Published in 2007 by WTM Enterprises
Mr. Neff's original article
Our reader's question
Mr. Neff's original article
Reply to a reader of "Realism does not equal defeatism"
Think globally, act individually
By RONN NEFF
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In "Realism does not equal defeatism," I wrote:
What is my solution? To encourage lovers of liberty and Western culture wherever I find them to stop looking in the wrong direction toward the murk, and to clear their minds of tyranny-expanding, tyranny-friendly activities and naught-iness. Once they are looking in the right direction, looking in the general direction of what is true and real, they will see things they didn't see before, and they will see things I do not and cannot see.Our reader asks:
One must ask the following: How does a libertarian society defend itself from those who are not "lovers of liberty and Western culture"?Let me expand the question: what should be done about the Mexican, Muslim, and other immigrants (legal and illegal) who are already in?
To use a currently in-the-news example, should Mexican and/or Muslim would-be immigrants to the U.S. be allowed in?
No. Let me tackle a thornier question: What should be done about those groups and the Africans (whose families have been here for 400 years) and the Jews who are already here?
I submit that if there is no problem with the Africans and the Jews, then we can anticipate that after some suitable period of time, there will be no problem with the Mexicans or Muslims either. If we can accept the changes to white Western culture that Africans and Jews brought with them, surely we are sturdy enough to accept the new ones as well. But if race realists understand anything at all, it is that there are problems with the changes that Africans and Jews have brought with them.
I am afraid that my answer to Mr. Edmiston is going to be of the long-winded sort. There is nothing to be done for it. But I promise the reader
that there will be direct answers.
Allow me to begin with some observations about solving problems, in particular socio-political problems.
It sometimes happens that there simply is no solution to a particular problem. Often this happens because the terms of a solution cannot be met.
An example: Let's say that I who live inside the Washington
Beltway must be in Cleveland
If lovers of liberty are deprived of every means that they would use to solve a particular problem, and if the way that they would solve that problem is the only way it can be solved, then for all intents and purposes there is no solution.
It is my contention that the free-market anarchist solution to social problems is the only solution that can possibly work in either the short run or the very long run. But it may be that there is no longer enough time for that solution to work. And if that is case, then there is no solution.
Anyone who cannot live with that answer needs to learn that facts are not subject to the demands of his particular desires and preferences.
Does that mean that we just live with whatever horrible consequences may follow? Of course not. It means that we have to look at what is possible, and what will really work, and attempt those measures. They may not solve the problem at hand. But they may redefine the situation.
In the Cleveland example, I call someone, tell him that I can't make it, and we work out how best to achieve those goals that can still be achieved.
Now why would I even suggest that the free-market anarchist solution is the only solution that can possibly work?
One reason is that the principles of economics that underlie the free market are themselves natural laws. They are immutable. It is the intellectual duty of intelligent men (especially intelligent men of the West) to identify the facts of reality and then to act in ways that are at least not in contradiction to them. And not to have expectations that run counter to them.
If the principles of economics that underlie the free market were shown to be false, then I would have to modify my position. If they are true, those who have been indifferent to them (or hostile to them) need to make some changes of their own. They are the principles of human action and apply universally. The most immediate implication of this fact is that centralized, coercive efforts will not work. Moreover, such efforts will produce consequences that in principle cannot be predicted and that in principle will make any problem they are supposed to solve worse.
The second reason is that the West has evolved a certain code of ethics. We may disagree about details of these and we may disagree about specific applications. But if we disagree about the code itself, we are distancing ourselves from our ancestors, from our culture, from our civilization.
It is true that white men of the West do not have to live according to that code, but if they do not, I do not know what they are, but they are not Westerners. We live in a society that has by and large rejected much of that code. Many of its features would be recognizable to our forebears only because we are running on what may be called the cultural capital of the West. We are eating the seed corn of our civilization. One cannot continue consuming capital forever.
The solution we must come up with, then, must be one that is at least sensible when examined by free-market economics and one that is consistent with the way Westerners have striven to live throughout our history.
