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Decline of the West, Part 3

[1]2,881 words

Part 3 of 7 (Part 1 here [2], Part 2 here [3], Part 4 here [4])

Darryl Cooper: I think I can understand why Leftists are into all this stuff. That’s fine. I don’t really care, because they’re my enemy, and I don’t really care what they think. But you’re talking about conservatives, Republicans, and maybe even people who are very critical of some of the cultural Marxist ideology, yet who will react with real horror or hostility, as if you’ve said something really terrible, when you bring up even cutting off immigration, forget about White Nationalism or something like that.

And these will very often be people who are in full support of a Jewish ethnostate in Israel. If the Japanese were going to maintain a Japanese supermajority, they wouldn’t think anything of that. But they think very differently when it comes to their own country and their own people. I think that part of it is educational brainwashing. There’s definitely been a Leftist push in that direction. But I also think that the reason people are probably susceptible to it on the American Right has a lot to do with Christianity, and not just the turn the other cheek and love your neighbor kind of thing. 

There’s this idea in Christianity that Jesus has come to call out the people from among the nations. Come out, leave behind the old rivalries of blood and soil and all those things and join a community of the spirit. Or join a community, in a more secular way, that’s based on a common assent to a set of ideas. And as long as you believe in these things and are part of this consensus, then you’re a part of our people. 

I can understand why people are attracted to that idea, because I think that humans have throughout history had this tendency to seek larger scale social formations. We go from band societies to tribes. We go from tribes to super tribes. We go from super tribes to chiefdoms to states to what we have now. And I understand how people can be attracted to that. 

When the Left overreaches, as it has recently, people are still willing to come back to the ideas that you’re talking about, or at least come back to the ideas that somebody like Donald Trump is talking about. They think of race as like a backup power system. They think it’s a beautiful thing to have this community of the spirit or community of consensus. But they keep this backup power system in case that doesn’t work out. 

And over the last several years when the Left has been partying like it’s 2043, with the rise of Black Lives Matter and what happened at the Donald Trump rally in San Jose, where people were burning American flags and attacking women and children purely because they are white Trump supporters, they start to realize that civic nationalism may be a beautiful idea, but if other people aren’t playing that game, then clearly it’s not going to work out very well. 

I’m actually okay with being in this society as an individual, and we all make our own choices. But it’s something that you alluded to earlier with game theory: That doesn’t work when there are alliances within society that aren’t operating that way. I think there’s a reason that in liberal societies, we’re very suspicious of secret societies. Because we know on some deep level, even if it doesn’t get spoken about outwardly, that if you have coalitions within the society and that sort of nepotism, then the whole thing will break down, because it just doesn’t work unless everybody’s on board. As soon as people start to favor one another based on some identity that is smaller than the larger whole that we’re all trying to participate in, then it all just breaks down, because as soon as one group cheats, everybody has to. Otherwise you’re just going to get run over. So I understand the appeal of it on some level, the aesthetic appeal or whatever you want to call it. But I think you’re probably right.

A lot of these people who talk about the Trump movement and the rise of the Alt Right being the result of decades of Republican rhetoric are completely insane. I think that the recent rise on the Right is entirely due to overreach from the Left. And is that the way you see it? Sounds like you do. 

Greg Johnson: Of course. The people who can’t distinguish us from Mitt Romney Republicans are idiots. They’re on autopilot. Basically they’re just Marxist ideologues on autopilot. And they come up with the most amazing bullshit. The stuff that Marxists say would be really quite entertaining if it didn’t have any influence and wasn’t contributing to driving society over a cliff, which it is. 

The fact is that Republicans and especially religious conservatives are actually the most pious believers in universalism and anti-racism. I’ve said this many times: The Christian creationist who doesn’t believe in evolution at all is more capable of believing in racial egalitarianism and actually practicing racial egalitarianism than the white liberal who believes in evolution but just thinks it somehow stopped at the brain, that brains are all somehow fluid and mutable and re-programmable culturally. And if we just get the incentives and the education and the uplift schemes and the rhetoric right, we can make all these people in the ghetto hike up their pants and turn their baseball caps around the right way and start being stockbrokers and concert violinists. They really do think that.

