Part 1 of 7 (Part 2 here)
This is the transcript of a conversation between Darryl Cooper and Greg Johnson that took place on the former’s Decline of the West podcast in December 2016. The original audio is here. We would like to thank Thanatos for the transcription.
Darryl Cooper: Hey everybody, this is Daryl Cooper. This is Decline of the West podcast episode six. I’m here with Greg Johnson, founder and editor of Counter-Currents Publishing. How are you doing Greg?
Greg Johnson: I’m fine. Thank you for having me on the show.
DC: Yeah, it’s good to have you here. I’m glad to hear it. So, there is a lot of ground I want to cover with you today. And so out of respect for your time, I’m ready to jump right into this. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about Counter-Currents Publishing and what it is you guys do, and I guess start there.
GJ: I founded Counter-Currents Publishing in 2010 with Michael Polignano, who was my business partner for the first three years of it. Counter-Currents was founded as a publishing house; we do print publishing — we publish books — and we also have a webzine. I call it North American New Right, but everyone calls it Counter-Currents.
The purpose of Counter-Currents is to provide a forum for writers who are broadly compatible with the project of creating a New Right in North America, and by a New Right I mean a metapolitical approach to changing politics. We wish to change people’s ideas about identity and morality to lay the foundations for actual political change.
The political order we envision is ethno-nationalist. We want to create a white homeland in North America for people of European descent. And the reason for that is very simple. We don’t think that multiculturalism is working out very well for white people. We look around the world, and in every white society, birth rates are below replacement.
There are many causes for this, but the principal cause, in our view, is that we’ve lost sovereign control of our homelands. There are no white societies that make the preservation of their people and our race as a whole a political priority. They’re chasing other dreams instead. And that has instituted really alarming demographic trends.
Due to a culture of consumerism and selfishness, people are not reproducing. There are all kinds of economic and cultural incentives to not reproduce. There are also incentives to reproduce outside the race (miscegenation), and we’re finding that our living spaces are being invaded by nonwhites who are highly fertile.
So we’re losing control of our homelands, and we think that that has to be reversed both in Europe, where our race comes from, and also in the European colonial societies like the United States or Canada or Australia, New Zealand, or places in South America like Argentina or Uruguay, which are still largely of European descent.
DC: Okay. Thank you. That introduction is going to be pretty jarring to a lot of listeners. So this is going to lead straight into my first real question. And, this is going to serve as an introduction to the rest of the questions from you. So if you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, it’ll take me a minute to build up to, I just want to be very clear about where I’m going with this first question.
I’ve always been very fascinated with people who make a decision to split off from the mainstream when they very clearly have a choice to do otherwise. I love John Krakauer’s books. For example, he wrote Into Thin Air about his experience climbing Mount Everest when a bunch of people in his group died up there, and he doesn’t weigh himself down with the technical details about climbing. He doesn’t wax aesthetic about the majesty of the mountain or the lovely views of the grand ambition of human achievement or any of that. He spends most of the book explaining in grinding detail what an utterly miserable experience the entire thing is; you have a headache, you’re nauseous, you can’t eat, you can’t even enjoy it because the oxygen level’s so brutal, and all these things. And he tries to get to the bottom of what kind of a person would do this to himself and why.
He wrote a book about Christopher McCandless, a smart upper middle-class kid who graduated from college because he felt that it was his duty to meet his parents’ expectations up to that point for having raised him. But then he splits off and he wanders through the wastelands around the Salton Sea in the desert in Nevada, working his way up eventually to Alaska. And when he gets there, he abandons his car and burns the last of his money, and he goes off like the title of the book says, Into the Wild.
This kid ran into a lot of people on the way. He developed relationships. He had a profound impact on a lot of the people he met. So this was not some kid who lost his mind. He wasn’t crazy in any sense of the word that would still retain its meaning. He knew exactly what he was doing, and this was a decision that he made.
So somebody like you is very interesting to me. You could play society’s game if you wanted to. You’ve got your Ph.D. in philosophy. That speaks not only to your intellectual horsepower, which you know has never been incompatible with eccentricity. But more importantly it speaks to the fact that you know how to play the game. Showing up on time every day, the discipline of work, the being able to navigate a university environment for many years. That whole part of it.
