Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 420 Greg Johnson on the Three Pillars of White Identity PoliticsCounter-Currents Radio
6,735 words / 1:06:09
On the latest episode of Counter-Currents Radio, Greg Johnson read and discussed his essay “Three Pillars of White Identity Politics” (see below) and, of course, answered YOUR QUESTIONS, and it is now available for download and online listening.
Topics discussed include:
00:00:00 Three Pillars of White Identity Politics
00:08:00 Peaceful separation of nations
00:10:00 Where do rights come from?
00:20:00 Mixed-race populations
00:25:00 The political utility of the concept of race
00:40:00 Africa Addio
00:44:00 Love of one’s own
To listen in a player, click here. To download, right-click the link and click “save as.”
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Three Pillars of White Identity Politics: Kinship, Culture, Love of One’s Own*
“This Is Who We Are”
When you look at human history, identity politics is not the exception, it is the norm. History is the story of us and them: tribes, city-states, and nations trading with and fighting against one another. If you look at the members of any of these groups, you will find that they are united by ties of kinship, a common language and culture, a common history and sense of destiny, and bonds of fellow feeling.
Of course, all other groups have these traits as well. But those people belong to different kinship groups; they are bound by different languages and customs; they have different histories and destinies; moreover, their bonds of fellow feeling don’t extend to their neighbors, who might well be enemies.
The power of the state can touch every aspect of life. Thus anything can become the topic of political debate. Political debates can appeal to many kinds of arguments: moral, religious, scientific, historical, etc. Identity politics happens whenever the final argument for or against a political proposal comes down to: “This is who we are.” This is a statement of identity. We want this law, this institution, this custom, because it fits who we are, and a political order should fit the people who live under it as comfortably and flatteringly as a well-tailored suit.
When we appeal to abstract principles and objective facts, they are supposed to be true for all of us. But appeals to identity are true for some people but not for others. They are particular, not universal. The politics of identity is also the politics of difference, for our identity is precisely what differentiates us from others.
The opposite of identity politics is universalism, which upholds the idea of a single, one-size-fits-all political order based on universally true principles. Universalists claim that identity politics is dangerous because different groups can never reach agreement on political matters if we allow what makes us different to be a final argument. And if different groups can’t agree about passionately polarizing political issues, then the only recourse that remains is to fight.
This argument fails for two main reasons.
First, agreement vs. conflict is a false alternative, since two parties can simply agree to disagree. But agreeing to disagree only works if the different parties really don’t care all that much about the issue that divides them. If they care a great deal, however, then they can’t agree to disagree, since only one position can actually prevail. For instance, abortion is either legal or illegal, which means that the only alternative to fighting is for one side to bow to the will of the other.
But this brings us to the second problem in the universalist argument. Abortion cannot be both legal and illegal in the same state, but it can be both legal in one state and illegal in another. In short, there is an alternative to fighting when two groups have passionate and irreconcilable differences about political issues: They can go their separate ways.
Abortion is a single political issue, but people feel passionate enough about it to shed blood. The clashes between different peoples are far more complex, involving language, religion, culture, whole ways of life. Thus their potential for deep polarization and explosive violence is far greater, as is the need for political separation.
This is why I argue that ethnonationalism is the best system for handling the politics of identity. Ethnonationalism upholds the right of all peoples to sovereign homelands if they feel their identities are threatened in multicultural, multiracial societies.
Note that a right is an option, not an obligation. If a people is content in a multicultural society, it is not obligated to break away. But if it chooses to exercise its right, then heaven and earth have no right to stop them.
Multicultural societies are, however, prone to conflict around issues of identity. There are two ways to handle these conflicts. First, in order to decrease social frictions, different peoples can simply cease caring about the things that separate them. This, however, only works if their differences are trivial to begin with. But what if they differ on important matters?
This brings us to the second option: to fight. When fighting about important differences starts, there are only two ways to end such conflicts permanently: the utter destruction of one group or political separation and the creation of new sovereign states. Separation is the best option because it ends the violence and erosion of identities endemic to multicultural societies, giving all parties the chance to flourish in their own homelands, where “This is who we are” can go unchallenged.
