Editor’s Note: I’ve grown a lot over the past year especially physically in terms of my health, spiritually in terms of my religion and I have also continued to flesh out both my economic beliefs and work on my interest in political science.
I’ve given a great deal of thought to a particular problem.
The problem that I have been steadily working on for the past 18 years is how do we fix the American South. How do we fix the poorest, most heterogeneous places like the Alabama Black Belt which have been left behind under the paradigm of free-market capitalism? As a lifelong resident of this area, it is obvious to me that the current system isn’t working for the Southern people.
My first answer which I embraced somewhere around 2001 or 2002 was White Nationalism 1.0. This is a solution which undoubtedly horrifies most “progressives.” As a smart person though, I found a lot of hidden truths, however, in the White Nationalism 1.0 paradigm. It is true, for example, that race exists and that cognitive stratification in the context of a free-market capitalist economy is constantly draining my area – just as it also happens globally – of its brightest minds and most talented workers. Smart people don’t want to live in a poor place like the Mississippi Delta or Appalachia.
The second great truth that I found in White Nationalism 1.0 was the suppression of the truth about the Jewish Question. It is simply true that Jews are disproportionately concentrated in the American political, cultural and economic elite. It has been that way since the mid-20th century and has arguably reached its climax in the age of Blompf, Sheldon Adelson and Bibi Netanyahu. Future historians will look back on the 20th century and see the rise of Jewish power, wealth and cultural influence in Russia, Germany, the United States and other European countries as one of its dominant features.
The third great truth that attracted me to White Nationalism 1.0. was a positive sense of White identity. As I came of age, I encountered a world in which White identity had been stigmatized in “mainstream” society many years before I was born. It was demonized on the Left. It was suppressed on the cuckservative Right which was afraid to rock the boat of political correctness. Quite simply, no one but the White Nationalists were willing to create a discursive space, even if it was only one that was shrouded in the anonymity of the internet, that validated a positive and healthy sense of White identity.
The fourth great attraction of White Nationalism 1.0 was the idea of a White ethnostate. As someone who grew up in one of the blackest, poorest parts of the United States, which also happens to be one of the most racially polarized parts of the United States, the idea of unscrambling the South’s historical demographics was intuitively appealing. In the 21st century, we are still shouting at each other across racial lines. We are still arguing over antiquated, obsolete grievances like slavery which ended in 1865. In fact, the whole country has gone over to racial resentment and identity politics. When I look at countries like Japan or China that are still ethnically, culturally and racially homogeneous and thus have much greater social cohesion and far less government dysfunction, I see this as a significant advantage over the United States which celebrates the notion that “diversity is our strength.”
Unfortunately, the White Nationalism 1.0 paradigm suffers from any number of flaws which became more apparent to me as I spent more time engaging with people in that online space. Specifically, the greatest problem with that model is that White people lack a common culture. White people are not an ethnic group like, say, the Chinese or the Poles. We lack a shared sense of culture and identity. It occurred to me that even within the United States that there are several White cultures which historically have been rivals. I’m referring, of course, to the age old rivalry between the White South and the White East. I found that this sectional rivalry explains much about American history and politics.
Perhaps the United States really needed to balkanize along racial and cultural lines? Instead of a White ethnostate, we could bring back Dixie, Yankeedom or Cascadia? It was this line of reasoning that led me to believe that Southern Nationalism was the answer. In an independent South, we would be far more culturally homogeneous and our new national government would be far less dysfunctional. Obviously, dissolving the Union would allow us to move forward into the 21st century.
I still think Southern Nationalism is an advance over White Nationalism 1.0.
The driving idea that attracted me to both of these paradigms was a perceived loss of social cohesion. White Southerners are a branch of the great European family of nations. We have our culture, history, heritage and sensibilities, but it is foolish to say that a Southern man is just interchangeable with Poles, Italians, Yankees, Greeks, etc. It became increasingly obvious to me that White Nationalism 1.0 was deaf to the reality of cultural geography. We don’t merely need a common racial identity because that is too weak of a sauce to mobilize around. We need a common culture as well.
Unfortunately, Southern Nationalism has its own baggage and problems. The biggest problem is that until recently it was only attractive to Boomers who want to “restore the Confederacy” in the 21st century, but who are motivated by mere nostalgia, an aesthetic attraction to the Confederate Battle Flag and who are deeply ignorant of what the Confederacy actually was and imagine it to have been a modern day multiracial paradise where hundreds of thousands of Black Confederates “rode with Forrest.” We’ve nicknamed these people the Rainbow Confederates for their comical takes on the Southern past.
