Take Those PC Blinders Off: How to Read Mainstream Books


As a rule, I encourage all people, and perhaps especially political heretics on the Alt Right, to read some mainstream books, especially history books. I am obviously not discouraging the reading of courageous dissident historians like Dominique Venner,[1] Anne Kling, or David Irving. But I also think it is important we do not create our own echo chamber, but remain abreast of the insights and research of academia, so that we remain close to reality.

Mainstream academics’ work in the social sciences can of course be politicized, often atrociously so, but their work is also often of value (e.g. Brigitte Hamann’s Hitler’s Vienna, Mark Mazower’s Hitler’s Empire, Neagu Djuvara’s History of Romanians, etc.) if only because they have vast institutions and resources behind them to conduct research. In contrast, our humble work is far freer, but necessarily artisanal. (By the way, have you subscribed to The Occidental Quarterly or donated to The Occidental Observer recently? [Editorial Note: Great idea!])

Mainstream academic work in the social sciences however can be read most profitably only if one bears its limitations in mind. Typically, these are state-employed functionaries paid to teach ordinary people. As such, their expressed opinions are bound to be circumscribed by what the state and student body (or their parents) find tolerable. Furthermore, Judeo-American academia in particular has tended to be extremely left-wing and liberal. And since academic societies and reputations are international, European universities tend to follow the lead of their much more numerous and well-funded American counterparts. In short, these academics must (unless protected by tenure and particularly courageous), take care to at least appear politically-correct.

Basically, the more politicized and democratic a medium is, the more piously politically-correct the narrative has to be. Elected politicians, beholden to globalist oligarchs and the mass media which forges public opinion, recite a piously cartoonish version of history, which is often a pure and simple rewriting.[2] And because of their very powerful effect over the masses, audiovisual media — film and TV shows — are even more conformist and even more intensively policed than academia.

Academic publications have a bit more leeway. There are very few fair or nuanced documentaries or films portraying World War II for example, but there are quite a few decent academic books. However, even for the books, one must qualify this: the cover is often a caricature, laden with words like “evil” and silly superlatives, while the contents are often much more nuanced. The authorities, and the mob, are happy to allow incongruous facts to be recorded if the dead letter is safely buried somewhere in 800 pages of academic prose and stored away somewhere in the stacks of academic libraries.[3] Just don’t make a fuss about it or come to any public conclusions. Don’t be a threat to the Narrative.

The conformism of mainstream educators is not a new problem. Over 2000 years ago, Plato already explained that “intellectuals” who are on someone’s payroll and work to please established opinion cannot be real thinkers pursuing truth:

Even though they call it knowledge, every one of those private fee-charging individuals — the ones who are called sophists and are regarded as rivals by these educators [true philosophers] we’ve been talking about — teaches nothing but the attitudes the masses form by consensus.[4]

In short, academics tend to reinforce established opinion, which in turn has often been molded by mass audiovisual and elite print media, in a self-reinforcing nexus. Elite media like the New York Times routinely cite academic sources in their articles aimed at educated lay people, and the reputation of columnists like Paul Krugman depends to a considerable extent on their academic credentials.

In my experience, historians are generally more useful to read than political scientists.[5] Certainly the “facts” and quotations presented by historians can be misrepresented or selective. But in a big history book, so long as the author has been honest, even if he is otherwise very conventional, one will always reap a large bounty of information which is incongruous with the politically-correct mythology.

The honest conventional historian lists facts and paraphrases usefully, even if his framing is all wrong. One can get the framing right simply by bearing in mind the dogmas of political-correctness:

  1. Egalitarianism is justice and (pseudo-)democracy is the only legitimate form of government.
  2. The races don’t exist and are equal, and multiracialism is a moral imperative (often presented simultaneously, by the way).
  3. Jews are a powerless and noble minority that has contributed much to society, while criticism of Jewish privilege and ethnocentrism is supremely evil; hence the Holocaust is the moral measure of all things.
  4. The fascists (the “Nazis” and Adolf Hitler in particular) were the most evil beings in human history, more or less on a par with Satan.
  5. White advocacy and Western/European ethno-nationalisms are supremely evil and irrational. (Jewish ethno-nationalism, as in Israel, is fine however, and can be safely subsidized by the West to the tune of billions of dollars, untold diplomatic capital, and stoking of Islamic terrorism.)