Of course “who we are” is not always good. Sometimes aspects of identity are bad. Peoples cling to alcoholism, imperialism, and the worst sorts of superstition because of appeals to identity. Some peoples are afflicted with genetic disorders that they should not want to afflict on their posterity. Every people can be improved. Moreover, it is entirely natural, normal, and right for peoples to want to improve themselves: to hand on a better society—and better genes—to future generations.
Ethnonationalism, however, lets different peoples work out their own problems. We reject progressive and paternalistic arguments for ruling over other peoples. “This is who we are” always trumps “It’s for your own good,” even if it really is for their own good, since the greater good is to create peace between different peoples and let them wrestle with their own demons.
Separating hostile peoples can be accomplished through moving borders and moving people. In practice, it usually involves some combination of the two. Separation can be accomplished peacefully, as in the “velvet divorce” between the Czechs and the Slovaks, or through terror and violence, as in the breakup of Yugoslavia. The results are the same, but the violent path is far more costly. Since the goal of ethnonationalism is creating peace between different peoples, we naturally prefer to achieve it by peaceful means as well.
It has been known since ancient times that the tripod is the most stable foundation. Identity politics rests on an unwobbling tripod, three facts about human nature that make identity politics inevitable and ethnonationalism preferable: kinship, culture, and love of one’s own.
The first pillar of identity politics is kinship. In connecting kinship and identity politics, I follow the arguments of J. Philippe Rushton and Frank Salter.
Politics aims at living well together in society. The more amicable, cooperative, and trustworthy the people are, the more harmonious the society. The more willing the people are to come together and make sacrifices for the common good, especially in times of disaster and war, the more likely the society is to survive and bounce back.
The root of pro-social behavior is empathy, meaning the ability to see oneself in others. The expression of pro-social empathy is altruism, meaning treating the interests of others as equal to—or even more important than—one’s own. I am going to refer to empathy and altruism simply as pro-social virtues. The result of pro-social virtues is social harmony and well-being.
There is a strong correlation between kinship and pro-social behaviors, ranging from fellow-feeling to willingness to sacrifice one’s interests and even one’s life for the common good.
But the connection between kinship and pro-social virtues is problematic. Kinship, after all, means sharing the same genes. Genes, however, are notoriously “selfish.” They aim at their propagation into the next generation. Since individual organisms are the carriers of genes, wouldn’t individuals be selfish as well? How, then, is altruism anything other than a biological disadvantage, a kind of handicap or morbidity?
The answer is that the individual is not the only carrier of his genes. His genes are also present in other people. The closer the kinship, the more genes we have in common. The closer the kinship, the greater the empathy, for we can literally see more of ourselves in our kin. Thus we would expect more altruistic behavior directed toward closer kin. This is why, from a selfish gene’s point of view, it makes sense for an individual to die for his family and his tribe, since they contain more of his selfish genes than he does.
Thus we would expect greater social harmony and well-being in societies that are more genetically homogeneous, and less harmony and well-being in more genetically diverse societies. This fact alone refutes the modern dogma that genetic diversity strengthens societies.
Until the twentieth century, it was universally acknowledged that kinship is the foundation of politics. The very concepts of “nation” and “ethnicity” are etymologically derived from concepts for kinship. Even today, the primary way that people become citizens of any political order is being born that way, meaning that they are kin to those who are already citizens. Even globalists acknowledge the importance of kinship by declaring that “All men are brothers,” therefore, we should have no borders and no countries, just a global market and a global state, because common blood trumps everything that sets us apart.
But not all men are brothers. Your brother has the same parents as you do, which means that you both arise from the same set of genes, although mixed in different ways. Unless, of course, you have an identical twin brother, in which case you have the exact same genes.