The second biggest problem of Southern Nationalism which became increasingly obvious to me during my 6 years as an activist is that Southern identity in the 21st century is heavily stigmatized. It is also extremely attenuated and low-wattage. In Blood and Soil: How Southerners Became a Separate and Distinct People, I closed with a warning that “if that ethnic core which was built up over three centuries is allowed to be displaced or its historical sense of solidarity is allowed to disintegrate, the South will lose its coherence and whither away. We will become strangers in our own land.”
In his 1997 book Power in the Blood, the Canadian writer John Bentley Mays who traces his roots back to the South beautifully describes the Southern tradition as “noble, failed attempts to raise on Southern ground a culture rooted in the natural order of our seasons, to build a civilization free of cruel utopianism and metropolitan alienation, sustained by loyalties to place.” I remain as deeply committed to this project of rehabilitating the Southern tradition as ever. I will go to my grave as a proud White Southerner and no force on earth will ever make me renounce my loyalty to my people.
For most of the 2000s and 2010s, I experimented with White Nationalism and Southern Nationalism, but I also had a lot of overlap with the Alternative Right. That was because I was interested in more than the existence of race, the Jewish Question, White identity, creating an ethnostate and Southern culture and identity. I’m also a populist who is deeply interested in history. I have developed strong views on economics and foreign policy which put me squarely in the “alt-right” camp.
As I have explained in The 15 Points of 3.0, the alt-right built on White Nationalism 1.0. Specifically, it took those ideas inherited from an older generation and it wrapped them in a sense of humor. It added digital art and meme warfare as a tactic. The alt-right also became highly interested in infiltrating American politics and identitarianism became the backbone philosophy of the movement. This was also an advance over White Nationalism 1.0 in many ways and it resonated with a broader audience. More than anything else, it occurs to me that the difference between the two boils down to style.
Unfortunately, the alt-right has its own series of massive problems, and it came crashing down at Michigan State last March. It was at that point that I decided that I had seen enough. I decided that I was going to take some time off, clear my head, rethink everything and start to build my own paradigm rather than relying on the thinking of all these other failed paradigms. It is a task which I spent a solid year working on largely offline in preparation for writing a book to launch a 3.0 movement.
What would it realistically take to fix a place like the American South? How do we revive the Southern tradition in the world of the 21st century?
In order to fix the American South, we first need to fix the Southern economy. We have to fix Southern culture. We also need a different political strategy. It is only after these three steps have been accomplished that we can begin to reconstruct Southern civilization. In short, everyone must have a stake in the Great Plantation and must be persuaded to adopt a better paradigm.
We’ve been going about this the wrong way expressing our own identity by holding these little Confederate rallies across the South. Instead of fighting with our elites, we should try cooperating with them and persuading them for a change. Instead of engaging in conflict with other racial, ethnic and cultural groups, we should try to find common ground with them. More to the point, we need everyone to adopt a better vision of the future, a better paradigm of how to live in the 21st century and then we need to start building the consensus that we need to advance mutual goals.
Culturally: We must singlemindedly focus on detoxifying our culture by eliminating political correctness. It is an evil ideology that only alienates and divides people, inflames them with hatred and resentment and pits groups against each other. It pits women and against men. It pits everyone else against the White majority. As a consequence, we are living in the most dysfunctional culture and government we have had since the Civil War. No one really enjoys the present state of affairs and would rather be relieved of it for we can all move on with our lives to accomplish better things like, say, going to Mars.
There is a better way forward for everyone. This is especially true of the American South. Instead of political correctness, we can communicate across the political divide in a common moral language, Protestantism, or more generally in terms of simply returning to Christianity. We could also revive the shared heritage of the Enlightenment which had interesting solutions to the bigotry and fanaticism of the 17th century like freedom of speech, individual liberty and religious tolerance.
I would also strongly suggest rehabilitating the classics as well especially Aristotle who was greatly admired in the antebellum South. When everyone focuses on practicing how to be a better Christian or a kinder person or a more temperate person instead of asserting their identity and demanding that it be validated by whoever is currently in power, shouting down other people on Twitter or engaging in street violence, then we can depolarize things and move forward as a country.
Real morality is universal and accessible to anyone. Ethics is not identity politics. Political correctness is just the opposite. It simply damns people on the grounds of immutable characteristics, creates resentment and stirs fanaticism, which inevitably leads to violence. It offers them no escape. I’ve compared it to a secularized version of Purgatory but for one for which there is no indulgence. Seriously, if you had committed a great sin under the Renaissance Papacy, you could simply buy an indulgence to settle the matter.