I put these words in bolding to emphasize the irrational word-associations we are conditioned to have from an early age throughout the West.[6] Mainstream books, and Western thought and history in general, make a lot more sense if one bears in mind that these are largely irrational civil-religious dogmas.

If one fixes the framing, Western thought and history become far more intelligible and interesting: human inequality is inevitable and heredity is real, ethnicity is real, World War II was not a black-and-white affair, White advocacy is no less legitimate than any other kind of ethnic advocacy, and Jews form a privileged and ethnocentric elite with often very considerable influence, one hostile to Western/European ethno-nationalism in general and generally supportive of their own Israeli ethno-nationalism, etc.

Indeed, given the simply enormous contribution of ethnic Europeans to culture and civilization, one could easily argue that their survival and flourishing is a supreme moral imperative. For most of human history, democracy was denounced by the overwhelming majority of the world’s greatest thinkers (and not just the West’s, for that matter).

As Ezra Pound wrote of another generation of academics:

Our serious historians of 30 years ago were still groping. This is not to sniff at their efforts. Take ’em as blind but patient writers of monographs and one [could] speak with esteem of the lot of ’em, I mean, I don’t think they were deliberately rotten, or that they committed deliberate fakings and forgeries. It is only when a set of ideas is dying that you get deliberate forgers, and that men, astute at short range, deliberately blind themselves for the sake of emoluments or to hang onto their jobs.[7]

Of course, in the social sciences, “deliberate fakings” were widespread to promote the idea of racial equality, as in the work of influential Judeo-Marxist professors such as Franz Boas and Stephen Gould.

I came to thinking about all this while reading some “intellectual historians” of fascism.[8] This is a very peculiar category: they don’t write about what other people did, but about what they wrote. They are great paraphrasers, with the caveat that their topic is so controversial that they never really say what they themselves think. This typically makes the work rather lifeless, piously insipid, but useful enough with all their facts and, I suppose, honest enough.

I can almost see their thought process:

  • I am a mainstream establishment historian intent on obtaining and keeping my prestigious and reasonably well-paying job.
  • What should I study and write about?
  • Something that has not been written about before, is interesting to people, and has lots of documentation.
  • I know: I’ll read all those publications by Nazi/Fascist/Collaborationist intellectuals who everyone has forgotten about (and are considered bad) and write about that.
  • Produce 500 pages of paraphrase.
  • Conclusion: these ideas were influential, they were not as stupid or insincere as the mainstream anti-fascist mythology has it — oh, but I certainly won’t venture to say whether they were right on this or that controversial point or not! And it is striking how many prominent European men found these ideas compelling! — and the texts are thus worth studying, hence the value of my PhD thesis/academic book.

And that is typically the underwhelming conclusion!

At times, the “intellectual historian” of a politically incorrect topic really has to ignore the elephant in the room. Johann Chapoutot writes over 500 pages on political thought in the Third Reich — which was essentially a biocentric reframing of all norms and policies around hereditary principles — without once asking: Is heredity real? Are Jews a genetically-identifiable “race?

These words by Schopenhauer come to mind:

A man who thinks for himself is related to the ordinary book-philosopher as an eyewitness is to an historian: the former speaks from his own immediate experience. That is why all men who think for themselves are in fundamental agreement: their differences spring only from their differing standpoints; for they merely express what they have objectively apprehended. The book-philosopher, on the contrary, reports what this man has said and that has thought and the other has objected, etc. Then he compares, weighs, criticizes these statements, and thus tries to get to the truth of the matter, in which respect he exactly resembles the critical historian.[9]

The “historian of ideas” I suppose is a cross between the “book-philosopher” and the historian.