But liberals are 95% in agreement with us in terms of human biodiversity, whereas the creationist is 0% in agreement. They really do believe in magic. And that’s what you have to believe to think that multiculturalism can work. You have to believe in “magic dirt,” as people like to say. These Mexicans, as soon as they step over onto the magic dirt of America, are going to start becoming like us. They’re going to suddenly become members of and willing participants in a high-trust Northern European style society. And it’s magic, because we’re not even going to try to assimilate them or pressure them into adopting our way of life. They’re just going to do it spontaneously, because it’s magic. That’s patently silly. 

But if you believe that God created the world out of nothing and species didn’t evolve, you believe in wholesale magic. Creation is magic on the wholesale level. I always find it very amusing when Christians say they believe God created the world out of nothing but don’t believe in the real presence of God in the Eucharist. That sounds fishy to them. That’s too magical for their tastes. But be real. If you believe in magic wholesale, you can believe anything, really. 

There’s a great satisfaction for white people in believing in communities that are entirely spiritual. It has a kind of sublimity to it. It makes us feel very big and powerful to avow these things, precisely because it’s not in accordance with what we see in reality. It makes us feel all the bigger for repeating these views and trying to live by them, because it causes suffering, and suffering ennobles us. 

DC: It takes faith, right?

GJ: It takes faith, and it requires suffering. And we feel like we’re ennobling ourselves through it. And there’s a deep truth to the idea that there’s something noble about people who are willing to suffer for ideals. But they have to be true and right ideals. 

I’m a cultural idealist. I don’t believe in cultural materialism. I believe that the origin of civilization, the origin of history, is the willingness of people to suffer and die for things that aren’t real. That’s how we get this world of art and literature and so on. 

But it really only works when it’s just us playing this game. We’re so easily exploited by outsiders, who come in and they see this tendency towards idealism and this willingness to suffer and this feeling like we’re really big people by undertaking impossible tasks. 

There’s a wonderful collection of essays on pathological altruism co-edited by Barbara Oakley and three others. [1] [5] She’s written a number of other books including Cold-Blooded Kindness, which is an absolutely fascinating book. [2] [6] It’s very well written. It’s also fortified with lots of empirical studies. She’s one of these writers like Malcolm Gladwell who writes in a very vivid, popular way, and yet she’s bringing to bear really hard science. Basically it’s a study of codependency and codependent enablers. 

When I read that book, I thought, “Oh my God, it’s me,” because I have a tendency to enable people. And when I enable them, it makes me feel big and powerful. But I realized that I was not helping people. I was enabling them to stay in jobs and living situations and maintain habits that were bad for them, because it made me feel good about myself. 

There’s an immediate application of this codependent enabling model to pet hoarders. These people feel really good about themselves and powerful by having large numbers of animals around. But the animals are suffering. They have too many animals to take care of. The animals are filthy and miserable and sick and suffering. Yet the pet hoarder feels very big and powerful and good. 

I think a lot of liberal psychology towards nonwhite immigrants is basically this kind of pet-hoarding ego trip. They gain a sense of efficacy and bigness by enabling these people to live in their societies. And the very fact that other people around them are discomforted by this and say this isn’t good adds to the ego trip. They feel they’re superior to those white people because they’re willing to suffer more. These peace- and love-mongers are on total ego trips. And yet at the same time, they think of themselves as altruistic. They present themselves as altruistic and yet they’re harming everybody in their relationships.

I would say this explains 95% of the behavior of white liberals towards nonwhites. Especially people who make excuses for nonwhite immigration into white societies and the persistence of pathological nonwhite behavior patterns. They’re giving themselves little dopamine highs by feeling big and powerful and superior to those white people who aren’t with the program. They are loving and taking care of these people who are here until the societies are overrun and destroyed, just like the pet hoarder’s house is overrun and destroyed by cats. I know that psychology is very seductive because it seduced me. It’s shameful. I’ve harmed people while being on this grand ego trip. 

But part of the genesis of civilization is the willingness of people to not be practical. To even risk death for ideas. We have to realize that this is one of our strengths. It has just been perverted. Something very perverse and sick has been grafted onto it, and we need to be able to understand what’s good at root and then what’s pathological in branch. Then we need to lop off those sickly branches and return our society to health.

DC: Yeah. The codependency angle is very interesting because as I mentioned to you, I’ve been talking to a black nationalist too. And maybe you wouldn’t be surprised how much alike you guys sound in certain ways. I think the general public gets this idea that the White Nationalist movement is just simply, “We don’t like those people. We don’t want them here.” But the black nationalist that I’ve been talking to, he sort of echoes what you’re saying, that this is not good for us either. Like the liberal social psychology professor at NYU, Jonathan Haidt. I don’t know if you’ve met him or heard of him. But he often repeats this phrase, “Diversity is divisive,” and it’s kind of a tautology. 

