A couple of days before I was due to leave for the 2021 American Renaissance conference, I told a good friend of mine that it was not too late to change his mind and come along. He’s very much on our wavelength but is anti-social and finds our movement gatherings somewhat tiresome. “I think I know what they’re going to say,” he responded, sarcastically — implying that he’s heard it all before.
“But that isn’t the point,” I wanted to answer, but decided to hold my tongue. Even if every speaker at AmRen was simply repeating the same information we’ve been hearing for years about race, IQ, crime, and changing demographics, an AmRen conference would still be worth attending. For the real point is to enjoy the company, for two brief days, of others who think the way that we do and to be in a setting where we can freely speak our minds, which is an incredibly rare opportunity these days. An AmRen conference is a chance to briefly experience what it is like to live in a healthy community of sane white people who value the truth and are not in revolt against reality.
Of course, my friend was wrong on another level as well. He had not heard it all before. Jared Taylor, who has been organizing these conferences for many years now, always does an excellent job of choosing speakers who present new research or new and sometimes surprising perspectives. The only common denominator is that they are “race realists,” and pro-white. An excellent example of this is F. Roger Devlin’s talk, which was the very first presentation of last weekend’s conference. Devlin, who has a background in philosophy (just like yours truly), spoke about the role of envy in race relations. While whites are, sadly, no strangers to this deadliest of sins, envy plays a central role in many non-white societies. It retards progress and productivity because everyone fears being seen as having outdone their neighbors. We witness this phenomenon in black high school students, who will avoid exceling at academics, even when capable of it, for fear of the resentment this provokes in their peers.
Devlin argued, further, that what fuels these envy-based societies is the primitive conviction that wealth is a static quantity. If I grow or gather a lot of yams, this means that others necessarily have fewer. The same reasoning is applied by blacks and their enablers to complex, modern economies. The success of others is always understood as being the result of taking “more than one’s fair share,” or as the result of outright theft. Success, in other words, is built on the oppression or disadvantaging of others. Devlin astutely noted that this primitive “yams” theory of success is essentially the economic philosophy undergirding Critical Race Theory, and that CRT is a means of promoting and intensifying envy among blacks and Hispanics. (Somehow it is always whites alone whose property is theft, despite the fact that Asians in the US have higher average earnings than whites.)
Had Nietzsche shown up at AmRen to give a talk on race and resentment, I doubt he could have done a better job. Devlin got the conference off to a very strong start, and there was not a weak presentation the entire weekend. However, I am not going to offer a blow-by-blow account of the conference events. Gregory Hood has already published a detailed account at the AmRen site itself, and readers who want more details are referred to that piece. Instead, I will offer some general observations about the conference itself: the spirit of the occasion, the buzz, and what I took away.
To begin with, this was the first AmRen conference in two years, the 2020 conference having been cancelled, like so much else, by COVID. However, it was my first AmRen conference in close to twenty years. I had been lying low and hiding my face, concerned (quite reasonably, it turned out) that I might be doxed and fired from my job. But now that I am retired I do not care if my face is seen, so long as it is not badly lit. Having been absent from so many conferences over the years, I was not in a position to judge this year’s event in comparison to earlier ones, but I made a point of asking regular attendees for their impressions.
This year’s conference attracted around 200 attendees, while the 2019 conference had around 300. This may have been a disappointment to Mr. Taylor, but it should not be. Given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, with many people afraid or unable to travel, I think this makes the 2021 conference a great success. A friend who was in attendance said that he thought the mood seemed a bit “down” compared with previous years. But my friend tends to be negative. I think that what he was picking up on is that our people are now very pessimistic about changing or reforming the system and putting America on “the right track.” Remember that in 2019 Trump was still President and many of us thought that he would win a second term. Wrongly, as it turned out, we thought that Trump offered some hope for the country.
Since the last AmRen conference, we have seen Trump removed from office in an election rife with voter fraud. We endured an entire summer of riots perpetrated by BLM and Antifa, with the most anemic and cringey responses from Republicans. A billion dollars in property damage and God only knows how many killed or maimed. And while BLM raged, so did COVID hysteria. I began to experience, as did so many of my friends, “outrage fatigue.” While there were almost no consequences for the BLM and Antifa thugs, a group of well-meaning cranks who decided to take a peaceful stroll through the Capitol on January 6th are still, to this day, languishing in jail (and are reportedly being denied even basic medical care). We are living in the inverted world, folks, where wrong is right, injustice is “justice,” and every standard is double. Yes, indeed, a lot has happened since 2019, and there is not much to be chipper about.