These historians are useful as introductions to the thought and policies of the fascist experience (or any other politically-incorrect topic). Eventually however, you’ll want to go straight to the source to get the real deal. La vérité n’est pas dans la paraphrase.[10]

In general, I like to read a mainstream book alongside a heretical book, as a yardstick for how “kooky” the latter might be (you never know!).[11] But who is to say the mainstream isn’t kooky? It obviously is — even if we recognize that not all who are persecuted are Galileos. (On which, see William Pierce’s memorable 1998 broadcast on how difficult it is for any individual to challenge a society’s collective insanity.)

Schopenhauer also said: “A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.”[12]

So do not waste time if you find a (mainstream) book fruitless. Do not thoughtlessly reward some coddled, lazy mainstream academic who has never taken a risk in his life (or worse, has actively committed harm). Go looking for those academics who have come closer to being true intellectuals, by actually willingly undergoing professional and personal sacrifice for expressing the truths they have discovered. I think of Kevin MacDonald, Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, and others.

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Also, pick up a classic: perhaps Tocqueville, Plato, or Jefferson. No man is perfect, the intellectual level of the great men of the past is always awesome compared to the “culture” of our age.

I used to not really be able to read “classic” books usefully. I now find them much more interesting and intelligible. I suspect, although I am not sure, it is because my egalitarian blinders have been more-or-less annihilated over the past five years or so. And the world makes so much more sense without them! Where, previously, I was lost in the confusion and rationalization and obfuscation of reconciling the Western tradition (and indeed all Tradition and reality itself) with egalitarian pretense, now I can actually engage freely with the truly fascinating material which Creation has put before us.

Take your blinders off: life becomes much more interesting, much more alive.

[1] A wide selection of Venner’s work has been translated into English on Counter-Currents.

[2] Political-correctness has tended to get worse over time: French President François Mitterrand just over 20 years ago could still praise the patriotism and sacrifice German soldiers who fought to defend their fatherland during World War II, even as he condemned the National Socialist regime and ideology. I doubt any politician would make such a distinction today.

[3] Editorial note: I recall a Jewish person who had been reasonably friendly until he realized that I was out there on Occidental Observer etc. continuing to write about Jewish issues and often referencing my academic books on Judaism. He said something like, “I knew he had written those books but thought they were gathering dust on library shelves.” After which, he was no longer friendly.

[4] Plato, Republic (London: Oxford University Press, 1994), 493a.

[5] Political scientists seem to me to more often play the role of “theologians,” exploring the pointless paradoxes of the reigning ideology. There are of course many exceptions. Many elite political scientists and sociologists discretely make isolated politically-incorrect points, e.g. Dani Rodrik on the merits of the nation-state, Amy Chua on the often influential role of “market-dominant minorities” (including Jews in Tsarist Russia), or Robert Putnam on ethnic diversity’s negative effect on social cohesion. One is especially free to make the point insofar as one laments it or claims that, regardless of its validity, it shouldn’t affect public policy.

[6] Ultimately, people are conditioned, quite explicitly, to have a Pavlovian association between any ethnic European self-assertion and horrifying images of piles of dead, emaciated Jews.

[7] Ezra Pound, Guide to Kulchur (New York: New Directions, 1970 [1938]), 265.

[8] Specifically by Johann Chapoutot’s La loi du sang: Penser et agir en nazi (Paris: Gallimard, 2014, on political thought in the Third Reich), Bernard Bruneteau’s Les « collabos » de l’Europe nouvelle (CRNS, 2016, on pan-European/pro-Axis thinkers in occupied France), and Alessandra Tarquini’s Storia della cultura fascista (Il Mulino, 2011, on Fascist Italy’s cultural thought and policies).

[9] Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms (London: Penguin, 1970), 92.

[10] Truth cannot be paraphrased.

[11] Every Galileo is persecuted, but not all those who are persecuted are Galileos.

[12] Schopenhauer, Essays, 210.

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