So not all men are brothers. But as far as we know, all human beings descend from common pre-human ancestors. Thus we are all more or less distant cousins. But the distances between the great continental races and subraces—whites, blacks, Asians, Amerindians, non-European Caucasians, Australoids, and Capoids—are significant enough that radically different forms of societies suit them, which means that societies with multiple races suffer from conflicts that do not afflict racially homogeneous societies.
This is why some globalists declare that we will have a stable global society only when all racial and cultural differences have been erased. In short, some globalists are ethnonationalists. They believe in the “one people, one nation” principle. Thus to construct a single world state, they wish to construct a single, mongrelized humanity. So much for diversity.
Ethnonationalists also believe in “one people, one state” (at least one state per people), but instead of destroying all existing peoples to create a world state, we wish to preserve all of them by giving them their own sovereign ethnostates.
Does this imply that the natural political unit is the racial state, i.e., all whites in one state, all Asians in another? And what do we make of mixed-race people?
Note that I said the first pillar of identity politics is kinship. I did not say it is race. Race alone is not a sufficient foundation for several reasons.
First, even within races, there are different degrees of relatedness. Genetic diversity, even within a race, may weaken the unity of a society and lead to conflict or the erosion of genetic differences, which are valuable and should be preserved. Note that I have said nothing of cultural diversity within the same races. Culture is the second pillar of identity politics, which we will discuss later.
Second, even societies in which most individuals are of a typical mixed-race type—such as countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Southeast Asia—still have an interest in propagating their genes into the future. They are still improved by greater homogeneity and undermined by greater diversity. Race mixing in the past is never an argument for increasing diversity in the present. In fact, one reason race-mixing took place in the past is to overcome the problems of diversity, i.e., of multiple races living in the same society.
What, then, is the political utility of the concept of race? Race is first and foremost a biological category. How does it become a political category?
First, race is politically important because people don’t stay in the same place. They migrate to new lands and intermarry with foreigners. Thus the question arises: What are the outer boundaries of assimilability, beyond which foreigners are not good candidates for becoming part of one’s society? Race is clearly the outer boundary of assimilability. Thus it made sense for the American founders to limit naturalization to “white persons.” Being white is not a sufficient condition for being American or German. But it should be a necessary condition.
Of course, if a society truly values homogeneity, then mere race is far too expansive a criterion for naturalization, since within the same race there is a great deal of genetic diversity. Beyond that, linguistic, cultural, and religious homogeneity also promote social harmony.
Second, race becomes a political category when Europeans find themselves facing common enemies of other races. When an Irishman and an Englishman spend time together, they tend to focus on their differences. But when they live alongside members of other races, they tend to notice their similarities, especially when there are racial conflicts.
Third, race becomes a political category when Europeans appeal to their common race, as well as deep cultural commonalities, to mediate and mitigate disputes among them.
White Nationalists are fond of the phrase “Our race is our nation.” But this is not literally true. The white race is not a people, because peoplehood is more than just kinship, which brings us to the second pillar of white identity politics: culture.
It is easy to understand why kinship alone is not a sufficient foundation for a harmonious society. Studies of identical twins raised in different environments give remarkable evidence of how fine-grained genetic determinism really is.
But imagine identical twins raised in really different environments: one in Yemen, the other in New York City. They might look the same, have the same favorite color, and gravitate toward the same hobbies and careers. But with radically different languages, religions, and value systems, they are hardly interchangeable. They would be completely lost if they switched places, and they would also be more capable of working and living with any random Yemeni or New Yorker than with one another.
In short, culture matters. Biology is our first nature, culture our second nature. Biology provides the hardware of consciousness, culture the software. Both are components of identity, so both matter to identity politics.
Indeed, culture matters so much to identity politics that it frequently trumps considerations of kinship. Thus peoples who are closely related genetically—like the Irish and the English or the Serbs, Croatians, and Bosnians—nurse ancient enmities because of differences of culture. (I include religion in the category of culture.)
A people is not just a group bound together by kinship. They also need to understand one another, which means they must share a common language. They also need to share a common history, values, and goals, or they won’t work well together. It is also best if they don’t belong to competing religious sects that teach people that their neighbors, classmates, and even their own kin are evil and deserve to be tortured for eternity.