And yet, with all due respect to my learned friend, I would not describe the mood at last weekend’s conference as “pessimistic.” Instead, our people seem to have taken a major step forward. At the 2021 AmRen conference, there was a word that was on everyone’s lips, though it got expressed in different ways. That word was “secession.” Again and again I heard speakers and attendees declare that America is now beyond hope, and that “the system” is irretrievably lost and cannot be reformed “from within.” Michelle Malkin put it succinctly when she said that the answer to St. Rodney King’s question “Can we all just get along?” is “Alas, no.”
Throughout all of human history, people have believed that their own civilizations are immortal. They have all been proved wrong. The United States is fated now, it seems, to go the way of the Soviet Union, as a failed ideological state. The US has lasted longer, but the cultural and political degeneration that have taken place in just the last two hundred years of this “greatest country in the world” is shocking and without historical precedent. America is doomed and we must now look to what comes next — to what we can build for ourselves in a post-America future. This was the theme that tended to dominate discussions last weekend, over coffee and meals, in the hallways, and between presentations (and sometimes within presentations). But I would characterize this as forward-looking optimism. The events of the last two years have liberated us from caring about America, and liberated us from our illusions about our system and what can be accomplished within it. Now we must face the task of creating something new.
As I mentioned earlier, for me the great attraction of AmRen is the opportunity to rub elbows with people who think as I do and who share my fundamental values. I am not a naturally sociable or gregarious person. Even when surrounded by likeminded folk, I have a tendency to stay in my shell. But, knowing that such an opportunity would not soon present itself again, I worked to overcome my natural tendency to socially distance (COVID isolation, you see, was no problem for me at all). Indeed, I had to do this — for again and again at this conference I was approached by individuals who said that they had read my work and that it had made a difference in their lives.
This was immensely gratifying to me, and also a bit humbling. I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading my articles. (And I can’t tell from the comments section on this site, since so many of those people – though not all – seem to comment on my articles without having read them.) None of the individuals who talked to me was so unkind as to point out the obvious: that I haven’t written a whole lot in the past year. Indeed, I have published only two original articles since November of 2020. You can easily guess the reason: I have been somewhat blackpilled. I prefer the term I used earlier: that I have been suffering from “outrage fatigue.” So much is so wrong and so awful I scarcely know where to begin to comment on it. And, yes, sometimes, in my darker moments, I wonder if there’s a point. But as I said to Jared Taylor literally going out the door on the last day, his conference has energized me. I feel like I may have my mojo back. As Ayn Rand might say, AmRen 2021 was the “spiritual fuel” I needed to get going again.
Security at the conference was tight. We were greeted at the door by a large contingent of Park Rangers wearing tactical vests and sidearms. Our bags were searched and we were wanded with metal detectors. The Rangers, who were quite friendly, told us that there were protesters at the conference. However, they were confined to another area of the park so distant from us as to make them completely invisible. I therefore neither saw nor heard protesters the entire weekend. This is importantly symbolic. Though the protesters may have the backing of a powerful system, they represent a dying ideology. And in this age of “Fuck Joe Biden,” everyone can sense that the system is, in fact, weakening and becoming decrepit. In essential terms — in historical and philosophical terms — Leftists are now as irrelevant as they were invisible last weekend.
On my way to the conference, I wondered how we would be treated by the hotel staff. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were unfailingly friendly and polite, and without any trace of hostility. It was also immensely encouraging to see how many young and attractive people were in attendance — many of them married, many of them actively producing the next generation. There is hope for the future; a great deal of hope.
Though I have my ups and downs, I have never succumbed to pessimism in a serious way, or for a prolonged period. In the ten years I have been writing for Counter-Currents I have never revised my basic conviction that victory is, for us, inevitable. The simple reason is that our enemies are at war with nature and with reality. A system or an ideology at war with nature and reality can maintain itself for a time (as did the USSR), but it is always doomed to fail. It is unsustainable. If we did absolutely nothing, the society built upon this ideology would eventually collapse. But we are not going to wait for that. It is falling and, like Nietzsche, we are going to push it. And we are going to plant the seeds of a new, healthier society.
In this task, American Renaissance is indispensable. Jared Taylor, Henry Wolff, et al., are to be commended for all of their good work, but especially for keeping these conferences going. They have provided much-needed “spiritual fuel” to many people who stand on the side of nature and reality and plain commonsense. I can’t wait for next year.
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