Now today you run Counter-Currents Publishing, and I don’t know how many books are out, but you’re pretty prolific. So all of this speaks to the fact that you could have shut your mouth, maybe kept your social and political philosophy close to the vest, maybe venting on certain issues when you knew you were among like-minded friends, and so forth. You could have become a successful academic or writer. You could have done the bourgeois thing without bringing into your life the complications and the difficulties that you must have known the path that you chose was going to invite. The forces in our societies that are aligned against people like you are powerful and ubiquitous, and they know what they’re doing.
I mentioned to you before we started recording that I’m going to be interviewing a black nationalist soon and a Right-wing Zionist settler from the area outside Hebron. I had to really think about whether I wanted to do this interview, because I knew that I could interview those other two guys with no problems. But I know that there’s a good chance that just having a conversation with you is going to possibly make not only my own life more difficult in certain ways, but could even cascade down on to my family and people who know me, because that’s how the forces that are aligned against people like you operate.
I apologize again for this long-winded introduction to this question, but I guess I wanted to make clear that this isn’t the standard question that opens a lot of interviews like this, which is some form of why do you think what you think or how did you get to think this way. A lot of people think a lot of things, and when those thoughts are too psychologically or socially hazardous, most of us are pretty good about just stuffing them back down, so that we can get back to our lives.
I’m interested in the path that caused you to cross over that gulf. Were there were events or revelations or flashes of insight? I’m interested in the path that led you to decide that the drama implied by breaking your own society’s most dangerous taboos were not going to be sufficient to deter you from this path. That it wasn’t going to be enough for you to have an opinion, but that you had to act, and you even had to devote your life to something that you knew would invite not just incomprehension but real hostility and real hatred and social and professional consequences onto yourself. So can you talk about that a little bit?
GJ: I don’t want to give myself too much credit. On the one hand, I’ve always been somewhat contrarian. When I was a high school student and even before that, when I was in my early teens, I was very interested in history and culture. A lot of it was art history, but also ancient history, archaeology, etc.
I was very interested in exotic cultures: Amerindian societies, Mesoamerican and South American Indian civilizations, Easter Island, etc. Thor Heyerdahl was a great hero of mine when I was young. I think I read my first Thor Heyerdahl book when I was twelve years old. It was Fatu Hiva, and then I read Aku-Aku after that.
One of the things that I learned from the experiences of nonwhite peoples in Polynesia and also the Americas is just how fragile civilization is, and how civilizations that are very ancient in their roots and very powerful, can still be really brittle when encountering outside forces that are sufficiently ruthless and have certain technological and organizational advantages, and how a world can end. And these worlds ended over and over again. I was very impressed with the art of these people and saddened to see the destruction of their material civilization, and, of course, we know almost nothing about their actual beliefs, so their spiritual civilization was even more fragile. Things like that were very important to me.
I was a big Egyptophile when I was a kid and a teenager. I studied the history of Egypt. I used to know all the pharaohs of the major dynasties. I used to know all the Roman and Byzantine emperors and pretenders. My brain was a sponge for that kind of information.
Of course, the lessons recur over and over again about the fragility of civilization. So I had a strong sense that our own civilization is very fragile. Very beautiful things we created could be lost, potential creation and exploration could be nipped in the bud, if people didn’t make the right decisions.
So I had a strong sense that civilization is very fragile. I also had a strong sense that we were making all the wrong decisions. I used to be a libertarian. I used to think that statism was the wrong choice. And, of course, if you look at Communism in the twentieth century, it’s a very easy conclusion to draw.
GJ: I also had a sense that if people don’t speak out about these problems when they’re getting started or when they’re in their earlier stages, it’s very irresponsible, because as these problems progress over time, it gets harder and harder to correct them. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, and there’s a 1% deviation in the course at the very beginning, well that’s easy to correct after a few steps. But if you go hundreds of miles, suddenly it’s very difficult to get to the target.
I always had a strong sense that initial decisions, fundamental principles, have long-term consequences, and if you don’t get things right from the start, as time passes, it becomes harder and harder to correct things. And, therefore, farsighted people need to speak up; they need to be brave.
