Western Spring Editor's Note: There follows the transcript, slightly modified, of a very enlightening and incisive speech, made by Greg Johnson of Counter Currents at a meeting of the London Forum in October 2015. This speech is well worth listening to, and can be found on the internet, and the words and arguments used well worth studying and inwardly digesting for use when encountering debate with ‘right-wing’ individuals in particular, who have not yet progressed to nationalism:
The Refutation of Libertarianism
The title of my talk is a refutation of libertarianism, but it could be sort of an autobiographical thing, because it really is the story of how I started out as a libertarian individualist and ended up being a racist and an anti-Semite, and a kind of fascist!
How did that happen?
Well, it’s not an uncommon progress of thought, it’s not an uncommon thing, in fact in the United States in the past five or six years after the Ron Paul kind of movement got big, a lot of people got interested in his brand of libertarian individualism and slowly migrated further to the right, to ethno-nationalism and to White nationalism and so forth. And I’m familiar with that intellectual dialectic because I went through it a long time before hand.
So what is libertarianism?
Libertarianism is basically the politics of individualism, and individualism is both a metaphysical and a moral thesis.
What is metaphysical individualism?
Well, it’s basically the position that only individuals exist. Meaning that groups are just collections of individuals with no independent meaning and reality or identity. Groups are just groups of individuals and every trait they have is derived from their constituent parts.
Metaphysical individualism is connected with a view that I call universalism, and universalism is the idea that there is only one race, the human race. We hear that all the time? Which is just a collection of individuals.
So universalism implies no meaningful distinction between in-groups and out-groups, between ‘us’ and ‘them’. There’s just one big race and we’re just a bunch of individuals. Therefore politics as Carl Schmitt defined it is impossible. Politics for Schmitt is all about the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’. And for the libertarian individualist ultimately politics exists only on the sort of waning views of these smaller groups, these in-groups and out-groups that we imagine to be important, but they aren’t, and we need to get over our identification with these groups.
Therefore partiality to your in-group, as opposed to out-groups is morally illegitimate because there ultimately is no real ‘us’ and ‘them’. Therefore, we have to come up with a way of dealing with one-another – it’s not ‘us’ and them, it’s just ‘you’ and ‘me’. We’re just individuals.
So how can you and I get on with one-another? That brings us to the moral question of individualism, and that answer that the libertarian has is basically this:
If there are no real groups, then there are no group values, there are just individual values, individual preferences, and the purpose of social institutions is just to allow individuals to pursue their own individual preferences. It’s all about the pursuit of individual happiness.
The great facilitator of individuals pursuing their own aims is capitalism.
And what is capitalism?
Well if you have something that I want and I offer you a good price for it, we can trade, right?
It’s mutually beneficial, it’s voluntary, we’re both satisfying our self-interest — and if you have nothing that I want and I have nothing that you want, well we just walk on by. We just leave one-another alone, you know, we are just ships passing in the night, or strangers passing in the street.
The market place requires only a minimal ‘night-watchman’ kind of state to protect us against force, and fraud, and breach of contract. And as individuals we have to practise a certain kind of individualistic ethic.
And what is the ethic of individualism?
It requires us to treat individuals as individuals. It’s very simple, right?
So what that entails is that we have to blind ourselves, if you will, to the various morally unimportant groups that are vestiges from our past. Groups we must blind ourselves to are: race; we must blind ourselves to class; we must blind ourselves to sex differences; we must blind ourselves to religious differences; to national differences, to all the things that divide us. Because these groupings are unreal and ultimately unimportant, we’re all just individuals.
The individualism ‘game’, is highly effective and advantageous for all players.
If there are no in-groups and no out-groups, just one race of individuals, then the scale of social organisation and social co-operation is implicitly global.
What does that mean?
It means we can have vast institutions where people are co-operating to change the world and the West has changed the world. What we call modernity, the transformation of the world in the last couple of hundred years has come about by individuals co-operating with one-another to create large scale institutions that have transformed the world.
If you live in a tribal society – a low trust tribal society – where strangers are regarded with suspicion, the scale of social order is severely constricted and once you run out of first and second cousins there’s really nobody you can trust, nobody you can co-operate with, and so that constrains society. Whereas the individualist game means that everybody who plays can trust everybody else, co-operate with everybody else, there’s no in-group or out-group, and that means that we can scale up to global civilisations, to galactic civilisations eventually, there’s really no end point to it, as long as everybody plays by these rules.
Now, the trouble with the individualism game though is that people cheat. Now, of course in any game people can cheat, but the individualist game has a unique disadvantage?
How do you cheat an individualist?
By working as a member of a group. But individualism prides itself on being blind to people working as members of groups.
Individualist are always slow to catch on when selfish groups are working with one-another against them. They’re always slow to catch on, because they are proud of being blind to groups. They might think, well, there’s something a little suspicious here, but I’m bigger than that. I’m just going to just keep playing the game that way I have been taught, and hope maybe, that I’ll set a good example, that I’ll change these tribal-minded people, these cheaters, they’ll want to be like me.
