Dream On

The following was delivered as a speech at the National Policy Institute's 2015 conference, which was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on October 31st.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a start, I would like to quote the Holy Scriptures — and I’m not talking about Donald Trump’s deportation plan.

There is a saying in the Bible which boils down to: “No one is a prophet in their own country.”

And that describes my own situation pretty well. Last time — which happened to be the first time — I was invited to speak before a large audience was two years ago, here in Washington, D.C., at NPI’s conference.

The topic of my talk today is “Dream On.”

As you know, this year’s conference, “Become Who We Are,” is dedicated to the common identity of the European peoples, and I think that the best way to grasp such an old and complex civilisation as ours is to focus on its aspirations, its ambitions… its dreams.

The implication here is that European civilisation can only survive and thrive if it keeps its dreams, its higher goals.

So, what have been our civilisation’s higher goals since the Greek Miracle?

Well, with the risk of being a bit simplistic, I would say that what has defined our civilisation, and set it apart from the other ones, is a restless quest for self-overcoming.

This European spirit has manifested itself in spectacular achievements in art, science and politics, but also in more modest fields related to lifestyle.

And though these achievements are still spectacular today, most notably in technology, I am afraid that the key ingredient that has permitted said achievements is missing, and has been missing for about a century now, on both shores of our common ocean.

In short, our civilisation has stopped dreaming.

For better and more often for worse, Western rulers have been chiefly preoccupied with being “pragmatic” and “realistic.”

And I think it should be no wonder that they have failed by their own standards.

The politicians who assured us that all we had to worry about was limiting deficits, public spending, taxes and trade imbalance have been presiding over a massive increase in debt, taxes, and public spending.

Those who swore that all we had to do was to give jobs to the unemployed have been sitting idle while jobs were outsourced to developing countries, or to newcomers at home.

My friends, the time has come to ask: “How realistic is realism?”.

Though any political doctrine worthy of the name should be rooted in reality instead of in utopian abstractions, none can fulfill its mundane goals without a grand vision.

There should be no paradox in the fact that our civilisation achieved its highest economic, demographic and technological growth when it was not obsessed with it, when it had higher goals in mind.

So what happened a century ago? Obviously, the First World War, quickly followed by the Second one, played a crucial role — though not an exclusive one — in this disenchantment.

Since then, as the late Dominique Venner termed it, European civilisation has entered into a state of “Dormition.”

Although Venner did not include America in European civilisation, I am doing so, and it seems obvious to me that European-Americans, much like their European cousins, have been victims of America’s short-term, material successes.

Politicians love to say — when they run for public office — that “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” And they’re right! The logical consequence is that when there is no will, there is no way.

You may detect a sense of worry in this remark. I am indeed worried that those who claim that they would do a better job than the current rulers — i.e. people like us — fail to present an inspiring alternative to the liberal utopia of “a shining city upon a hill.”

As often with the Right, the political movements which endeavour to save our civilisation fail to elaborate a political doctrine, and more importantly fail to present a positive alternative to our current dispensation.

As was noted by Alain de Benoist many years ago, the Right is most of the time reacting against the Left, reacting against liberalism, which leads it to being defined by what it is not, instead of by what it is, or rather by what it should be.

This incapacity of the Right to provide European people with a forward and upward-looking alternative has led it to recede and retreat, even when it gained momentary victories.

And I believe that’s where we stand today.

Today, the nationalist and patriotic Right is gaining wide popular support in reaction to the dramatic increase in immigration.

Be it a casino tycoon with a blonde wig on, or the daughter of a controversial politican, or even a loud stockbroker from London’s City, the Right is leading in the polls.

The question remains though: leading to where?

It is worth noting here that even though these politicians can explain in nauseating details complicated things like how they would halt or even reverse immigration if they were elected, they seem unable to answer a simple question, such as: “What America, or Britain, or France, do you want for the 21st century?”.

Maybe this is not such a simple question, after all.

Even more striking, those who seem to have a clear understanding of the present situation, like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, seem unable to think of a way they could look after the well-being of Europe as a whole, instead of simply taking care of their own nation-state.

Even as Orban claims to worry about Europe, with Hungary being a mere component of it, the practical result of his fence-building policy is to fast-track so-called “refugees” to Western Europe.