How is this not a better solution than the system we live under today?
Economically: The paradigm of free-market capitalism has failed the American South. It has especially failed places like where I live such as the Alabama Black Belt. If we are honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that the economy hasn’t been all that dynamic here since slavery. We’ve gone from being one of the richest regions in America to one of the poorest.
The answer as to why this is the case is staring you in the face. Just drive through the Alabama Black Belt and see what I see. It is first and foremost a vast, depopulated wilderness now in the 21st century. It has been that way since the end of sharecropping by the mechanical cotton picker and the tractor from the 1940s to the 1960s. It was technology and federal investment that liberated our people from the cotton fields, not Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.
The reason that chattel slavery worked and generated so much wealth in our region is because it skillfully combined management, labor, scientific research, capital, technology, investment and international trade to generate wealth in the old plantation complex. The free-market capitalist system, however, simply pronounced that everyone was henceforth “free” and the result was chaos, disorganization, underinvestment, technological retardation and the cognitive stratification of the workforce with all the smart people moving out of this area in such of economic opportunity in large metro areas like Houston or Atlanta. The industrial jobs were also free traded away except for the assembly plants that foreigners like the South Koreans, Germans and Japanese have built here to conquer our market.
Fortunately, the People’s Republic of China has realized this and has created a better economic model that has lifted nearly a billion people out of poverty over the past several decades. It is building infrastructure like high speed rail all over China. Soon, China will surpass the United States by applying deep learning AI – the electricity of the 21st century – to the Chinese economy. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is incapable of even building a single mile of border wall much less passing his infrastructure plan.
Where do you think we are going under the current system? Forward?
Politically: If we truly want to move forward into the 21st century, we must recreate the populist-progressive political coalition of Franklin Roosevelt, and we must offer a 21st century New Deal to the Millennial and Zoomer generations that harnesses the power of deep learning AI to abolish wage slavery and poverty in our country. For generations, we’ve been barking up the wrong tree by voting for the Republican Party, which has been too cowardly to resist the encroachment of political correctness. By electing Andrew Yang as the 46th president, we can reconstruct the center of the American electorate and depolarize Washington, DC, and when the White working class returns to the Democratic Party and accepts its role as America’s largest racial tribe then political correctness and mass immigration as an ethic and political strategy will be shown to be both harmful and redundant.
Does the current dysfunction in Washington make more sense to you?
The rise of artificial intelligence will change everything about the world.
It will render all ideologies obsolete. If you are worried about “white supremacy” in the 21st century, you are a moron because AI is now the most intelligent race on earth. If you are a White Nationalist, the coming abundance of wealth generated by an automated global economy will give your descendants the means to live wherever they want in the world.
“Socialism vs. capitalism” will be made obsolete. “Progressivism vs. conservatism” will be obsolete. “Populism vs. libertarianism” will be obsolete. The gradual abolition of work in the 21st century will create so much wealth that we will have no choice but to redistribute it to the people through either the mailbox or through a simple debit card to buy products made by robotic slaves. The choice facing the political establishment in such a scenario will be either redistribution or a violent revolution.
In the context of an automated economy, the primary challenge moving forward will be how to reconstruct our shredded culture, as economics will become less of a concern as scarcity begins to vanish. Thomas Jefferson believed that economic independence was synonymous with the republican concept of liberty. In such a world, people will be truly free for the first time in history. They will be free to pursue higher order goods now only accessible to our elites and will inevitably become less resentful. As George Fitzhugh observed in the 1850s, all the -isms are ultimately generated by free-market capitalism, and the demise of free-market capitalism will lead to the healing of the social fabric.
In the long run, I think we will all go back to just being people again, as all of our currently irreconcilable ideological conflicts will be mysteriously solved. I think the abundance of wealth will relax and unwind racial, ethnic, class and religious hatred as people just resort themselves out in a post-modern economy in ways that are more satisfying and homogeneous. I don’t even think it even really depends on who wins the 2020 election because no one could stop railroads or electrification. Similarly, no force on earth will stop artificial intelligence, automation and robotics from changing the economy.
Note: The only real question is how fast are we going to start adapting to this new reality. How long will it take our culture, our politics and our sense of the future to catch up with technological change? Are we going to vote for $1,000 a month in 2020 or will we wait another few cycles as automation chews through the workforce and creates even more social and economic havoc?