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Principles are More Important Than People

[1]2,610 words

There is a lot of wisdom in the anonymous saying: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

But understanding this saying requires some nuances. One can’t understand politics without discussing all three categories: ideas, events, and people.

Thus great minds do not discuss only ideas. They also discuss events and people. But they understand them in the light of ideas.

Average minds don’t simply discuss events. They also discuss people. But ideas are above them, which is what makes them average.

Small minds simply discuss people, because ideas and events are somehow beyond them, which is what makes them small-minded.

It is easy to discuss people, so everybody does it. It is harder to discuss events, so only average and above-average people do it. It is even harder to discuss ideas, so only above-average people do it.

Small minds tend to think that everything is a matter of personality. Average and above-average minds understand that personality is important, but personality is not all there is to politics. Average minds recognize that events can’t be reduced to just personalities. Events can take on a life of their own. But only the broadest minds recognize that one also needs to talk about principles as well as events and personalities.

I also think speaking of “great” minds raises the bar too high, for it makes one think of Aristotle or Goethe. But one doesn’t need to be a genius to recognize the importance of ideas. Thus I prefer to speak of broad, average, and narrow or small minds.

Intelligence is clearly a factor here, but breadth and narrowness are more important, and it is possible for small-minded people to be quite intelligent, within their limited horizons.

In politics, events can be understood as the result of ideas and people interacting. Both ideas and personalities leave their mark on history. But what is more important for understanding political events: ideas or personalities?

If you focus on small-scale events and short time spans, personalities loom larger in the scheme of things. And one of the hallmarks of average and small minds is the narrowness of their focus, the shortness of their time horizons. So they will tend to focus on just such events and think that personalities are more important than ideas.

But if you step back and focus on larger political trends—trends that can outlast individuals, parties, and nations—then fundamental ideas are decisive. But abstract principles and long time-spans only disclose themselves to broadminded individuals. They are beyond the ken of the average and small-minded, who bump up against the ceiling of their understanding.

Typical politics is a bitter struggle between the personalities, interest groups, and parties of the Right and the Left. Sometimes the Right is dominant. Sometimes the Left is. Yet if one takes a broader view, one sees that politics drifts steadily to the Left, no matter how bitterly the Right resists. Robert Lewis Dabney brilliantly described this tendency in 1897, when he predicted the success of women’s suffrage based on the character of its opponents, the conservatives of his day:

This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.

This is because the Right shares the same basic egalitarian and universalist principles as the Left. But Rightists are just slower to embrace the ultimate consequences of these principles, because the Right is also the party of the bourgeoisie, who regard a long and comfortable life as the highest good. The bourgeois conservatives have “got theirs” and are thus morally complacent and fearful of the radical changes required by the next phase of equality’s triumphant march through the world.

But the same bourgeois value system that leads to moral complacency also leads to cowardice and compromise. So, over time, the superior moral commitment of the Left, combined with the Right’s own latent Leftist premises, ensure continued Leftward drift. Because the Right shares the Left’s principles, the Left has a systematic long-term advantage over the Right. Every Rightist’s moral convictions are a Leftist fifth column, occupying the highest seats of his government, ending every siege with surrender.

This means that if National Populists want to make long-term political gains, we need to focus more on fundamental ideas and not get distracted by ephemeral events and personalities.

These are some of the ideological dogmas shared by both the mainstream Left and Right that we need to destroy to secure National Populist policies:

If principles are more important than people, then what should one do if one catches one’s enemies betraying their principles? For instance, what should one do if one discovers that a leading advocate of diversity lives in an overwhelmingly homogeneous community? (It is true of practically all of them.)

The small-minded, high time-preference type will call his enemy out for hypocrisy, for failing to practice what he preaches. This might impeach the credibility of an ephemeral political actor in the minds of ephemeral political observers—until everyone is distracted by new events. But it leaves the presumably evil principle of diversity intact and unscathed. Indeed, if anything this approach strengthens the betrayed principle by demanding that people live by it rather than just pay lip service to it. But for small minds, people loom large and principles are basically above them, although they are willing to use them as a weapon to “own” particular individuals.

The better approach is to point out the contradiction but then attack the principle that is being betrayed, not the person who betrays it. After all, diversity is not a good thing. It leads to alienation, conflict, social breakdown, and violence. Thus we want people to betray diversity. One should congratulate one’s opponent for having the good sense not to impose diversity upon himself and his loved ones. But then we should ask him to join us to help bring the blessings of homogeneous white communities to Americans from all walks of life, not just the privileged.

Not all hypocrites are alike. If you betray good principles, that makes you a bad person. But does it make you a bad person to betray evil principles? Quite the contrary. It is good not to follow bad principles. If liberalism is evil, then the worst liberals have integrity whereas the best liberals are hypocrites. If multiculturalism is evil, then the worst multiculturalists practice what they preach and the best are hypocrites. We should applaud the betrayal of evil principles, not demand that people follow them.

La Rochefoucauld famously said, “Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue,” meaning that hypocrisy is superior to unapologetic vice that does not pay lip service to virtue at all. But when the “virtue” in question is actually a vice, then hypocrisy is not merely a tribute to virtue, hypocrisy really is a virtue, and it should be applauded as such, not denounced.