In sum, a people is not just a collection of individuals who happen to be related to one another. They also must think of themselves as a people. Peoplehood = kinship + a common consciousness. Which means a common culture.
This is why the human race as a whole is not a people. Yes, all men are more or less cousins. But aside from the fact that there are enormous genetic differences between the races, there are enormous cultural chasms as well. We don’t share a common language, culture, religion, and way of life. Thus we don’t think of ourselves as a people.
Of course, there are a few committed cosmopolitans proclaiming the brotherhood of man. But they can’t really mean it. They can’t understand or relate to the vast majority of the human race. In fact, they can really relate only to fellow cosmopolitans. Beyond that, they feel no real affection for all of mankind. For one thing, they passionately hate nationalists like us. Thus, for the most part, cosmopolitanism is just empty high-minded talk, mere social signaling. But predators also use it as a battering ram to breach the borders of countries they wish to plunder.
If the human race as a whole is not a people, neither is the white race, for the same basic reasons. We may be genetically closer to one another than to the Papuans. But we do not share a common mother language. We have a common culture, but it includes dramatic cultural and religious polarities like Athens versus Jerusalem. We have a common history, but it is largely a record of political division and passionate enmities.
Culture is so prominent in identity politics that it is easy to think that biology plays no role at all. Furthermore, there is such a strong cultural taboo against “racism” that people are tempted to downplay biology or deny it altogether. Maybe we can simply say, “France is for the French. These other people don’t belong here.” Who needs to say anything about race?
The weakness of a purely cultural approach to identity is that it is too inclusive. It lets in people that the identitarians wish to exclude. If being French is a culture, you don’t have to be born French. People can become French as well. People migrate and intermarry all the time. Cultural assimilation may be rare and difficult, but it is real. Of course, for an immigrant, French is not his mother language. But there are now blacks and Asians for whom French is their mother language. If people from around the globe can become culturally French, then French identitarians have to talk about who are the best candidates for assimilation, which requires that we talk about race.
If one of the necessary conditions of peoplehood is group consciousness, how does this differ from the ideas of civic nationalism and the “social construction” of identity? The simple answer is that real communities require both kinship and consciousness.
There are, of course, communities that are pure social constructs, like the Dr. Who Fan Club. But nations, at their core, are kinship groups that share a common consciousness and are dedicated to the tasks of civilized life. That’s what makes them stronger, deeper, and more important than fan clubs and other fake identities concocted by consumer culture.
The idea that a nation is a pure social construct means that kinship is not an essential characteristic of nationhood. In concrete terms, that implies that the French people are no longer essential to the enterprise known as France. The French people are replaceable by foreigners, as long as their replacements pay lip-service to the designs of the ruling elite.
Cultural and credal forms of nationalism are organically connected to race replacement. If being American is simply a matter of a culture or a creed, then immigrants who learn English as adults and can pass a civics test are just as American as those who are born and bred to be Americans.
The next step is to argue that they are even better Americans. After all, immigrants choose to be Americans; they weren’t merely born to it, and liberalism makes a fetish of choice. How many Americans who were merely born there could pass a civics test, anyway? And isn’t it far easier to learn English as a child than as an adult? Perhaps these lazy, entitled Americans deserve to be replaced by hard-working immigrants, who will be grateful to their employers and to the government who hands them their papers.
When elites define you as replaceable, that’s because they intend to replace you. That’s why populism is on the rise. The people need to replace the elites before the elites can replace the people.
A real homeland is yours simply by birthright: You belong to it, and it belongs to you. A homeland does not define its citizens as replaceable. Indeed, it defines them as irreplaceable, because its entire purpose is to be their home. A country where you are replaceable is merely an economic zone, and when your borders are open to the clamoring billions of the global South, your days are numbered.
It is interesting that opponents of white identity politics—and only white identity politics—think that the idea of the “social construction” of identity is a silver bullet. Social constructivism is really two separate theses: the social construction of race and the social construction of culture.
