Myth Revisited

GuessedWorker has responded to Myth and Self-Interest. In his latest entry, he reiterates his argument that mythization was not employed in the conquest, acquisition and settlement of the American West. He goes further and dismisses the examples I cited in my previous response as “post-facto romanticisations.” We seem to be crossing swords over the definition of “myth.”

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a myth is …

1.) a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon

2.) a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society; an unfounded or false notion

3.) a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence

I searched through several other dictionaries; all of them reiterated in so many words the same definition of the term, which was the sense in which I was using it.

“Manifest Destiny” meets all of the conditions of a myth. It was a “popular belief” or a “traditional story” that Americans told to explain their worldview and justify their national expansion across the North American continent. It clearly embodied the “ideals and institutions” of American culture. The notion that Americans were a “chosen people” and that the United States had a special destiny to stretch “from sea to shining sea” meets the third criterion of having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence.

In Myth and Self-Interest, I cited the work of Reginald Horsman and Eric Kaufmann to show that Americans conceived of their national identity in mythic terms. Horsman and Kaufmann cite other scholars that go into the specifics of the mythization process: the origins and duration of the Anglo-American myth complex, the depth of its penetration, its power and appeal, the role it played in national expansion and the maintenance of white supremacy. My conclusions rest on the edifice of their work (which GuessedWorker does not address).

Specifically, the Anglo-American myth was the belief that Americans were a chosen people (like the ancient Israelites), a branch of the innately superior Caucasian race with a peculiar love of freedom, who had a racial destiny to “bring good government, commercial prosperity, and Christianity to the American continents and to the world.” The unfolding of this process was the work of divine providence. Generations of Americans believed that North America (later the entire Western Hemisphere) was their birthright. Cuba, for instance, was often said to be a “ripe fruit” that was destined to drop from the “decadent Spanish tree” into the lap of the American Republic.

This type of rhetoric colored the public debates on national expansion in nineteenth century. It is difficult to see America’s national expansion as purely the work of rational self-interest: did the sparsely populated United States really need Transappalachia, the Louisiana Territory, the Floridas, Texas, Oregon, California, the Southwest, Canada, Cuba, Alaska, Hawaii, the Phillippines, unchallenged dominion over the Western Hemisphere, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the China market and later the entire world?

Pace GuessedWorker, I don’t think so. In the absence of this Anglo-American myth, American history would have unfolded otherwise, as it has since the 1930’s. A demonization of the American founding has replaced the romantization that once reigned unchallenged in the past. It is clearly a myth like its predecessor: it is an interpretation of history that carries moral and political significance, one that justifies the domination and actions of the Jewish ruling class over the indigenous Anglo-Americans.

This poses a problem for the claim that self-interest, as opposed to myth, is fundamentally operative: the racial masochism of contemporary Whites is obviously not in our collective self-interest, but it reigns unchallenged across the entire West. America doesn’t have any special destiny to “progress” into a colorblind utopian society. This is a complete fiction: an imaginary, unverifiable teleological myth. Yet it emanates from Barack Obama’s White House and the highest circles of power and influence. Those who argue against the power of myth have the burden of explaining the status quo.

In my previous post, I gave other examples of myths at work in American history: the myth of the Lost Cause, the myth of the Ku Klux Klan, the myth of the Old South, the myth of the Civil Rights Movement. These were all “traditional stories” about “ostensibly historical events” that “embodied the ideals and institutions of a society” (white supremacy or egalitarian democracy). I have already pointed out on two occasions how D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation led directly to the formation of the Second Klan (the largest nativist organization of its time with millions of members).

In the Journal of Film and Religion, Robert C. Salter writes:

The Birth of a Nation was one of the most important films of all time, both for its technical and aesthetic achievements and for its enduring legacy of racism.  This paper uses Bruce Lincoln’s approach to myth as a form of discourse and Robert Bellah’s notion of civil religion to show how Birth might be understood as a mythic component of American civil religion.  From this perspective, Birth serves as a paradigmatic story of American origins rooted in ideas of white supremacy.  At the end of the article Oscar Micheaux’s work, Within our Gates, is used to briefly demonstrate filmic strategies for countering Birth as myth.

(The other) Salter spends a lot of time analyzing The Birth of a Nation as a myth. In his words, it was “a strategic discourse aimed at producing a particular sense of American identity and purpose by presenting as paradigmatically true an idiosyncratic account of America’s origins.” He invokes Bruce Lincoln who holds that “society is a synthetic construct held together primarily by sentiments elicited from discourse.” In other words, our sense of identity is closely bound not only to shared ancestry, but to the stories (or myths) we tell about ourselves and pass down to future generations.

This is why the capture of the media, universities and public schools has been so disastrous for us. Our enemies have used these institutions to brainwash the young with the cosmopolitan/expressivist mythos. They are essentially poisoning our culture. Correspondingly, the triumphant Anglo-American myth of the founding settlers is no longer heard from. Instead, America has been cast as an ideological project (with no ethnic or racial component) in which Anglo-Americans are sentenced to perpetual penance for the racial sins of their ancestors (slavery, white supremacy, segregation, structural and institutional racism, etc).

In Eric P. Kaufmann’s words, “the American myth-symbol complex was purged by the nation’s cultural leaders of its white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant components. With this intellectual backing removed, American dominant ethnicity had only its less educated, traditionalist population to fall back on, a constituency that would decline markedly in the decades ahead.” (The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, 174) At least on this crucial point, Kevin MacDonald agrees with Kaufmann’s historical assessment.

The task before us is plain enough to discern: it is to reintroduce, reconstruct or reinvent the Anglo-American myth, construct an alluring White American ethnic identity around it, build a mass movement, and challenge the status quo. It is no small task. Parsing data points (while helpful in some areas) is the wrong way to go about this. The proof is that the people who spend the most time doing this (RR/HBD) are rarely moved to become White separatists. As I said before, something more is needed.

