What follows is my speech delivered at the NPI conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC, on October 26, 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We could replace the noun ‘the fall’ with other related words having stronger, more loaded meanings, such as ‘the end time’ or ‘chaos’ — or ‘the end of a world,’ if not ‘the end of the world.’ These words and expressions come to my mind along with many fear-inspiring images related to our present and future identities.
I hope that none of us here claims to be a futurologist. In hindsight most futurologists have been proven wrong. Remember the recent break-up of the Soviet Union, a phenomenon which not a single American or European sovietologist could predict. My main thesis is that prophecies about the fall are nothing new. Since time immemorial, there have been stories, tales, and myths that have presaged the fall, the decline, or the end of time. The vast majority of European thinkers and authors, from antiquity to postmodernity, have dealt with the notion of the fall and its aftermath.
On the opposite side of the fall there is historical optimism and the belief in Progress. Progress has become a secular religion today, but fortunately it seems to be showing cracks and is being subject to critical inquires. The belief in progress and its advocates have had a very loud voice over the last 200 hundred years — and particularly over the last 70 years. Modern advocates of Progress are usually wrapped up in different garbs, such as the Liberal or the Communist garb, or even the Christian garb. Somewhat pejoratively, we can call these people world improvers.
The Tragic vs. Cultural Pessimists
By contrast those among us who reject the religion of Progress and historical optimism can be divided into two categories; the thinkers of the tragic and cultural pessimists. Thinkers of the tragic are those who believe in the cyclical nature of time and identities; they are the ones who claim that after each sunny day comes a rainy day. I count myself among those. Here is a quote by the philosopher Clement Rosset, who is close to our intellectual heritage and a stark opponent of historical optimism:
Each non-tragic thought is inevitably an intolerant thought; the more it moves away from its tragic perspective, the more it becomes inclined towards a particular form of “optimism”, the more it becomes cruel and oppressive… Generally speaking, the tragic thought sees in each form of philosophical optimism a certified source of intolerance.” (Logique du pire, 1993, 1971) (“Logic of the worst case scenario”)
Here is my first remark: Historical optimists, be they communists, be they liberals, or for that matter all world improvers combined, have an inveterate mania to impose on their society rational social constructs, or social contracts — which, as a rule, end up in political nightmares.
When describing “the fall” we cannot avoid studying images, symbols and myths related to the breakdown of time. The images of the fall were much stronger among our ancestors and our forefathers than they are among ourselves today. We do not need to search very far for the examples. We can look at the early Greek myths and the Homeric epics teeming with violence, titanic struggles, chaos, different ages and different identities. The story in the famous Germanic epic, The Niebelungen Saga, which still subconsciously underlies the identity of most Europeans, ends up in chaos and in mass mutual slaughter within the same tribe. Regardless of their common racial heritage, our European forefathers were well aware of the fragility of any firm identity, including their own. After all, the main character from The Niebelungen Saga, the Queen Kriemihilde, seeking revenge for her slain husband Siegfried, weds in her second marriage a Hun, the Asian emperor Attila. They had a son who was a “Mischling,” a “racial hybrid” one can say, whose head at the end, was cut off by Hagen, another hero of the same saga. The story, though, does not evolve around the race question but around power politics and hidden gold.
Regarding the perception of the fall or the break-down, I’d like to start with the two short quotes by two modern authors who also belong to our intellectual heritage. Both of them were keenly aware of the fall. The first is a man with the profound sense of the tragic; and the second an inveterate historical pessimist. Although often blurred, the difference between the sense of the tragic and historical pessimism is quite significant.
Here is our first thinker of the tragic: Ernst Jüenger, from his book An der Zeitmauer (At the Wall of Time).
Destiny can be anticipated, it may be felt, it can be dreaded, but it must never be known. Should that occur, man would live a life of a prisoner who knows the hour of his execution.
My second remark: Tragic thinkers exclude a relationship between cause and effect. The good side of the tragic consists in the belief in random events, ‘in hazard’ or in ‘chance.’ The tragic thinker does not like predicting the future. Why should we clamber up the wall of time and attempt to check the upcoming fall beyond the wall? That would be a scary endeavor, as we would likely come across some very frightening results. Historical optimists, be they liberals, or communists, with their rationalist mindset wish to install exactly such a predictable pattern of human betterment. We have seen the disastrous results of their premeditated mindset over the last seventy years.
In contrast to the person of the tragic, Emile Cioran, as an inveterate historical pessimist, does not care about his future identity at all. He gave up on all sorts of Promethean endeavors. He evicted himself from time long time ago and came to the conclusion that there is no need for the recommencement of any ill-conceived quest for identity. I myself don’t think we should accept this model, although most of us here are often inclined to it.