What is that way? I intend here to draw on only one or two principles of how Western men have sought to live. I submit that for as long as Western civilization has existed these principles have been in evidence. To be sure, we have often fallen short of them. But it is one thing to fall short of an ideal or a principle. It is another to repudiate it.
I shall let someone else voice the principles I want to draw on. And it is not the voice of a philosopher or a moral theologian. Rather I draw on a fictional character, Steven Nason, the narrator of Kenneth Roberts's Arundel:
The way in which our family came to Arundel is a matter I set down, not to boast of my own people ... but so my great-grandsons may know what manner of folk they sprang from, and feel shame to disgrace them by taking advantage of the weak or ignorant, or by turning tail when frightened, which they will often be, as God knows I have too frequently been.A short sentence, but so fraught with who we are and what we used to strive to be: a people who recognize their faults and make no excuses, but rather struggle to correct them; a people who stand up for themselves and their beliefs; a people who do not avoid disgrace by rationalization; a people who deal fairly with those who are weaker. I borrow from another work of fiction, this time the musical Camelot, in particular, that moment when King Arthur cries out, "Not might is right, but might for right!"
Power is to be subordinated to what is right. And to borrow one more time from a fictional character, the outlaw Pike from the western "The Wild Bunch," "If you can't do that, you're like some animal. You're finished." Pike was speaking of a different principle, but a principle it was. If we do not live according to our own principles, we are like some animal, and we are finished. If we continually look for ways to circumvent those principles, if we keep looking for excuses to overturn them or neglect them, if we keep rationalizing departures from them that should make us ashamed to face our fathers, then we are finished. We are like some animal.
We solve our problems, then, by reference to the principles that made us a great people. Turning away from those principles has made us a weak people. Ultimately, it will make us a nation of beasts of burden to other peoples or it will make us an extinct people.
I contend that the political organization that is most compatible with the
ideals implicit in Steven Nason's remarks is a free market unchained from
any state activity, a free market in which, indeed, there is no state. It is
the end-point of all the ethical development of the West. It is the society
that would exist were people to more fully understand the natural laws of
economics and apply them to the ethical ideals they aspire
Moral theology classifies the sins or faults of man in various ways. It is a discipline with its own taxonomy.
One kind of fault that pastors and spiritual directors must address is what is called the "besetting sin." One spiritual director of my acquaintance calls it one's "favorite sin." This is the sin, or fault, that one falls into time after time. It shows up in nearly every examination of conscience. Those who seek forgiveness of their sins find themselves confessing it over and over. We marvel that we dare to seek forgiveness for it; we marvel even more greatly that forgiveness can be obtained.
The fault differs from man to man. For most, it takes a form that modern society is pleased to call an "addiction." But it is not just those common attachments. It may be an easy resort to anger and violence. It may be small vanities or an excessive delight in the praise of others. This list goes on and on. I trust I have said enough on this subject: the reader is perhaps ahead of me and has already identified the fault in himself that seems most resistant to correction.
I postulate that societies, that cultures, bear this resemblance to men: that they are prone to a kind of besetting fault. And that the besetting sin of the West is the resort to the organized use of force. We call this organization the state.
I advance this postulation for two reasons. The first is that it is precisely the opposite of what we in the West so often aspire to, to wit, freedom. None of us wants to be a slave, even to another Westerner. We are not a docile people, and we chafe when we are commanded to use our time, our talents, our property in ways that we find repulsive, offensive, or simply inconvenient. We call this chafing the desire to live as free men. And by freedom we do not mean obedience to the law. We do not mean doing what we are told. We do not even mean doing what is right. We mean something altogether different, and most of us give it up only under protest. Alas, most of us do not protest very long, and after a while we forget to protest at all.
But the chafing, even when it does not actually occur, survives in our myths, in the way we read our history, even in our rationalizations. White Westerners now allow themselves to be treated as a conquered people in many of their home countries, but they insist that the infringements on their liberty are somehow an expansion of their "civil liberties." They accept the most ludicrous claims that government impositions on them are no violation of their liberty at all.
