The Children of Oedipus

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818), Caspar David Friedrich

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818), Caspar David Friedrich

 

The Generational Problem in Nationalist Movements

The following was delivered as a speech at the second National Policy Institute's conference, which was held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, on October 26th.

It is not always easy to tell the difference between destiny and randomness.

I discovered the “Alternative Right” three years ago, by a link posted on a Swiss blog. It was a perfect illustration of a famous line in Simon and Garfunkel's song "Sound of Silence": “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls.”

I was going through a period of questioning at that time. I had been working for a couple of years for the “conservative movement” in Paris and I couldn't fail to notice that all my efforts had been invested in a cause that was not really mine, that had never really been mine actually.

Until that fateful day of July 2010, I had always centered my attention on France. My only knowledge of the other Western countries was through history books, movies, or touristic trips.

Regarding politics proper, I wasn't much interested in what was going on outside France. Though I was involved with the Right, I had always been wary of the American Right. For me, being right-wing in America meant worshipping the Holy Scrap (also known as “the Constitution”), waving a stars and stripes flag in the garden of a generic white-picket-fenced house, and making boring, tired jokes about the French who “always surrender.” I had still not digested my dish of freedom fries.

Discovering the Alternative Right was an epiphany for me, as I think the discovery of the European New Right was for many Americans present in this room today. I'm thinking particularly of Richard Spencer and of John Morgan, the editor-in-chief of Arktos Media.

I discovered that though I wasn't feeling at home in the French “conservative movement,” there were “people like me” on the Web, all over the Western world, who shared my hopes and concerns.

Ironically enough, I even discovered French authors thanks to American publications like AlternativeRight.com or Counter-Currents.com. Of course, the name “Alain de Benoist” was familiar to me, but he was not very popular, let alone read, in my corner of the Right.

Now, it seems that more and more Western people (White people as you say in America) are aware of the fact that what brings them together is much stronger than what divides them. And I'm not only talking about activists like us here. When this British soldier was beheaded in London by two African Muslims last Spring, I could see many manifestations of solidarity by average Western people. It's something that would have been unthinkable a mere decade ago. As this example shows, reasons for this growing awareness among Western people are often negative ones: Westerners face the same danger of being displaced in their historic homelands.

There are positive reasons, too, the first of which being the fact that we are the heirs of a great civilization. But although it is important to focus on the positive more than on the negative, it's about a problem that is remarkable but not often commented on that I want to talk today: the generational divide.

When I say that this problem is not often commented on, it is not quite true. Actually, the liberal narrative about generational relationships is that the Baby Boom generation, thanks to a courageous revolution, managed to put an end to an oppressive, reactionary, boring society.

There is some truth to that liberal narrative. But the generational divide applies differently to nationalist movements, and this is what I want to dedicate my attention to today.

More than a generational divide, there is, first off, a generational gap in right-wing movements. If the generation of my grand-parents (born between the two world wars) was rather conservative in the right sense of the word, the Baby Boom generation is, in my experience, much more liberal in its outlook, hence the lack of right-wing activists from this generation. This is what explains “gerontocracy,” i.e. government of the old, in many right-wing movements, especially in Europe.

Even self-defined right-wingers born during the Baby Boom are liberal in their views.

The most striking thing that I noticed, in France, Europe and America, was the inability of baby-boomers, even when they see themselves as dissidents, to completely break away from the institutions. The desire of recognition, the fear of social rejection ensure that the right-wing Baby Boomer gives legitimacy to the very institutions that are eager to destroy him.

For instance, right-wing Baby Boomers show a great deal of respect to Academia. They are very proud of their PhDs when they hold them, and when they don't, they are all the prouder to mention that an author they publish does. They do this at a time when there are PhDs in Queer, Gender, Black, and even Chicano studies in America—and even doctoral students in the hard sciences have been through the PC gauntlet. Is it so important that we focus on degrees? Wouldn't we be better advised to give as little legitimacy to university degrees as we can, given the circumstances?

