Why paleocons don’t believe in white America

The below is from a long discussion several weeks ago in a small e-mail group in which I sometimes participate. In this discussion, two ideas are put forward that may seem quite surprising. The first is that the paleoconservatives, notwithstanding their hardline image, are in fact not racialist and do not care about defending white America. The second is the reason for this. By “racialist,” of course, I do not mean “racist,” but simply the belief that race matters as a factor in human life, and that one cares about the well-being and survival of the white race and the civilization it created. To set this up, one of the participants, a recent immigrant (not subsequently figuring in this exchange), was sounding rather dismissive of the early Protestant Americans. The following ensued.


The WASPS, Scotch-Irish, and other whites who were here before 1800, built most of America. Even today, they are more than 1/3 of the population.

They created our polity and institutions and were nice enough to let others come join them. We have repaid their generosity with contempt.


This is why I am a racialist. In the absence of a shared white racial identity, white America tends to dissolve into its component parts.


It’s worth mentioning that Thomas Fleming has for years opposed any kind of white racialism on the basis that there is no such thing as the white race, that it is only an unreal abstraction (in the same way that he sees America itself as an unreal abstraction). Fleming says the only real collective entities are specific regional and religion groups, e.g., Southerners, Midwest Catholics, whatever, but not whites as such.

To this, I counter that, in reality, white Americans have always seen themselves as white Americans. White America is a historically real identity, it is what we are. If you destroy that identity, you destroy what we are. This is not to dismiss the smaller groupings that Fleming talks about. But the larger group that all those groups are a part of is white America.


Does Fleming admit the existence of poodles, dalmatians, and dobermans?


He became very hostile to white racialism in the early ‘90s after Jared Taylor appeared on the scene.

It’s true that Taylor’s racialism may be too reductive, and that may explain Fleming’s hostility to it. But he took the rejection too far, denying there was such a thing as white America.

It’s a further example of how unhelpful, to put it mildly, the paleocons have become, they hate Israel because Israel has ethnic nationhood which Israel’s supporters unfairly deny to the U.S., yet at the same time the paleocons themselves won’t defend American ethnic nationhood.


Well, prominent paleos like Sam Francis were racialists.


True. But a lot of paleos and paleo-libs basically have agreed with Fleming. You don’t see direct discussions about race as race in Chronicles or at Lew Rockwell. Justin Raimondo is supposedly a paleo-lib, yet he attacked me last year as a racist for things I have said about black-white differences. And of course Buchanan (who is not a paleocon, but people have lost these distinctions) has avoided discussions of race. Scott McConnell, Buchanan’s editor, denies that race matters. Meanwhile, Sam’s racialism was unusual in its outspokenness (or it became so). So he was not typical. On balance, I’d say anti-racialism has been more typical of the paleoconservative movement than racialism.

As I said, it’s an index of how useless they have been. Instead of taking a principled stand in defense of the white West against the non-white influx, the paleocons indulge in hatred of of neocons and Israel.

Gosh, if they were going to be haters, couldn’t they hate something useful?


I agree with Larry on this point about the paleos entirely. What has happened is that paleos have become so terrified of racial and genetic issues that they run away from them even more dramatically than the NYT. Chronicles, Modern Age, and American Conservative all illustrate this tendency perfectly.


Why does P. think this has happened? Why should the paleos be terrified of being called racist? They’re not terrified of being called Israel haters. They’re not terrified of taking the side of Islamists and terrorists. Therefore I suspect that their motive for avoiding racial issues is not terror of being called racist; I suspect the motive is that they hate America. To defend “white America” is to defend a larger American identity that 200 million European Americans would potentially belong to. But paleos are against any larger American identity. A larger American identity would mean an American nation. The paleos are against the American nation. It was the American nation that the “bloodthirsty tyrant” Lincoln defended/created and that the heroic South sought to dismember. The paleocon idea is to undo the work of Lincoln. Belief in a white America—in an American nation—stands in the way of that.