Another reason for my postulate is that the West has been so very good at creating institutions for organized force. Like other civilizations that have had their monarchies and their priests, the West came up with its distinct and to some extent more robust and all-embracing forms of tyranny. Where other civilizations experienced monopolies of resources, it was the West that perfected the central bank. Where other civilizations experienced war and battle, it was the West that perfected the military that trains and fights as a unit, not for personal glory, not for spoils. Glory and spoils themselves accrue to the state.
That sort of skill typifies a besetting sin; it stands to reason that a man who finds himself angry at his wife over and over and who beats her will construct not just rationalizations for having done it, but will construct occasions for doing it. We get good at satisfying our lusts, our power-seeking, our pursuit of vanities. And the West has gotten good at statecraft.
Like a man's besetting sin, the culture finds occasions and rationalizations for resorting to the state. It constructs political philosophies that contain the veriest stupidities and transparent euphemisms ever concocted. Not one man in 10,000 would swallow the arguments if they were applied to his own affairs. I am speaking not only of political philosophers: we pay thousands of teachers, of newspaper editors, of think-tank professionals, of propagandists, of novelists, of songwriters, of historians, of newsreaders, all to tell us over and over again how much we need the state, how much we need for it to be more powerful, how helpless we should be without it. They speak virtually with one voice when they find a new way for it to intrude into our lives. And we, as though possessing the deadened conscience of a shoplifter or a child molester, nod our heads and echo it all back to them.
In this respect also, the resort to organized force to address social problems resembles the besetting sin of a man: the rationalizations for it and the euphemisms that dress it up are endless. Those devices are a kind of testimony that we know that resorting to the state, to an engine of coercion, is a fault: if it were not, we would name it for what it is. We hide its true nature behind deceptions because we are ashamed of it.
There is one other reason that I believe it is a besetting sin: the state itself virtually everywhere it exists is not just the enemy of the individual. That much goes almost without saying and forms the starting point for the primary anarchist insights. In the West, the state has become the enemy also of the very culture that created it. Just as a man's besetting sin will if death or reform do not intrude destroy the humanity within him, the state has become the chief engine for destroying the Westernness of the West. *
The result? Whenever we of the West have a social problem, if we have
not broken the habit, we look to the state to solve it. It has only one tool
at its disposal for solving it: the use of force against people who have
committed no crimes, against people who are necessarily weaker than it
is. And it knows no shame when it wields that tool.
Let's move a little closer to the question at hand.
In The Dispossessed Majority, Wilmot Robertson tells us that the temperatures of the Deep South were such that "the Northern European is worthless as a field hand. The South would never have obtained anything like its flourishing antebellum prosperity without a large supply of Negroes."
Without them, it would have had to develop along some other lines. We do not know what they would have been; we cannot know. We know only what choice was made. It was not a choice made not by a cabal of men who imposed it on their fellows. It was a choice that was made by individual men, and acceded to by others. It was not a necessity; it was not the dictate of nature. It was a chosen course. And we who had no hand in making it bear the consequences.
But let us not blame Southerners only. Slavery was far from unknown in the North. And even where there were no slaveholders one did find the slave trader.
There is more. Robertson quotes Charles Beard:
"As the Nordic planter of the South in his passionate quest for wealth was willing to sabotage his own kind in a flood of Negroes from the wilds of Africa, so the Nordic mill owner of New England, with his mind on dividends, took little thought about the nationality or color of those who stood patiently at his spindles and looms or huddled into the tenements of his cities."Robertson tells us, "The political consequences of this indiscriminate call for manpower were not long in coming." And he blames much of it on "the Majority's obsessive materialism, its habit of putting the tangibles before the intangibles of civilization."
The reader not happy with my discussion of the free market can contain himself no longer. "But isn't that just what you libertarians are always saying should be put first? Aren't you just interested in making money? You think that economics is all that matters."
