to Right-wing politics desirable whilst pluralism vis-à-vis race or culture is undesirable? What is the philosophically relevant factor that makes the question of race categorically different to others?
GJ: What I mean by pluralism is that there are many different systems of axioms and starting points that lead people to conclude that ethnonationalism is a good thing. Therefore, we have people in our midst who are scientific materialists, and we have people who are into Traditionalism and things like that. We have people with different religious outlooks: Christians, atheists, agnostics, mystics. I know lots of people who are into Hinduism, Taoism, and European paganism. There is an inherent pluralism in religious thought also, that I think is consistent with white ethnonationalism. There are some religions that aren’t consistent with that. I want to respect the range of pluralism that still leads to ethnonationalist conclusions.
I also have my own views on these matters, and in the next few years I am going to set out my own “system.” As Blake said, if you don’t create your own system you become a slave to another man’s. I have a system of ideas that I have worked out over time studying philosophy, and I want to put it out there. People can take it or leave it.
I: That’s fascinating. When do you think we can expect that?
GJ: In 2018, I’m putting out the White Nationalist Manifesto. Also I’m working on a piece called “A Philosophical Agenda,” which is a system program like those you might find in German Idealism. After that I’m going to work on a couple of books. One is going to be called Identity Politics, and it’s going to lay out the metaphysical, epistemological, and anthropological foundations of identity politics.
I am also going to do a book outlining the political philosophy of the ethnostate. There will be a lot of different regimes in ethnostates. If you look at the history of Europe, there have been radically different forms of government. But there are certain basic political principles that I want to defend. I want to put my cards on the table. If my views can be improved upon, I’d like to see them improved upon.
One of the reasons I think the movement hasn’t really gelled into creating institutions as impressive as those of say, the libertarian movement, is that the libertarians have “doctrines.” They put out big books, the big canonical works of Austrian economics or Objectivism, which lay out a “system” of ideas. Not that I think they hang together very well as systems of ideas.
GJ: But the very fact that libertarianism puts itself forward as a system of ideas that will allow you to lead a certain kind of life, leads a lot of people to glom onto it, and when they do so, they create institutions that propagate that view. I think that we really need people to step forward and say, “Here’s a system,” a doctrine. Read it, tell me what you think of it, and if you want to sign off on this, we can start figuring out ways of propagating it more effectively. At that point, the movement is still going to be pluralistic, but I will be playing a stronger role, taking my own side, advancing my own particular views.
Of course, I’m still going to be publishing people who disagree with me, because I think that’s part of creating an exciting intellectual movement. One needs to create platforms with intellectual diversity. Not everyone has to be marching in lockstep in the same direction. A lot of taking part in intellectual movements is more like twirling around on the dance floor together for fun. People aren’t all moving in the same direction. But it’s fun, and people want to join the dance.
I want this movement to be fun and stimulating. I want this to be what the Left used to be, generations ago now, something exciting and stimulating. It’s not that way anymore. It’s a bunch of po-faced, dour, blue-haired crazies. It is no fun if you are afraid to disagree with these people, afraid to think. I want the New Right in America, first and foremost, to be intellectually exciting. Second, I want to be putting my views out there and defending them as mine. Then we will see if things might gel around that to create political and historical change.
I: This is what I would like to consider my fun question. It’s fun for me, and it’s been fun for everyone else I’ve given it to. If you could force every Leftist to read just five books and reckon with the arguments therein, which five would you choose?
GJ: That’s a really good question. Someday, I hope that I can list five books of my own for this. First, would be Jared Taylor’s White Identity; the second would Phillipe Rushton’s Race, Evolution and Behavior; the third would be one of Richard Lynn’s books like IQ and Global Inequality, where he talks about just the effects of IQ differences on a whole host of social outcomes.
A fourth book definitely would be Kevin MacDonald’s Culture of Critique. Maybe a book that we could stick in there before people read The Culture of Critique is Israel Shahak’s book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, which is a very short book written by a Jewish dissident; it’s something you can read in a single sitting. It would really prime people for Kevin Macdonald’s book. I’m guessing that these would be somewhat intellectual Leftists, so if they were anything like me in their exposure to certain Jewish intellectual movements, they are going to have some questions and puzzles that they have set aside for future reflection that will be very powerfully solved by reading someone like Kevin MacDonald.
Those books would be quite mind-blowing, and if people actually grappled with those I think a lot of them would have to start changing their political paradigm. The next book I would have them read would be my White Nationalist Manifesto. That would be number six.
I: You can keep going you know. You don’t have to limit yourself to five.
GJ: I know, but five is good. The chances of people reading ten books as opposed to five are much lower.
I: That’s all I’ve got, Greg. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
GJ: No, this has been pleasant and enjoyable. Let’s leave it at this for now, and we could continue this conversation in the future.
I: Yes, I’d be happy to. I’ve certainly enjoyed it.
 Greg Johnson, “Dugin on Heidegger,” in Graduate School with Heidegger (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2020).
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