But this approach only makes sense to broad-minded people who regard principles as more important than people. The narrow-minded are happy to uphold evil principles merely to “own” their political opponents for the life of a tweet.

Now let’s apply this analysis to the question of how White Nationalists should approach the Trump question. Consider, for instance, Trump’s tweets inviting an America-hating Muslim, Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar, to go back to her home country.

The broad-minded approach is to use this controversy to talk about ideas. Many Trump supporters were delighted by his statement, because they don’t think America benefits at all from importing black Muslims who hate this country. America desperately needs a national conversation about this matter. The Left responded predictably, denouncing Trump as being “racist,” as if criticizing nonwhites about their views and behaviors is the sin of “racism,” an obvious attempt to exempt nonwhites from criticism, or even punishment for their crimes. This controversy is an excellent opportunity for White Nationalists to inject our ideas into a national debate and to bring people over to our side.

The small-minded approach is to use this controversy to talk about people. For instance, Richard Spencer appeared briefly on CNN. Instead of talking about the issues raised by this debate, he used the occasion to talk about people: namely Trump, unnamed White Nationalists, and himself. According to Spencer, Trump is a hypocrite because he says racist things but won’t follow through on them. Other White Nationalists are fooled, but not Spencer. Instead of challenging the idea that Trump’s comments were racist, or the idea that racism is bad, Spencer supported the Leftist message that Trump’s comments are racist. Thus he reinforced rather than challenged one of the Left’s key principles while condemning Trump and congratulating himself. The basic Spencer code is to denigrate his natural base while preening as big-brained and grandstanding to the Left. A comic genius described it as glitter bombing. Sadly, it doesn’t leave much time to talk about ideas.

A similar dynamic is at work in the charge that White Nationalists are “supporting Trump” or “fooled by Trump” if White Nationalists defend Trump, his statements, and his policies from unjust Leftist and cuckservative attacks. Again, these charges come from small-minded people bumping into the low ceiling of their people-centered understanding. It does not occur to them that nobody need support Trump the man—in part or in toto—to use him as an occasion to defend good ideas and attack bad ones.

And if Trump is only an occasion to enter the battle of ideas, then it does not matter if he means what he says, or whether he will follow through with his proposals. Obviously, we’d like Trump to be a sincere and effective advocate for pro-white policies. But none of that is in our control. Whining and sharing “Blompf” memes won’t change anything. We do, however, have the power to defend good ideas and attack bad ones in whatever public forums are open to us, and we should be grateful for the opportunities Trump continues to present us.

We should, of course, criticize Trump for his genuine errors and failings, for that too is an opportunity to talk about ideas.

But we must guard against railing at Trump like spoiled children. This rhetorical style is common in the remnants of the Alt Right. Phase one of their plan is to rally an ultra-radicalized and alienated political sect by pouring scorn on Trump and the various “boomers” and “normies” who support him. We’ll never know what phase two is, because none of these people have thought that far ahead.

It may be fun to skewer “Blompf” for his hypocrisies and follies. It is increasingly easy to do. It may earn you kudos in the ever-shrinking online Alt Right echo-chamber. But if that is our constituency, then our movement has no future.

Those who are playing a long game recognize that the nearly 60 million white Americans who voted for Donald Trump are the natural constituency for National Populism in America. The most important thing is to uphold the right principles and communicate them to the National Populist electorate that Trump has created and is increasingly disappointing and frustrating. When Trump is gone, it is our job to lead them. But we cannot lead them if we do not connect with them. And we cannot connect with them if we go out of our way to alienate them.

As far as White Nationalists were concerned, this was never just about Trump. It was always about advancing our ideas. Trump was always just an occasion for White Nationalists to enter the political debate. He smashed the Republican gentleman’s agreement never to talk about whether global trade and non-white immigration are good for America. It was truly magnificent.

Trump asked the right questions, but at best, his answers were half-measures, and half-implemented half-measures are not the solutions Americans need. They are not what his electorate is increasingly clamoring for. But that too is an opportunity for us.

I think some of the spoiled child reactions to Trump’s failures and betrayals come from people who somehow convinced themselves that Trump really was going to save America. But that was never realistic. He was one man, advocating confused civic nationalist half-measures against the whole media and political establishment. Trump was never going to save America. That was always our job. It still is.

Trump is not the last chance for National Populism in America. He is just the beginning. He was not the last chance for white America. He was the system’s last chance to preserve itself in the face of massive demographic change. When Trump is no longer President, our mantra must be “Trumpism has not failed. Trumpism has never been tried.” Only then we will start calling it National Populism, and if we play the long game, we will have created a whole new political movement to secure its triumph.

The bad news is that Trump turned out to be better at campaigning than governing. The good news is that he will soon go back on the campaign trail, and if “Send her back” is any indication, it’s going to be another magnificent opportunity to move the national mind in our direction. When that time comes, I hope our best propagandists will not sit it out, sulking in their tents like Achilles.

If we are going to effectively advance our ideas, we cannot get distracted by the politics of personality, including our own personal issues. We must never lose sight of our ultimate aim, which is a homeland for whites in North America.