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Three Pillars of White Identity Politics:
Part 3: Love of One’s Own

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Part 1, Part 2

“This is who we are” is the final argument of identity politics. “Who we are” is a compound of kinship and culture. But identity is politically impotent unless a people is willing to assert itself, to take its own side in a fight. Thus the third pillar of white identity politics has to be that fighting spirit.

In his Republic, Plato divides the human soul into three parts: reason, which seeks truth; desire, which seeks the necessities of life; and what one can call fighting spirit or team spirit (thumos), which is concerned with love of one’s own and a willingness to fight for it.

Plato and Aristotle identified thumos as the specifically political part of the soul because thumos divides the world into us and them, ingroups and outgroups. In the twentieth century, the great German political philosopher Carl Schmitt argued that the very concept of the political [1] springs from the division between us and them, friend and enemy.

Desire and reason, by contrast, are implicitly anti-political because they unite us rather than divide us. Despite differences of language, history, and culture, we all basically desire the same basic necessities. Reason, moreover, seeks truth, which is objective and universal, meaning true for all of us.

When one talks about one’s honor, family, or homeland, there is a different sense of ownership at work than when one talks about one’s property. You own your property, but your property does not own you. The relationship of owner to property is one-way, not mutual or reciprocal. But our honor, family, or homeland are not external things, objects that we can pick up or discard casually. They are part of us. They define us. They are not alienable. We belong to them as much as they belong to us.

Genetic Similarity Theory explains the biological roots of loving one’s own. Our selfish genes strive to perpetuate themselves into the future. But this does not lead to purely selfish individualism, because our genes are present in others, so it is advantageous to our genes for us to esteem, sympathize with, and in some cases sacrifice ourselves for others. But our genes are not equally distributed in all other people. We share more genes with our kin than strangers, our countrymen than foreigners, and members of our race than members of other races. Therefore, it is natural for us to prefer those who are genetically “our own” over those who are genetically different.

Preferring people who are culturally “one’s own” over foreigners is also quite understandable. Life is short, and social interactions are full of risks and uncertainty. It is easier to understand, trust, cooperate with, or just relax around people who share your language, customs, and values. Thus, other things being equal, it makes sense to prefer people who share one’s culture.

In my speech “White Identity Politics: Inevitable, Necessary, Moral,” I argued that there’s nothing immoral about love of one’s own. Here, I want to respond to some objections to love of one’s own based on the ideas of objective truth and objective merit.

Love of one’s own means prizing something based simply on its relationship to you. Love of one’s own is inescapably “relative” to who one is. But shouldn’t we prefer what is objectively true and good to what is merely one’s own? The answer depends on context.

Love of one’s own — specifically in the form of nationalism or other forms of partisanship — is irrelevant to determining the truth of objective historical facts or scientific theories. In Plato’s terms, objective truths are the province of reason, not thumos. When thumos imperialistically intrudes into the realm of reason, objectivity is threatened.

It is inevitable that we invest our egos in our ideas, but the difference between a stubborn visionary and a vain fool is ultimately determined by objective facts.

It is also inevitable that national feeling influences one’s approach to science and history. But nationalists become laughable when they promulgate fake histories: The Greeks stole their civilization from Africa, Irish is the original language of the Garden of Eden, a Brazilian invented the airplane, and the host of black invention myths. We also must reject extreme forms of relativism like the concepts of “Faustian mathematics” or “bourgeois physics.”

But reason can also be imperialistic. The very idea of cosmopolitanism is a rationalistic construction. The ancient Greek natural philosophers believed that nature is uniform across space and time, but culture is not. Since the Greeks revered permanence and disdained change, the natural philosophers aspired to be citizens of unchanging nature rather than the mutable cities of men. Thus Diogenes of Sinope, the first Cynic, declared that the cosmos was his polis, that he was a citizen of the world (kosmopolités). As I argue in “What’s Wrong with Cosmopolitanism?,” there are no actual citizens of the world, but the cosmopolitan idea is still used as an acid to weaken the thumotic ties that sustain real communities. [2]

There’s no necessary contradiction between maintaining the objectivity of truth and natural preferences for one’s own, including borders and immigration restrictions. First of all, if we limited immigration only to people possessing specialized knowledge and skills, that would reduce it to almost nothing. Second, because truths are objective and ideas are ideal, they can cross borders on their own. They don’t need immigrants to carry them.