This PhD Cult among right-wing Baby Boomers is related to their own rationalistic, scientistic delusions. Since conservatives are outmoded liberals — and many White nationalists are conservatives—they just want to conserve their people as it is, as if it were possible to save said people without becoming a new one in the process — they still believe in the Enlightenment myth that one would just have to show “the truth” to people to gain credibility and support. (And trying — in vain — to gain credibility from an Establishment that despises them is an important trait of right-wing Baby Boomers.)

But this idea that people would just have to know “the truth” to support the cause of saving Western civilization and the White race is fallacious. People have to be inspired rather than convinced, and they won't be inspired by a set of bell curves, IQ tables, and cranial measurements. Furthermore, it reduces “the truth” to the only things that can be numbered and quantified. The problem with that idea is that our struggle is a qualitative one. We can't “prove” that architecture has become ugly since the 20th century, for example. Yet it's something that has to be said.

I mentioned the PhD Cult because it is one of the most obvious problems in right-wing intellectual circles. But this excessive respect of right-wing Baby Boomers is granted to institutions in general, chiefly to the State, the nation-state.

Since I was born in the 1980s, at a time when the main Western countries had already been “enriched” with mass immigration, I understand that it is easier for me to dissociate myself from my own nation-state.

Here, I'm reminded of an American friend I met in Paris a few weeks ago. He was born in the 1960s, and when I mentioned to him the idea of an Ethnostate, he chuckled: for him, up to 10 years ago, he had always considered he was already living in an Ethnostate: the United States.

And in day-to-day life, it remains common to hear people say “we” and “us” when they talk about the state. “We went to Iraq.” “Our troops are bringing democracy there.” “Syria's chemical weapons threaten us.” I'm using silly examples here to make a point, but if you listen to people around you, you will inevitably notice that they keep saying — and thus thinking — that the state is them. That the state is the nation.

But it's getting more and more necessary to get rid of this false consciousness. Since the end of the 18th century and the American and French revolutions, the nation-state has monopolized the way Westerners see themselves. This triumph is so complete that even multiculturalists use the nation-state as a comforting reference to impose their dogma to the West. In every Western country, you can hear the same mantra that “Our [national] identity is diversity.”

Some people in our movement suggest that we should likewise use the nation-state as a means to make people aware of our goals. The problem is that we can't use the same tactic, for two reasons: first, we are obviously not in charge of the state. Second, a strict national consciousness leads to serious errors of interpretation. It is common in countries that used to have colonies and slaves to hear people say that our problems are rooted in colonization and slavery. In my homeland, the troubles with the Algerian community are thus attributed to French colonization and civil war there.

But Sweden, which never had any colony nor slaves, is facing similar, if not graver threats than Britain, America or France. We are not attacked for what our ancestors did, or allegedly did, but for what we are: White, Western people.

From my understanding, it is easier for my generation to see a brother or sister in another Westerner than it is for the former generation, which was born in the aftermath of the Second World War. In France, Front National is still anti-German, as well as it is anti-British and anti-American. But for the young generation, all these grudges are fading into irrelevance. A Briton might dislike the Germans or the French, wrongly or rightly, but those are unlikely to drug and pimp his daughters, behead a soldier in broad daylight, or burn the city down when a drug dealer is killed by the police.

In case you are wondering, I'm talking about things that actually happened in Britain in the last years.

Young Westerners know that they are more and more becoming one nation, the same way that other races, as Jared Taylor had noted in his book White Identity, are more and more seeing themselves as one people when they live in the West.

The right-wing Baby Boomer is not able to fully understand what is happening in other Western countries, since he relies solely on national, liberal media, unlike young right-wingers who get information via alternative, Pan-Western websites. The liberal media gives him a distorted image of reality. As he knows that mainstream journalists are liberal, he basically inverts their depictions of other “far right” movements in other Western countries to make his own opinion of them. Right-wingers, most often, only define themselves in opposition to the Left. What the Left likes, they hate. What the Left loathes, they love. It is thus easy to manipulate them into supporting a controlled opposition, given that their only justification to support is: “Since liberals hate it so much, it must be doing something right.” By this false standard, George W. Bush “was doing something right” when he made up the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to invade this country.