The others fall into time; as for myself, I have fallen out of time. To the eternity which stood up above time follows now the other eternity, standing below time, a sterile zone where one has only one desire left: to return to time, to face it off at all costs, to grab a chunk of it in order to settle in and provide himself with an illusion of being at home. Alas, time is closed off, time is out of reach, and due to the impossibility to penetrate it, this negative eternity, this wicked eternity comes into being. (La Chute dans le temps) (“The Fall into Time”)
On the basis of these foregoing citations, let us now examine some contemporary political illusions about the fall and our identity, which we might just as well call self-deceptions. These illusions may help us acquire a better look into the meaning of our yet to be found new identity. Let us look backward beyond our current wall of time.
In May 1945 there was much celebration on Broadway in New York and here, next door to us, on Pennsylvanian Avenue. The Second World War had just come to a stop, and ever since then the image of that war has been viewed as the ultimate symbol of ultimate evil. We still live in this fascist/anti-fascist/end-time scenario.
Now, at the same time, on the other side of the wall, or speaking less allegorically, on the other side of the Atlantic, the iron wall sprang up. By mid-May 1945, millions of people in south, central and Eastern Europe experienced their fall — their end times — and their loss of identity. For many that year was the final European end-times, the Ragnaroek.
The German word ‘Zusammenbruch,’ meaning the overall breakdown, was at that time very much in use among millions of refugees: millions of German, Hungarian, Italian, Croat and Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who were soon to be shipped to the communist underworld — or, speaking less allegorically, to their certain death. Those end times affected not just their defeated leaders, but millions of nameless individuals whose time flow defied all measurements. They were to be dead and gone for good.
When asked about our would-be identity after the fall, with all our due common hereditary baggage that tie us to our kinsmen worldwide — we must agree that identity cannot just be imbedded in our race. There is also another dimension to it that must be considered: our sense of the tragic and our historical memory.
My third remark: Identity, when based on heredity only is meaningless unless it contains “Gestalt” — unless it has a form that provides it with a name, a surname and a place of origin. Some generic abstract White identity, some White blank slate identity devoid of cultural and historical “racial soul,” is meaningless. We all have names and we all lug along our tribal and cultural memory.
My own identity for instance, as well as the identity of many of our colleagues in Germany or France, or elsewhere in Europe, is largely anchored in my and our historical memory. For instance, ever since I was five, I have been exposed to long stories told by my late father about communist killing fields which had occurred in the summer 1945 in central and Eastern Europe. Those stories, in turn, affected my self-perception, as well as the perception of the reality that now surrounds me.
My fourth remark: I’d like to stress that victimhood has played a formidable role in shaping identities of many, many peoples world-wide, including ourselves. The case of the Jewish victimhood, which has also become a part of the world identity today, is the best example and speaks volumes.
Today, when facing our approaching fall we often resort to ‘negative’ identities, described by Alain de Benoist. Words like “immigration and Islam” come first to mind when we resort to these references of negative identities. These words and notions point in hindsight to a paradigm shift. For instance thirty years ago, the words ‘immigration’ and ‘Islam’ were sparsely used and were not viewed as the prime factor in the analyses of the anticipated fall. Thirty years ago our negative identity was grounded in anti-communism, communism representing then a symbol of the fall and the symbol of end times.
Communism, along with its opposite, anticommunism, as the negative identity building factor, is history now: it seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary and from our imagination and from our negative identity building process. In its place have stepped in aliens, non-Europeans, miscegenation, the alleged threat of Islam and the disappearance of the nation-state in the capitalist global System.
There are however some serious problems with the use and abuse of these new notions. Thus, the word ‘Islam’, which has become a fear-inspiring word for many of us, can denote everything and nothing. Islam, however, is not a synonym for a distinct identity or a distinct race: it is a universalist religion, just like the universalist religion of Christianity. We could spend hours now debating and quarrelling about the association of Christianity with the White European heritage. We tend to forget though that Christianity, just like Islam, originated in the deserts of the Middle East – and not in Europe. There are far more Christians living outside Europe now than in Europe itself.
Beyond Race Alone
My first conclusion: We must avoid using a single issue approach and look instead at the notion of the fall and the notion of identity from the economic, social, philosophical, racial, religious, demographic and survivalist perspective. When dwelling on the issue of heredity, or race only, or on the issue of immigration, while forgetting other aspects shaping our yet-to-be discovered new identity, we run the risk of falling into a reductionist and self-serving trap.
Let us avoid being cultural pessimists: let us try instead to sharpen our sense of the tragic. Unlike cultural pessimism, the sense of the tragic contains contingency, accident, and coincidence, for which the Germans have a very nice word: ‘der Zufall.’ The French have an even better word: ‘le hazard.’ Each contingency, each accident, each unexpected Zufall, means that Time remains open. In our quest for our new identity, history is always open. Therefore, the flow of time offers to all of us new avenues with unexpected turn-offs toward freedom. We just need to seize a chance.