I was always less motivated than my peers by social approval. I don’t know why that is. It has just always been the way that I am. When I was a teenager or even younger, people would try to talk to me about God, and I would get impatient because it sounded like they weren’t making any sense. And I’d say I just don’t believe this, I’m sorry. I knew there were social consequences for that, but when their eyes and mouths grew wide in shock, I am ashamed to say I found that a little bit satisfying. I enjoyed that effect. I didn’t say things just for the effect, but it didn’t bother me that I believe things that were out of step with the rest of humanity.
Okay, so flash forward to when I get my doctorate and go off into academia. At the time I would have been ripe for the picking, easily co-opted by the system. I worked a long time. I wrote and studied, and I had an excellent education. I could think and write rings around a lot of my peers. However, when I was coming out of my Ph.D. program, political correctness was already stifling in academia, and it’s only gotten worse. I can’t imagine being in that environment now.
I basically couldn’t find a decent job anywhere. I knew silly females in graduate school who had just defended a dissertation prospectus about writing feminist interpretations of their three favorite movies. Something that’s stupid and easy to do. A dissertation on how they feel as a woman about their three favorite movies. And these women would go off and get thirteen or fourteen job interviews for tenure-track jobs. That’s how insane the system was around 2000 and 2001, when I started going on the job market. And it’s only gotten worse since then.
So if the system had cared about co-opting me, I might be a tenured professor at some university churning out articles that might be read by seven to ten people. And books that might be bought by a few hundred libraries. And people might leaf through them a few hundred times, and a dozen people might read them cover to cover. And that’s basically the life of an academic, where you do grindingly overly-detailed research that almost nobody reads and has almost no impact on the world.
And here’s the sad and pathetic thing about it: I would have been absolutely delighted with that life. But it was denied me. The system didn’t co-opt me, didn’t give me all that security and comfort that I would be too afraid to lose. And it’s not because I was outwardly politically incorrect, although I think these people could sense that I didn’t want to play their little reindeer games. The main problem was just being pale and male. That was my main handicap. It had nothing to do with my thinking. They didn’t want me for my mind, basically.
So I ended up having a short inglorious academic career, and by the time that I was out of academia and I had decided that I’m not going to torture myself trying to get back into a job surrounded by these people, I was very much into the White Nationalist scene, and I could see all kinds of ways that I could make it better. And so that’s what I decided to do, and, as Pepe the Frog says, “It feels good, man.” I write articles that are read by thousands or tens of thousands of people. Even things that I write on philosophers get read a lot. They get discussed a lot. I actually have an impact on the world that I could not have had if I had remained in academia.
One of the things that I’ve been talking about for the past few years is the army that I’m going to raise up. Is Greg Johnson building an army? The answer is yes. I’m building an army of NEETs. Building an army of people who are not in education, employment or training. They’re basically people who went to college, got educations, racked up huge amounts of student debt. They’re all white, of course. They racked up huge amounts of student debt, and then they ended up working full time or part time stocking shelves at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or something like that, or as baristas. Because the Obama economy has no need for educated white people.
There was a Breitbart article, five or six years ago now, about how 25% of recent college graduates in the state of New Jersey were living with their parents. The system has stopped co-opting them too. So one of the things that’s contributing massively, mightily, to the growth of the Alternative Right is that there are a lot of very smart young white people who don’t have anything to lose, because they don’t have a job, they don’t have a mortgage, and they don’t have a future anyway. There’s nothing that the system can threaten to take away. And at the same time, they can envision toppling this system and replacing it with something better.
That’s what the White Nationalist movement really is all about. We have a plausible explanation for why people who were told that they were tomorrow’s leaders are now underemployed and deeply in debt. We also have plausible solutions for that. The Occupy Movement with its “progressive stack” and unfocused kvetching about banks and devotion to anti-racism, basically anti-whiteism, does not have an answer, so Occupy basically withered away.
But the Alternative Right as they call it, White Nationalism as I call it, is growing, and it’s growing because we have a constituency. The constituency has not been co-opted by the system. In fact it’s been alienated by the system, and they have plenty of time on their hands, plenty of motivation and access to the internet. Thus far, it’s been largely an online movement, but now we’re taking it offline into the 3D world, and a lot of the people who are showing up are tremendously impressive. So we’re going to be a terror in the next ten or fifteen years. The world that we live in is going to change very rapidly. I do not think America as it exists today will exist in 2025.
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