I shall resist the easy tu quoque answer that suggests itself whenever I have recommended that we stop taking money from the government. I shall not ask what it means that so many husbands and wives have so few children. I shall not ask what it means that their children go to government schools, where they are relentlessly propagandized with the folly of egalitarianism and taught to approve and practice sexual deviancy as normal, if not honorable. I shall not ask why their children wear $200 shoes or $400 hooded jackets. I shall not ask why they possess and use cell phones or iPods. I shall not ask what comforts and luxuries my critic has forgone recently so that he may enjoy the more sublime fruits of the creative geniuses who have gone before him.
I resist such an answer because it misses the point. The point is that free-market economics is not a political philosophy. Perhaps it is true that most libertarians care only about economics. That has nothing to do with the free market. The laws of economics are a system of laws of cause and effect. The free market is a description of a system within which those laws function to their best effect. It does not tell us what to value; that is the function of a liberal education. It tells us only about the consequences of our choices within the pursuit of those values. Because it is a system of causality, it is also a system of natural law. To disparage it is tantamount to disparaging the laws of gravity or geometry.
Virtually every dynamic that was in place to bring Africans to the Western hemisphere operates today to bring Hispanics to the Northern hemisphere. Over and over we are told that Americans will not do the work that migrant farm workers will do or that illegal construction workers will do. Over and over we are told that the economy will suffer, that the costs of food or housing will skyrocket if we do not employ them.
And what is the response of those who are so quick to criticize any claim based on the way the free market works? They want the state to employ hundreds, thousands, to enforce edicts and governmental orders. They are willing to cheer it on as it invades the privacy of every white Westerner in the country. They want the state to command every employer to incur costs unknown to every shopkeeper who has ever lived. They demand that a minimum wage be so high that affluent Americans will take those farm jobs, those construction jobs.
Do they tell us what the cost will be simply from taking men out of the productive spheres of endeavor to make them tax consumers, i.e., minions of the state who prey on their fellow white men and who, through their government paychecks, live off their honest labor? Do they admit that liberties and decencies will be overturned, violated, and lost? Do they recognize that outsourcing work to Third World countries at least keeps the Third Worlders in their own countries? And what do they say when some free-market writer points out that increasing a minimum wage creates perverse incentives and makes it even more profitable for an employer to hire illegals? "You libertarians just care about economics."
It is time for this objection to met. You who reject the free market just care about your wishful fancies. You are unwilling to ask exactly how goals may be achieved; you merely want them to be achieved. You speak as though political action can overrule the laws of nature. You are unwilling to refute arguments so you disparage them. You have lost sight of the difference between fantasy and imagination.
Instead, like the plantation owner of the South and the mill owner of the
North, you take no thought for the intangibles of the civilization built by
your fathers, and you are willing to sabotage your own kind and your own
culture to enjoy the appearance of a short-term success by turning to the
one certain and proven enemy of your own heritage, our enemy the
It has often happened that when I have argued for the superiority of a free-market anarchist society, I am met with the objection that the creation and survival of such a society will require everyone to agree with me, that my proposal for the betterment of mankind is impractical because it will take so much time.
While it will not require everyone to agree with me, I agree that it will take much time. The force of the objection is most readily seen in the reply of the global-warming alarmist who says, "We can't wait for private ownership to find ways to prevent the warming of the planet. We need a solution now." To which I reply, If there is no time for the solution that will work, then there is no time for any solution at all. Turning to the state, the most discredited solution-engine in all of history, merely feeds self-deception.
But there is another flaw in that initial objection that must be highlighted. And to see it, let us look at the problem of immigration as the nationalist sees it. In mid July, Tom Tancredo announced that he would introduce legislation to reduce legal immigration to the United States and further pressure illegals to leave. What are we to make of that kind of solution?
If this legislation were to pass would it rescue Western culture? Does it even take notice of the problem of what Muslims who are citizens are doing to European society? Is it not blind to the simple mathematics of the birthrates of whites? What can we possibly make of this kind of solution? It is hardly even a half-measure. But it is exactly the sort of thing that those who are not anarchists call for. And they object when an anarchist cannot, off the top of his head, come up with a solution of all the problems they can list off the top of their head.