There is no question that on the subconscious level we all feel attracted first to our kin, to our in-group, as Kevin MacDonald notes it – especially in the case of emergency, or in the case of the ‘Zufall.’ For instance, when we travel to Africa or Asia, and when we check in at some hotel, we instinctively search for an eye contact of our White look-alike from Europe or America. Here in Washington, DC, we could not care less whether a person passing us by is an American of Greek or Swedish origin. But times are rapidly changing: there are places in Los Angeles or in the underworld of the Paris metro, where a White passenger, late at night, is glad to spot a person of his own phenotype. Their fleeting eye contact speaks volumes in terms of their suddenly retrieved common identity.
Yet as mentioned earlier in our brief look at the carnage that occurred amidst the same tribe in the last adventure of the Niebelungen epic, there are serious critical points that we need to raise about our common identity. There are countless historical examples how the Sameness of identity leads to hatred amidst the same tribe, same in-group, same kin. Civil wars among and amidst Europeans and Americans have been, by far, far deadlier than the wars they have waged against the Other.
Hypothetically speaking, if White Europeans and Americans were ever to establish their own ethno-state, or their own homeland, with their own identity, who can guarantee that this all White ethno-state would not be again plagued by internal divisions and civil wars? We must not forget the track record of countless civil wars that have plagued White Europeans and White Americans over the last two thousand years.
The battle of Alamo in 1836 still bears a vivid message for all of us here. A dozen Irish defenders, who lost their lives defending Alamo against Santa Ana’s siege, were crucial in prolonging the Mexican capture of Alamo. Yet, we must also keep in mind that ten years later, several hundred Irishmen, the famous Saint Patrick battalion, along with other Catholic European immigrants, were the most loyal fighters fighting on the Mexican side, during the American–Mexican war. Dozens were hanged as ordinary criminals by the victorious American troops, when the war was over.
To be sure the idea of common white European identity did not even exist until recent times. For instance, the Turkish onslaught on Europe in the 16th and the 17th century was not racially motivated: it had religious roots. Many Serb, Croat and Hungarian Christian clans and local warlords occasionally sided up, for different political reasons, with the Turkish invaders. Likewise, one thousand years earlier, many Germanic tribes sided up with the Huns and Attila and fought against their own kin at the Catalaunian fields in 451 AD.
There are countless historical examples, where belief systems and power politics play a much stronger role in the identity building process than the issue of race.
Another example: WWII was also a largely European civil war fought between the powers and peoples of the same gene pool, but of different belief systems. The main political actors allied themselves occasionally with non-Europeans respectively. In the German Wehrmacht there were small units composed of Arabs, Indians and Turkic tribes fighting against White Americans and White Soviet troops.
American GIs, after landing in Normandy and in Italy in 1943 and 1944, occasionally mistook some captured soldiers in the German uniform for the Japanese enemy, ignorant of the fact that those captured soldiers fighting on the Axis side, were volunteers from the German-occupied central Asian regions of the Soviet Union.
My final conclusion: There is no question that hereditary factors will play the prime role in our future identity. Very often we are not aware of it. We can change our looks, we can change our passport, we can change our ideology or our theology. We can also erase our cultural memory by quitting our homeland and settling down in a new homeland. However, there is no way whatsoever we can ever remove the genes passed on to us by our ancestors. Neither can we erase the layers of our memory.
Even under the best possible circumstances it is questionable how an identity-building White ethno-state, after the likely breakdown of the System, can come into being. This troubling issue is fortunately being addressed more and more by all of us. For my part, I am much more concerned about the character of many self-proclaimed White nationalists. Many of these individuals assume they can build their identity on their White looks only. Ironically, even our worst detractors are often persons of our own gene pool. For instance, if you look briefly at the racial and ethnic profile of the people staging the so-called antifascist mass demonstrations in Europe on behalf of non-European immigrants, you’ll be surprised to discover that most of them are urban Whites. Few non-European immigrants ever participate in these mass demonstrations.
The high Catholic clergy in Europe is also a case in point. Most Christian denominations have become today the most vocal advocates of non-White immigration. The genesis of the pathology of White guilt, as well as the century long destructive Christian monotheist mindset would require a separate lecture on my part.
When the final breakdown occurs—and such a breakdown cannot be ruled out any longer in Europe and America, the lines of demarcation between the foe and the friend won’t be clear at all. There won’t be a picturesque clash between Whites and non-Whites. One must be ready to face up to numerous people of our gene pool fighting on the opposite side of the barricade.
In my final conclusion I’d like to state that we must avoid individuals who use their White identity as a hobby…as a pastime…as a fashionable trend…or as a money making business. Those individuals make us all look silly and tar us as a public threat. Our prime goal must be not just how to resuscitate our sense of racial pride, but also, like our ancestors did, our sense of the tragic. Only in this way can we continue our never-ending Promethean struggle, regardless of how many of us will remain on the battlefield.
Thank you for your attention.
Dr. Tom Sunic is former professor of political science and a Board member of the American Freedom Party. He is the author of Homo americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007).