Even the transmission of skills from a master to an apprentice is not an argument for immigration, merely for travel. One can study abroad with a master, or masters can spend time abroad passing on their skills.

One of the most common arguments that spoiled and silly Westerners offer for diversity and immigration is their desire for a variety of ethnic restaurants. Of course restaurants account for only a tiny fraction of immigration. But we can import recipes, skills, and ingredients without importing people.

What about objective merit? A strong nationalist preference for one’s own people would naturally lead to little or no immigration. But shouldn’t a country want the best doctors, scientists, engineers, and businessmen, no matter where they come from? Then why not open one’s borders to the best?

First of all, this argument is not a case for mass immigration. If we are actually talking about the best in any field, that means we are talking about a very small number of people, not millions. Strict merit-based immigration would eliminate nearly all immigration today, the bulk of which is of low-skilled drones, welfare cases, and refugees.

Beyond that, accessing the best people is still not an argument for immigration. It is merely an argument for travel. No matter where he lives, the best brain surgeon in the world can only live in one country, maybe two, which means that the rest of the world has to come to him anyway. So why shouldn’t he live in his native land? And if he travels to his patients, that is merely a business trip, not immigration.

Furthermore, if one isn’t really talking about the best people in a profession, but people who are merely good enough for it, then surely every First World country already has sufficient numbers people who are good enough to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and businessmen. We know this because many of those countries became “First World” without the benefit of immigration, skilled or unskilled. Indeed, many of them saw massive emigration at the same time that they became modern powerhouses.

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Graduate School with Heidegger here

Beyond that, should First World countries really be importing highly skilled professionals from poor countries around the world? How do we expect these countries to improve themselves? Isn’t there something absurd about First World countries importing doctors from the Third World while sending doctors on charity missions to the Third World?

But somehow many white people are convinced that immigration gives us access to the best of everything. I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble, but how many of you have ever employed the services of the world’s best anything? How many of you even have a snowball’s chance of doing so? Is the average level of medical care in white countries really raised by doctors from the Middle East or South Asia? So is the phantom of meritocracy really worth the certainty of losing one’s homeland to open borders? Especially when you consider that the only people in your homelands who are rich enough to access the best of everything are also rich enough to travel to get it.

The real reason our oligarchs promote “high-skilled” immigration is not the need for high skills but the desire to pay low wages. But if Google or Facebook really can’t find enough qualified Americans, then they are welcome to send their capital to India rather than entice Indians to America.

But what about the best products? If the best cars and cameras are made in foreign lands, why shouldn’t we import them? Of course, this is an argument for trade, not immigration. One can let goods move freely but not people.

If the best cars and cameras are made overseas, one can frankly admit that. Facts are facts. But we can still have valid nationalist arguments against buying them — or making it easy to buy them. For instance, every country should aim at producing a significant amount of its own food and medicine, in case of global famines and pandemics. If this is so, then it is reasonable to protect key local industries from competition from foreign imports.

Moreover, governments raise money by taxes, and all taxes have economic and social consequences, some good, some bad. Taxes on imported goods have positive consequences: they strengthen the nation by protecting local industries.

Finally, if we are really talking about the best cars or cameras, the small number of people who can afford the very best can also afford to pay import duties. Again, when people make arguments for free trade, they really aren’t interested in the best — which only the rich can afford — but the cheap, which anyone can afford. Often these goods are so temptingly cheap because they are manufactured by people on starvation wages without worker safety and environmental regulations that are standard in decent societies.

Putting cheap foreign goods above the good of one’s homeland is another form of imperialism, that of desire, working to corrode the thumotic sentiments that sustain a society. But cheap goods are very expensive when one calculates the full cost of importing them. You might enjoy buying cheap foreign shoes. But when local shoemakers go out of business, their employees won’t be able to buy the goods you produce either. And since power follows money, as the rich get richer and the middle class grows poorer, society becomes less democratic and more elitist, which leads to injustice and instability.

As consumers, we pursue our private interests. As citizens, we need to look out for the common good. Left to their own devices, the masses will sell their birthrights for trinkets. Thus we need laws to ensure the common good comes first.

The idea of objective merit — objective truth, objective goodness — is highly appealing. It makes sense as rational agents pursuing truth and as rational consumers satisfying our needs. But it is deeply destructive to society when it insinuates itself into the realm of thumos.