But let's examine the legislation on its own merits as legislation: how will it get passed? Does it require that everyone agree with Tancredo before the legislation can be passed or put into effect? Obviously not. If a certain percentage of people who matter (whoever they may be) come to agree with him, the legislation will pass. How long will it take for those people to come to agreement? Will it happen next year? The year after? Does anyone really believe that his bill will ever become law?
What would be necessary? For Democrats to be turned out of office in numbers large enough that Republicans had a veto-proof, filibuster-proof majority in the houses of Congress? For the current Democratic leadership to be turned out and new, "conservative" Democrats be put in? What about that imagined Republican majority? Something has to be done about that, too. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, both sure to oppose the bill when it reaches the Senate, will have to go. Where is all the organization to effect this kind of change going to come from? What about the money?
Maybe all we need is to get enough people to "wake up" and vote for the right people ... Really? How many people? How are you going to get all those potential voters to change their minds? Wait. "Change their minds"? Isn't that exactly one part of the anarchist undertaking that is disparaged because we'll never get everyone to agree with us?
In short, any objection to a free-market anarchist solution founded on the difficulty of convincing others and the time it will take to convince enough of them applies equally to any solution proposed by anyone. This is why I am constantly asking my fellow lovers of liberty and Western civilization to stop working for the state, why I ask them to stop seeking to reform an irreformable institution. It is well past time for serious lovers of liberty to stop tinkering with the state apparatus and to start working for liberty. The state has no need of their cunning privatization schemes. It is the cause of liberty, not the state, that needs their intellects.
With respect to a whole basketful of social problems, approaches consistent with the love of liberty and with the principles of Western civilization that would otherwise have emerged in thousands of conversations in think tanks, in public gatherings, in barber shops, over breakfast do not exist because too many have looked to the state for solutions. Conferences were never held. Periodicals and books were never written because brilliant intellects were used up promoting the privatization of Social Security or reforming the United State's imperialist foreign policy. Money has been sunk in projects that to this day have yielded no reasonable expectation of success.
And let's not be too optimistic about the prospects for political success here. We are talking about a racial question. In more than 220 years, the political process has produced statute after statute, constitutional amendments, even wars and rebellious militias, and still there is a race problem in this country that is as intractable as ever.
To put so much trust and confidence in approaching the state to solve any
problem it has created, has kept in existence, has worsened is sheer folly.
Its only justification can be the conjunction of desperation and ignorance
Borders and numbers
The problem of immigration is the problem of borders. Get rid of the borders, and you get rid of immigration.
And what kind of entity has borders? Countries? Peoples? No. States have borders. Only states. States have borders because states claim to control vast swaths of land. When property is privately owned, there is no immigration. There may be trespass, but there is no immigration.
When there is no public property, immigrants cannot travel freely from one country to another, unless owners permit them. Unless owners permit them, they have no place to stay. Unless owners permit them, they have no place to work.
Of course, to refuse to hire the immigrant because he is Hispanic is illegal. To refuse to rent or sell to him because he is Muslim is illegal.
But what have I just told you? The state has done its best to rip from our hands the tools we need for solving the immigration and race problems, and it has largely succeeded.
But the problem of immigration is also a problem of numbers. Here the
state has propagandized us, but it has not yet asserted any real control.
We are still free to increase our numbers. Would blacks or Hispanics be
So to those white Westerners who are married and who are still young enough, I say, Have babies. To those with children I say, Have one more. Or two more. To those who cannot have children, I say, adopt white children. They may not be your own, but they share your birthright, the heritage of an achingly beautiful culture that you can impart to them.
To those who are too old to raise children, I say, Find some way to be of assistance to your people. Defend and enlarge your own love for what the West has bequeathed to you. Stop participating in political activities that pit you against your fellow whites.
Other possibilities in the fight for the West and toward a solution to the major race problems:
Don't sell to Africans, Jews, Muslims, or Mexicans.
Don't buy from Africans, Jews, Muslims, or Mexicans.
Don't hire Africans, Jews, Muslims, or Mexicans.