Generally speaking, the right-wing Baby Boomer is subject to the bourgeois dream, which has been known as the “American dream” since the end of the Second World War: a world of peace, trade, and boredom.

Right-wing Baby Boomers share the project of two American politicians (both born before the Baby Boom though), Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, whose similarities are more important than their differences. Their common motto can best be summed up as “Leave us alone!”

 Well, we of the New Guard don't want to be “left alone.” We want to rule.

We want to rule not only because we want actual power to get ourselves out of the present situation, but because we know that the “leave us alone” idea, which was behind the White flight phenomenon, is precisely what has led us to our current dispossession. Baby Boomers wanted to be “left alone,” so they fled to even further suburbs, moving further and further away from their own responsibilities. It is this process, White flight, that guaranteed that the ongoing dispossession could go on without being too painful.

The “good news” is that it is becoming impossible to continue the White flight process. Rising housing costs, growing gas prices, the concentration of jobs in city centers are putting the bourgeois dream to an end. It is now almost impossible for a generation that can only wait tables after a masters degree to keep fleeing. Problems will have to be faced, and dealt with.

At this point, I realize that I might seem unfair to the previous generation, but keep in mind that Baby Boomers did what everyone else would have done if given the choice. This choice no longer exists. The quiet, suburban life has become impossible for the reasons mentioned before.

What is to be done, then? As of now, nobody—including myself, of course—has a genuine solution to offer. Many in our circles claim that it is “five to midnight,” but I would argue that it is “five past midnight.” Not because it is too late, but because it is too soon. A mere decade ago, many people in this room, including, again, the foolish 20-year-old liberal that I was, were not aware of what was going on. Our awakening is too recent to find political solutions to our current problems now. For politics as we would like it to be to become possible, we have to win the intellectual and cultural battles, which right-wing Baby Boomers have never really considered worth fighting. It is time we do so.

What we can thus do in the meantime is to get intellectually prepared as a movement (for the individual and practical aspects of this preparation, Piero San Giorgio and Jack Donovan are more competent than I am). The first task would be to get rid with intellectual debates dating back to the Cold War, with the false dichotomies between libertarianism and socialism, conservatism and progressivism, etc.

This necessity to go beyond these false dichotomies seems obvious to activists like us, but it is still in these terms that politics are debated today.

When I say that we have to go beyond Left and Right, I don't mean that we have to reject both notions altogether—our ethno-national project obviously belongs on the Right—but the way they have been defined and falsely opposed for these past 70 years. The alternative is not between the kolkhoz and IKEA, the best reason for that being that the kolkhoz and IKEA are two sides of the same materialistic coin. We have to find a way out of here, a way forward and upward, and that implies rising above these irrelevant debates.

As a radical movement, we need to attract intelligent and educated young men, who are the future.

Crime statistics and differences of achievement between races are important, to be sure, but no snowboarding session on the bell curve will attract young men to us. We need to show them a way out, and thus to remind them of the need to gradually withdraw from the prevailing disorder, but we also have to show them a way into, and that is what the Old Guard has been unable to do so far.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to bury the Old Guard, or even to dispute its achievements. We wouldn't be here today if the Old Guard had not taken the first step in the past. But we can't keep doing the same things for decades.

It is now clear why we want to found a new society; now comes the harder part: what we want and how we are going to achieve it.

The answer is not sure at this point. What is is that the powers of creation, not only of reaction, will have to be summoned.

Roman Bernard

is a French journalist and blogger. From 2007 to 2010, he edited Criticus, a widely-read political and cultural blog in France. In 2010 and 2011, he was editor-in-chief of Le Cri du Contribuable, a Paris-based monthly magazine on fiscal and financial issues. Since 2012, he has been involved at the same time with the “Identitarian” movement in Europe and the Alternative Right in America.