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Answering Normie Questions, Part 1:
The Question of “Unearned” Pride

[1]1,102 words

Part 1 of 5

The following is the transcript of a conversation which took place in November 2017. The original audio is here [2]. We would like to thank Karl Thorburn for transcribing it.

Greg Johnson: I’m Greg Johnson, and welcome to Counter-Currents Radio. My guest today is JM, who runs the YouTube channel NoMoreDogma, and he’s going to be asking me some questions. I’m not interviewing him. He’s interviewing me.

So JM, tell me what you want to talk about.

JM: Okay. Thanks for having me on. It’s the “normie questions” that I often get from people who may agree or disagree to a certain extent. But they have certain hang-ups with the overarching movement. If they find out that I’m involved, they say, “What about this? What about that?” Some of their questions are kind of tricky. I have the questions, and I thought you were a really good person to get the answers from.

GJ: Well, great. So let’s begin.

JM: Okay. Here’s the main one. Someone who agrees a little less often poses this one to me. They’ll say something like, “Why are you proud of your country or people or culture, or anything like that? You didn’t have any hand in building it, or have anything to do with its maintenance. So why are you attached to it?” I have my own answers, but this is why I wanted to ask you. You’d have a better answer. I get stumped on this one sometimes.

GJ: The basic response to that is very simple. It’s based on the false premise that you are only allowed to feel proud of things that you have accomplished yourself, that you only have a right to things that you somehow created. And that’s just not true. The simplest example of this is the concept of a gift. You don’t have a right to receive a gift. It’s given to you. It’s handed to you. And you can take great pleasure in it. 

I look at my race and my cultural heritage as a gift given to me by my ancestors. And I derive great pleasure and pride from that gift, because I look back on it and I see a lot of good things there. So if our ancestors bequeath us a superior culture, wonderful genes, interesting family lineages, and so forth, we can take pleasure in that, and it’s ours. It’s ours even though we didn’t earn it. 

Indeed, you can’t really earn your cultural patrimony. There’s nothing that we can give back to the past. They’re dead and gone. We can thank our immediate ancestors, but we can’t thank Mozart. We can’t thank Euclid. The only thing we can do to thank these people is appreciate the things they’ve bequeathed to us and pass them on, pay them forward, to the next generation: making a next generation and giving that next generation an appreciation of the cultural patrimony that’s been handed down to us. 

So it’s just not rational to say you can’t have pride in things you don’t earn. You don’t earn the gifts that are given to you. That’s what makes them gifts. But they are yours, you can take pride in them, you can take pleasure in them, and so forth. 

And one of the things you can do, dialectically, to trip these people up, is ask them “If you don’t think I have any right to take pride in things my ancestors have done, do you think I therefore don’t have to feel any shame at what my ancestors have done?” Because the Left loves to speak out of both sides of their mouth on this kind of thing. They will throw out this very individualistic argument, “You don’t have any right to take pride in the things you haven’t done or created.” But they are all too willing to hit you with the idea that you have unearned guilt and shame for things your ancestors did. And so, if they’re consistent about this premise, you can get them there. If they really do believe you have unearned guilt, then why can’t you have unearned pride?

JM: That’s a good point.

GJ: This isn’t my point. This is a point from Michael Polignano’s piece at Counter-Currents called “White Pride and White Guilt.” I think they’re really powerful arguments. I’m always trotting these arguments out and hitting people with them. They really do get a lot of people to think.

JM: Yeah, that is really good. I’m always told about how I have this better standing in my society because of the history and my people and culture, but I had no hand in any of that, so how can I be proud of it? And like you said with the gift-giving, if I did have a gift passed down to me from my grandfather to my father to me, I would take care of that gift. I would treasure it and hope to pass it down one day. And basically play my role in that gift’s saga.

GJ: And the kind of pride that you feel in this is not the kind of pride of somebody who’s trying to take credit for someone else’s work. It’s like the pride that you feel in your children, your wife, your dog, or the things that are yours. It’s natural to take pride not only in your achievements, but in the people that are connected to you. 

And often that pride is not just an excuse to loll around and ride on other peoples’ coattails. It’s experienced by the best people as a command to rise to the occasion. Your ancestors achieved great things. The very least you could do is appreciate the great things they achieved and pass them on. So it’s not a source of a kind of arrogance; it shouldn’t be. It should be combined with a little bit of humility and gratitude. And that’s what I feel towards the people that came before me. I feel humility and gratitude, and also pride, because they’ve done great things. 

All those things fit together into, I think, the proper attitude that we should take towards our heritage. And that’s a heritage that’s cultural and genetic as well. Everything that’s given to us by our ancestors — both our genes and culture — they should inspire a bit of humility, gratitude, and pride. And, therefore, a desire to pay them back with gratitude. But the really concrete thing we can do is to pay it forward, carry it forward into the next generation.

JM: Yes, that makes a lot of sense.