Don't marry them, don't work for them. Quit your job rather than be supervised by them.
Have no commerce at all with them.
These recommendations are completely consistent with the ideals of liberty. They create no perverse incentives; they do not backfire. (What? No objections that libertarians only think about economics now?)
There are consequences. If you limit the sources from which you will seek various utilities, you will have to go without some of them, or pay more for them. That is fact of nature. It is unavoidable. Life is a series of trade-offs. If you are willing to suffer that trade-off, you have the program.
But what, it will be asked, about all those white people who will sell to them, who buy from them, hire them, marry them, and work for them? Who are not willing to forgo those utilities, to make the same trade-offs you perhaps are willing to make? What about whites who will not have more children?
Yes, they are a problem, aren't they? If you seek a political solution, don't you pretty much have to attempt to get them to behave differently? For us who seek a nonpolitical (i.e., a non-utopian) solution, the requirement is the same.
If you seek a political solution, it is not necessary to get everyone to agree with you. Similarly, if you seek a nonpolitical solution, it is not necessary to get everyone to agree with you. There was a time in the history of the West when most people followed most of the rules I have mentioned without thinking about them. There were exceptions, but the exceptions were not so numerous that they were culture-destroying.
That was the way to prevent the problems that arise when peoples try to mix with one another. By and large, they do not arise when most people keep to their own place and there is commerce with them only, as it were, at arm's length. But when there is vast indiscriminate intermingling, even short of intermarriage, then we have passed the point where that program will prevent the problem.
And now we see that it was not merely the plantation owner or the mill owner who were insensible to their own kind, who were sabotaging their own kind. If the point was not clear enough before, surely it must be by now:
The state has done everything in its power to obstruct individual men from preventing certain problems from arising. It circumscribed their freedom to associate with whom they preferred. It invalidated contracts they had devised for the protection of their neighborhoods.
It propagandized women to abort their babies or to have fewer babies. It glorified the single life and subsidized sexual promiscuity and sexual deviancy in all their medical and demographic consequences. It so inflated the currency and increased taxes that women left their homes for the workplace. They were given so-called rights that all but eliminated fatherhood. The list goes on and on.
What is striking is how many efforts were necessary to undermine a sturdy, resilient culture and how intense they had to be. More striking still is how little resistance each of those efforts met.
You can hardly fault a freedom movement whose tools for protecting itself have been taken from it. You cannot sever a man's arms and legs and then blame him for being unable to win a tennis match.
But the principle remains the same: so far as we are able, we can refrain from being a part of the process that is destroying our culture. We can do our best to show others what is wrong with the ideas that they take for granted. We can clear our minds by avoiding tyranny-expanding, tyranny-friendly activities.
The liberty-lover's solution, the solution of the lover of Western civilization to social problems lies in those words from 1984 posted at the beginning of the TLD project, and you must forgive me for citing them again:
At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual....If you don't see that this is so, then no solution of any sort is possible. You will turn to discredited, failed institutions; you will add your mite to their strength; your intellect and time and talents will be put in their service. You will fail. And you will say that it is we who reject political action who are the defeatists.
The solution is to spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual. It is the only solution that will work. It is the only solution that is consistent with the laws of nature. It is the only solution that is consistent with who we of the West are and who we aspire to be. If there is no time for that solution to work its will, then there is no time for any solution. We pessimists have seen the only solution that has merit, that is not derived from the control of a utopian state, and we embrace it. The optimists reject our non-utopian solution; and so they see no solution that has any hope of success whatever.
Posted October 10, 2007
Published in 2007 by WTM Enterprises
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* In his essay, "Prospects for Racial and Cultural Survival" (American Renaissance, February and March 1995), Sam Francis contends that "the history of the white race is one of conquest and domination of non-whites," and he states that "whites need (or at least want) the conquered peoples as slaves, cheap labor, concubines, etc." If I read this essay properly, however, Dr. Francis's analysis suggests, whether he meant it to or not, that whites' native impulse is ultimately self-destructive. And I would agree.
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