Questions of Identity
There’s a remarkably bad-tempered argument taking place among racial identitarians at the moment (some links here), which makes the civility and intelligence of these remarks all the more notable. (For this blog, the Social Matter discussion was a reminder of the — similarly civilized — exchange with Matt Parrott that took place in the comment thread here.)
In case anyone is somehow unclear about the quality of the neighborhood White Nationalism finds itself in, or adjacent to, it’s worth a brief composite citation from the Andrew Anglin post cited above:
You [Colin Liddell] agree with Jewish agendas, which is why you would wish to obfuscate the fact that Jews are responsible for everything by claiming we shouldn’t blame the Jews for our problems. … The reason these two [CL plus Greg Johnson] are on the same side against me is that they share the quality that they have no interest in a popular movement, and despise anyone who would attempt to take that route. … I am, unashamedly, a populist. Every successful revolutionary movement in history has been populist in nature … Hitler was a populist.
While I have to confess to finding Anglin entertaining, I hope it goes without saying that this kind of thinking has nothing at all to do with NRx. In fact, revolutionary populism almost perfectly captures what Neoreaction is not. NRx is notoriously fissiparous, but on the gulf dividing all its variants from racial Jacobinism there can surely be no controversy. So the barking you can hear in the background serves as necessary context. (This does not count as an objection to the Neo-Nazis acquiring their own state, since that would make it even easier not to live among them than it is already. Unfortunately, it is not easy to imagine the separatist negotiations going smoothly.)
Because everything further to be said on this topic is complicated, I’m restricting my ambitions here to a series of discussion points, roughly sketched:
(1) NRx diversity conflicts are considerably less heated than those presently gripping the WNs, in part — no doubt — because the immediate political stakes are even smaller. It nevertheless introduces a massively complicating factor. For those (not exclusively found in the Tech-Comm camp, but I suspect concentrated there) who consider Moldbug‘s work canonical, the distinction between NRx and White Nationalism (as also antisemitism) is already quite clearly defined. Among those of a predominantly Eth-Nat. inclination, on the other hand, far more border-blurriness exists.
(2) The relationship between White Nationalism and HBD is also complex. From outside, the two are regularly conflated, but this is a crude error. The zone of intersection — exemplified by Frank Salter (and perhaps Kevin MacDonald) — is characterized by a concern with ethnic genetic interests, but this is by no means an axiomatic theoretical or practical commitment among HBD bloggers. More typically, HBD-orientation is associated with cosmopolitan spirit of scientific neutrality, meritocratic elitism, and a suspicion of the deleterious consequences of inbreeding, often accompanied by a tendency to philosemitism and sinophilia. Racial solidarity does not follow necessarily from biorealism, but requires an extraneous political impulse. Whatever connection is forged between WN and HBD owes more to their common opposition to the West’s dominant Lysenkoism and Leftist (blank-slate, victimological) race politics than to any firm internal bond.
(3) The triangular linkages between NRX, WN, and libertarianism are also intricate. Consider this (fascinating) talk by Richard Spencer, to a libertarian audience, for a quick sense of the territory being navigated. The moment of dark enlightenment for libertarians tends to accompany the recognition that the cultural foundations of laissez-faire social arrangements have an extreme ‘ethnic’ specificity. This accommodation of right libertarians to neoreactionary ideas is not associated with a comparable approximation to White Nationalism, however, since the very ethnic characteristics being accentuated — the high-trust cosmopolitan openness of strongly outbred populations — are exactly those provoking WN despair as the roots of pathological altruism and ethnomasochism. (This is a ruinous paradox basic to the relevant ruminations here.)
(4) A closely-connected problem is that of cutting ethnies at the joints. (Within NRx, this is the thede topic.) While there are no doubt some neoreactionaries comfortable with the category of ‘whites’ as a positive thede, for others it seems far too broad — whether due to its inconsistency within any historical nation, its amalgamation of populations culturally divided by the Hajnal line, its aggregation across relatively hard regional, class, and ideological divisions, or generally because — almost without exception — the most bitter and ruthless enemy of any given group of white people has been another group of white people. When WNs speak of a ‘World Brotherhood of Europeans’ it strikes most neoreactionaries (I suspect) as scarcely less comical than an appeal for universal human brotherhood, since it blithely encompasses the most vicious and ineliminable antagonisms in the world.
(5) Finally (for now) there’s the relation of NRx to the ENR — already a grating concern, and (since the ENR is also already highly diverse) beyond the scope of anything but the most glancing treatment. From the perspective of this blog, the most aggravating figure is undoubtedly Alain de Benoist — whose brilliance is directed towards the most radical articulation of anti-capitalism to be found anywhere outside the Marxist tradition (and even within it). NRx Tech-Comms have the same level of sympathy for such ideas as they do for the legacy of Saloth Sar or Hugo Chavez, and insofar as they are proposed as an element of a potential coalition, the enterprise is immediately collapsed to a farce. This touches upon the wider concern that WN thinking often appears to skirt, and on occasions to overtly embrace, a simple racial socialism and thus by some definitions reduce to a leftist — even extreme leftist — ideology. Seen from Outside in, there are far superior prospects to be found in the realist darkening of right libertarians than in coalition-building with clear-eyed collectivists.
(6) Things we can agree upon without much difficulty: The dominant power structure is racially obsessed and (schizophrenically) committed to the effacement of all racial reality; racial differences have substantial social consequences; the native populations of historically white societies are being subjected to an ideological (and criminal) onslaught of deranged intensity; the legal concept of ‘disparate impact’ is fundamentally corrupt; universal prescriptions for the social, political, cultural, and economic arrangements of diverse groups are doomed to failure; ethnic separatism (of any kind) is a legitimate political aspiration; free association and freedom of conscience are principles to be unconditionally defended; science is not answerable to ideology; … this list could no doubt be extended. (I am more uncertain about whether there is anything here that either NRxers or WNs would want to deduct.)
Clearly, and in general, there is much more to be said about all of this, with every reason for confidence that it will be said.
ADDED: Gregory Hood on the First Identitarian Congress.
ADDED: Fred Reed on monstrous über-racist Jared Taylor.
ADDED: Only tangentially connected, but too eloquent to miss out on, Charles Murray on the 20th anniversary of The Bell Curve: “… the roof is about to crash in on those who insist on a purely environmental explanation of all sorts of ethnic differences, not just intelligence. Since the decoding of the genome, it has been securely established that race is not a social construct, evolution continued long after humans left Africa along different paths in different parts of the world, and recent evolution involves cognitive as well as physiological functioning. […] The best summary of the evidence is found in the early chapters of Nicholas Wade’s recent book, ‘A Troublesome Inheritance.’ We’re not talking about another 20 years before the purely environmental position is discredited, but probably less than a decade. What happens when a linchpin of political correctness becomes scientifically untenable? It should be interesting to watch. I confess to a problem with schadenfreude.”