Similarly, Donald Trump’s “America First” platform dissociates America’s Destiny from Europe’s, despite the fact that America originates from Europe and cannot, in my opinion, survive without it.

By only focusing on the emergency, these leaders are missing the big picture, and even their limited goals will be impossible to attain.

For what will be left of tiny Hungary if Europe collapses? What will be left of America if it separates from its matrix?

Some might rightly argue that Europe as a whole survived the Fall of the Western Roman Empire precisely because the nobility of the time started building castles, which were the Medieval equivalent of today’s gated communities.

I’m sure that Jack Donovan or Keith Preston here wouldn’t mind a world in which private properties would be bordered by signs saying: “Tresspassers will be eaten alive.”

And it is, indeed, the most likely way European civilisation will be saved, and reborn.

But if History’s role is to teach us lessons, we shouldn’t forget that while the High Middle Ages were indeed the time of small political entities, those entities were able to survive because they were ready to fight together. Clearly the Battle of Poitiers — or Tours as American historians say — rings a bell here.

What happened when they didn’t? Well, you just have to check Spanish History in the 7th and 8th centuries.

What united Europeans then, besides a basic feeling of kinship, was a common faith. Now, I know there are many Christians in this room, and I hope you believe me when I say that I respect your faith, but I don’t think that Christianity can play that role again in the 21st century. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be room for Christians, but that Christianity cannot be this higher goal I was mentioning.

Rather, I think that this question is still open and that to new challenges, new solutions will be needed, and emerge in time. Usually these solutions arise in times of strife and turmoil.

A few years ago, Counter-Currents’ editor Greg Johnson, who was then editing The Occidental Quarterly, joked that Star Trek Conventions were more likely to give birth to an Ethnostate than White Nationalism. Behind the joke itself, what was implied was that space conquest, as unrealistic as it might seem now, would be more inspiring, and thus more likely to draw the best in Europeans, than merely defending the status quo, or the status quo of the 1980s or the 1950s.

There is no stasis in nature, and of all people, those who profess biological realism should be aware of that.

Before we find this new goal that will unite Europeans in a common Destiny — and by “higher goal” I don’t mean an Ethnostate, which is a means to an end rather than an end in itself — I think we should be open to political developments that might look frightening now, but that we could use to our advantage in the future.

Here I think of course of the European Union. Ironically this “coldest of cold monsters” has a useful role in that it gives Europeans the conscience of belonging to a common family, something which the Jacobin-style nationalisms of the 19th and 20th centuries had almost succeeded in erasing in European memories.

We have every reason to oppose today’s EU, but we should at least embrace the idea of a European Union, and maybe even consider taking it over to turn it into a powerful, and lasting tool.

Likewise, while everybody in this room is opposed for even better reasons to NATO or to the coming Transatlantic Treaty, we should, instead of merely opposing them, provide an inspiring alternative to them. It is the role of thinkers, writers and speakers to do that.

Do we really think that the current system of the nation-states will be any better, when we know for a fact that it has been the stepping stone towards the supranational organisations we decry, with our national rulers managing them collegially?

Clearly, there is room for imagination and creation here, instead of mere reaction.

I could end on that note and then get a bunch of claps, likes, tweets and maybe even Instagram hearts by suggesting that we all leave this room right now and go storm the White House, or go establish a new Atlantis in Iceland.

I could do that, but I won’t, because prior to any serious political project, there must be a deep and thorough reflection on what one wants.

As some of you know, I have been doing political marketing these past years and among the things I have learned, is the notion that any fundraising campaign must end with what marketers call a “C.T.A.,” a “Call to Action.”

There are whole buildings across the Potomac River where hundreds of people keep themselves busy all week — at least until 5PM on Friday — with crafting these “CTAs,” these “Calls to Action.”

Usually, the “action” elicited is that of sending a check, or even better, an automatic monthly wire transfer.

I would like, instead, to end this talk on a “CTR,” a Call to Reflection.

And I think everyone here should start by asking themselves the basic journalistic questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we want?
  • Why?
  • Where are we headed?
  • How are we going to attain our goals?
  • And when will we be able to attain them?

Now, I’ll be happy to take questions, or even better, to get the first answers to the questions I just asked.

Thank you very much.

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.