Yet when I’ve repeated that tautology to people, they have a Pavlovian negative response to it. Like they don’t want to hear it. And the sentiment kind of echoes the conclusions of the sociologist Robert Putnam. He said the same thing. And when he discovered that, he was very reluctant to even release it, because he’s a very progressive sociology professor, and he was dismayed by what he found. But he’s an honest and earnest scholar. So he put it out there, and he’s made the same point. 

You talk a little bit about alienation and anxiety and the hit that social trust seems to take from living in a diverse multicultural society. And there are going to be a lot of people listening to this, and a lot of people who are the type of people we’ve been talking about on the Right, Republicans and even Donald Trump voters who want to build the wall. They are very familiar with that feeling of alienation and anxiety. 

But they are wearing that same Pavlovian shock collar that I just mentioned. So they’re pretty well-conditioned to attribute those feelings to anything other than diversity or multiculturalism. So what would you say to some of those people? What case would you make to those people to get them past that conditioning to consider what you would say are the real roots of these feelings? That’s a central challenge that the White Nationalist movement faces at this point.

GJ: I think the main problem is that these people are being lied to by conservative intellectuals and opinion leaders, who are just liars about this issue: the people who say the problem with Detroit is all those Democrats. I mock these people all the time. “I got off the train in the wrong neighborhood, and I was terrified. I was surrounded by all these Democrats. I was afraid they were going to beat me up and pick my pocket. So I got back on the train to try to get away from all those Democrats. These liberal Democrats are really scary people.” They know better than that, and you just have to rub their noses in it. The problem with Detroit is not liberal Democrats. Somehow Seattle, which is run by liberal Democrats, is not like Detroit, which is run by liberal Democrats. 

The key is to just be real with normies and to give them permission to be real. There is no plausible account of the structure of the human amygdala that says that people are wired to feel fear around liberal Democrats, but there’s a very plausible account about how the brain is structured that shows that it’s natural, normal, and right for people to feel fear and anxiety around people of different races. That’s just the way people are. It starts very early, practically as soon as we can focus our eyes. So it’s before social conditioning. We respond favorably to people who look like us or are genetically similar, and we respond disfavorably to people who are genetically different. That’s just how we’re wired, and that’s one of the factors that determine how comfortable we are in a social situation. 

Now there are other factors as well. You might be with a black man who speaks standard English, and if you can communicate well with him, you feel a lot more comfortable with him than if he speaks with a heavy accent or he’s babbling some unintelligible language. And if he’s babbling loudly and angrily, and showing the whites of his eyes, then you feel really frightened. So there are social factors as well. 

But you know, we’re not just importing different races, we’re importing different races and hundreds of different ethnic groups at the same time. And that just adds to it. There are only so many races in the world, and we don’t have Bushmen from Africa or Australian aborigines coming here. Only a few racial groups are actually coming here, and if it were just that simple it would be less problematic. But people from hundreds of different cultures are coming into the United States. There are shops in New York City that sell publications in hundreds of different languages. 

DC: They’re running into this issue in Europe right now because they say, “Oh, we’re taking Muslim refugees.” And in a lot of these refugee neighborhoods and camps, they’re starting to find out that you can’t just say that they’re “Muslim” refugees, because a lot of these people don’t identify with one another at all. So they’re having gang wars between different groups. And I think we do tend to clump peoples together like that. 

GJ: There is a sense of Muslim brotherhood. But it’s pretty thin if you look at the kind of absolute savagery that is going on in civil wars in the Muslim world right now. 

DC: There’s an Arab proverb that’s pretty famous: “Me against my brother, and my brother and I against my cousin, and my brother and my cousin and I against the world, or against the stranger.” I think there is an aspect to identity that always identifies against an other. I don’t think that if everybody were the same in the world that would ever occur to anybody to think of themselves as white or black or anything like that. But I really don’t know if identity necessarily can exist without the presence of an other. 


[1] [7] Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, Guruprasad Madhavan, and David Sloan Wilson, eds., Pathological Altruism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012). 

[2] [8] Barbara Oakley, Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 2011).