I have argued elsewhere that the idea of the social construction of race is baseless and really rather dumb. But even if it were true, it is not an impediment to white identity politics.
First of all, the idea of the social construction of race does not deter the identity politics of non-whites. Indeed, non-white identitarians are often the very people who use the concept against whites. If it does not deter them, why should it deter us?
Whether race is a biological reality or merely a social construct, whites still know who we are (we’re the ones who are supposed to bear white guilt), we still have interests, and we can still collectivize to pursue our interests in the political realm. Quibbling about the metaphysical status of whiteness changes nothing from a political point of view.
Second, if race is a social construct, why shouldn’t whites seek to construct whiter nations? Indeed, it would make our task easier, because all questions of who is white can be simply answered by fiat.
Third, there is a sense in which race is shaped by laws and customs, insofar as they institute eugenic and dysgenic breeding policies. For instance, the vast mestizo populations of Latin America came about due to social policies. However, that does not imply that such peoples don’t have identities and interests of their own that might lead them to resist further social engineering. Just because they were socially constructed in the past does not mean that they should welcome the designs of elites that wish to transform or replace them.
As for the idea of the social construction of culture: I guess there’s nothing society can’t construct if it can even construct itself.
There were, of course, animal species (races) before there were cultures. Cultures, therefore, are the “constructs” of various races. Once cultures emerged, however, they influenced the subsequent evolution of races by encouraging dysgenic or eugenic breeding patterns. But races came first.
The amazing variety of cultures within the same race shows, however, that race does not determine every aspect of culture. Biology provides outer boundaries for the range of cultural variations. But within those boundaries, a great deal of culture arises from the free play of the human imagination.
When people speak of culture as a social construct, they mean that cultures are contingent—they didn’t have to happen, and they could have been otherwise—and that they persist because they are shared by many people.
To speak of culture as a “construct” or “convention,” however, is highly misleading, for these are conscious human creations. People do, of course, create conventions and other social constructs, e.g., red means stop, green means go. But creating such conventions already presupposes a background of other meaningful cultural practices. But if such practices are presupposed by conventions, then they can’t themselves be conventions.
Ultimately, language and culture belong to a third category: neither nature, nor convention or construction, but rather evolved social practices—products of human action, but not of human design and construction. And if at its core, culture is not a product of human design or construction, then it can’t be subjected to wholesale redesign and reconstruction. Changing one’s culture is not as simple as changing one’s mind.
Culture is also shaped by political power. Critics of ethnonationalism are fond of pointing out that many of today’s nations, such as France, were constructed by tyrants. But this in no way implies that the French today should not resist the ambitions of tyrants who wish to replace them with blacks and Muslims. All human affairs are infected by contingency. None of our nations had to be. None of them are guaranteed to last forever. But that is simply all the more reason to fight against those who would replace us.
Love of One’s Own
“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 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 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.
There is 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 th0se countries became “First World” without benefit of immigration, skilled or unskilled. Indeed, many of them saw massive emigration at the same time that they became modern powerhouses.
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 who love their own as well. Indeed, we can understand why they do so, 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. We are not interchangeable. This is who we are, and so we will remain. You will not replace us.
* * *
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* This lecture was written for the Scandza Forum in Zagreb, Croatia, on May 2, 2020. Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to Covid-19.
 J. P. Rushton, “Ethnic Nationalism, Evolutionary Psychology, and Genetic Similarity Theory,” Nations and Nationalism 11 (2005): 489–507 and Frank Salter, On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethnicity, & Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2006).
 Greg Johnson, “Why Race Is Not a Social Construct,” in In Defense of Prejudice (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2017) and It’s Okay to Be White.
 Here I am indebted to the anti-constructivist and conservative tradition in social theory that includes David Hume, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Michael Polanyi.
 See Greg Johnson, “Reflections on Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political,” New Right vs. Old Right (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2013).
 Greg Johnson, “What’s Wrong with Cosmopolitanism?,” In Defense of Prejudice.
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