We don’t need any objective reasons at all to love our own. Our children don’t have to be the best for us to love them. Our homelands don’t have to be the best for us to love them. Our race does not have to be the best for us to love it.

It is lonely at the top. In terms of any given excellence, only one child can be the best. Does that mean that no other children are lovable? By any given measure of excellence, only one country can truly be the best. Does that mean that no other homeland is loveable? In any given category, only one race is the best. Does that mean that members of all other races should despise themselves? Absolutely not.

National chauvinism and racial supremacism are foolish caricatures of love. We don’t love our homelands because they are the best. We love them simply because they are ours. We don’t love our race because it is the best, but because it is ours. And unlike chauvinists and supremacists, we can love our own without denigrating others or being jealous of others who do the same. Indeed, we can understand why they love their own as well, and neither party need feel threatened by the other.

Does one have to do anything — aside from being part of someone’s family, nation, or race — to be on the receiving end of love of one’s own? Since the ownness we are speaking about is mutual and reciprocal — if our family, homeland, and race belong to us, and we belong to them — then the love we receive should also be reciprocated. But when we are born, we can’t really pay back the care we receive. We can only pay it forward, to the next generation. Love of our own is a birthright that we claim of others and an inherited obligation that the next generation claims of us.

None of this is visible to the modern liberal. Modern man sees himself as a rational producer-consumer. From that point of view, there are no nations. Reason and desire embrace the whole cosmos. They have no homelands. Modernity claims that all men are equal, meaning that natural preferences and human borders are illegitimate.

In practice, this means that all men are interchangeable, which means that you are replaceable with foreigners. The Great Replacement is merely the political expression of a world-destroying blindness, what Heidegger called the essence of technology: the decision to see the world — and ourselves — as merely a stockpile of interchangeable resources.

The globalists have not refuted nationalism. They are simply blind to us and our concerns. When confronted with human differences, they airily declare that they do not matter. Identitarians beg to differ. In fact, we insist on it. In fact, we’ll fight to preserve our differences.

The answer to the Great Replacement is simply to say “No.” We will not jump into the melting pot. We veto the globalist dream.

Let’s call it the Great Refusal. Alfred North Whitehead borrowed this phrase from Dante and gave it a new meaning: the imagination’s refusal to be confined by facts. It is the power of consciousness to negate the given. Herbert Marcuse adopted the phrase to refer to the rejection of a dehumanizing consumer society for the liberating power of art.

For Identitarians, the Great Refusal is the thumotic reassertion of difference in the face of the Great Replacement. We are not equal, identical, interchangeable. This is who we are, and so we will remain. You will not replace us.

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Notes

[1] See Greg Johnson, “Reflections on Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political,” New Right vs. Old Right (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013).

[2] Greg Johnson, “What’s Wrong with Cosmopolitanism?,” In Defense of Prejudice (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017).

 

7 Comments

  1. Branson Cleary
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Greg, apologies if I’ve missed this announcement somewhere, but are you still releasing “White Identity Politics”, the book title?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, before the end of the year.

  2. Nova Rhodesia
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    This is why I read Counter Currents. Bravo.

  3. 3g4me
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Excellent essay, Greg. More tightly constructed than others of yours I recall reading. Many noteworthy lines. I was particularly struck by “Love of our own is a birthright that we claim of others and an inherited obligation that the next generation claims of us.” Beautifully succinct definition of identity and family.

  4. HamburgerToday
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed the juxtaposition — however brief — between Heidegger and Whitehead. The ‘given-ness’ of Heidegger and the ‘Great Refusal’ to accept the destruction of ‘the given’ of Whitehead. Or did I misunderstand the allusion?

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted October 26, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I am inverting Whitehead’s great refusal of facticity for imagination. We need to affirm facticity and refuse the tissue of fantasies that drive the Great Replacement.

  5. Reb Kittredge
    Posted October 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a sound argument for the moral permissibility of preferring one’s own. One could go further and argue that preferring one’s own is not only permissible, but obligatory, since one has special duties to those with whom one has special relationships, the paradigm being family members. This “special duties” argument, in its obligatory version, is a strong objection against utilitarianism, which holds that we are obligated to promote the greatest good, impersonally across persons (or sentient creatures). But the intuitive objection here is that we have stronger obligations to our family than we do to strangers even if favoring their interests fails to maximize utility.

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