Larry shouldn’t read too much into this. For most paleos race issues are the third rail. The liberals and neocons would finish them off, or so paleos tell me, if they even touch the race question. I think they are right, but in Tom Fleming’s case, the avoidance of the third rail has become so obsessive that he has declared war on everyone (except his former classmate SF) who even brings up the issue of race. There is nothing philosophical about this avoidance. It is dictated entirely by the fear of vanishing completely as a political force. Last year a neoconn-controlled newspaper in Pittsburgh was preparing to do an expose on me as a racist but apparently abandoned the project for want of damning evidence. That is because I avoid providing the smoking gun.


That’s amazing and appalling if true. Has Fleming himself told you this? You would think that the paleocons are so far outside the liberal/neocon mainstream that they can’t be pushed farther outside it than they already are. What’s the point of being such big bad bullies, professional haters of neocons, and simultaneously running around in terror of the neocons? It doesn’t make sense.


I don’t see why this shocks Larry so much. Racism is an extraordinarily toxic charge today. I’m not sure what compares with it.


If I can talk about race and race differences and the importance of protecting the white West, why can’t the paleocons? Have you seen my article, “How the 1964 Civil Rights Act made Group Entitlements Inevitable”? It’s at VFR and published at the Citizens Informer. My theme is that the Act so undid white America morally that whites lost the standing and confidence to oppose all the further perversions of civil rights toward group rights. I say that the only way America can maintain an individual rights regime, is through the dominance of a confident white majority. And what about my big article on racial differences in intelligence, which I’ve left featured on VFR’s main page for the last two years?

If I can write things like that, why can’t Fleming et al?

If they believed in these things, they would write about them. The only explanation for their silence is that they don’t believe in them.

What they believe in is hating neocons and Israel. [I should add that Chronicles has not had the virulent anti-Israel stand that The American Conservative has had.]

However, it occurs to me that another possible factor in their silence on race is that, being such haters, they don’t know how to talk about sensitive subjects like this other than in a rancorous, menacing way. Inchoately realizing that they don’t have the ability to discuss race in a civilized and rational manner, and that they would be harshly attacked if they did discuss it, they stay away from it. Which only points again to their uselessness.


I also suspect that the paleos’ cowardice on race exists because of their desire to build bridges with the Left (Nader, etc.) Both Nader and the paleos hate Israel, but Nader and Co. would never become their allies if they detected a whiff of racialism. Let’s face it: Scotty and Tom are on their knees in front of the anti-globalization Left.


To everyone, each of your disagreements and qualifications only confirms my point.

If the paleocons care about an alliance with the anti-American left more than they care about white America, that means that they don’t care about white America.

You-all just can’t get this through your heads, because it goes so much against our usual concepts of what paleocons are about—right-wingers, racialist, defending traditional America, and so on. You don’t understand that they’ve become reactive, negative beings, who don’t believe in anything except for supporting the enemies of their perceived enemies.


It is tough to admit that most paleos are not racialists. But I guess it’s part of their ugly metamorphosis into semi-anti-Semitic, hate-filled, sidelined beings who are full of this dark hatred.


E., my man, you’ve got it.

And this is in direct proportion to their despair about America. The more one has given up on America (which, considering everything, would be understandable if still not right), the more one no longer has a ground to stand on, a larger entity to be a part of. It is the loss of one’s world, one’s father. This has a catastrophic effect on one’s moral, psychic, intellectual being. The person no longer has a world he can be positive about. His only remaining purpose and consolation in life is strike back at the hated parties who (as he perceives it) have robbed him of his world.


No wonder they get along with the left so well: all they’ve really got is their resentment.


Now I suppose there could be a somewhat less uncharitable interpretation. They’re not reacting out of despair and hatred, but rather they are sincere regionalists/federalists who do not believe in the American nation because any American nation is too big and contains too many people that the paleos don’t like. So they dream of some kind of devolution of the U.S. to the state or country level where they could have a community they believe in. (For example, paleos living in Rockford Illinois could have their own statelet.) But to get there, they’ve got to delegitimize the American nation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 03, 2005 10:34 PM | Send

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