And the underlying assumption of all Western liberal individualists, is that everybody can be like us, everybody wants to be like us, we don’t even have to try really, to assimilate them, we’re just, our way of life is so wonderful, right? They can be like us, they want to be like us, they will be like us, we just have to persevere in showing how open and good we are – showing them the fruits of our civilisation, and they’ll come here and participate. They won’t come here to take it away from us, they’ll come here to participate in making everything grow and be better.
Now, it’s interesting that the most important founder of modern libertarianism, of race and nation blind libertarianism was Ayn Rand. She was born in Russia as Melisa Rosenbaum, she was ethnically Jewish and it just so happened that the intellectual movement that she created called objectivism, was overwhelmingly Jewish in its leadership, but of course the followers were piously blind to that uncomfortable fact.
It was obviously just meritocracy, right?
That they were all just rising because they were so good. It wasn’t because they were all first cousins from Winnipeg, which is actually true, and before that it was Minsk, or somewhere like that!
It was just meritocracy at work, colour blind meritocracy, and if you’re uncomfortable you’ve got to close your eyes because the virtue of objectivism is blindness, not objectivity, when it comes to race and ethnicity.
In that, libertarianism is sort of like the Frankfurt School, which is another Jewish intellectual movement. The Frankfurt School basically teaches ‘us’ that we have to be maximally open to the upward mobility of disadvantaged groups, previously excluded groups, and all these minority groups are just proxies for organised Jewry basically.
The goal of the new left really, is to create maximum upward mobility for organised Jewry, and all these others are there as a part of their coalition to help them move forward. It’s there to create upward mobility for them and to also blind us to the fact they’re working together and colluding together as a tribe, and it’s a very, very effective tool. It’s a very effective ideology.
What kind of people preach blindness as a virtue?
People who are up to no good!
So, what is the refutation of libertarianism?
Well, it’s a self-refutation in a way. The individualism game blinds its players to collectivist cheats, and the only way to save the game of individualism is to exclude the cheats. That could be any group that comes into Western individualist societies and demand that you treat them as an individual in every interaction with them. They demand that you give them a fair shake.
When you come to them and expect reciprocity, somehow it’s always their cousin who’s better qualified for the job. And so if you play a game by those rules, it doesn’t take many rounds, many iterations of that game before you start losing your power, your wealth, your society, to the people who cheat. And so libertarian individualism is a sucker’s game if you don’t exclude the cheats.
Well, when you start thinking that way though, you are no longer a libertarian individualist are you?
You start thinking, how do we get these people out. How do we physically remove these people from where we live?
That’s fascism, right?
Just ask anybody who reads the Guardian what that is, they’ll say, ‘aha, aha, that’s fascism!
This is how it’s happened, this is how so many former Ron Paul fans right, in the last few years, just through struggling with online debates basically, and it’s been taking place a lot online, have moved from being libertarian individualists to being White nationalists for want of a better term.
They realise that if they really value the individualist capitalist model of society, they cannot practice that without creating a bubble around it, and that bubble is a bubble of violence that has to exclude the cheats, the tribes, the parasite tribes.
And what’s the best way of defining that bubble?
Well, it turns out the most practical way of defining it is in terms of ethnic groups, of nations, and so suddenly they’re nationalists and that dialectic has been happening over and over again and I’ve been helping it along a bit, I’ve been rehearsing these arguments for years with people, and I’ve decided that I wanted to write this out and boil this down because I want to put it in a little book I’m working on called the White Nationalist Manifesto. There’s a need for a kind of primer arguing for racial nationalism and part of arguing for racial nationalism is excluding the false alternatives that a lot of people get distracted by. And those false alternatives are primarily on the right, and those are conservatism, that conserves nothing, and libertarianism, which can only be practices by excluding the parasite tribes, which means that you have to be a nationalist.
So, the end-point of this intellectual journey for people is the realisation, that individualism is not universal. Individualism is a product of the unique evolutionary and cultural history of Europeans, and it turns out that the more northern the European, the more individualistic they tend to be, and the less ethnocentric they tend to be. There is a writer named Will Rogers who’s famous for saying that “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”. That is a totally Nordic individualist attitude.
There’s no Armenian or Hebrew equivalent of that phrase. There’s no equivalent of that from South Europe, there’s no equivalent of that from the Near East, no equivalent of that from the Far East or Africa, or Papua, or any place else. They don’t think that way. They don’t think that way because their mentalities are the product of different environments and different social histories, different cultural histories.
Well, if a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet, what does that mean?
It means you’re out trekking looking for a mammoth to hunt and you meet another band of people. If you are open to them rather than suspicious, if you take certain risks to approach them in friendship, and you are capable of co-operating, you’ve increased your social scale. And that pattern has basically been perpetuated for thousands of years and it is the reason why Northern Europeans in particular have been able to create large scale, high trust, societies with very little public corruption, large scale businesses and non-profit organisations. It is tremendously advantageous until we admit people who cheat.