Admittedly, this is beyond my abilities.  Such a task is for a racialist with a different bent of mind than my own. William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries was a crude effort, but it was nominally successful and a step in the right direction. Harold Covington has written a number of novels about his proposed Northwest Migration (to little effect). I haven’t read them, but Michael O’Meara is a fan. In the past, I have been extremely skeptical of the Northwest Republic. Still, these stories about the future have been very influential within the vanguardist wing of the White Nationalist movement in North America.

We have yet to find our own Thomas Dixon, Jr. I fail to see how this line of work (which is targeted at a different audience) is a threat to those who prefer to discuss the ethnic genetic interests of White Europeans. In the United States, a majority of Americans have yet to accept Darwinism. The myth of Christ is far more influential amongst the masses than the conclusions of natural science. This fact alone suggests that we need more readily accessible vehicles (art, films, literature) to present our ideas than dry academic texts.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
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  1. Americanism is stupid. Americans are Germans, Brits, French, Irish, etc – in other words, White Europeans. And because we should seek to destroy petty bourgeois nationalism, just White.

  2. It’s not the many don’t understand science. It’s that no one storms Omaha Beach due to a theorem. Men live by a code, and fight and die for it if need be, because they are animated by the soul of the society in which they live, of which they are a part.

    And the basis for the soul is its purpose, its meaning. The way that essential element is communicated is through the older generation instructing the young on the shared history of The People, i.e. their myths, legends, heroes, and stuggles.

    The reason so many of our people are aimless right now, guzzling down anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication washed down with buckets of Mountain Dew and lots of time spent navel-gazing, is that the liberal democratic order’s inner logic has finally succeeded in reducing the People to a collection of atomized individuals.

    They are free, to be sure. But they are without purpose, without meaning, without myths.

    Man is a social animal. He cannot live without politics, and he cannot live well without being ruled. The results are all around us: world-historical wealth and a public space so filled with vile degenerates and slobbish males posing as Men, swirling and feverish economic activity to no end, but no laughter, no art, no community, no humor, no love.

    It cannot last. It’s fundamentally inhuman.

    To begin again will require a new movement, one that will construct its own heroes and myths. We don’t know how that will happen (though, sadly, given the scope of the problem it appears to me it will be a spasm of violence that will make folks pine for the relatively peaceful 20th Century), but I assure you it will.

  3. We need a brilliant propaganda campaign without a doubt. However, whether it be fact or fiction, without mass media on our side our effectiveness will be limited.

    Would the myth of Obama, our post-racial mulatto savior, have been effective without the mass media pushing it? Not at all.

  4. Speaking of books like the late Dr. Pierces (pbuh) and Covingtons, what about this one by Ward Kendall?

    “”Hold Back This Day” – by Ward Kendall
    Hold Back This Day”Hold Back This Day” was written, says author Ward Kendall, because too many whites today cannot envision what kind of world they’re leaving to their children and their children’s children. It will be an unrecognizable world, Kendall explains, one in which whites will eventually vanish altogether.

    But the worst nightmare of all awaits the last surviving Caucasians, those few who will have to face unrelenting discrimination in a world of swarming, mongrelized humanity, even as the cold hand of racial extinction slowly closes around them.
    Yet “Hold Back This Day” is ultimately a tale of redemption and heroism in the face of impossible odds, one that will leave every white who loves his race cheering at the end”. ”

  5. Harold Covington’s books are – well, the first one is, anyway, I haven’t read the others – very bad. The protagonists always win. Their plans always work. The enemy is always stupid. The enemy is those vile horrible hateful Americans who are all so stupid and incompetent. Uh, I’m an American, thanks for subconsciously pissing me off Mr Author. All characters are one-dimensional. Everything happens the way he wishes it would. It reads like wish-fulfillment fantasy by somebody who reads US military technical manuals obsessively and thinks he knows how to talk like a soldier but has never actually engaged in any kind of complex project involving multiple people – like people are gameboard pieces. There’s no concept that things might happen the way the author or protagonists don’t expect or want.

    Beyond that there’s just nothing there to learn from.

  6. RE Covington’s novels: if one reads the first novel of the NW Quartet, THE HILL OF THE RAVENS, the back story of the plot is the massacre of the rebel army’s Olympic Flying Column by US forces. So how that translates to “The protagonists always win. Their plans always work. The enemy is always stupid” is beyond me.

  7. @Prozium: great post, as usual.

    @Rollory: I’ve read all four of the quartet and would consider The Hill of the Ravens the weakest of the four. I don’t regret reading it, but it just doesn’t compare to the others, particularly A Distant Thunder and The Brigade. A Mighty Fortress falls somewhat short of the best, but I would still consider it worth a read.

    As I’ve made clear elsewhere, my vision is a little more ambitious than peeling off a few Northwestern states. Well, o.k., a lot more ambitious. I’m therefore not a cheerleader for the Northwest strategy per se…but on the other hand whatever works is fine with me. In any event, I won’t repeat those arguments here, rather I will give credit where it is due. Covington, whatever else he may or may not be, is a real talent as a writer and storyteller.

    While I don’t think the Northwest strategy is necessarily the best approach, I would highly recommend reading both The Brigade and A Distant Thunder, and then perhaps A Mighty Fortress. These are far more realistic and insightful than the science fictiony whodunit Hill of the Ravens. For that matter, they are superior to any racialist fiction of which I am aware. Blows The Turner Diaries out of the water.

  8. “A demonization of the American founding has replaced the romantization that once reigned unchallenged in the past.”

    Excellent, and another example of the Polarization of our Enlightenment culture. Time to transcend it.

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