Sailer versus Taylor on white nationalism

Steve Sailer is a unique figure on the contemporary scene who has made an original contribution to our understanding of various issues. I have frequently noted and praised his work. However, Sailer’s latest article at vdare, “Citizenism vs. White Nationalism,” a critique of the white racialist philosophy of Jared Taylor, exhibits Sailer’s two major weaknesses as a writer, which are curiously related to each other: his bio-reductiveness which makes him incapable of seeing larger issues and values; and his digressive and undisciplined way of writing. As an example of the latter, right in the middle of his argument he goes off on a riff about how Hispanics are invisible to whites. Then he goes off into another digression about liberal journalist William Saletan’s decision to reside in a white instead of a black neighborhood. These matters have little or nothing to do with his main theme, it’s just Sailer being unable to resist whatever biodiversity nugget has popped into his head. Toward the end of the article, Sailer once again breaks off from the main line of his argument and goes into several distracting and unhelpful analogies about his familiar pet biodiversity topics such as black athletes, Americans’ dislike of the French, and so on.

When he does focus from time to time on the actual theme of the article, which is that any white consciousness is unworkable, the way he employs biodiversity premises to make his case is highly questionable. He writes:

Paradoxically, Taylor is 1) both insufficiently idealistic about white Americans and 2) insufficiently cynical about them, too.

1) Taylor isn’t pro-white enough. American whites are too idealistic, too self-sacrificing for explicit white ethnocentrism to appeal to them broadly enough to succeed.

Taylor, in fact, is a striking example of this: a man who could have made a fortune in the computer business or been a success in mainstream politics, but chose to sacrifice everything to pursue his unfashionable ideals.

In his recent suppressed law review article, Professor Andrew Fraser outlined some of the possible roots of this white tendency toward idealism—stemming from the individualism and nuclear family-orientation that replaced clannishness in northwestern Europe.

This heritage makes white Americans among the world’s best at working together in corporations with strangers who aren’t their relatives.

But it also means that American whites tend to see tribalism as beneath them.

Sailer posits a generality which if it does exist is a part of the problem we’re trying to overcome, namely that whites suffer from a deficit of racial consciousness compared to other groups and seem to have no will to resist other groups’ racial agendas, and then he concludes, because whites aren’t racial enough, that white consciousness is an impossibility. His argument comes down to saying: Whites shouldn’t try to survive as a race, because whites don’t have the will to survive as a race anyway. But isn’t that the very thing that’s at issue, and that can only be found out by trying? And isn’t trying to save white Western civilization more important than anything? The underlying reality and motivation of this article is that Sailer himself feels nothing for the white race and its distinct civilization. Yet that feeling—and whether whites will recover it or not—is the decisive factor. It is a spiritual, not a material and deterministic, matter. Sailer can’t see this because he himself has no love or loyalty to the white race and is instead fascinated by the game of biodiversity.

Then Sailer says:

The American 200,000,000 whites are too numerous, too wealthy, too talented, and too self-absorbed to feel much solidarity with each other.

White Americans would rather strive against each other for prestige than against nonwhites because (although they will denounce anyone who suggests this), they generally don’t see many nonwhites as credible rivals.

This statement is both too conclusory and besides the point. We’re not talking about individual or ethnic competition (a concern which reflects Sailer’s blinkered Darwinian world view), we’re talking about whites realizing that the country is changing in the most radical way, that they are in danger of losing everything they have and everything they have been, and deciding to do something to prevent this from happening. Maybe they will realize it and try to stop the catastrophe, and maybe they won’t, but in either case, the outcome has nothing to do with whether whites would rather strive for prestige against nonwhites than against other whites, a typical Saileresque preoccupation. The question is not one of mechanistic forces of competition, the question is one of the moral imagination of whites, their love for their ancestors and what they accomplished, and their will to survive as a race and a civilization. These questions cannot be contained by a materialist Darwinian analysis. With his all-purpose Darwinian paradigm, Sailer is unable to grasp larger issues that lie outside Darwinism and its reductive view of human nature.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 12, 2005 12:59 AM | Send

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