And then the virtues that made our civilisation possible are turned against us. Our willingness to be open and take certain risks to be open are not reciprocated, they’re just regarded as ‘bugs’, as flaws to be exploited. And there’s nothing more obscene than being exploited for your virtues, because of your virtues.
I once got some people mad at me when I said you know, there should be a difference between the punishment meted out to a guy who coshes you over the head from behind and steals your wallet, and the guy who comes up to you in the bus station with a sob story, and says, “Oh, I lost my wallet, and I’m trying to get home, my wife’s about to have a baby, could you … “, and he’s lying, right?
The first guy steals your money, but he doesn’t undermine the trust that is the basis of our civilisation, but the second guy, not only swindles you out of your money, he undermines civilisation itself.
I swear, I’d put them on the gibbet for that!
You have to preserve the foundations of civilisation, and that means the ability to trust strangers, for us. We are wired to be open to others, and our sense of high mindedness is caught up with taking risks to extend sociality. And when people exploit that, they have to be called out, and they have to be excluded, and if we have leaders who say, “No, no! We are defined by the value of openness and trust”, and they keep pushing this line even though it’s obviously the case that it is not being reciprocated and that we’re being exploited, then we have to relieve these leaders, of their powers and responsibilities. Which is my nice way of describing Kai Murros’s National Revolution, right?
So, that was about twenty-one minutes, so that’s good, libertarianism doesn’t take very long to be refuted.
Most of these bad ideas are maintained by the suppression of better ideas. That’s how the system works!
The enemy controls the media, because they have to control the media. They control academia, because they have to control academia.
If there was open discussion of these things, their ruling consensus would evaporate, practically overnight.
So, I want to thank you all for being part of the London Forum, because it’s a safe space for doing this kind of thing.
Eventually, I think we’re going to reach a day, and it’s going to come very quickly, when we’re all going to be surprised how brittle and hollow the reigning consensus is. And how its ability to maintain order by supressing dissent and by making dissenters feel alone breaks down.
At the beginning of 1989 all the smart money said that Communism would be around for a lot longer. They were totally unaware that the system was hollowed out, that people were cynical, that it was very brittle, that very were willing to kill or die to maintain it, and it was only a kind of momentary glitch, kind of unpredictable glitch in the system’s power to intimidate people and to make dissenters feel that they were alone, that allowed the streets to fill up in Dresden and Leipzig and for people to realise that they were not alone, that they were the majority and that the system was hollow. And the system started imploding from the top.
I think that the system that we’re in today is just as hollow and just as brittle, and is based on the same lie as Communism was. And what going to destroy it is the day when people realise that their dissent is not alone.
The media works by broadcasting signals out from a central point to isolated consumers of information, and that’s how they reinforce their narrative. They would love it if we were all alone in apartments, watching the TV or the Internet, watching it flicker, pumping their information into our heads. They would love it if they could do that because they can control our minds and control the narrative, right?
As soon as people start speaking face to face with one-another, they can’t control that, yet. The only way they can control that is by intimidating people, making feel like, “well I’m alone, I can’t speak out”.
That’s how they control us!
I was in Sweden a week ago today, and I was sitting in the breakfast room of the hotel, with some people who were hosting the event that I was speaking at, and I said, “You know, one out of four people in this breakfast room is a Sweden Democrat, you don’t know who they are”.
“One out of four people you ride with on the subway in Stockholm is a supporter of your views and you don’t know who they are”.
There has to be a point where we become more visible, and therefore in person-to-person interactions, we can break down the power of the establishment to control how we think.
That point will come, eventually. I don’t know how it will come, there’s no party here like there was a few years ago.
The Front National has a huge support base, the Sweden Democrats have 27% of the electorate on their side. It would be possible in those countries, for there to be a day when everybody comes out as a nationalist, and suddenly you see people wearing a little Front National ribbon or a little Sweden Democrat ribbon on their lapel, and suddenly you realise, “Wow! These people are not disproportionately: rural; uneducated; violent and stupid” like the media would have most people believe nationalists are.
They’d realise, “My, gosh! My veterinarian is a nationalist, the person I entrust my dog to, is a nationalist. The person who helps children cross the street at the public school, is a nationalist”.
They’d realise that we’re smarter than average, better educated than average, and so on and so forth.
The average Frenchman believes Front National supporters are rural bumpkins, whereas in fact they are overwhelmingly: urban; they have higher than average education; they have higher than average incomes, and they’re younger than people think they are on average. But as long as the party is invisible, the false narrative of the enemy will reign.
So there will come a day I think, sometime in France, sometime in Sweden and sometime in England, when their power to maintain those false views will be disrupted. And when that is disrupted, and their ability to contain our ideas breaks down, I think you will see a … perhaps a viral outbreak of nationalism.
Anyway, I want to leave you with that thought and thank you for having me here.